This year IBC Bank celebrates its 50th anniversary; I’ve learned a few lessons in banking and business along the way.
Since taking the president position in 1975, so much has changed in the world, but many truths remain the same. “We Do More” is not only our motto, but it’s a great way to think about how you conduct business. We can all “do more” by:
1. Having a survivor mentality
It takes character and discipline to successfully navigate all the challenges that occur in our business and personal lives. Over our 50 years, IBC Bank has been through a tsunami of events that could have sunk our company. We weathered all types of storms because we were flexible, innovative, conservative, and finally, relentless survivors.
Don’t feast during the good times because you may be left starving through the bad. Business owners should start small, build from within and manage company growth to plan for unforeseen challenges and always stay within your boundaries of what can be successfully managed. You must have the right people and systems in place at the right time to succeed and stay successful.
2. Looking beyond our own walls
It’s easy to be so focused on your own work that you forget what’s happening in the business world around you. Managing a company is no small feat, especially in an economy that has seen its share of financial crises in oil, agriculture, construction and more. It takes smart, creative business decisions to keep a business growing in those conditions.
You can keep afloat in the hardest times by looking beyond your own market. While the economy may be bad in the United States it could be strong in Mexico, for example.
Currently, the U.S. dollar is strong against other currencies around the world as the American economy improves. This impacts international business and the purchasing power of international travelers. The global economy impacts every business, no matter its size.
From looking beyond the four walls of your office, to prospecting internationally for business, owners must diversify their business model to remain sustainable.
3. Investing in the community
We all succeed when a community is thriving. It is a give and take relationship between a business and the community. Businesses depend on the community’s support and the community depends on businesses to enrich the value of the community. Neither will be successful unless both are successful.
I take great pride in IBC Bank’s “We Do More” philosophy. Throughout our 12 Texas and Oklahoma markets, we continue to serve as a community bank. We take it upon ourselves to help develop the financial literacy and skills of our youth through our in-class financial lessons and Minitropolis® program. Investing in these lifelong skills has incredible merit as we look to our future workforce.
Additionally, involvement within the business and non-profit organizations allows us to better know the community’s needs. From the top down, we encourage active participation in chambers, business organizations, boards, United Way and others. We are committed to positive change and results for years to come. We live and work in each community so we want to positively reflect the quality of life in every city we serve.
4. Building future leaders
Mentors are integral in the shaping of a young person’s career. Very few CEOs have made it to their current positions without a mentor’s guidance. Having reached the peak of this organization, I will always remember those who helped me along the way. Starting as a teen at a Corpus Christi bank and being afforded the opportunity to manage bank operations at a young age, it shaped the business leader I am today.
When joining IBC Bank, we had a great mix of young and seasoned entrepreneurs ready to work hard to grow the business. Through the mentorship I received early on, I knew the hard work it would take to make a business grow. It was exciting and fun to build a business back then.
It’s every leader’s responsibility to give back. Take time to mentor and coach promising individuals in order to mold future leaders and learn from them, too. Offer strong training programs, the right work resources, and establish mentoring or leadership training programs to build the next generation of leaders. These investments ensure that successors will be prepared to raise their hand when opportunity arises. On the job training is a critical part of success. Day to day coaching and mentorship is a critical success component. Always maintaining the right attitude is critical that is why our motto “We Do More” has been so important. The bottom line for any business to be successful, the people and the business must love what they are doing and are having fun doing it. They all have to believe they are doing is right and is great.
5. Recognizing that relationships matter
What bankers do every day changes people’s lives, even if we don’t realize it. Over the last five decades, IBC has made billions in loans that have literally shaped communities from Oklahoma City to the border cities of Texas and into Mexico. That growth has changed the lives of thousands of families. Banking involves trust and trust is established best through relationships.
There are hundreds of families doing business with us today who can trace their IBC roots back two or three generations. I know men and women who came to IBC Bank 30, 40, even 50 years ago for help when they wanted to start a business. We partnered with them to get their dreams off the ground. As those dreams and those businesses grew, they brought their children to the bank and taught them the importance of managing their money. Today, those children are bringing their children to IBC. Nothing matches the feeling of being part of that tradition, being the hometown bank.
The face of banking has certainly changed over the last five decades. There are more women in leadership positions than ever and there are more to come. Technology is now a part of the fabric in how we conduct business. Regulations have evolved over the years to the point that the existence of community banking is in danger. But some things never change. I still feel the same satisfaction I felt when I started my banking career 50 years ago with my friends and neighbors to create a better, more secure future for all of us.
While the tools and techniques have changed, the goal is the same as it was when the bank started. It is my hope and belief that the next 50 years of banking – and business – will continue to recognize that doing more lies at the heart of good banking, good business and good citizenship. However, we must understand first the way of life we remember is changing and not all for the good so we must stay involved, politically and economically, or we will leave it to those who do stay involved. Complacency is a killer so we must stay committed and engaged.