, ,

Member Input Drives the Association

By Rose Oswald Poels

I am sure you all receive many surveys looking for your feedback from a variety of sources throughout the year, including WBA, and it may seem like too much. However, as a member-focused trade association, I so value the feedback we receive from each of you and your team, through participation in one of our volunteer groups or through surveys, as it directly shapes and drives all of WBA’s activities. Last September, I asked you to complete our annual member survey as your input is always used by our Board members during our annual planning session in October. Today, I want to describe just how impactful your feedback is to our planning with the admittedly selfish goal of motivating you to keep filling out surveys we periodically send!

Our member survey repeats some questions annually which allows us to highlight trends in certain areas of WBA that members deem most important. This year’s survey highlighted a multi-year trend that WBA’s goals around advocacy and education continue to be areas members agree we should be primarily focused on. As a result, the Board ensures throughout the year that our financial and staff resources are directed in a way that aligns with these goals.

Members also identified that protecting the long-term survival of the industry and reducing regulatory burden are additional goals that WBA should be focused on. While we help accomplish this through our various legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts, we also focus on these goals through the various products and services we offer. In our updated strategic plan, the Board continues to encourage WBA to offers products and services through our family of companies that are of high quality and often for a more reasonable price than our competition. This saves members’ money which helps the net interest margin of participating banks.

As the Board reviewed in October the depth and breadth of information, tools and resources WBA and its subsidiaries offered since March to help members navigate PPP, the Board directed staff to continue to look for ways to replicate that effort in other areas to provide meaningful value to members. The survey feedback we received highlighted several areas where members are requesting further assistance. For example, talent acquisition, succession and training were identified as a key challenge of banks in the next several years. As a result, the Board revised our strategic plan to make sure we evolve our educational efforts to meet these changing needs of bankers, and importantly the Board improved upon a key objective we had around attracting talent to the industry.

Finally, members shared in the survey many ideas for new or enhanced products and services that WBA will consider as we move forward. A meaningful part of the revised strategic plan involves enhancing member engagement to provide value as a true partner of our member banks. To help staff better understand your needs, you will see a few more requests for your feedback and perspective through additional surveys and focus groups throughout 2021. In advance, I want to thank you for taking time to help us continue to shape and evolve our activities by sharing your perspectives in these ways. It is meaningful and directly impactful in driving the WBA forward.