A Message from our CEO Steve Andrews
Reflections on 2020

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As we close the book on 2020, we reflect on the year that brought us a devastating pandemic, economic uncertainty and social unrest. And despite the ongoing battle with COVID-19, there is cause for optimism.  We are learning more about the virus and a vaccine seems to be imminent. We have also seen communities and businesses coming together to help each other and adapt in ways we never thought would be possible.

Banks have leaned-in amid this pandemic, adopting new technologies to better serve customers, advocating and facilitating thousands of Paycheck Protection Program loans that totaled more $125 billion in the western states alone, and working closely with customers in financial distress by waiving fees, modifying loans and much more. The commitment to help, support and engage with customers during these difficult times has not gone unnoticed. In fact, a recent consumer survey commissioned by the American Bankers Association  indicated that the 9 of 10 account holders were “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with their bank and 96% rated their bank’s service as “excellent,” “very good,” or “good.”

Although banks receive high marks for their response to the pandemic from customers, the legislative and regulatory landscape remains a serious challenge. Our government relations team worked through a grueling truncated California legislative session and fended off several troubling measures that would have negatively impacted the industry and will likely reappear when the new legislative session convenes in December. During this recess period, our advocates will be testifying at an informational hearing regarding the feasibility and challenges of establishing a public bank. We continue to watch this issue very closely and will keep the membership apprised of any updates.    

On the professional development front, our team transitioned to a completely virtual environment in March. In order to deliver the premier content that you expect, we reimagined our events and expanded our webinar offerings to provide timely COVID-19 related information and resources. In addition, we created new opportunities for members to engage with peers and regulators, and developed workshops and a vendor showcase. Looking forward we will begin the year with a series of six virtual workshops that will tackle issues ranging from risk governance to safety and soundness. We are hopeful that we will be able to host some of our conferences in-person, but if necessary, we are prepared to transition to the virtual platforms.

These unique times require that we put a greater emphasis on telling our story. To that end, our communications team launched a radio and social media campaign during the initial weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. The two-week campaign featured positive messaging about the banking industry and its commitment to customers and communities. The campaign garnered more than 2 million impressions and nearly 6,000 click throughs. The team has also expanded the association’s social media outreach, growing the following by more than 25 percent, sharing nearly 600 posts and earning more than 300,000 impressions and 3,000 engagements. We look forward to growing our following and increasing our outreach efforts.

Certainly, these past nine months have proved that this industry is resilient and continues to serve a critical role in our economy and communities. We are honored to serve you, our members, and are grateful for your support.

Sincerely,

Steve