These are extraordinary times!
Thank you for the honor of serving as the 133rd chairman of the Texas Bankers Association. Last month, in a scenario I would never have imagined, I took over as chairman from Bobby Hoxworth. While we were supposed to exchange the gavel at our 136th Annual Convention in San Antonio, we, instead, made the transition at a brief virtual Annual Meeting. We also voted in our officers, Vice Chair Rusty Rust and Treasurer Ford Sasser.
These are truly extraordinary times! But, as Bobby pointed out in his last column as chairman, they are also inspirational times! Bobby wrote about the “Unsung Heroes of 2020,” the bankers who have worked tirelessly to ensure the small businesses in their communities survive and keep their employees on the payroll.
This month, I’m going to discuss some of the extraordinary efforts your association has taken during this pandemic to help its members, the industry, Texas communities and small businesses. In the process, TBA has worked hard to ensure that the image of the banking industry is reflected in a positive manner.
To keep bankers informed of legislation, regulations, important updates and best practices, TBA immediately created a Coronavirus Resource Page on its website and transformed the Texas Banking Weekly e-newsletter into the daily Coronavirus Update. There was simply too much information that needed to be imparted on a daily basis. Sometimes, there was so much timely information that the Coronavirus Update was supplemented by CEO Reports and Alerts.
As soon as the CARES Act passed and the Paycheck Protection Program was launched, TBA followed up with a Paycheck Protection Resource Page that was updated regularly as important announcements and FAQs were released. TBA also created a Tip Sheet to help banks safely re-open their lobbies.
To ensure that ALL businesses were informed about the availability of PPP monies, TBA launched a radio campaign on Spanish language and African American stations in Houston and the border. With $100 billion in PPP dollars still available, TBA wanted to make sure awareness of the program was spread throughout the state. These radio spots, in Spanish and English, call attention to the PPP funds and direct listeners to their local banks for additional information.
At press time, TBA was looking at other ways to impart the information to minority communities in other areas of the state.
In April, TBA launched “Texas Banks 4 Food Banks,” a program to help raise money for the Feeding Texas network that supports 21 food banks that serve all 254 Texas counties. The Texas Bankers Foundation contributed $26,000 on behalf of Texas banks and encouraged member banks to contribute as well. TBA made it easy by creating a toolkit that included a map of the networks of food banks, a sample press release and hashtags for social media. TBA records show that members contributed at least $100,000 through this program.
The banking industry received some valuable press from the program, and TBA amplified it through social media.
In another effort to enhance the image of the banking industry, particularly its importance to the small business community, TBA filmed videos of bank customers discussing the importance of the Paycheck Protection Program and the role their community banks played in its success. These heartwarming videos told story after story of small business owners who were spared having to lay off employees, reduce benefits or close their doors thanks to the efforts of their community banks.
TBA has been posting these videos on social media and sharing them with readers of the Texas Tribune through ads dispersed throughout that publication’s website and daily newsletters.
As I write this column, our state is beginning to return to normal, as businesses reopen and employees begin to leave their quarantines. I look forward to the day we can all meet together at conferences, tours and other events. And, although I want to savor my year as chairman,
I look forward to passing the real TBA gavel to Rusty Rust in person at our Annual Convention.