I began writing this article on the cusp of leaving for Billings, headed to the 2021 MIB Convention, so pleased we could finally get together to celebrate community banking in Montana. I was excited to renew old friendships, gain the opportunity to learn new things from our esteemed speakers, and reaffirm my spirit in banking in Montana.
The past year and a half have been trying for everyone in many ways. Montana’s community bankers have worked harder than ever to help our customers during these trying times. I am always inspired by my colleagues who give so selflessly to their communities. The quality of people who work in the community banking industry is unbelievable. I honestly do not believe I have met a nicer group of people who care more sincerely about their customers. Our mission at MIB is to continue providing endless support for those who contribute so greatly to making Montana such an amazing place.
In that vein, MIB has recently launched a digital advertising campaign designed to spread the message that Montana’s Independent Banks are working harder than ever to ensure we are here for our customers when they need us. These ads will appear throughout all markets in Montana to reach as many people as possible, including those in smaller areas. The digital ads directly link to an MIB web page to offer customers the necessary links to all member banks’ websites and to remind folks we are here for them. It will also drive customers to your websites to bring them to your door.
At MIB, we feel passionate about supporting independent community banks throughout Montana, and we are doing what we can to put our money where our mouth is. We sincerely hope to use this digital advertising platform to further enhance our member banks’ benefits beyond MIB’s excellent advocacy and education. The world is changing rapidly before our eyes, and we are changing along with it to benefit our industry and customers across Montana.
I enjoyed my time at the convention, and I hope those of you who also made it had a good time as well and were able to enjoy your time away from your respective banks. You all deserve a break now and then, and I am hopeful the convention provided you a nice reprieve from the daily stress of “holding down the fort.” For those of you who did not make it, I hope you can make it next time. I would love to meet you and get to know more about you and your banks. I find the stories of each different independent bank to be endlessly fascinating. There is so much correlation between the history of many Montana banks and the history of Montana itself. Those of you who have been around a long time understand what I mean. The banks helped the towns develop. That was as true then as it is now and leaves an amazing legacy.
So, again, let me thank you all for everything you do to better your towns and better Montana. Through your patient and kind encouragement and assistance, many customers’ dreams have come to fruition. Many 4H steers and heifers and lambs and hogs have been purchased, and many scholarships have been granted. We give back in so many ways, and I know all of us are proud to do so and are grateful for the people in our lives who make this all possible. Banking is a noble enterprise populated by some of the most charitable and giving people on earth. This is what makes me proud to be part of your tribe and grateful for the opportunity to do something significant in life. This, to me, is the essence of life. Give more than you receive and help those you can any way you can. We do this daily, and for that, we can hold our heads high, proud to be part of an amazing industry in a fantastic state. Have an excellent rest of your year, and keep up the good work!