By Colin Barrett, President/CEO, Tennessee Bankers Association
Thank you to everyone who attended the 129th Annual Meetingof the Tennessee Bankers Association from June 16-18 at The Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes in Orlando. This new location provided the perfect backdrop for close to 600 bankers and associate members, along with their families, to network and learn from top-notch speakers and industry experts.
The Annual Meetingis an important time for us to reflect on TBA’s recently completed year and, perhaps more importantly, to look forward at the upcoming year and identify opportunities for growth in each of our service areas to the Tennessee banking industry—government relations, education, and products and services.
We’ve seen significant growth in each of these areas over the past year, and TBA Chairman John Muse provided a steady hand as the Association laid the groundwork for several new initiatives that will benefit our members and their customers for years to come. John and his wife, Kaye, have become great friends and advisors, and I appreciate their commitment to the industry.
I’m looking forward to working with your new TBA Chairman Mott Ford, members of the board, and each of you in the year ahead. Mott will be focused on the Association’s efforts to continue delivering a high level of effective government relations and educational services to meet your bank’s needs.
As usual, the outstanding TBA staff will implement our vision and reach our goals. In the past few years, we’ve benefited from having fresh eyes delving into the Association’s core mission, and our departments have gelled into a highly effective team.
Here’s a look at our accomplishments and what’s next:
Over the past year our education programs, led by Monique White and Sheena Frech, have seen increased participation, even in light of continued industry consolidation. All of our schools have grown by double-digit percentages, thanks to our trustees and banker support as well as to TBA Director of Schools Ronnie Boling. The schools are stronger than ever as we re-evaluate the curriculum with a focus on the fundamentals of banking while staying on top of industry trends.
In the year ahead, you will see a renewed focus on the TBA Forums, as we identify the best facilitators from around the country to lead these groups. Additionally, the education department is creating career tracks to provide guidance for your employee’s educational needs.
Our GR team—Amy Heaslet, Stacey Langford, and Caroline Latham—this year successfully advocated for comprehensive trust reform legislation and the creation of Tennessee Financial Literacy Week, while stopping attempts to significantly increase the homestead exemption and mandate a bank’s acceptance of powers of attorney.
In the months ahead, they will be reviewing state banking laws and educating legislators on the negative impact of a homestead exemption increase—an issue that will return in January.
In Washington, our presence increased significantly with half a dozen trips to D.C. over the year. And while a divided Congress continues to cause gridlock, the engagement and support of our Congressional delegation has never been stronger. I especially appreciate Congressman David Kustoff starting the chorus of “stop and study” FASB’s CECL proposal. His letter last fall led to bipartisan support for legislation that could potentially stop this misguided standard.
Moving forward, we will continue to focus on CECL and AML/BSA modernization, while working with the regulatory agencies on the community bank leverage ratio, small dollar lending, and CRA, just to name a few.
Financial Products and Services Inc., surpassed all goals last year thanks to Jon Goodson and Ted Frizen continuing to grow business by being the leading experts in insurance products for Tennessee banks.
In the coming year, they will continue to grow Tennessee business, while partnering with the North Carolina Bankers Association to meet the insurance needs of our neighbors in the Tar Heel State.
The Year Ahead
These are just a few of the priorities of your Association as we enter our 130th year of serving the Tennessee banking industry. In the coming weeks, you will be hearing more about our recent partnership with CashPlease to provide small dollar loans to your customers and communities as well as the launch of a partnership with Tennessee universities to connect students with the banking industry. While the past year has been a success for your Association, I believe the best is yet to come.