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Spark Your Community: How to Drive Engagement

July 15, 2020 View Recording

As leaders, banks and credit unions are instrumental in supporting and fostering community development. From donating to nonprofits to volunteering at local charities, you and your employees make a difference. In fact, you do so much that you currently may not be able to track and communicate all of your efforts. Spark your community to drive engagement by better telling the story of what you are doing.

We dive into tips and tricks that can help financial organizations encourage, manage, and share their community impact. During this webinar, we touch on:

  • Capturing and sharing your community impact
  • Engaging employees and inspiring them toward community service
  • Empowering nonprofit organizations and strengthening professional relations
  • Social Assurance’s Community Spark tracking and marketing resources

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Ben Pankonin 0:09
Well, welcome back to social assurance, another webinar on sparking your community. We are here, Alexander and I are extremely socially distanced by nearly an hour drive time, Alexander Lucha argue, you know, we’ve been working together for a few years now and have done a handful of webinars are so welcome back. I’m excited to get to talk about community in this time with you.

Alexander Lahargoue 0:41
Yeah, likewise, man, thanks for having me back on. I think this is the fourth or fifth webinar. I’ve had the chance to do with you.

Ben Pankonin 0:47
Yeah, well, you know, I know you get, you know, exposure to a lot of different aspects of social insurance and you know, our customers, but specifically, you’ve really taken a lot of the lead On our CRA tool and community engagement, some of that being because of some some legal background that you’ve had in sort of that compliance area, but also just really understanding that, you know, right now in this time, engaging our community is is more important than ever.

Alexander Lahargoue 1:20
Oh, yeah, absolutely. It’s not often that you can say it, but it’s a really exciting time in compliance lately, because you’re having all these new regulations being released, especially with the Community Reinvestment Act. So it’s been a real pleasure starting to learn those new changes are how we can adapt to and helping our customers and it’s been really a worthwhile opportunity to work on your product. And really been it’s, I think, part of this the organization you’ve built here, I mean, social insurance is really all about community with the new committees for our product. We’re just building upon that history that we have, you know, and like, for you personally, I What made you want to first get involved and started in these kind of things.

Ben Pankonin 1:57
Yeah, you know, we yesterday assurance we’ve been about trying to engage our community. And one of the mantras that you’ll hear at our office a lot of times is, you know, if if we succeed in our endeavors, then our community should be stronger. And you know, what good is it if we have success in our community doesn’t have any benefit. So, so yeah, that’s something you know, that we try to try to wear on our sleeve. You know, even more, as the company begins to mature, more and more, we really start to, you know, wear that more. And I think a lot of people know us by our first name being social, and they don’t necessarily realize that part of that social for us is really saying, hey, that, that social is how we’re impacting our community. It’s about our social impact. And, yes, social media is a part of that. And that’s part of how we get to tell the story but, but social is a core part of who we are.

Alexander Lahargoue 2:57
Excellent. All right. Well, I’m excited to see what we Haven’t sorted. They’re

Ben Pankonin 3:01
awesome. Well, Alexander, you know, we’ve been talking a little bit about the CRA compliance. And I know you’ve got a couple nuggets for us in some of those changes, obviously, as we as we look at new things changing in the CRA compliance, one of those areas is that, you know, we’re going to have some FDIC final ruling, we did have the OCC ruling. From your perspective, it sounded like that was kind of what we expected as far as rules going forward. Would that be accurate?

Alexander Lahargoue 3:35
Yeah, you’re absolutely right. Then the final rule proposed are released by the OCC quite recently, very closely mirrors the proposed rule that they released I think back in December. So there’s not too many surprises that are in store in terms of what the final regulation is. It’s nice to have clarity on a certain key dates, for example, when the compliance deadlines are, but we still not have heard from the other agencies that we Do you anticipate hearing from them soon?

Ben Pankonin 4:03
Cool, cool. Well, as we kind of get into, you know, some of those different aspects. You know, one of the things we want to figure out is how we prove what we do is different in the community. So as we kind of jump into those, I think that’s a question that we get asked. A lot of times, we get asked for, you know, how are we going to differentiate our bank, from the other banks in our market? Or how do we differentiate this credit union in this bank or those aspects? So it is part of how we prove it. Yeah, so I use this question, Alexander. I’m sure you’ve heard me ask it. A lot of times, especially with newer clients, which is, you know, what makes you different than the bank down the street. I’m sure you’ve heard that one a number of times.

Alexander Lahargoue 5:02
Oh, yes, absolutely.

Ben Pankonin 5:05
Yeah. Well, so, you know, when we hear that question, you know, I would say the overwhelming response to that question that I get is, it revolves around our commitment to the community. It revolves around how we engage the community. So I’ll hear a response like, Hey, we are a community bank, or we’re a credit union, and we care about our community in this way. And that’s really what differentiates us from the other financial institutions in our market. And really, that’s what we’re here to talk about today is if, if that’s true, right, if that’s, if that’s what we’re banking on being the core differentiator. We want to help prove that today we want to talk about how we can prove that differentiator and how we can talk about those different opportunities. So So this is really the key aspect today is, is how do we show that we are different? How do we show that and we’ve got that broken out really into three areas. So one of those is in engaging employees, how do we engage employees with what we’re doing in community? And we want to share this also in the aspect of what we’re what we’re sharing with our community partners. Yeah.

Alexander Lahargoue 6:32
And we do not have this and people aren’t able to see the slides.

Ben Pankonin 6:36
Okay, what should be should be showing here.

Let’s see here. There.

For some reason, it was not updating on that. There. So we really have that broken out into three categories. So as we talked about before, you know, really, what makes you different than the other bank or credit union down the street, there were what really is that core differentiator, and what we hear over and over again, is, it’s about our commitment to the community. So so if we operate under that thesis, we really should be able to defend that thesis in a lot of ways. Right? So really, we we see it boiling down into three areas, Alexander, when I think of how we engage employees, so engaging those employees in our mission of community development, how are we engaging with our community partners, those nonprofits, the people who are active in those nonprofits, and then how do we mark it and tell the story of that impact that we’re having with the community. Those are really the three kind of areas that we really want to bank on. So when we think of engaging employees It’s about embracing our staff. It’s about again, engaging who those people are. Now we are in a unique spot as community banks in which they also are asking us. You gave a little bit of the final rule from the OCC here. They’re asking us to do that as a requirement as well.

Alexander Lahargoue 8:21
You’re absolutely right. Ben, I think this is probably one of the most significant changes that are going to be coming in terms of care regulation, in that the variety and number of different qualifying activities for CRA credit has greatly expanded, including the which that community activities no longer have to be related to financial services. This opens the door for a lot of community partners to become more involved and taking those critical actions necessary to do the worthwhile steps to improving their community.

Ben Pankonin 8:56
Yeah, yeah. So this is going to be a significant Change to who we are in the sense that this is going to really allow us to qualify a lot of that activity going forward that we never qualified before. Because it wasn’t your we didn’t use our financial knowledge, or we didn’t. You know, it didn’t necessarily correlate. But these activities that we’ve been doing historically those things like gathering, you know, for a food drive in your lobby is now going to be something that can qualify. So I think that’s going to be a really important aspect to even once we start recording, I think what we’re seeing a lot of the time is that a lot of those activities weren’t being recorded before, because we were seeing them as not qualified activities. But, you know, once we move those into qualified, now, we’re saying, hey, yeah, we actually probably have a wider responsibility of collecting nonprofit activity. And maybe it isn’t just On what qualifies, but it’s it’s more built on how we can, how we can engage employees in this process.

Alexander Lahargoue 10:09
Absolutely right. Here we’re talking especially about the key areas, that the current regulation is looking to be updated. In particular, vague standards that are currently a point of pain for a lot of our listeners are going to try to be removed, especially with the new regulation that was released by the OCC. And in addition, that the degree of different areas that you can then help will also be more clear and allowing you to focus more on those activities that are really critical and necessary for community development. Yeah,

Ben Pankonin 10:45
so you know, we’re gonna have better, better standards that our ability. You know, we’re also one of the things we saw in the proposed legislation and we saw in the final rule for OCC is that we’re also going to be calculating the hours as an dollar amount. So we’re going to start calculating based on what level you are within a financial institution, what the value of that time is. So we’re going to be correlating things like, this is a frontline or this is a management or director level, and then we’re going to assess the value to each of those hours, which ends up taking a little bit of that vagueness out of that picture as well.

Alexander Lahargoue 11:24
Exactly right. It makes it much easier to track as well.

Ben Pankonin 11:28
Yeah, so we’re going to have additional tracking, but that tracking then allows us to, to understand that, hey, we’re going to be tracking a lot more going forward than we are today. But, you know, tracking also leads us into the place of, you know, how do we engage these employees in this process? And so one of those areas that that we talk a lot about, and it’s actually interesting because as financial institutions, we talk about rewards and engagement a lot. We talked about rewards being something that, you know, maybe we provide as a perk towards, you know, using that debit card or things like that. And then we talk about engagement, as you know, what’s that level? How often is someone checking in with my favorite financial institution? Well, the same works with employees. You know, if we want employees to be engaged with community involvement, or really engaged with anything, we also want to reward them, right. And if we want employees rewarded, then we also need to engage them. So, you know, what I see a lot of times, Alexander is we sort of put this extra burden on employees and say, Would you go track all of this activity? But if it’s not rewarded, then it’s a really tough thing to be engaged in that process.

Alexander Lahargoue 12:50
That’s a great point, Ben, you know, and if you were one of our listeners, what would be the first thing out of these two that you would try to act on first?

Ben Pankonin 12:59
Well, I think One of the first ways you know we would want to engage employees is to, is to ask employees, you know, what they’re interested in and and why. You know, so what are the nonprofit’s that they’re active in, if you haven’t done that kind of a survey with employees to understand, you know, which nonprofits they value, that’s a really great way to start to understand how they could be engaged. And then, you know, we want to, we want to encourage some of that behavior. So I think the first part of engagement is understanding. You know, what would engage employees, you know, if we find out that, you know, a real popular nonprofit in our community happens to be in, you know, mentorship of teens, then we might say, Hey, this is this is one of the priorities we want to make during our calendar year. So we’ve seen a number of banks who would, who would survey employees and ask them for suggestions, what are the events? What are the nonprofit’s that you’re really passionate about? To really just get a feel for how we can help engage employees around that philanthropy. So we do that in a few different ways. And one of the things that we introduced, Alexander’s, you will know is this, this product that we call we call community Spark. But one of the opportunities we saw is that there’s there’s very few ways that we engage employees with that written engagement early in the process. So, so we developed what we call a spark coming from our community spark products, since we had all of these employees who were on registered where, you know, we’re logging hours, this is a really easy way to say, hey, a spark could be anything. It could be that I just want to, you know, acknowledge that, you know, we’ll did a great job happens to be, you know, one of our UI designers and, you know, he just did a great job right. So, so I I can share a spark with will let him know that I really appreciate who he is and the work that he’s done. Now that work could be professional in nature, it could be, you know, what I’m asking him to do for his employment or it could be that I recognize that will also has a real tender heart for some underprivileged people in the community. And he is very active at volunteering his time and has been been doing that even during this kind of crisis. So, so you know, that’s an opportunity for me to really celebrate that, hey, I can go, you know, reach out and connect with we’ll share some of that. But then this spark also is public. So we get to see that that spark can be shared with all of the people in the company so they can see, hey, you know, Ben acknowledge that. Will’s doing great work. And that’s that’s a way of rewarding will because we recognize something that he’s also engaged and interested in

Alexander Lahargoue 16:01
This is a great tool to help recognize the efforts, like you mentioned, given the current state of the corporate crisis, what can our listeners do to help their employees still give back to do so in a safe manner?

Ben Pankonin 16:16
Yeah, I mean, I think, yeah, it’s, this is a tough time, you know, with events being virtual, you know, we’re doing a number of events that are virtual, I’ll share a little bit of, you know, some things that I’ve done in the nonprofit community as of late because, you know, I wasn’t able to do some of the normal things, you know, and participate in the food bank. But for a while, the food bank essentially said, hey, it’s just gonna employees only, we’re not gonna even have volunteers helping with certain aspects that actually the the National Guard came in to help us distribute a lot of food opportunities. So they wouldn’t even let volunteers help with some of those aspects. So, you know, I’ll share a little bit later of, you know, I just went and took videos, I just took videos for the food bank and said, You know, I’ve got some dirty tools to be able to share some of that. So let’s, let’s see how we can help help them market and really raise awareness for the challenge that we face there. So, I think you know, you have to be creative in some of those. I work on another nonprofit, we actually happened to have a large property for high school students and so we we did an outdoor movie night with a group and so that was kind of fun to see that come together. Because it was an easy way to be socially distance but you know, fun way for, for their nonprofit to get together raised a very small amount of money, but it also raised additional awareness. So I think there’s some fun ways you can do that. So another thing is, you know, we asked mentioned Kind of asking employees to share what they’re interested in. We can also ask them to share specific event opportunities too. And I think this is a really critical way to say, hey, when we’re sending employees out, maybe we’ve sponsored an employee to be a part of the Rotary Club in your community. That’s a great thing. But getting that employee to also say, Hey, here’s what we’re doing at Rotary Club, would you be interested in coming along with me, when they can share that volunteering opportunity back to the rest of the employees and saying, Hey, here’s what I’m doing at rotary, you know, doing that on behalf of our financial institution and would love to have a couple other people for this event or for that activity? That can be a really great way to help provide leadership opportunities for that employee, but also help other employees to see hey, you know, looks like you know, Alexander’s really And this is something he’s passionate about. That’s something that allows you to have that conversation and also be able to inspire the other people, your other co workers to?

Alexander Lahargoue 19:11
Well, we got a great question from Jean on this topic about how can they begin to with this culture shift gained traction to put in effect some of these recommendations that we’ve been talking about?

Ben Pankonin 19:25
Yeah. So you know, I think, you know, building that traction, you know, we want to give them some, some specific times, right, we want to give them an opportunity to in a structured way to do it, right. So some of the time I think, we give it to open ended and say, Hey, would you go do active things and sometimes we have to narrow it down. So especially for people who haven’t volunteered much yet in their career. I think we kind of need to say, Hey, here’s an opportunity to go volunteer. And, you know, we’re gonna have people hyperactive in that space really get energized. And we’re going to have other people who maybe haven’t had as much experience being a part of the volunteer community. So I think there’s an opportunity to really structure that for them, and say, hey, maybe you could come alongside me and go do that together. And that helps helps everybody to feel a little bit better about that process.

So what so one of the things we want to do as well is to start sharing how employees are engaged. And we’re going to have some, some separate examples throughout this process. But, you know, one of these is to start to highlight employees and their involvement together. You know, I love the way that they’re sharing this because, you know, they’re surrounded and sort of, you know, knee deep in the problem, right, and the problem that they’re solving, like they’re just a part of it, and they’re there right involved in it. But it also starts to show the impact that they’re making. So it’s saying they needed the community to help ensure 11,000 area students are equipped, right? So we’re, we’re putting a number to it, which is great. So it’s it’s not just a school drive, it’s also we’re putting a number to it. We’re tagging a number of different entities in this post, which is great to see. Because that starts to amplify. And then, you know, clear opportunity to donate, hey, we’re doing this, we’re doing this together. And then it’s inviting others to do this with us. And I think that’s a, that’s a fun way to see those. That sort of like if we’re going to break down a post by layers, this, this is a post that contains all of those showing how employees are involved. I’m showing why we’re committed. I’m showing what the what the problem is that we’re trying to solve with this, that 11,000 students, you know, pre K through 12 need to be equipped and then you I’m have a call to action. So so it really if we break down that kind of post really engages all of those aspects.

Alexander Lahargoue 22:08
I think it’s a great example of what can happen when marketing and compliance teams come together and work together.

Ben Pankonin 22:16

yeah. No, I totally agree. So when we think of Yes, there are CRA opportunities. But yes, there are also when we think of community sparks, right, we, you know, a lot of those are just, you know, somebody like Courtney, you know, on our team who, who has great work ethic, you know, here’s the, here’s the message that was sent. You know, that’s, that can be timely, right? So we want to make sure that rewards if they’re employees, if we’re trying to engage with an employee, we want to make that timely. We want to make that from multiple levels, you know, from my seat as a as a founder and, and the CEO of our organization. That’s just one seat. You know, we want to See, we want to three c 360 degrees of that rewards, you know, so it’s not just coming from a sort of a top down type of strategy of rewards. Hopefully people are receiving that as peers and as managers and even rewarding to managers in that process as

Alexander Lahargoue 23:21
well. We got a question from Laura about how during this time, can we help prevent employee or help support employees who might be feeling a little bit burned out? Do you think this is a tool that could help with that problem?

Ben Pankonin 23:35
Yeah, you know, Alexander, um, you know, we’ve, as you’re well aware, we, we’ve been meeting a lot more regularly as an entire team. And I think part of that is because we’re conscious that people can feel that burnout. And so I think one of those is, is to make sure that people are getting that feedback that normally we aren’t getting Because the water coolers been moved,

Alexander Lahargoue 24:01
you know?

Ben Pankonin 24:04
Well, you know, when we think about our environment, and I think of the challenge as a manager is that I don’t get to see people’s demeanor and posture as we’re communicating. And that’s really frustrating as a manager, because I want to see people and I want to see how they’re doing. And I want to understand what that looks like, well, when that’s gone when you’re completely virtual, during that time period, that’s one of those areas where, where we need to lean in and say, How can I understand your posture? How can I understand how other people are engaging with you? So we need more engagement and a different level of communication there.


Oh, I did catch a question for you, Alexander from Erica that just came in and she says, When does the FDIC anticipate issuing new guidance for CRA now we’ve been talking about that a bit. What? What’s your latest on that?

Alexander Lahargoue 25:06
That’s a great, great question. Uh, you know, prior to the covid 19 pandemic, I could have provided you a more accurate timeline. Today, given how much things have changed over the last couple of months, I’m not sure we can really say, with any confidence when they will definitely have the regulations out.

Ben Pankonin 25:31
Yeah, yeah. I would agree. I think it’s, you know, it’s a, it’s a real challenge that, you know, we punted one of those meetings that was supposed to happen in Denver. And it sounds like everybody’s kind of waiting for, you know, what’s next. So, the last I had heard the rumors were August of this year, so I would say that’s probably your earliest dates and Maybe, I guess my gut says it’s going to be probably within a couple months from there. So a little bit about tracking time, you know, when we’re tracking time, I know that, you know, many people are doing this over Excel spreadsheets and things like this, you know, when we track time is a few key key things that we look for. When we’re tracking that, obviously, we have serious concerns. But we also want to make that a simple process. So people aren’t feeling the burden of the tracking portion. They’re feeling the opportunity for who they’re engaging with. And then we can correlate, you know, which nonprofits they’re most active in, across our employee base, things like that. So, so a little bit about how we’re tracking it shouldn’t be a chore, but it should be a means to an end. It should be a means to showing that original thesis which is we are more committed to our community than the other financial institutions. On the street, if we believe that then this this tracking becomes just a part of that means to an end. So Alexander, you know, one of the things, we talked a little bit about how to engage employees, how to get them involved, then how do we engage with the nonprofits and community partners. And I think this is one of those areas where we’re wanting to bring in these community partners. It’s not just about us, it’s not about our story. It’s about our story together. And this is an area where social media especially succeeds, but you know, I kind of want to pull us into a into an area to say why partner, you know, why, why do we bring in these other opportunities? I say it’s all because your brand needs multiple audiences.

Alexander Lahargoue 27:51
It’s a great point. Absolutely right. Especially when you also consider that a lot of these community partners have just as much say in the community there. right there with you and they were part of the very fabric that makes your community unique.

Ben Pankonin 28:06
Yeah, I totally agree. And you know, your brand, a lot of times, you know, sometimes I hear this message that, well, I’m you know, I’m not sure that we need to collaborate with other, you know, our goal is to grow, right? Our goal is to grow our social media reach or our marketing reach. And we’ll hear some some ways that they’re, you know, saying, Hey, we need to move from, you know, 2000 likes to 10,000 likes or 10,000 to 20,000, or, you know, whatever those sort of like, metrics are, hey, we have this goal to grow. And I would say then your brand needs other attention. It needs another audience. And the way to do that is, is through what we call collaboration in social media. And so, you know, I just pulled a little bit it was actually kind of a fun exercise I went through earlier this week, to look at our top 40 songs, our number one song and the Top 40 is by none other than the Justin Bieber. Do you have the Bieber fever? Alexander is that what the left was about? You know, maybe a past life I’ll ever admit to it. But

Alexander Lahargoue 29:15
he does have a couple of good songs.

Ben Pankonin 29:19
Well, one of the things that he’s been brilliant at, and since you since you referenced that in a past life, Bieber was was one of the artists that really is in this. He was the first in I would say this generation of performing artists. And the thing that put him on the map was that he started getting YouTube views and Twitter followers at a rate that no one had seen before. He started to get a following before mainstream knew anything about who he was. Now a lot of that’s happening on platforms like Tiktok, but he was doing it on Twitter, and YouTube. And pretty soon people said we better give this guy a record label. Because he clearly can gain a following very quickly, which is the name of the game and in developing as an artist. Now, his current follower count I pulled this past week. Now this is across channels. This isn’t just Twitter. This is Twitter. This is YouTube’s compilation of all of those was 140 1 million followers. Which is just staggering. So when we think of, Hey, we just reached 10,000 followers, I’m not sure if we need to collaborate with somebody else. This is precisely why we need to collaborate with someone else. If Bieber has 140 1 million followers, and his number one song is with an artist that probably most of you have never heard of. called clay. VO. He, he decided to collaborate with him. Right. That’s why we’ve got lizard Collaborating with ariana grande de that’s why we got multiple of these artists are collaborating. So when we see this Bieber featuring, right, what they’re doing is they’re crossing these audiences. And what Bieber is doing is striving to stay more relevant. And he’s taking a new artist and he’s pulling them up to his level in the same way, right? So this this is purely the model that we want to follow when we want to get a following in our local market. It is no different than us saying, this is Social Insurance featuring the food bank of Lincoln. This is no different than you saying it’s, you know, first community connecting you know, with the Rotary Club of on Main Street, right like these, these are the same opportunities. So when we cross those two audiences, and we we formed that social agreement to say you should If I share it, this starts to build a true following. That starts to make us more relevant. And it starts to pull up the brand relevance to those nonprofits as well.

Alexander Lahargoue 32:14
Plus, it also has the potential to pull together community partners who may not have otherwise together.

Ben Pankonin 32:21
That’s right. There’s there’s a lot of opportunities. And so when we start looking at those those community, connections of nonprofits or charities that, you know, they provide, you know, different help, and you know, they strengthen those community ties, but it’s not just about that nonprofit either. It’s also about all of the people who are involved with that nonprofit. Right. So so when we have a quarterly meeting for the food bank in Lincoln, Nebraska, at least one bank is going to be mentioned during that quarterly meeting with the 15 or so board members that we have. And in addition, when we go to Do a capital fun drive. And we start to list the people we’re going to talk to, we’re going to start to talk about the banks in that market as well. And that becomes an important part of that conversation. So where we can elevate the role of our commitment to charities, and pull them in in a collaborative way, it starts to really gain that audience. And you might not be the easiest way to sell to upper management that we’re trying to do the same strategy that Justin Bieber is trying to do. It is the same strategy and this is why it’s going to work for your brand and for for any brand, to start collaborating.

Alexander Lahargoue 33:42
We’re seeing a situation right now where a lot of different events and activities are going virtual, how are you able to still make these connections with community partners when everything is remote?

Ben Pankonin 33:56
Yeah, I you know, I think one of those is is clearly on social media, right? is sharing those photos and activities that we’re doing. I talked to a bank who was writing letters to first responders, and you know, sending sort of care packages to some of them from their office. Yeah, that’s a great opportunity to be taking those photos and to be sharing even those calls and reminders that you are committed to those first responders. that’s a that’s a great way to be thinking about it. You know, there’s also, you know, some of the time, you know, these nonprofits right now are looking for that check and how to, you know, they’re they’re just simply needing financial impact, to stay afloat during this time as well. Those are also opportunities to be to be sharing what you’re already providing committed to, and why you’re committed to it, because if you’re committed to it, that might help you know, other prospective vendors to see that impact to So here’s a couple a couple examples we had, I thought these were good for seeing that, hey, here’s why we’re supporting them. You know, as you referenced, you know, when we can’t be in person, People’s Bank of Alabama said, Hey, we can invite you to, to bring these to our Summer Food Drive. And so, in light of that, we’re gonna, you know, we’re going to do a donation. So I think that’s a critical way to do that. You know, here in the saline office is proud to give back. They’re providing hope for drug addiction. So there’s some, there’s some opportunities there, where, hey, here’s, here’s why we’re doing it. Also, you know, tagging those opportunities. You can’t see the other one tagging inside the photo to the charity that they’re giving to. The other thing that I think is really important in here is that whoever’s running the social media accounts for that nonprofit or community activity, you should know who they are. If you’re managing the social media within your community, finding out who the actual person is behind that account, sometimes you can just look it up. Sometimes you know, you’re going to meet them, they’re the person that’s got the smartphone, when you’re at that nonprofit event. They’re taking the photos. That’s a great person to know and, and to say, Hey, we’re, we’re glad to collaborate with you. If you ever need anything, let us know we’ll show you a little bit later of how we you know, advise to collect photos and things like that can be really important to that person who’s, you know, typically trying to manage that social media account by themselves. This is a great opportunity for you to help raise awareness for what they’re doing. And then also to just invite and offer those collaboration opportunities for looking at, you know, the Justin Bieber model. That’s what he’s doing with developing artists to stay relevant. That’s The same thing we can do with a lot of these community partners to say, hey, we’ll, we’ll help you to get some more exposure. If you can also help us to be more relevant in the community and show some of what we’re what we’re doing.

Alexander Lahargoue 37:17
Sorry, then we had a great question from China and who asked for some tips on how you can not only inspire employees to participate in these events, but also encourage them to take photos and then share those photos with either the organization or on their own social accounts.

Ben Pankonin 37:36
Yeah, yeah. Um, no gathering photos are critical. Yeah, I love that. You know, that idea of gathering them and sharing them with the nonprofit’s I think that’s a great way to do it. It’s really when we get to this last section, we’re going to be talking about how do we amplify those things, and really photos and videos. That’s how we do that. So I completely appreciate that. You had a couple things on expanding other opportunities within CRA as well.

Alexander Lahargoue 38:10
Correct. That’s one of the big features when we talk about the new rule on Community Reinvestment Act is the expanded opportunities that you have in terms of the new activities in terms of both financial and non financial activities that now qualify for CRA credit. And additionally, what the OCC has released in their new proposed rule is


on every quarterly basis, they’ll be publishing a list of illustrated examples of what other banks in the community has been doing to help support with their activities. So that’s gonna be a key thing I think to look out for. And I think that we especially are going to have a couple of different resources available on our website that’s going to help promote education online. The new CRA regulations and what financial brands can do to best prepare for them?

Ben Pankonin 39:07
Cool. Yeah, I think that’s really critical. When we think of how we develop those types of events, it gets really important to, to lay out a calendar that we all are agreeing on. That broadens list of events, I think it’s really important for us to see that. You know, multiple types of events are important, multiple nonprofits. You know, when you ask the question about what about photos and collecting those, you know, we’ve put that within our system right next to where I’m logging an activity. So I log an activity and then I have the opportunity to upload the photo as as an employee, and I think that’s a really critical time to say, and just to have that reminder, every time you go to track an hour, is to say, Oh, yeah, maybe, you know, maybe the first three times You forget to take the photo. But if we’re continue to remind people, hey, you’re going to get asked to upload a photo, if you can upload a photo, that really helps us all, because you know, when the when the food bank invites your bank, and we have 30 people go volunteer, if they get 30 photos with different perspectives back, or they start seeing on social media that, you know, multiple different points of view were activated, that starts to really permeate the culture. And that starts to really amplify that event in the minds of the nonprofit and the people who support it, but also in your community. And so that becomes a really important part for us to share those photos, those videos, that interaction, you know, I’ll share I think, you know, this is a great one on the right. Where they were just sharing, here’s, here’s a bunch of the activities we were doing. We were mentioned This kind of latest, you know, I was out at the food bank, and we were doing all of our food distribution, you know, by drive thru over the last few months. And so, you know, I just shot some video, so we could start using little clips of video throughout their activities. So these are fun ways to, you know, grab different styles of video, different types of content. And then, you know, in this case, I just shared it with the food bank so that they could be promoting that as they put together their fundraising video for the year or things like that. Um, so those are great ways to just be a good partner. But also, you know, that can be content that both of you can end up sharing out and sharing in that experience of, and that just, it enhances that relationship with great content. So some of that can be, you know, of yourself and some of it can be just up the activities that are going on and, you know, with nonprofits They, you know, they’re, you know, that day that I was there, there were five people working this with 240 cars. And, you know, they don’t have time to shoot this video. So. So those are just great ways to as a third party to come in and just help serve in a different way. So when we think about the, you know, where we’re at with employees, what we can do to help, you know, develop events that really partner with those community members, then it becomes about how do we help tell the story of that community? How do we help tell the story of community impact, and it is about making a difference. It’s about what we’re measuring. It’s about how we, how we account for that, and then how we engage ourselves as a mission driven organization to communicate and inspire those people within our community in a new way. So a few different ways that that we can help do that. There’s internal and external ways, we can invite customers to join, we can incorporate some of those compliance aspects. But part of that comes down to our vision for our organization. So this would be one of those areas. So when we talk about, you know, listing a group of, you know, nonprofits, this can be a way for you to connect and share some of those nonprofits and how and how you’re communicating with them. One of the things that we see oftentimes is when we’re evaluating nonprofit activities, as being clear about the types of things that you support, sometimes I’ll hear from a nonprofit in our community, hey, I was trying to work with such and such bank, but I’m not really sure how they, you know, what their thesis is. And, and, and they’ll say, Well, you know, actually, they they may or may not be clear on what their thesis is, for their community involvement. I think that’s a really important thing to be thinking of.

Alexander Lahargoue 44:00
agreement, we got a question from Brittany, who asked what are some ways that they can help promote these events while coming off authentically helping out these nonprofits without coming across as theirs as if they’re just trying to promote themselves?

Ben Pankonin 44:17
Yeah, I think one of those is to make sure that you’re, you’ll hear me say this a lot of times, but that you’re not the hero of this story. And you know, the more you get involved with nonprofits, the more you realize that their work that they do is incredibly difficult. So when we tell those stories about what the the food bank is doing, or what first responders are doing, you know, I happen to have a board meeting at the hospital tonight. And, you know, my wife says, Well, hey, are you you know, you feel safe going to the hospital. I’m like, I’m going to help meet with a Bunch of doctors who are doing this all day every day. Yeah, that’s a totally different picture, the way that they engage in that process is completely selfless. And so what they do is so sacrificial, that, you know, our role oftentimes is to cheer for them, and to celebrate their story. So, you know, sharing about how, you know, we believe communities everything, and then highlighting a story of one of those nonprofits. Yeah, this one, I picked this post because it’s got a bunch of nonprofits in it, which is kind of fun. But you know, once we break those down, and we say, Hey, here’s what the Salvation Army is doing. Or here’s an example, when we tell their story that helps raise awareness for what they’re doing. And then it also aligns our brand with that. So I think the biggest key is to make sure that that nonprofit you’re supporting is the hero and their mission, then and your mission start to align. I was going to share this one because, yeah, I met Alice early in my career. she happened to be a president of a bank in our town. And yeah, Alice didn’t. A legend but she had this quote when she launched her micro lending campaign. And you know, sometimes we have some people from from Cornhusker that jump onto our webinar, so hopefully, they’re on today. But, you know, when they when she launched this she gave, she gave this example, about her career and she had a career of firsts being, you know, one of the first female bank presidents in our states, the first one to lead the the bank, the Nebraska bank Association. She had a number of firsts in her career, but she, she was celebrating the people that took a chance on her. And I think this is a great model when you start to think about what You just asked, which is how do you support somebody else? Which is exactly what she did. Her career was defined on other people who took a chance on her. And then, you know, there’s a, there’s been a great opportunity for, you know, entrepreneurs that, you know, that have been overlooked, right. Like, like she could have been. So I think that’s a great way to think about how we message and this happened. I pulled this from a news article. And so there was just a her candid response in a news article, but you know, if you meet Alice, who’s in her 90s today, and still lending at the bank, you know, that’s part of what she would share with you is that this is who she is. And I think that’s a, that’s a cool way to blend those two together. So if it becomes your mission, and you begin to share that, from a personal level, that also starts to show that you know, it’s not about you. It’s about What those other people are doing. Alice is as good of a job as anybody at doing that. But I think it’s just that she put it not in selfish terms, she put it in terms to say, Hey, I got I got the benefit, I got to receive this. And I wanted other people to get to receive that too. And this is for her, her women loan fund, which I thought was, is a fantastic option.

So we had a couple other things here. When we think about how those employees are impacted and how we tell those stories. One of those ways is to tell the stories back to our employees to so we started talking about employees and the way to engage them. This also comes back into engaging them with what they’ve been doing and what their peers are doing. So when we start to come back to, to will and say hey, here’s what You’ve done, here’s what you volunteered for. And here’s what other people are saying to you, that starts to have that circular effect so that our employees get more engaged in these types of opportunities. And then we also begin to build those stories together. So we start to say, Hey, I’m you know, I’m great grateful for what Will’s doing, you know, with the family, nonprofit, but then he’s also rewarding others within the building as well. So those those stories can begin locally and then focus on all three of these aspects. So when we come back to will, and say, Hey, thanks for the work you’re doing in the community. We also want to celebrate other people within the financial institution. So they see this opportunity to that all starts to build on itself.

Well, Alexander, thanks for

Thanks for walking through through this with us as we start to think about these three areas and how we impact not just a regulatory aspect, I think a lot of times we get hung up on that regulation. But it’s also about the way we connect with each other, I think is just as critical.

Alexander Lahargoue 50:21
I agree. And I think you’re finally starting to see some opportunities to have both of those interests kind of meet in the middle.

Ben Pankonin 50:29
Yeah, I would agree. I think, you know, this starts to become more of a philanthropic engagement for all of these aspects and saying, how do we build on this and amplify what we’re doing? How do we make this a core competitive differentiator in our market, so that it’s not just about, you know, the that one nonprofit that we happen to give money to or it’s not just about complying with the CRA regulation, but coming out of this environment that we’re in with COVID communities need us more and more. And so I’m super grateful for the work that our clients are doing. All of you are doing some, some tremendous things in your community. We just want to see that amplified, we want to see that expanded so that your nonprofits are supported, your communities are supported. And that, quite honestly that people in your community start to understand who has their back when things are difficult. And I think that’s the part where I really see community financial institutions succeeding and I see this opportunity for for really a revamp and and a resurgence in community lending and community opportunities. So with that, you know, Alexander, thanks for being with us today. I know you’ve got a got some crazy things going on as we’re socially distanced. You’ve got you know, some some fun time with family Coming up. And we want to appreciate your time sharing these thoughts in this outline with us today.

Alexander Lahargoue 52:08
Of course, thanks for having me.

Ben Pankonin 52:10
If you have other questions about how we’re engaged with the community about how to share, you know, sparks within your community, we’d love to talk to you about that and share any demo and some of our tools with you. But Enjoy your week and keep serving your communities

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