By John Witkowski
In the past year, the Independent Bankers Association of New York State (IBANYS) continued our efforts on behalf of New York’s local community banks, and I’m pleased to report we have had significant success across the board. Last year, and now the beginning of 2017, have been jam-packed with challenges.
We have a strategic vision in place and are committed to providing real value to our membership, pursuing programs, policies and activity that will continue our consistent growth, and continuing to expand our presence across the entire state.
Let’s review some of our 2016 activities and accomplishments, and preview some of our 2017 goals:
On the advocacy front, IBANYS lead the efforts in Albany with the NYS Legislature and the state Department of Financial Services to carve out meaningful exemptions for community banks from new regulations on cybersecurity and abandoned or vacant “zombie” properties. We did so through long and difficult negotiations, comment letters, testimony at legislative hearings and media coverage. 2017 has begun on the fast track, with a new administration in Washington and new players in key positions in Albany. Regular meetings with our Government Relations Committee ensure we remain actively engaged on behalf of New York community banks on both state and federal issues.
On the education front, we offered our members a wide array of informative and timely programs. These include sessions for CEOs, CFOs and other members of senior management, bank directors, compliance officers, security officers and lending officers. Many are offered regionally for the convenience of our members. This year, we continue to develop an increased presence downstate with both meetings and activities.
Through our member services and benefits program, IBANYS continues to offer innovative and bottom line value to our member banks and our affiliates. This effort has been strengthened and reinforced by the establishment of our new Innovation Committee, where member bankers review presentations on potential products and services and make recommendations. Recent additions such as a wellness/health care alternative, online lending program and a secure, enhanced internet presence have added to our menu.
Our preferred partners and our associate member allies are growing in numbers, and their contributions to our membership is considerable – through their participation in meetings and conferences, providing bottom line benefits and serving as our valued allies to improve the future for community banking.
IBANYS is a growing and vibrant association, and over the past few years has become a stronger, more effective full service trade association representing community banks throughout the state.
Thanks to our 2015-16 Chairman John Buhrmaster (1st National Bank of Scotia) for his outstanding leadership over the past year, and thanks to our new chairman, Doug Manditch, CEO of Empire National Bank, as he picks up the gavel for the year ahead.
We’re excited about our future, and ready to work together with our members to make the future even brighter!
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.