Rusty Rust

Rusty Rust
TBA Chairman

Annual Convention provides opportunity for Texas bankers

The pandemic has also played an influential part in this year’s Convention topics and keynotes, as we tackle very relevant and timely issue …

August marks an important juncture for all of us. No one needs reminding of what governments from every corner of the world asked its citizens to do: to literally make time stand still. For more than a year, people were asked to stay home and only interact at a distance or virtually.

Societal norms were shattered and redefined in ways we never imagined. Businesses and individuals had to rethink how they needed to operate in this new world, and community bankers have been there with them every step of the way.

TBA’s Annual Convention has always been a highlight for its members. We gather, share stories, learn from experts and each other, but more often than not, we gathered to enjoy each other’s company.

This coming Convention will be special on a number of levels.

For some, it will be the first time they’ve interacted in person, or even been in a group for more than a year. Many will view this Convention as a defining period of time as they return to normalcy.

Coming off from the Texas Tour, I can assure you there is no return to the old ways. At least not entirely. Texas bankers and TBA have been tracking and taking note of the new normal and will use this Convention as our collective adjustment to the new, but still familiar world.

The Convention’s theme, “Challenge. Change. Opportunity.” is an appropriate premise that Texas bankers have come to embrace this year and will continue for many more years down the road.

From the many challenges we’ve weathered, Texas bankers enter this new era on a high note starting with the foundational groundbreaking of the new TBA headquarters. This structure will stand as a monument to all Texas bankers and our contributions to the state as an industry.

The pandemic has also played an influential part in this year’s Convention topics and keynotes, as we tackle very relevant and timely issues like cybersecurity, cryptocurrency and the internet of things. Technology allowed — and in many ways forced us — to manage our businesses and lives virtually throughout the pandemic. It also revealed some of our vulnerabilities. This shift in time presents us with the chance to use and even create technology to assist in managing our businesses and lives deliberately with an eye toward the future.

This period has also given us time to reflect and implement new programs that will excel our relationships with those who are underserved by banks and expand programs that will close that gap by promoting and providing financial and business literacy to any willing person. We’ve only begun to develop what I fully expect to be long-lasting relationships with universities and others that will grow employment and leadership opportunities within the banking industry. We will accomplish this by creating and using a much larger opportunity net that will in turn make us all better.

That is why I for one am very excited to share and promote more on TBA’s CREATE program with everyone at Convention.

From what felt like a doomsday scenario has now become a chance to redefine ourselves, the industry, how we operate, what we look like and countless other opportunities that were born in the face of daunting challenges and necessary change.

I look forward to celebrating with all of you this coming Convention, but what I look to most is advancing all that we do with purpose and principled intent.