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ICBA Live, Making Relationships Matter

By March 5, 20152 min read

I’m on my flight home from the annual ICBA Live Conference in Orlando this year and as I always do, I’m creating my list of follow-ups to complete when I get back to the office (and have reliable Internet). But I also spend time reflecting on the relationships that affected me personally. I’m drawn to the people, the salt of the earth types, that make being away from my family at a conference worth it.

What is it that can make smaller financial institutions successful well into the future?


No, I don’t just mean family-owned banks, but the sense of family that is present in small institutions that genuinely care for each other. When I catch up with my friends, Molly and Katie and they describe the intimate relationships they have working in the family bank, it will make you want to drive to Arkansas or Minnesota just to meet those people.

Scrappyness. Kat delivered an on-point keynote about her background from a Hooters waitress to CEO of Cinnabon at age 32. Kat shared about the impact that Cinnabon has in being a brand that is larger than their company, and when they don’t take themselves so seriously, they are able to maximize marketing without paying for any product placement.


Don’t under-estimate the speed at which relationships can move. I am always bullish on relationships, and the ability to be flexible hinges on each connection and further connecting with those customers. Sometimes you just need an excuse to celebrate and make a little extra time for those relationships.

There are challenges ahead for all financial institutions, but those that have the humility, drive, and integrity will always find ways to be successful.