Jack Hopkins, ICBA Vice Chairman, President & CEO, CorTrust Bank,
     Sioux Falls, SD

Megan recently reached out to me and asked me if I would be willing to write an article for “The Bottom Line”. I thought, sure, why not. I feel very privileged to be in the position of going through the chairs of ICBA and that goes back to my roots and time spent on the board of ICBSD and as the elected state delegate to the ICBA board. Without people willing to step up and volunteer their time representing our great industry, we will be buried under a mountain of new regulations and our future as an independent banking industry would be in jeopardy.

I thought I would touch on my representation on the ICBA Executive Committee.  ICBA is a very complex organization, with many moving parts. But its core mission is “to promote an environment where community banks flourish”. It does this through its 3 pillars; advocacy, education, and innovation. Within each of these three pillars, there is a strong team of dedicated employees at ICBA working behind the scenes to ensure that they are helping to provide you and your bank, the voice and the services that will help you and your bank grow and flourish.

Advocacy is just one of the areas that they excel at.  Even in this partisan political environment, ICBA had some big wins this year as evidenced by your FDIC insurance premium. They would have been much larger this year had it not been for ICBA advocacy. Top issues that they continue to work on in 2024 that will have big impacts on our banks and our customers include trying to get a farm bill passed. We are currently still operating under an extension of the old farm bill. The ACRE act, which would help level the playing field with Farm Credit; the Safe Banking Act; and the restriction on the sale of “trigger leads” by the credit reporting agencies, just to name a few. I will touch on the other areas in future articles.

Remember the facts when you are asked about the importance of your great industry. 1 in 3 counties in the United States would have no physical financial services in their county but for community banks.  Almost 60% of all small business loans and 80% of all agricultural loans are made by community banks.  We have, as a community banking industry, 50,000 locations and employ 700,000 people. Our industry matters. Be proud of where you work and please, step up and help advocate for our great industry.