By Rose Oswald Poels
Every October, the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA) Board of Directors meets for a planning session that always involves extensive discussions about where the industry is heading and the strategic positioning of WBA to maintain its role as a robust resource for our members. WBA staff update our progress on the plan prior to every Board meeting to ensure our strategic priorities remain at the forefront of work done by both the staff and Board.
This past year, we hired Wipfli as our facilitator and Robert Zondag (and his team) helped us revise and refocus our current strategic priorities to take us through the next few years. While some of the concepts were carried over from our current plan, the priorities are more focused to help ensure WBA continues providing value to the ever-evolving banking industry.
WBA’s revised plan is as follows:
Be THE leading state banking association through:
- MEMBER ENGAGEMENT → Improve engagement across all forms of membership
- PEOPLE → Build a culture to grow and retain talent
- EDUCATION → Be the solution for banking education and professional development
- ADVOCACY → Be the unified voice for Wisconsin Bankers
- INFRASTRUCTURE → Create a dynamic data infrastructure to best serve our members
Given the rapidly evolving landscape of the financial institution industry, for WBA to continue to be successful, it is imperative that we foster increased member engagement. The successes highlighted in various ‘Executive Letter’ e-publications throughout 2023 illustrate that a more connected and engaged membership only enhances the collective strength of WBA. Staff will work to grow active participation from all member banks, and all levels of bankers, which will help us better target our advocacy efforts, education programs, products, and services to better meet your needs.
WBA has long been an association comprised of top-quality talent and that continues across the organization today. Just like your banks, it is our staff who are essential for the long-term success of your Association. The Board agreed that this priority should be clearly identified in our plan, and we are finalizing various tactics to make sure WBA offers a positive and nurturing work environment not only to attract top talent, but also to encourage staff to stay and invest their skills and dedication into the meaningful work we do on behalf of Wisconsin’s banking industry.
Along with an internal focus on our talent, WBA is always focused on the industry’s talent as well. The professional development opportunities offered by WBA’s education programs are second to none. Our members provide input into the development of our programs, and we will continue to improve our content with a focus on fostering leadership skills, and addressing the evolving knowledge and skill set needs of the bankers of tomorrow.
Advocacy on behalf of our members remains a top priority. Our pinnacle achievement of an unprecedented state income tax exemption for certain loans would not have occurred without the continued membership of banks located in Wisconsin which provides us resources, and the collective grassroots and political involvement of bankers over the years. This combination needs to continue well into the future for WBA to remain a strong voice for the industry.
Finally, like many of you, WBA needs to continue our digital transformation and adoption of innovative technologies to become more operationally efficient while providing a better experience for you as individual banker members.
These five strategic priorities build upon the strength of our Association’s more than 130-year history by taking an innovative approach that will keep WBA at the forefront well into the future. The WBA Staff and Board look forward to continuing to collaborate with the membership to ensure that our Association is your premiere partner in ensuring the success of your bank, our industry, and the communities we serve.