Executive Letter: Reflecting on WBA’s 130th Year
By Rose Oswald Poels
In March, WBA marked its 130th anniversary — a monumental accomplishment and result of the indispensable support of and engagement in our Association every day. As another busy holiday season quickly approaches and many of us pause to reflect upon all we are grateful for, I am continually reminded not only of the gratitude I hold for our membership and their active involvement in making our industry healthy and prosperous, but of the WBA staff who work each day to uphold our mission to advocate, educate, and support bankers across Wisconsin.
Since inception, advocacy and professional development have remained fundamental values of WBA, and I am pleased each day to work alongside individuals who take extensive pride in promoting Wisconsin’s banking industry and the financial success of communities across the state.
This year, the WBA Government Relations team, alongside several banker volunteers, stayed busy advocating at the state capitol in Madison as well as in D.C on topics ranging from the expansion of credit union powers to credit card swipe fees. In addition, our team was incredibly active in this year’s election, supporting pro-banking candidates, and informing others of the key issues Wisconsin bankers face.
In addition to staffing the legal call program and assisting members with questions, WBA’s Legal team has played a critical role in keeping our members informed of regulatory and judicial issues important to the banking industry. In the last calendar year, the Legal team has created a variety of new resources including a video series and toolkits that provide bankers with a variety of mediums to receive timely compliance information.
As always, members of our Education department have spent the last year offering a wide range of relevant and high-quality conferences, events, and training opportunities at WBA’s engagement center in Madison and around the state. Our flexible offerings have provided thousands of bankers with invaluable knowledge to further their banking careers as well as opportunities to connect with banking peers. Additionally, WBA continued to offer free DEI-focused member webinars and develop resources including a membership-wide employee resource group (ERG) as part of the Association’s DEI Plan to foster a culture of diversity.
In the last year, the Communications team has continued to improve, update, and polish our new website that launched in October 2021. It is a priority of our Association that resources such as our Best Practice Library and Associate Member Directory are not only easy to navigate but provide relevant and useful information to all bankers. At the request of our members, the team has also developed a range of consumer resources which banks are encouraged to utilize in their own outreach and education of consumers.
Of course, the success of our Association does not stop at the efforts of our team. As a member-driven association, WBA is wholly dependent on the support and engagement of our members and our accomplishments this calendar year would not be without the direct involvement of you!
In the last year, banks across the state have individually demonstrated many achievements. However, I am quite proud that many bankers, in addition to the work they do in their own organization, have volunteered their time and talents in several key ways with WBA. This year, over 100 bankers attended WBA’s annual Capitol Day, around 140 bankers participated in a WBA committee or section, and 130 bankers reported taking part in financial education programming.
Once again, thank you for your continued involvement and support of the WBA. This year’s accomplishments would not have been possible without the valuable input and engagement from each of our members. I wish you all Happy Holidays and look forward to working together with you in the new year!