Welcome to our summer edition of the Directors Digest.
With the start of summer 2021 and temperatures reaching nearly 100 degrees in late June and early July, it appears as if the “dog days of summer” will be hot ones in Montana. Speaking of the dog days of summer, did you know the term refers to the dates July 3 through Aug. 11 and that those date ranges are named after “Sirius,” the dog star?
Late spring was a productive time for the Association. In April, the MIB Board held its second board meeting for the year. The entire Board met in person for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. At that meeting, the Board gave its final approval for a new member benefit. Starting in May, the Association, working with the Blodgett Marketing group of Polson, kicked off a new digital marketing campaign on behalf of MIB’s membership. The campaign began in the Billings and Glendive markets.
The member marketing campaign consists of digital ads that, when clicked on, take the user to a landing page on the MIB website. Once there, the consumer/user can find their local MIB community bank. (The MIB landing page can be found using this link: https://mibonline.org/find-a-community-bank.) The Association is very excited about this 21st-Century member benefit, and we believe the program will bring our members even more value for their dues dollar.
In April, the Association also locked in Dec. 1, 2021, to host its live agriculture lending seminar. The seminar will take place at the Northern Hotel in Billings, and the featured speaker will be Dr. David M. Kohl, Professor Emeritus at Virginia Tech University. MIB is pleased to bring Dr. Kohl to Montana, where he will give his keen insights into the state of the U.S. agriculture industry. The Association looks forward to seeing you in Billings in December for a deep dive into agricultural lending.
And, in May the CSBS announced that Montana’s own Melanie Hall was elected as the new chair of the CSBS Board of Directors. What a tremendous and well-deserved honor for Commissioner Hall. All of us here at MIB congratulate Ms. Hall for her professional accomplishments, and we know the Treasure State will be represented on state banking matters.
In July, after being forced last year to cancel the convention, the Association renewed hosting its annual trade show and convention in Billings. The convention was held on the heels of Montana Governor Gianforte’s announcement that he was issuing an executive order rescinding Montana’s state of emergency precipitated by the pandemic.
I am pleased to write that, despite the forced year hiatus, the 2021 convention was bigger and better than ever. The convention had high attendance from membership and strong participation from MIB’s associate members and vendors. We were fortunate to hear from a great lineup of speakers during the convention, including Robert Fisher, ICBA Chairman. Serving as the Association’s keynote speaker, Mr. Fisher gave a great talk on the resiliency and importance of community banks and community banking. In addition, attendees heard from Melanie Hall, Vernon Tanner from Crescent Mortgage, Tom Keenan with Keenan and Partners, and Dory Wiley with Commerce Street Holdings. Bill Elliott with Young & Associates gave a timely presentation on cannabis banking as well.
During the 2021 annual membership meeting, the members voted to renew the terms of all current executive board members. As such, Andrew West will continue as MIB’s president for one more year. He has shown outstanding leadership during what proved to be a very challenging year, and we are happy to have him steer our ship for another year through what we hope will be less choppy waters. Adam McQuiston was reelected as the Association’s vice president; Loren Brown will continue as MIB’s Secretary; Tim Schreiber will serve as MIB’s Treasurer.
We here at the Association thank each of those individuals for their willingness to serve. We also commend them for their great voluntary performance on behalf of the Association to date.
As the reader likely knows, MIB purposefully holds its annual convention at a location within Montana because first, the Association wants to recognize the Montana Independent Bankers Association is just that – a Montana-based association for Montana banks. Second, in a similar manner to which our banks operate, MIB desires to reinvest our convention-generated dollars into a local Montana community. This latter situation results in a win-win scenario both for our organization and our Montana community banking partners. Therefore, I am pleased to announce that the 2022 MIB Annual Convention will be held in Whitefish, and in 2023, we are slated to return to Big Sky for the first time in many years. As such, I invite you and your banking colleagues to join us again next year – and in future years – for food, fun, and professional advancement.
I have stated it many times – it is both an honor and a privilege to serve as MIB’s Executive Director. Putting on the annual state convention is one of my favorite work tasks. The 2021 convention was the ninth convention I have hosted, and I always appreciate this unique opportunity to interact personally with professionals like you, who are dedicated to their business and their local community.
I appreciate the trust the Association’s members have placed in me and the MIB team, Terri and Marie. I hope we have repaid that trust by providing our membership with top-notch member services.
In closing, I would like to leave you with this thought. I know many of MIB’s members worked extra hard during the pandemic to help individual customers and businesses survive the economic harm that followed. This dedication on your part demonstrates firsthand all the good that MIB members and associate members do. I encourage you to reflect on your role in making Montana the ‘Last Best Place.’
James Brown, Esq.
MIB Executive Director