By John Witkowski
It seems like a good time to visit with you to talk about where our association and New York’s community banks have been, and where we’re headed.
What a Year We’ve Shared ... So Far!
While the road ahead is surely paved with common challenges, IBANYS has made significant progress so far in 2014.
We held our highly successful 41st Annual Convention, bringing together leaders of our industry and businesses closely related to our success. Our program, Sept. 7-9 in Lake Placid, “A Look At Community Banking Today: “Doing MORE With Less,” examined some key questions and challenges we face together: improved bottom line, increasing efficiency, the future of bank branches, regulatory perspective on third-party risk and best practices on a wide array of policies and topics like corporate governance, cyber security and compensation. Special thanks to our sponsors and business show exhibitors for their continued support!
We also held two other successful programs for community banks, associate members and preferred providers: our CFO/Senior Management Conference, and our annual Compliance Seminar.
We achieved historic legislative success in Albany by proposing, developing and successfully advocating for landmark tax relief for community banks in the state budget and tax reform process.
We participated in the ICBA Washington Policy Summit to urge regulatory relief and passage of the “Plan for Prosperity” and the CLEAR Reg Relief Act. It was a pleasure to partner with ICBA Chairman and fellow New York community banker John Buhrmaster, president of 1st National Bank of Scotia.
And, we’ve held board of directors meetings and discussed new ways to ensure that IBANYS is all about bringing value to our member banks and the communities we serve, to our partner firms and companies who provide the products and services that play such a prominent part in our future success – and to IBANYS as well.
Our objectives are simple: to serve as a bridge, connecting all New York community banks, regardless of location, size, charter or type of ownership, and to bring real, tangible value to our member banks, to the businesses and firms that provide them with key products and services (our partners and allies), and to the association itself.
The challenges, issues and opportunities we face unite us, far more than any artificial differences separate us. IBANYS is committed to preserving and strengthening a strong, vital community banking industry which can thrive throughout all of New York State. For example, we all need to work to oppose additional credit union expansion, at both the state and federal levels. They already enjoy an enormous advantage from their tax exempt status, too often “acting like a bank” while paying no taxes. We need to work together on common priorities, whether we are based in upstate New York, the Big Apple, on Long Island or Westchester or Rockland counties. ■
John Witkowski is president and CEO of the Independent Bankers Association of New York State. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (518) 436-4646.