The banking industry, over the past 10 years, has arguably experienced more dramatic changes and gyrations than any other industry segment within the U.S. economy. With an avalanche of new regulation, enhanced competition from the fintech sector, cybersecurity threats, non-bank competition, wavering consumer demand, and misguided negative public perceptions, the banking sector may be in need of an extended half time to regroup and develop our game plan for the next quarter (in sticking with the football analogy).
Many of the same challenges confronting our Nebraska banks are also impacting the way in which the NBA plans for and delivers member services. In 1980, for example, Nebraska had 457 banks charters. Today, that number has dropped to 187. This continued consolidation of the industry impacts every aspect of the NBA’s operation, starting with the impact on our resource base. During the most recently completed fiscal year, for example, bank consolidations resulted in lost dues revenue of more than $19,000 (that’s approximately 1 percent of total dues). More importantly, a smaller number of member banks within the NBA will ultimately impact the number of available volunteers, BankPAC contributors, demand for education programs, and users of important NBISCO products and services. Your NBA, as it appears, could also benefit from a half time to regroup and tweak the game plan to assure the best possible opportunity for success during the next quarter!
To help better prepare for and navigate these industry and membership changes, the NBA Board of Directors recently approved a contract with Financial Shares Corporation (FSC), based in Hinsdale, Ill., to help lead your trade association through a nearly year-long strategic planning process. FSC has extensive experience working in both the banking sector and the trade association arena. In addition, the company has extensive experience working closely with the for-profit arms of several state bankers associations. The lead consultant on the project, George Morvis, worked on the executive team at the Illinois Bankers Association and was the lead on several statewide legislative initiatives that positively impacted the Illinois banking sector.
FSC already has begun reviewing reams of documents in order to lay out a more precise roadmap for the NBA strategic planning process. Members of the NBA Management Team met with FSC representatives in Omaha to discuss current challenges and opportunities from a staff perspective. In the coming weeks and months, FSC will utilize a variety of methods including focus groups, surveys, personal interviews, a board retreat, etc., to ascertain input and ideas from NBA members about the future of your association. As we move into the data and input collection process, I encourage you to actively participate and offer your ideas for making the NBA even stronger.
As a former all-conference high school lineman (La Crosse, Kan.), I can assure you that the NBA will continue to focus on the important blocking and tackling aspects of the NBA, including advocacy and government relations, education, marketing and outreach, and product and services. However, we also will use this strategic planning process to evaluate all aspects of our game plan and evaluate new plays for moving the NBA ball down the field.
With the many challenges confronting the banking industry and our NBA members, it is more important now than ever that the NBA and Nebraska banks speak with one unified voice to ensure the long-term success of our industry!
Richard J. Baier
Proud husband, father of two, and the president/CEO of the Nebraska Bankers Association (NBA). Avid about growing the Cornhusker State's banking industry.