Well, I literally just ordered my costume for the theme party for the 50th Annual ICBND Convention in a couple weeks. Assuming I fit into the “one size fits most” category, I will be proudly donning it Monday evening of the convention. While I’m not much of a costume person, I thought I better try a bit harder this year given the 50 year milestone. I’m almost nervous to see what Chairman Beall and Jordan Nelson will be wearing. The jockey outfits last year were just short of disturbing!
If you’ve not already registered for this year’s convention, please consider attending. It promises to be fun and informative as we’ve assembled another premier lineup of educational and networking events along with our outstanding associate member exhibits. Of the many special touches this year will be recognition at Tuesday’s banquet of those volunteer bankers that dedicated the time and energy to make this association and community banking in our state what it is today. Nearly 30 of the former volunteer presidents/chairmen of ICBND have already registered to attend. We are humbled and honored by their service and presence at the convention. It will be a very special evening.
Switching gears, we’re in the midst of severe drought in many parts of the state. The last month I’ve been out on bank visits nearly every week all across the state. The disparity in conditions is somewhat alarming. The western part of the state reminds me of the late 80’s when my dad and I were scrounging for every bit of ditch hay we could find. The crop and pasture conditions are very dire in many areas and commodity prices (short of wheat) aren’t helping much. From these challenging times, however, are opportunities for community banks to further differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Time and again, our member bankers remind me that they will work alongside their customers to get through these times. You know your customers and you’ve all been there before. Every situation is unique and requires relationship banking. Lending in the good times is easy. As the big banks and Farm Credit System kick producers out the door (after they probably helped overleverage them to start with), community bankers are working with their customers to get through this. In these times, I really wonder where some of our rural agricultural communities would be without solid local community banks!
Until next time!