Ken ThompsonSeptember means back to school, and while education is top of mind, now is a great time to remind our bankers of the importance of continuing education and how that serves our customers and community. “Expanding on Education” is one of the pillars of focus I named in my June 2021 inaugural Chair’s column, so I’ll take this timely opportunity to elaborate.

As bankers, here are a few opportunities on the horizon that will allow us to be a continued resource for our communities long after the memories of 2020 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans and record mortgage activity have faded. Timely topics such as Bitcoin and enterprise risk management are on the agenda for the Management Conference, which will be held September 13–14 in Green Bay. The event will also include tailored tracks for roles including CEOs, CFOs, CCOs, HR, and other bank leaders. A couple of weeks later, the Directors Summit (September 28 in Stevens Point) will focus on topics such as digital banking, succession planning, proposed federal tax changes, and shareholder management. Continuing to learn is every bit as important in a leadership role as it is in the early stages of a banker’s career, and the Management Conference and Directors Summit offer both the content and the networking opportunities that keep bank leaders coming back year after year.

The September issue of the Wisconsin Banker features a “Back to School” focus on p. 18 where you can find out more about this fall’s trainings. We are fortunate to have access to these top-quality courses right here in Wisconsin, which WBA designs specifically for banks in our state. As usual, the Education Calendar (on p. 17) provides an overview of all of the upcoming WBA conferences, schools, workshops, webinars, and more, so you can easily match your team members with a relevant event.

While our industry and the economy continue to face challenges with interest rate margins and the uncertainty of COVID-19 in our future, it is important to focus on the positive and the things we can control. As bankers, we must keep our eyes on the opportunities that lie before us. Our customers and community are counting on us to do so.

Thompson is president and CEO of Capitol Bank, Madison, and the 2021–2022 WBA board chair.