Looking Ahead
Insights - April 2022

Internal Links Bruce Whitehurst

“Plan your work and work your plan.” 
-Napolean Hill

Last summer we launched the process that culminated in the VBA’s 2022-2024 Strategic Plan. We were pleased to have 250 points of input, comprised of 103 survey responses from member banks and associate members; 80 in-person spot interviews our facilitator, Nancy Eberhardt, conducted at our Annual Convention last September; input from VBA boards and the DEI Council; and from an all-day retreat with the VBA staff.

The result: a plan that builds on our 2019-2021 plan, keeping the overarching goal for VBA to be the Essential Partner in Banking. As you can see here, we kept the Venn diagram with three circles from the last plan and added the Enhance and Provide circle. Our plan focuses on top strategic priorities for VBA that result directly from the 250 inputs we were fortunate to receive.

Key elements include:

  • In-person vs. hybrid vs. virtual. With all that we have learned about virtual technology over the past two years, we will now focus on when to use which of these three methods for advocacy, board and committee meetings and training events. We’ll weigh the unquestionable benefit of in-person interaction against the cost of time and travel as we plan the VBA calendar each year.
  • Banking Workforce Development. Helping banks attract and retain an increasingly diverse workforce is a significant priority for the VBA. We will seek to build upon our Bank Day Scholarship and summer internship programs, our work in the DEI space and our employee benefits offerings to be a key partner to banks in this most vital area.
  • Serving as a facilitator to help connect banks with partners in areas that include affordable housing, community development and minority small business lending. We have a working group helping us determine the best ways to accomplish this goal.
  • More Peer Interactions for Bankers. Working with our committees, councils and peer groups, we see clear value to bankers in the networking and relationship development that result from their engagement, and the very same benefits to VBA staff members. We will seek opportunities to expand the peer networking we offer and would love to hear your ideas for how best to do so.
  • Thought Leadership on Emerging Trends. An important part of the work we do at VBA is to identify emerging trends and deliver timely information, resources and training on these topics. Recent examples include our session on cryptocurrency and conversations during Black History Month and International Women’s Day, all of which drew hundreds of Virginia bankers together virtually for an opportunity to learn with their teams. We look to do more in this area as well and again welcome your input and ideas.
  • More Partnerships and Collaboration with Other Associations/Groups. As the banking industry continues to consolidate, partnering with other associations makes more and more sense. I’m pleased to report that we already have a number of partnerships in place with nearby state bankers associations and we will build upon this great start.

When we launched our last strategic plan in 2019, we talked about the need to consider the plan as a flexible and living document. Little did we know how true those words would be once we entered into a worldwide pandemic with far reaching consequences. And yet, when we look back on that plan, we see that – for the most part – we were able to maintain our focus on top strategic priorities, just with some adjustments to the how more so than the what. To be sure, the next three years will bring their own twists and turns and as they do, we will be ready to adjust the how to make sure we remain focused on the what!