The skills and knowledge bankers need in order to deliver exceptional products and services to their customers are changing more rapidly than ever before in nearly every area of the bank. In compliance, regulators promulgate new rules and interpretations; in marketing and business development, consumer preferences for delivery and communication keep shifting; in operations, technological advancements create endless new possibilities... 

Professional development is the best way for community banks to take advantage of the opportunities these changes present. By equipping bank staff with the latest information, techniques, and tools in their area of expertise, bank leadership can not only attract and retain top talent, they equip the bank with a growing pool of experts. 

WBA is at the forefront of the professional development field, and one of the ways the association further enhances the value of our education and training programs is through partnering with other state banking associations (SBAs). This isn’t a new strategy, either. The Iowa Bankers Association has been purchasing WBA’s proprietary curriculum for the Introduction to Commercial Lending School since the 1990s. Many other SBAs don’t have the demand or resource to support certain schools, so they partner with WBA to offer their members the opportunity to attend and learn. 

This strategy of partnering with other SBAs is similar to why WBA works with third-party national webinar hosts. It allows WBA to offer an expansive library of content that may be of interest to only a few bankers at a time. WBA is also the local ABA training partner. 

Many of these partnerships form through the very highly connected and active Education Directors group, to which WBA staff contribute a lot of value and insight. This same professional network helps WBA keep abreast of what other SBAs are offering, follow trends within the industry, watch for opportunities to expand, and remain a leader in the marketplace. For example, the dairy curriculum in the WBA Agricultural Lending School is so strong it has attracted bankers from Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, and Ohio... and that’s without partnering with the SBAs from those states! 

For WBA Member Banks, these partnerships between WBA and other banking trade associations provide the ability to network with bankers outside their bank’s geographic footprint. Out-of-market networking is a valuable way for bankers from every area of the institution—from marketing to compliance to business development—to discuss trends, challenges, and ideas without worrying about competition. 

In addition, with multiple associations pooling their resources, events can attract (and pay for) nationally known speakers. Given top-notch speaking talent can command a price of $75,000 - $150,000 per engagement, that’s a huge value-add (state associations typically target no higher than $35,000 for a speaker). For more specialized content, like Call Report, quality instructors are few and far between, so resource-pooling means bankers from multiple states gain access to high-quality courses that would not otherwise be available. Finally, joining forces with other SBAs allows WBA to extend program opportunities to our members that otherwise lack demand, simply due to the makeup of Wisconsin’s market (wealth management/trust events, for example). 

Upcoming Joint Programs: 

WBA-Led: 

WBA-Partnered: 

  • BankTech Conference Innovators Showcase | Oct. 6, 2020 | Hosted by the Illinois Bankers Association – Registration opening soon! 

  • Midwest Trust and Wealth Management Conference | Sept. 30 – Oct. 2, 2020 | Hosted by the Michigan Bankers Association – Registration opening soon! 

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a dramatic shift to digital programming, so WBA is pivoting, transforming many of our annual education and training programs into virtual events. While this medium is new and different, it has some tremendous benefits for banker-attendees: 

  • It eliminates obstacles presented by travel, reducing the time and monetary costs associated with training. 
  • It affords WBA the ability to hire industry-leading speakers to deliver the highest-quality content at our events. 
  • It expands the geographic reach of WBA’s programs, generating out-of-market networking opportunities for our members. 

If you haven’t heard, all of WBA’s large conference events will be virtual through October 2020. Programs designed for more limited attendance—such as workshops and schools—will still be held in person with an option for virtual attendance. Visit www.wisbank.com/education to view all current program offerings, both in-person and virtual. 

Meet the WBA Education Team:

Patty Rogers Lori Kalscheuer Nick Loppnow Miranda Helt Jody Roos
Vice President - Education           Director - Education             Director - Associate Member & Education Services Assistant Director - Education Association Meeting Planner/Engagement Center Manager

Email wbaeducation@wisbank.com with any questions. They'd love to hear from you!