OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE MONTANA INDEPENDENT BANKERS ASSOCIATION

Pub. 9 2021 Issue 3

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Executive Director’s Message

MIB Community Banker
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Welcome to the last 2021 edition of the Montana Community Banker magazine. It is hard to believe that another year is drawing to a close. I write this article on a beautiful, bluebird, fall day in Montana. This beautiful “fall” is a welcome relief from one of the hottest, driest, and smokiest Montana summers I can recall.

For the last two years, Montana’s community banks have faithfully served their customers and communities, assisting them through one of the most challenging economic and social periods in American history.

The fall of 2021 has been another busy time for the Association. In early October, the MIB Board met in Bozeman to discuss, among other things, the financial performance of the Association in 2021, the outcome of the annual state convention, the status of federal and state policies and legislation, and the MIB investment in the Montana State University’s community banking program.

The Board meeting was held in conjunction with the MSU football tailgate party hosted by the Association. The tailgate was held before the Cats game against Northern Colorado, which MSU won, 40-7.

2021 marks the restart of the MIB-hosted Cat/Griz tailgate parties. This member benefit had to be put on hold in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Once again, the Association’s tailgate parties were sponsored by UBB, a strong supporter of MIB over the years, and we thank them for their continued support. I would also like to recognize MIB member Stockman Bank for generously allowing the Association to use property owned by the bank as the host location for our MSU tailgate party.

You will find within the pages herein photos from our two tailgate parties. I am pleased to write we had strong participation at both the UM and MSU games, with record attendance at the Griz game. Given the success of the tailgates, the Association will continue to host these parties for our membership moving forward. As such, we look forward to seeing you at one of our future tailgate parties and associated Griz/Cat games.

In addition to hosting the tailgates and as evidenced by the front cover of this edition of the magazine, the Association also proudly sponsored a speaker for the Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship “E” Series at Montana State University. On September 30, Eduardo Garcia, a longtime Montana resident and the founder of Montana Mex, spoke to over 500 very engaged MSU students on the campus of MSU.

The title of Mr. Garcia’s presentation was “Stay on Mission: A tale of curiosity and big living, against the odds.” The talk and program touched on Mr. Garcia’s tragic hunting accident, which required the amputation of half of his left arm and the removal of several ribs and his rebound. Despite his physical setbacks and months of recovery, Mr. Garcia today operates the “Montana Mex” brand of foods and dedicates his time to helping those with disabilities succeed. In his motivational talks, he urges his audience to use life’s setbacks to build a better personal future for themselves and others.

Mr. Garcia’s message of “staying on mission” really hit home for Montana’s community banking industry, wherein our industry’s sole mission is “relationship banking.” Nowhere has that community banking mission been more realized than during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For the last two years, Montana’s community banks have faithfully served their customers and communities, assisting them through one of the most challenging economic and social periods in American history. In this vein, MIB is honored to represent our community bank membership and pleased to continue our beneficial partnership with Montana State University.

Speaking of partnerships, MIB is now entering its sixth year of endowing the MSU community banking program. This program has been a great success to date – introducing and placing multiple MSU students into the field of community banking. The program resulted in several MIB banks hiring and retaining new bank employees; this outcome was – and is – the ultimate goal of this MIB member benefits program. If you are interested in having your respective bank participate in the program, please feel free to contact me. Or you can contact our friend Gordon Johnson of American Bank, who recently assumed the mantle of Director of the program at the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship.

Coming off our very strong 2021 annual convention and trade show in Billings, the Association reminds you that the state convention is always held annually in July. 2022 will be no different, and Whitefish will be the host location of next year’s State Convention at the Whitefish Lake Lodge. The MIB has not hosted our annual convention in the “Flathead” for several years, and we are excited to be returning to Whitefish for the Association’s annual event. Interest in our 2022 convention is extremely high, and, consequently, rooms at the Lodge are booking up fast. I encourage you to get your convention hotel reservation in early.

And, finally, since this is the last edition of the Community Banker for the year 2021, I will take this opportunity to remind you that, starting in early December, you will find in your mailbox the MIB’s 2022 membership renewal notices. MIB’s Board, officers, and staff understand the financial burden placed on Montana’s community banks by excessive regulation and growing operating costs. That is why we do our best here at the Association to ensure that you receive the maximum value for your dues while gaining extensive support in the areas that matter. When you receive your renewal notice, we hope our efforts to tighten the Association’s belt over the last six years while expanding member services and programs will be foremost in your mind.

If there is anything the MIB Board of Directors, officers, or staff can assist you with, or if there are additional benefits the association can add that would be of service to your business, please let us know.

Finally, in keeping with Mr. Garcia’s timeless message to those MSU students, MIB’s mission remains as it did at its inception in 1967: to help ensure Montana’s community banks have the necessary resources to compete and thrive in an ever-changing business environment.

James Brown, Esq.
MIB Executive Director

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