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Change is theme of 130th Mississippi Bankers Association Convention

JERRY HOST

By BECKY GILLETTE

A lot has changed in the banking world since the Mississippi Bankers Association (MBA) held its first convention 130 years ago. The theme of the recent 130th annual convention of the MBA held at Sandestin Resort in Destin, Fla., May 9 to May 12 was “Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude” reflecting the many significant changes and challenges in the banking world today.

“The convention program featured speakers who discussed the need for banks to adapt to massive changes taking place in the industry and economy,” said MBA President Mac Deaver. “Additionally, the association membership adopted changes in MBA bylaws designed to make the association leadership more representative of its members. And there were changes to the format of some convention events.”

MBA Chairman Jerry Host, CEO of Trustmark National Bank, presided over the convention that attracted 625 attendees including bankers and spouses, sponsors and exhibitors, industry professionals, bank regulators, public officials and other guests.

Deaver said speakers in the general sessions included Colonel Arthur Athens, director of the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership at the U.S. Naval Academy. Col. Athens addressed the importance of adhering to the “three Cs” of leadership in modern times. He emphasized the need for competence, courage and compassion in being a successful leader.

“If something isn’t going well, the successful leader will do an assessment and take immediate action,” Athens said. “At that moment, they can ask themselves what’s missing: ‘Is their message clear? Do they need to be bolder? Are they relating with whoever is receiving the message?’”

Cam Marston of Generation Insights addressed factors faced by financial institutions in dealing with new generations of bank customers and employees. Marston addressed issues in dealing with “matures” (born between 1909 and 1945), “baby boomers” (born 1946 through 1964), “Generation X” (born 1965 through 1979) and ‘”new millennials” (born 1980 and after).

“It is critical that managers recognize and understand the differences between the people they are trying to attract and themselves, and how to use that new understanding to attract and satisfy customers and attract and keep the talent they need,” Marston said.

Dr. David Altig, executive vice president and director of research for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, spoke about economic trends and how they might impact the banking and other business sectors.  Specifically, he discussed the potential impact of governmental actions and the effect of automated stock trading.

Chairman Host facilitated a discussion with Rob Nichols, president of the America Bankers Association (ABA), and Paul Merski, executive vice president of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), regarding potential Congressional action to provide regulatory relief for traditional banks.  Nichols and Merski discussed the joint efforts of ABA and ICBA to pass S. 2155, which enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress. The bill passed the House on May 22, and has now been signed by President Trump.

The annual MBA trade show was held on Wednesday and Thursday and featured 55 exhibitors.

A third annual silent auction was held to raise funds for the MBA Education Foundation, which supports financial literacy training across Mississippi and awards scholarships to Mississippi high school and college students. The auction netted over $16,000 for the Foundation.

“This was our largest auction event to date,” said Deaver said. “Thanks to the many banks and bankers who supported this event, and the dozens who contributed auction items.”

On May 12, the MBA membership elected new leadership for 2018-19. Mary Childs, CEO of The Peoples Bank, Ripley, was elected MBA chairman, becoming the first woman to lead the association. Greg McKee, CEO of The Citizens Bank, Philadelphia, was elected vice chairman, and Andy Anderson, CEO of Bank of Anguilla, was elected treasurer.  Also, on Saturday, the association recognized bankers who had served the industry and state for 40, 50 and 60 years.

Host discussed the progress being made to implement the MBA’s strategic plan to increase services to member banks. As part of this plan, the membership considered and approved changes to MBA bylaws which revise the organization of the association’s board of directors and the process for electing bankers to leadership positions. The membership also heard report on various association activities and programs, including the Mississippi Young Bankers, the MBA Education Foundation, the Mississippi School of Banking, and others.

The convention concluded with a special closing event which featured remarks by Host and Childs, introduction of new officers and board members, and special recognition of past MBA chairmen who were in attendance.

Major sponsors of the 2018 MBA Convention were Trustmark National Bank, First National Bankers Bank, Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas, and Stockett & Thomas Agency.

For more information on MBA, see the website msbankers.com.

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