BY NOAH W. WILCOX
Never has the future of community banking been brighter in America. With the next generation of our nation’s leaders, workers, volunteers and citizens, the future of America has never seemed so bright in recent memory. We have a strong economy, by most measures nationwide and our nation’s youth are entering the workforce at a fascinating time as technology changes the way we work, and how we interact with one another as well as with those companies that help us keep our daily lives moving along smoothly.
Nowhere is this becoming clearer than in the community banking space. Community banks are different from other kinds of mega banks and financial providers; their business model is based upon relationships, not transactions and that alone makes them unique. Additionally, the millennial generation is seeking to work where relationships matter, where they can make a difference and where they are treated personally not like a number. Community banks are a natural fit, with many being family owned and oriented and focused on serving the community and their customers in a high touch and high-tech way.
You see the rapidly changing landscape of the technology space is allowing the financial services sector the opportunity to move faster than it ever has before with emerging solutions to the challenges of today’s fast paced lifestyle. Using evolving technology to help augment the customer experience while maintaining the high touch and personal service delivery will make for an enhanced experience for both those who are delivering the experience as well as the customer.
The convergence of high touch and high tech is the perfect storm for helping the next generation become engaged and passionate in the workforce, as consumers and most of all as members of their community.
Grand Rapids State Bank has worked hard to adapt how it operates to be more attractive to the next generation, and to make possible opportunities for the areas youth to have attractive, challenging and rewarding jobs to return home to. As the convergence of technology and the financial services sector continues to intersect, Grand Rapids State Bank will be looking for additional ways to leverage these changes to remain relevant to the community, attractive to the next generation and continue to deliver on our mission of service.
I challenge each of us to look forward with optimism and enthusiasm for our area’s youth, and really for our nation’s youth. I challenge each of us to commit to mentoring and investing in the success of our nation’s youth. We have the opportunity to write a new chapter in the story of our nation’s history. The time is here and the time is now and the next generation is waiting for us to take their hand and walk side by side with them into a bright future.