NJBankers: From Merger to Renaissance
By Robert P. Corcoran
Much positive change transpired during NJBA’s centennial year. Our association went from being on the verge of a merger to rebirth and reorganization.
In May, the board of trustees named Stu Cameron as the association’s sixth president. By July, President Cameron had assembled a new professional team at NJBA. Robert Tartaglia became vice president and director of government relations, April Coles joined the staff as corporate secretary and director of education, and Marie Wiseman came aboard as assistant to the president. Before year’s end, Jamie Simpson became a member of the government relations staff as assistant to the director.
TECHNOLOGICAL AND EDUCATIONAL ADVANCES
Over the summer, NJBA, under the direction of Vice President and Director of Communications Tim Doherty, elevated its computer technology to new levels, and by December NJBA for the first time had its own Web site, www.njbankers.com. Be sure to read Tim’s cover story on the Web site that begins on page 14 of this issue.
In 2003, NJBA reached new heights by offering members more than 60 educational and training programs, more programs than ever before. Our tech expo and compliance school were standouts.
INNOVATION IN GOVERMNENT AFFAIRS AND JEBPAC GIVING
In the area of government affairs, the industry was well represented through the efforts of our new General Counsel, Mary Kay Roberts, Esq. of Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP, and our government relations staff. NJBA focused much of its attention on such issues as IOLTA, predatory lending, natural resource damages (NRD), telemarketing, financial privacy and parity/pre-emption. In fact, Gov. McGreevey enacted NJBA-initiated legislation, P.L.2003, c 291, which permits a lender to collect fees and charges on unsecured closed end loans.
Government Relations Committee Chairman Michael M. Quick conducted an important survey of member banks to demonstrate the overall significance of the industry on the state economy and its positive impact on New Jersey communities. The Government Relations Committee is also organizing its Action Bankers Council (ABC) to be a liaison with government leaders and community groups.Further, NJBA is working more closely with the American Bankers Association on national issues effecting New Jersey banks.
Thanks to the efforts of JebPac Chairman Mark Campbell, member bank CEOs and the NJBA staff, JebPac giving rose 30 percent over 2002. The importance of JebPac contributions cannot be stressed enough. Please make every effort to participate. Rob Tartaglia can provide the solicitation information necessary.
NJBA SERVICE CORP. AND INSURANCE PROGRAM MERGE
In 2003, we merged our Insurance Trust Fund into the NJBA Service Corp., which is the for-profit arm of the association. We engaged two new brokerage firms to work with our members to cost-effectively customize insurance offerings that meet member insurance needs. Our endorsed vendors and affiliate program remain an integral part of the NJBA Service Corp. We continue to urge members to consider purchasing products and services offered by our endorsed, sponsored and affiliate members.
CHANGES IN GOVERNANCE AND NEW LOGO
On the governance side of NJBA, we have revised our strategic plan and updated our personnel policy. The board is also recommending that NJBA members at the annual convention in Florida vote upon a by-law change. Ratification of the change will reconstitute the NJBA Executive Committee to include the chairman, first vice chairman, second vice chairman and treasurer. The addition of the second vice chairman’s position is designed to ensure a balance of representation of different size banks on the committee and to improve the decision-making process of the committee in the event an officer is unavailable.
As part of NJBA’s renaissance, we are introducing our new logo. The Executive Committee concurs that it is a timely opportunity to make the change. First, our image needs a fresh look. Second, our special centennial anniversary logo is no longer appropriate. Third, our new logo will coincide with our magazine title and website address and finally, the new logo will help rid confusion with other NJBA organizations, such as the New Jersey Builders Association and the New Jersey Broadcasters Association.
MORE INNOVATIONS COMING
Our Bank Security Committee has been busy working in cooperation with bankers associations of neighboring states to put together a regional anti-fraud network. We expect that this new service will be available within the next few months. Other bank security programs are also being explored in relation to combating identity theft and counterfeiting of legal tender and documents.
Our Financial Management and Trust Division, under the leadership of President Jane Higgins, is being streamlined to increase efficiencies and to enhance its educational training programs. There are plans in the works to network trust personnel within our geographical region.
Our centennial year certainly has been a busy and exciting period in the history of NJBankers. As one colleague stated at our last board meeting, “of all the boards I serve on, this board brings the most satisfaction through all its accomplishments.”
As the outgoing chairman of NJBankers, not only did my term seem to pass quickly, but I found myself impressed by the team spirit of the board and the high level of professionalism exemplified by President Cameron and the entire association staff. Personally, I am better for having had the experience and will be ever grateful to have had the support given me by my wife, Nancy; my chairman, John Kitchen; and my fellow NJBankers officers and board members. As I pass the gavel on to incoming Chairman Jim Hyman, I have the comfort of knowing that the association is truly in good hands to meet the challenges ahead.
Robert P. Corcoran is president and chief executive officer of Somerset Valley Bank, based in Somerville.