Building Better Bankers
Training Wheels - May 2024

Internal Links Kristen Reid

We have recently entered my favorite part of the VBA Education & Training programming year.  About two weeks ago, acceptance letters for the incoming Bank School first year class went out - be sure to congratulate your teammates who were accepted!  I know I shouldn’t have a favorite program, but I have to admit – Bank School holds a special place in my heart and really is my favorite. 

Like the other programs in our Leadership Training Continuum (see below), Bank School is focused on “building better bankers.” Many of our offerings focus on providing training for the technical skills in a specific function area (all of which are very important). But there is something different and special about our programs that focus on exposing attendees to multiple aspects of banking and providing an environment where their network can grow.  Attendees leave Bank School not only having a greater appreciation for the other areas at their bank but also a greater appreciation and recognition of the Virginia banking industry as a whole.  As one recent graduate said at the end of the program, “I started Bank School as a person who worked in banking, and I am graduating as a banker.”  That’s a pretty powerful statement…

While Bank School is special to me, it isn’t the only program that sets the stage for “building better bankers.” The VBA’s Internship Program begins on May 23 with the Intern Orientation. During this summer program, the VBA provides participating banks with a turnkey experience to expose college students to the world of banking. Not only do the interns perform jobs assigned at their bank, but they are also exposed to the world of Virginia banking by meeting with members of the VBA staff and Emerging Bank Leaders steering committee as well as having the opportunity to attend a day of Bank School.  This year, 38 interns from 15 banks will participate in this program.  To date, nearly 40 former program participants are currently working at a Virginia bank. 

In June, applications will go live for the Management Development Program (MDP) that kicks off in August. MDP is a three-month comprehensive training for “newer” bankers. With sessions on accounting and ALCO, bank technology, compliance, and digital banking (to name a few), MDP is here to help expose those who want to develop their career in this industry to the world of banking. MDP is also known to be a “feeder” program to Bank School and other programs within the Leadership Continuum. 

And finally, there is the Executive Leadership Institute (ELI), geared specifically to those bankers who are “knocking on” the c-suite’s door (or are moving in that direction).  This five-month leadership development program is known for not only challenging participants in their growth as a leader but also for its intense level of connection, learning, and peer relationships that develop over the course of the program. It is the perfect next step for Bank School or Graduate School of Banking at LSU alumni. The program is scheduled to begin in January 2025 – be on the lookout for more information later this year.

Regardless of what age or stage someone is in life or in their career, the purpose of these programs is much bigger than what is learned in the classroom or during a session.  Participants will not only leave with a better understanding of overall bank operations and where they fit in the grand scheme of it all, but also with relationships they can fall back on throughout their career, a deeper understanding of the importance of the Virginia banking industry, and most importantly, how to be a better banker.