I have no shortage of opportunities to take pride in serving the nation’s community bankers. They always put their local communities first and selflessly devote themselves to the greater good.
Yet, I never cease to be amazed by how community bankers dig the deepest when they are subject to the very worst conditions, as evidenced by the industry’s recent response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Community bankers in Texas and Florida are showing what it means to be locally invested by helping their friends and neighbors find hope, their local businesses bounce back, and their communities recover and rebuild—all while sustaining their own community banks submerged by the storms.
With community banks spread across our vast nation, that selflessness, personal sacrifice and leadership is something I have witnessed before amid the wreckage of tornadoes, floods, wildfires and more. But it is not something I take for granted. As the economic lifeline to thousands of communities across the nation, community bankers are truly our nation’s financial first responders. Watching it is heartening and humbling, every time.
That personal commitment to those in harm’s way extends, of course, to community bankers outside the flood zone. ICBA teamed with MainStreet Bank in Fairfax, Va., to establish the Hurricane Harvey Community Bank Relief Fund
. The fund, which uses the Aircharity portal to send contributions directly to community bankers affected by Hurricane Harvey, has raised more than $100,000 in just two weeks.
While the relief fund is accepting donations through Monday, Sept. 25, community bankers can also continue using ICBA’s Crisis Response and Preparedness Center
to direct donations to the American Red Cross in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Meanwhile, ICBA’s site continues to provide information and resources on Harvey, Irma and natural disasters in general, including tools from banking regulators, FEMA, FS-ISAC and others.
What community bankers are doing for hurricane victims and devastated communities in Texas and Florida is awe-inspiring. It is something I will never forget. Thank you, community bankers, for your contributions. Thank you for helping storm-battered and flood-ravaged communities get back on their feet, today and in the years ahead. But perhaps just as important, thank you for displaying once again the selflessness, the will, the sacrifice and the community of which we—as individuals, as an industry and as a nation—are capable.