By Al Berube, 2020-21 Chair
What a challenging year 2020 was! If you are like me, you have embraced the new year and are holding out hope that we soon break free from the grip of this pandemic.
As the premier association serving Minnesota community banks, we are focusing on continuing to serve our members and demonstrate adaptability and value despite the external challenges the past year has introduced. You saw this when we shifted to virtual delivery of our educational programming, a shift that was well-received and led to increased participation. We also remain active at the capital and invested in actively telling the community banking story to policy leaders across the state.
An important component of our advocacy is the ICBM state PAC, which is funded by your donations. You recall that the 2020 PAC Silent Auction, typically held in conjunction with our annual convention, was cancelled. This means your PAC contributions are needed now more than ever.
Did you know our PAC only gives to candidates running for state-wide office? With a divided state legislature, and the impact of close national elections fresh in mind, it’s important that our PAC is appropriately funded so we can support candidates for office who understand the important role community banks play in strengthening local economies all across Minnesota.
An incentive to contribute to our state PAC is provided through ICBM’s Director’s Club, which is a program that recognizes member banks that annually raise at least $100 in PAC contributions from each of its directors. I challenge each of you to bring your banks into the 2021 Director’s Club.
At our bank, I utilize our annual meeting, held every January, to raise awareness among our bank’s directors of the PAC’s existence and impact. We challenge our board to earn recognition at ICBM by supporting the PAC — and you can too. Remember, PAC contributions are not tax deductible. Also, contributions made must be made by a personal check.
I also challenge you to become more active in your association this year. If you haven’t been active in the association in a while, I encourage you to get involved this year. Our virtual offerings have reduced the barriers for participation. When you actively support the industry through ICBM, you can build your network, which is important in an era of social isolation.
The power of networking is demonstrated when you have a problem and you can reach out and talk to another banker who may have dealt with the same problem. Meeting and interacting with other bankers is a reminder that you are not alone. By utilizing ICBM, you gain valuable access to meet new people and establish valuable relationships.
I consider myself to have been blessed by the opportunity to give back to the industry that has given so much to me, and I encourage you to give back as well. Being active in the industry — by networking through ICBM or supporting our PAC — is vital to the success of our industry. Remember, our PAC is the only one in the state dedicated exclusively to representing Minnesota’s community banking industry.
We can do a lot of good by coming together, sharing experiences, exchanging ideas, and supporting the important advocacy work underway under Jim Amundson’s leadership at ICBM. By working together, we can secure a future for all of the independent community bankers in this amazing state.