Looking back at an unforgettable year
Sadly, my term as your TBA chairman has come to an end. It has truly been an honor to serve the Texas banking industry and the wonderful bankers it employs. Although my term will go down as one of the most unusual ones in TBA history, it was a memorable year and together we accomplished many things.
Prior to my installation as chairman, I spent a significant amount of time formulating my goals for the year. At the time, in early spring, the consensus was that the global pandemic would likely be short-lived and we would return to business as usual in the not-too-distant future. Unfortunately, that did not come about.
So, we worked hard to be agile and to advocate for you. Fighting the bureaucracy to provide information and resources about the Paycheck Protection Program and other COVID relief initiatives became a priority as our members helped to save small businesses and provide financial lifelines to their communities. Texas banks delivered—making most of the more than $60 billion in PPP loans in the state of Texas.
Despite the historic disruption brought about by COVID, we were still able to continue to focus on the objectives of my chairmanship: telling the story of Texas community banking; ensuring the future of TBA through the oversight and execution of the TBA building project; building 21st century bank leaders; strengthening university relationships for NextGen bankers; developing innovation capabilities for Texas community banks; and leading the nation in shared banking services. I’m proud to report the progress we have made.
- The TBA building project is now well underway. We continued to prudently manage the project through the crucial permitting and site preparation phase. We’re looking forward to the exciting groundbreaking ceremony to coincide with our June Board of Directors meeting.
- TBA launched initiatives to more effectively enhance the diversity of the Texas banking workforce, including a partnership with BankWork$, the development of the Community Reinvestment and Trust Enterprise (CREATE) program and major support for the banking program at Texas Southern University.
- Additional TBA support was secured for university undergraduate and graduate banking programs, including a significant contribution to the Southwest Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University.
- TBA promoted the future competitiveness of Texas community banking by championing enhanced bank access to tech and innovation capabilities. Community banks often lack the economies of scale to compete with larger institutions and non-bank disruptors. TBA will soon announce a unique initiative to provide real help.
- We grew the cyber threat intelligence platform, TruStar — our secure sharing and collaboration network. More than 130 banks are now participating on TruStar and the parallel Slack channel to support collaboration on a trusted Texas bank to Texas bank basis. We also built the Texas Bankers Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (ISAO) — another first for a state banking organization in the United States. This robust platform offers Texas banks new tools and resources for analyzing and fighting cybersecurity risks.
Unfortunately, the year was further characterized by unprecedented hardship for the citizens of Texas, brought about by Winter Storm Uri and social unrest on top of COVID-19. Your association worked hard to make life better for those impacted. This included launching the Texas Banks 4 Food Banks initiative and the Texas Unity Grant program. Thanks to your generosity, more than $1 million was contributed to Texas food pantries and over $100,000 was raised for grants for disaster-impacted minority and women-owned businesses.
We made sure to tell the story of community banking and its impact on our economy, businesses and communities through social media, news releases, videos and interviews with news media. We created videos and purchased radio spots to tout the Paycheck Protection Program and how Texas community banks were working with their customers to save jobs and small businesses.
Yes, 2020-21 will long be remembered for its unprecedented challenges. But when I look back on my term of office, I will remember how Texas banks and your association shined in adversity and lived up to our motto: Strong Banks, Stronger Communities.
Thank you to the 2020-21 Board of Directors, councils and committees, membership and TBA staff for making this such an unforgettable year.