Message from the President & CEO

Press release

Just as we welcomed a new year with optimism and hope, 2022 has already thrown us a couple of curveballs. We see war abroad, rampant inflation at home, and a pandemic not yet ready to surrender. Although these challenges are complex, we have weathered harsh storms before. I expect the industry to continue innovating and adapting during these challenging times, ensuring we deliver vital financial services and support our communities.

Soon we will be gathering in Kauai, Hawaii, at our Annual Conference. We are looking forward to seeing more than 400 registered attendees, some of whom we have not seen in a couple of years due to the pandemic. This annual gathering will be a reunion filled with networking opportunities, dynamic keynote speakers, and learning sessions tackling timely and relevant industry trends, challenges, opportunities, and emerging technologies. 

We are thrilled to announce that our Women in Banking Forum will once again be an in-person event. This event celebrates the women in our industry and features inspirational speakers and seasoned veterans sharing their experience, expertise, and insights on the industry. In the Fall, we will host our first Fintech & Cannabis Conference in San Diego at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego. This event will feature presentations from financial developers and innovators such as BankTech Ventures, Adlium, Inc., nContracts, Modusbox, NYDIG, and the Venture Center. Additionally, we will hear from former Acting Comptroller of the Currency, current Bitfury CEO Brian Brooks, and Walt Mix, managing Director at Berkeley Research Group, LLC. The event will also feature a panel of bankers from Fresno First Bank, Coastal Community Bank, Sunwest Bank, and Hatch Bank, all early adopters of Fintech solutions within their banks. For more information about these events, please visit our website.

To complement and expand our high-quality education, training, and certification content, we recently partnered with BankerCollege. This new partnership more than doubles our on-demand and live webinar offerings. In addition, as a member of the Western Bankers, you will have access to discounted rates for all of the BankerCollege offerings. The curriculum includes webinars, boot camps, and certifications on topics covering regulations, compliance, cannabis, accounting, lending, payments, strategy, retail and commercial banking, and operations, to name a few. You can find more information about this new partnership and the entire catalog of BankerCollege course offerings on our website.

Addressing our primary advocacy mission, the government relations team recently completed a successful Washington, D.C. Summit, meeting with legislators and regulators on issues critical to the industry. We are grateful to the members who could participate in person and virtually. Closer to home, the California legislative session is in full swing. The lobbying team is hard at work analyzing bills, drafting support and opposition letters, and working with legislators and stakeholders on a plethora of legislative proposals. The team is always grateful for the input and expert insights our members share to help the advocacy team shape our response to pending legislation.

We are grateful for your membership and support and look forward to seeing you at an upcoming event.

 

Sincerely,
Steve Andrews