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Value of Membership
From Our ICBA State Director – Mark Mangano
Value of Membership
Association President, Bill Goettel, asked me to write an article regarding the value of membership in the Community Bankers of West Virginia. I agreed to because it makes sense for all of us to periodically reflect on the value of the CBWV to our banks and our lives.
Over fifteen years ago bankers formed the Association of Community Bankers of West Virginia to provide a forum for community bankers to address the common challenges they all faced. In the early years the members were happy to just share their passion for community banking with each other. Today, the Community Bankers of West Virginia still provides a place for community bankers to share their common challenges and passion but it has become so much more.
Community Bankers of West Virginia has matured into a highly capable provider of advocacy, education and services. We have achieved this while retaining the association’s unique intimate character that welcomes each of us home when we attend a CBWV meeting or event.
The CBWV has in a short time become the highly visible and respected voice of community banks in West Virginia. Donna Tanner’s tireless efforts at the state capitol and our association with Tom Heywood and Kit Francis of Bowles Rice have given us a clear and influential voice on matters of government policy.
The Community Bankers Political Action Committee provides a vehicle for community bankers to make a statement that community bankers matter in the political debate. It visibly demonstrates that community banks stand united on issues that impact them.
In recent years we have seen individuals and groups resort to litigation to change the law applied to banks. In response, the CBWV has helped fund amicus briefs on behalf of community bankers to ensure that the Supreme Court of West Virginia has a clear understanding of the impact of its decisions. The fact that the court continually sides with the community bank position is a testament to the respect that we as group receive from the state’s highest court.
We are all painfully aware of the rapidly changing legislative, regulatory, legal and competitive landscape facing community banks. Maintaining awareness of these changes is an increasing challenge. The CBWV has become a key tool for most of us to educate new directors and reengage our existing directors. The Directors College and the annual Directors Conference provide forums for our directors to increase their awareness of issues and communicate directly with our regulators. CBWV provides high quality web based staff training through a partnership with Financial Education and Development.
Some of the most valuable education that we as community bankers receive comes from communication with other bankers who face the same challenges. Donna Tanner provides a clearing house for questions from individual members to other community bankers. She reports on the significant developments impacting our banks. Finally, once a year we come together at convention to share our experiences, solutions and lives with each other.
Cautiously and thoughtfully the CBWV has endorsed or marketed high quality vendors to make available discounts to its members. In addition, use of the endorsed and marketed vendors lowers the costs of membership.
By the way, cost of membership is one of the greatest bargains currently available to community banks in West Virginia. Whether you measure the cost of dues, seminars, live programs or convention, the CBWV provides valuable services at consistently low cost.
I am proud to be a community banker and proud of the CBWV. It has grown up to be a forceful voice in defense of community banks, an educator of our directors and staff and a provider of cost saving opportunities. It has vastly expanded its capabilities without vastly expanding the cost of membership. It has accomplished all of these things without losing its intimate “family of community banks” feel. We should all be proud of the association we have created.
Mark Mangano, President, Northern Hancock Bank & Trust