Q&A Community Banking: Engage to Make a Difference

“As trends and customer needs evolve, so will community banking—we’ve always been innovative; however, the one thing that won’t change is the values that make us who we are.”

 

Tim Zimmerman recently completed his term serving as national ICBA Chairman and helped propel community banks across the nation into a new era where they can better serve customers—including customers at Standard Bank.

 

Tim, you were already quite busy as a community banker, proud father and grandfather, and supporter of many important causes in your community. Why did you take on so much more as ICBA chairman?

I love community banking and being a community banker. I think it is very important to support the things you believe in. Also, I grew up understanding that you have a responsibility to give back. Being chairman has been one way of giving back to a profession that means so much to me.

 

This year you’ve traveled across the country (and world) to meet with community bankers. What was your most memorable experience?

Hearing story after story of how community bankers, like us, work with customers to help make their dreams come true really confirmed that personal attention and genuine concern is what makes community banking unique. Even across the ocean, my speech in Tokyo, Japan, confirmed that community banking transcends culture. Having the opportunity to talk about the shared values and benefits of community banking was a huge honor.

 

You worked with the ICBA team to educate government officials about the unique qualities of community banks (versus big banks) to reduce regulatory burden. And made great progress! What did this victory mean for community banks and how will it impact the industry in the future?

This victory of bipartisan legislation for community banks solidified the difference between the community bank business model and the big bank model. Policymakers are understanding that community banks are unique, and this regulatory relief will help community banks to unleash their full potential and serve more customers.

 

After all of your experience leading a community bank and community banks of our nation, how would you define “community banking?”

First and foremost, community banks are relationship bankers. We know our customers and can help them in ways that our competitors can’t. We make loans on “worm farms,” houses constructed from recyclables, and other loans that don’t fit the mold, but need to be made based on character and legitimate need.

We are there for our customers and communities in good times and in bad. We are committed to making our communities a better place. We all operate under these shared beliefs and that’s what makes community banking truly special.

 

Where do you see community banking 20 years from now?

As trends and customer needs evolve, so will community banking—we’ve always been innovative; however, the one thing that won’t change is the values that make us who we are. Customers will still come first and so will our dedication to helping grow our communities. I’ve been in community banking for well over 30 years… and this continues to hold true.

Taken from Spring 2019 edition of The Rising Standard