Chairman’s Column: Reflecting on an Unlikely Year

As my term as WBA Board Chair comes to an end, I am reflecting on the dramatic shift in our world in the past year. It has been, to say the least, a time that none of us as bankers have experienced or could ever fathom. We sent our employees home to work remotely with virtually zero notice, we closed our lobbies as the nation and world shut down to battle the pandemic, and we delivered much-needed PPP loans to our clients in times of challenge and desperation. All of this, while staying committed to our mission of service to our communities.  

The pandemic was a defining moment that taught us to evolve; I'm proud to say WBA was there for us providing the tools, resources, and information to help us support the clients and communities we serve. One of my goals for the past year was evolving education. I believe we delivered on that goal by providing the information and programming bankers needed during this time of crisis.  

I would like to thank Rose Oswald Poels and her entire staff for the tremendous job they did this year. I know, firsthand, Rose and the team worked around the clock. This support certainly proved the value of the WBA membership. I would also like to thank the team at Charter Bank and my family for their support during my time as board chair. It has truly been an honor and a privilege to serve our organization. Stay safe and healthy, and I look forward to meeting in person again. 

By, Alex Paniagua