Skip to main content

Community Bankers Convene for ICBA Live 2024

By March 20, 20244 min read

Community bankers from across the nation gathered last week for the industry’s largest event of the year: ICBA Live 2024 kicked off in Orlando, Florida. Bank leaders convened to catch up, collaborate, and strategize around the challenges and opportunities facing banks large and small. As longtime ICBA partners, Social Assurance was there, and in full mullet! Yep–you read that right. We busted out the most absurdly professional mullets we could find to emphasize the point that strategic growth for banks comes down to a careful balance of sometimes competing priorities. Here’s a recap of our time at ICBA Live.

Strategic Growth amid Uncertainty 

In addition to being a time for bank leaders to network and build relationships, ICBA Live is also an incredible opportunity to learn. The conference hosts sessions in a range of formats, including learning labs, roundtables, lunch-and-learns, meet-the-experts, and seminars. Topics covered include everything from workforce development and digital transformation. Speakers also discuss digital transformation and innovation, lending, deposits, growth, marketing, management, and overall strategy. 

Friday’s keynote welcomed Ltn Col Dan Rooney–a retired Air Force fighter pilot and founder of Folds of Honor. His perspective is one informed by not only his military service, but the conditions and relationships he encountered along the way. Saturday’s keynote brought another unique perspective from American classical pianist Jade Simmons, who challenged a captivated audience to rethink the way they define and pursue purpose and breakthrough. Both offered new perspectives on overcoming obstacles, innovation, strategy, as well as both individual and organization-wide motivation. 

Over the course of the conference, sessions, roundtables, and breakouts covered a range of timely topics on the minds of bank leaders across the country charged with weathering what is shaping up to be an especially unpredictable year for banking and financial services. Particularly insightful for many were the banker roundtables, dubbed Meet the Experts. The sessions welcome bank leaders to the table (literally) alongside peers where no question or topic is off limits. Each table is moderated by industry experts and organized by bank asset size, so participants gain unique insights informed by relevant experience. Banks discussed everything from liquidity to impending regulations and from mergers and acquisitions to investment strategy. 

Digital Transformation & Innovation 

As consumer expectations, security, regulation, and technical innovation continue to influence the evolution of business and consumer banking, ICBA Live is a place for many to talk shop on all things digital transformation and innovation. A number of sessions focused on tech integration, customer experience, and unifying sales and marketing. 

In his session on strategic content, Social Assurance’s Ben Pankonin talked about the power of content marketing across channels, challenging bankers to lean into the #MulletMentality. What, exactly, is Mullet Mentality, you ask? It’s a nod to the conundrum community banks often find themselves in: The need to stand out, while also maintaining credibility; the desire to be both creative and compliant; the need to be buttoned up, but also authentic and human; business in the front, party in the back–if you will. Indeed, the fastest, surest route to deposit growth is by tapping into your business development team’s most impactful and memorable customer experiences. 

Those stories–with the right knowledge and expertise–become powerful stories that humanize not only your client-facing teams, but your bank’s leaders, values, and culture overall. Distributed strategically across channels, this approach to sales and marketing leads to measurable growth across major performance indicators: deposits, loans, cross-sells, referrals. 

In addition to sessions, roundtables, and collaboration, ICBA’s ThinkTECH Accelerator cohort was invited to lead pitch presentations for the fintechs they represent, allowing bankers to engage with early-stage fintech companies focusing on developing products and services that meet the unique needs of community banks and their customers. The forum also helps reduce barriers to entry for banks interested in innovating via the adoption of new systems and technologies while also ensuring fintechs are fundamentally built for the unique needs and regulatory environments of banks.

Here for Good 

Aligned with its mission, ICBA Live is an opportunity for community banks to reinforce their collective influence and unity as a force for good and one that is, indeed, here for good. This event is, perhaps above all, a reminder of the collective power of that unifying message of positivity. Indeed, ICBA and community banks are here for good

A special thanks to Derek B. Williams, Brad Bolton, Rob Birgfeld, and the rest of the team over at ICBA for your continued partnership and for having us out for another great year. We’ll see you in 2026! Interested in learning more about how Social Assurance works with ICBA member banks nationwide? Follow the link below to get in touch.

Learn More
Social Assurance

Social Assurance helps financial brands connect to their communities. With marketing, sales, and community development solutions, learn how we can help your organization do what it does best: support your community.