Last fall, the Texas Bankers Association adopted the mission statement “Mapping the future for the financial services industry.” The TBA Board of Directors and staff, led by President Rick Smith, are poised and ready to take on the goals and objectives that will help us map the future of the industry.

But what can we do as bankers to help map the future for the industry? We need to focus on franchise value, because the value of our banking franchise is extremely important to our stockholders, communities and customers, not to mention our personal retirement plans, salaries and net worth. When competition, regulation and legislation have a negative effect on our franchise values we need to be prepared to act. I heard a statement the other day that said, “A person doesn’t really get involved until an issue gets into his or her pocketbook.” The question is, how deep do these issues have to get into a banker’s pocketbook before he gets involved?

Unfortunately, we see many of our fellow bankers sitting on the sidelines, watching those of us who make the investment of time and money carry the load. It is time that we strongly encourage those on the sidelines to get involved in TBA. I’ve made this one of my top goals as your chairman.

The importance of a larger membership is not just increased dues, but more importantly, a stronger voice to influence these issues that affect our franchise value. Our goal at TBA is to expand and strengthen member relations as well as broaden and deepen volunteer involvement and leadership. In that light, we are looking forward to reinstating a leadership program for young bankers, which will broaden the volunteer involvement and develop leadership for the future.

How would the passage of a state CRA bill, crop duster lien bill or additional burdens of privacy, money laundering and predatory lending bills have on your franchise value? These are issues that John Heasley and Ann Graham have battled or are presently battling in this year’s legislative sessions. They have found that the concerted voice of bankers does make a difference.

Coordinated calls from many of you to the Senate Business and Commerce Committee kept the state’s CRA bill from coming out of committee, and coordinated calls to state representatives defeated the Crop Duster Lien Bill. Our voice does make a difference, and the more bankers involved, the stronger the voice. That is why the implementation of the Team 21 Program will be so important.

Another very effective tool is BankPac. The more people we have investing in BankPac, the stronger voice we will have. Last year, we raised $180,000 in BankPac and our goal this year is $215,000. Needless to say, I am a little embarrassed to compare that to the $800,000 that the realtors raised in the state of Texas. There is no question why we have trouble getting additional home equity legislation passed, when we’re up against greater involvement and larger dollars.

The goal of having every CEO write at least a $100 check was not accomplished last year, but I hope that you will help us strongly encourage those who don’t invest to invest so that we may exceed our goal and continue to protect and enhance franchise values.
It’s time that those bankers sitting on the sidelines get into the game. Needless to say, with the expanded involvement and investment we have a great future of opportunities and rewards because TBA will be there helping us map the future for the financial services industry.