During the NBA’s recently completed strategic planning process, one issue that came to the forefront during almost every focus group, planning discussion, and personal interview was the need to more proactively market Nebraska’s banking industry and the positive impact Nebraska banks have on Nebraska communities, families, and individuals. It also became evident that addressing this task was going to require some nontraditional strategies, especially in reaching out and connecting with the “NExt Generation” of Nebraskans.
With the approval and support of the NBA Board of Directors, your association will publicly launch the Bank On Nebraska Challenge for Nebraska’s high school students on January 15, 2018. This statewide competition will challenge today’s young people to submit short videos recognizing and highlighting the important role Nebraska banks play in their communities, schools, and families. Students will be encouraged to upload their videos between February 19 and March 25.
Members of the NBA’s Young Bankers of Nebraska Committee will be tasked with reviewing and scoring the videos. The finalists’ videos will be announced on April 6. Subsequently, the public will be asked to vote for their favorite video online through a customized website, much like they might vote for the winners on American Idol. Students selected as finalists, along with their parent/guardian and teacher, will be invited to the 2018 NBA Annual Convention on Friday, May 4, at which time the winning video will be announced.
To encourage student participation, contest finalists will be awarded a $529 scholarship as well as a MacBook. In addition, the home school of the contest finalists will be provided $529 in unrestricted funds to be used at the direction of the participating teacher for supplies or other classroom needs. The producer of the winning video, as selected by the voting public, will receive an additional $2,000 scholarship. Finally, there will also be a special $1,000 prize for the funniest video, as selected by the YBON Committee members, and 10 randomly selected $100 Visa gift card prizes.
This video contest, as you might be thinking, is clearly outside of the box for the association and our member institutions; however, we know that today’s young people view life through a vastly different prism. The targeted students grew up during the Great Recession, when banks of all sizes were portrayed in a negative light by media sources at every turn. These students also are accustomed to relying on online platforms for their news, information, and entertainment. To help us reach this market and facilitate such a unique process, the NBA has engaged Red Thread, a Lincoln, Neb.-based, marketing firm that specializes in multimedia and fostering connections with today’s teenagers. In addition to coordinating the video contest, NBA staff has also asked this marketing firm to develop some additional materials to showcase the many career opportunities available in the banking field.
To be successful in this effort, the NBA needs help from every member institution. Specifically, we ask that you:
Specific details about this contest as well as contest rules can be found at: www.BankOnNE.com. Should you have any questions about this statewide marketing initiative, please feel free to reach out to me at (402) 474-1555 or email@example.com.
In late July, I was part of a small group of state bankers association representatives asked to participate in a meeting at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) related to the Dodd-Frank Act’s pending Section 1071 Small Business Data Collection requirements. Meeting participants included association representatives from Georgia, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma as well as from the ABA. We were joined at the CFPB’s headquarters by 16 CFPB representatives who are responsible for implementing these regulations.
You will find the NBA’s formal comments to the CFPB’s Request for Information Regarding the Small Business Lending Market (Docket No. CFPB-2017-0011) at http://bit.ly/S1071Ltr. Below are a few personal observations about our meeting and subsequent discussions.
After returning to Nebraska, I spent a great deal of time mulling over the meeting and considering how our industry can proactively address the inherent challenges and assumptions held by some within the bank regulatory community.
First and foremost, we must remain vigilant on the legislative front. As we have learned all too well as a result of Dodd-Frank, regulations designed for larger, more complex financial institutions always seem to flow downhill, impacting every institution in America, regardless of their business model. Secondly, we need to find ways to help better educate young staffers who are starting their careers in Congress or within the regulatory agencies. We routinely host a “Take Your Lawmaker to Work” week, but how often do we spend time educating our young regulators? We must find ways to help them better understand the complexities of our core systems, why a combine costs $300,000 plus, why a bank may not loan the requested amount to a commercial borrower and how this may actually be better for the borrower’s business, how a bank can successfully operate with four staff members, or that our rural branch locations can operate efficiently even though they are 200 miles apart.
Finally, the banking industry must seek new opportunities to actively educate and engage the next generation about our industry. We need to think about our industry’s marketing efforts and find new communication strategies that will resonate with Generations X, Y, and Z. Banks are not only the credit engine of our economy, but also a fundamental component of every life-changing event we experience—from purchasing our first car or home and saving for college to financing a new business and ensuring our dollars are safe from hackers and crackers. Our next generation—whether they are working as a manufacturer in David City, a rancher in Mullen, or a bank regulator in Washington, D.C.—must understand that Nebraska banks are their partners in success and that they can “Bank On Nebraska” financial institutions for financing their future.
Richard Baier, a proud husband, father of two, and the president/CEO of the Nebraska Bankers Association (NBA). Avid about growing the Cornhusker State's banking industry.