Reflecting on ICBA Bancard’s 35-Year History of Success

By Tina Giorgio 


In celebration of ICBA Bancard’s 35th anniversary, I sat down with our Chairman Greg Deckard, president, CEO and chairman of State Bank Northwest to reflect on key milestones that have led to the organization’s success and ability to address the challenges and opportunities of 21st century banking. What follows is an excerpt from the first of our two-part series exploring ICBA Bancard’s origins and guiding philosophy.

Tina: When I’m mentoring companies at ICBA’s ThinkTECH Accelerator, I always hit on, “What’s your why?” That question drives you to explore the motivation behind decisions. It’s a great lens by which to frame the ICBA Bancard story.

Greg: I agree, because every decision ICBA Bancard has made over the years has been with a strategic eye. We owe much to the ICBA, and the creation of the ICBA Services Network nearly 40 years ago, in providing products and services tailored specifically to the needs of community banks through our trusted community bank association.

We also owe so much to ICBA’s leadership that got ICBA Bancard off the ground and were a key part of its success. And now, ICBA Bancard is continuing its evolution under the direction of our volunteer bankers and your leadership at a critical time for our industry, I might add.

Digital offerings like remote banking and contactless payments have taken on increased importance in response to COVID-19 induced social distancing practices, with ICBA Bancard offering guidance and support as community banks help consumers adapt to the “new normal.”

But to get back to your earlier point, I guess the founding question is why was ICBA Bancard formed?  

Tina: Community banks were looking for cost-effective credit card and merchant processing solutions from a provider they could trust—one that really understood their business models and unique needs. ICBA stepped up to the plate by creating ICBA Bancard as its first subsidiary.

Greg: Launching TCM Bank served as another major ICBA Bancard milestone. This decision enabled us to empower community banks with payments offerings in new ways, growing the number of community banks offering card services. Last year, ICBA Bancard exceeded $30 billion in transaction volume for the first time in history, and TCM hit a milestone in surpassing $2 billion. It’s a growth trajectory.

Tina: 100 percent. Those are some powerful numbers, and they make us the 11th largest debit issuer and 24th largest credit issuer in the country. Collectively, through ICBA Bancard our community banks have a substantial voice and market share in the payments space.

Greg: And now ICBA Bancard is expanding into digital opportunities and broader digital and payments services. Why are we looking to advance in this way?

Tina: The payments landscape continues to shift and change, and that transformation necessitates a ICBA Bancard evolution. We need to continue offering solutions to meet not just today’s needs, but those that will be prevalent next year or in a few years’ time. And as the Coronavirus pandemic has shown, the impetus and speed of change can occur over the course of a few week or months so community banks must be prepared to shift into high gear and ICBA Bancard is here to help.

Greg: That’s true; we all learned a valuable lesson with the pandemic and have to be thinking ahead in today’s market, and why it's so critical that ICBA, through its payments subsidiary ICBA Bancard provides community banks with solutions to support their customers now and into the future.

That vision is why 55 percent of all ICBA members are using at least one Bancard or TCM service. So, that begs the question: if you’re not taking advantage of ICBA Bancard payments system offerings, why not?

I encourage you to reach out and get more information. ICBA is here to serve its mission of creating and promoting an environment where community banks flourish, and payments is certainly a big part of it. I know firsthand that ICBA is your partner, and can help your bank grow and thrive in the years to come.

Watch for part two of our conversation in the next Tina’s Take blog