By Rose Oswald Poels
Six years ago, the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA) brought forth the Power of Community Week campaign to encourage bankers to share their activities during April — which also aligns with Financial Literacy and Capability Month, Community Banking Month, and Volunteer Month. As participation in the campaign only continues to increase, I wish to remind all WBA members of the value in highlighting their community-focused efforts.
As we all are well aware, embracing a community-focused mindset is deeply ingrained into the day-to-day functions of a career in banking; community service is a foundational component to the work bankers do each day. While CRA requirements are an aspect bankers must consider, many go far beyond what is expected — both in and out of the office — simply because they are committed to fostering growth in the communities in which they live, work, and play.
As I have stated previously, the credit union industry continues to be extremely vocal regarding their community-focused activities and, unfortunately, many of these profit-driven organizations are under the guise of a mission-focused institution. It is critical, for the continued prosperity of our industry and of our communities, that bankers remain proactive in informing our elected officials and the public of the work our teams do to serve our neighbors.
In order for WBA to spotlight the activities bankers take part in to give back to their communities, underscore the value of community banking, and work through the legislative process this session, I ask that you please take the time this month to share with us how your bank is involved by completing the 2023 Power of Community Week participation form (if you haven’t already) and sharing your event photos with us by using the hashtag #BanksPowerWI on social media.
Of course, the efforts demonstrated in serving and supporting Wisconsin communities is not just an annual event for banks. Throughout the year, these bankers across the state take part in volunteer activities, make donations, and support the families, business owners, farmers, and non-profit organizations around them. Participating in WBA’s Power of Community campaign helps our Association amplify the message that banks are devoted to serving Wisconsin.
Additionally, if your team will be venturing into local schools for Teach Children to Save Day on or around April 27, or are planning to host any financial education-related presentations by May 31, 2023 (of which all “count” for Power of Community Week participation), I encourage you to share these details with the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation to be recognized with an Excellence in Financial Education Award at the WBA FLEX: Retail and Marketing Summit this fall for your outstanding efforts to improve the financial capability of all Wisconsinites.
On behalf of all of those who have been or will be impacted by the work you and your team do this April, thank you for going above and beyond to demonstrate your commitment to your communities and Wisconsin’s banking industry. Your extensive efforts have not gone unnoticed.