It’s Still a Wonderful Life, and It’s Time to Celebrate

It’s Still a Wonderful Life, and It’s Time to Celebrate

Casey-Landry, Diane

Yes, America’s Community Bankers is celebrating 115 years of innovation, leadership, commitment and passion that truly have shaped the future of community banking. In some ways, it seems hard to believe that we arc 115 years young. But it’s important to celebrate our proud history and build upon that strong foundation as we continue to change, adapt and evolve. We invite you to join in the celebration, because our history is your history.

Recently, as we renovated our offices, we had the opportunity to go through some old files-papers and books-the kinds of things we all put away but rarely look at again. As we began to dig into our boxes, we found articles and pictures about the creation of what is today ACB. Looking at those pictures reminds us of how much the world has changed since our predecessor was founded in Chicago in June 1892. No, we didn’t find any pictures of fini my Stewart as George Bailey or anyone else from the movie classic It’s a Wonderful Life.

What we found was even better. Real life George Baileys who helped thousands of communities grow and prosper, and a nation survive and thrive through two world wars, and a technological explosion that saw us go from horse and buggy to landing a man on the moon. Reading through the articles also made it clear that one thing has not changed between yesterday and today: the commitment and passion that every community banker brings to the business every day.

During our archeological dig, we found intercsting firsts along the way.

Did you know…

* The U.S. League of Savings Institutions, an ACB predecessor, was the first banking trade association to have a woman as its president.

Ann E. Rae, president of the Niagara Permanent Savings and Loan Association in New York, was elected president of the United States League of Local Building and Loan Associations in 1924. It took another 66 years for the second woman to head an association, and that election was by another ACB predecessor, the National Council of Savings Institutions. Janet Pavliska, who was then president and CEO of Bank Five for Savings in Burlington, Mass., was the council’s chairman from 1990-1991. This tradition continued with E. Lee Beard, then president and CEO of First Federal Bank, Hazleton, Pa., who was our chairman for 1998-1999.

* ACB is made up of not just one, not just two, but six organizations:

1. The United States League of Local Building and Loan Associations (1892)

2. The National Association of Mutual Savings Banks (1920)

3. The National Savings and Loan League (1943)

4. The American Savings and Loan League, an organization representing minority institutions, formed in 1948. In 1986 it became known as the American League of Financial Institutions, and in 2002 it was reorganized as part of ACB and became the MBank Council.

5. The National Savings and Loan League merged with the National Association of Mutual Savings Banks to form the National Council of Savings Institutions in 1983. NCSI changed its name to the National Council of Community Banks in 1991.

6. The National Council of Community Banks merged with the U.S. League of Savings Institutions to form the Savings and Community Bankers of America in 1992. SCIlA changed its name to America’s Community Bankers in 1995.

We are justifiably proud of our past.. .your past. And just the way a family likes to look back at their ancestry to see what their genealogy reveals, we enjoy looking at ACBs history because it shows us just how far we have come-together. So join us in this yearlong celebration. Share your stories, pictures, and memorabilia to help us showcase and celebrate 115 years of service to our members and our communities.

America’s Community Bankers honors its past and embraces its future. As our members continue to evolve, in an environment where change is accelerating exponentially, ACB embraces that change. ACB continues to innovate and lead, just as our predecessors did in 1892 when a group of bankers joined together to form an association that has evolved into what we are today-115 years later-the progressive community bank trade association that helps make our members more competitive. Those bankers had passion, commitment, and a fervent belief in their future and the future of a young America. Yes, it still is a wonderful life. And then, as now, working together we can continue to shape the future of community banking and the future of America.

Copyright America’s Community Bankers Jun 2007

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