As bankers, we know and understand that a career in banking continues to be one of the most challenging, competitive and rewarding careers in the corporate world. Moreover, our industry covers a diverse collection of job positions that include nearly every skill set, experience level, and career goal.
What is so exciting about our industry is that banking is constantly changing and evolving. Today’s banking environment is not what it was 20 years ago, and it will not be the environment of the future. From a talent management perspective, the workforce is transforming too. Baby boomers are beginning to retire in increasing numbers, and Generation Xers are moving into senior management positions. The next group, Generation Y or millennials, are now far enough in their careers to have gained some meaningful experience, with a number having been identified as up-and-coming leaders.
In order to preserve West Virginia’s existing network of banks, it is imperative that we cultivate the next generation of bank leaders. As announced late last year, the Future Leaders Council presented to Association leadership an idea to
recognize high-potential bankers under the age of 40 through a Young Banker of the Year Award. WVBankers received nine nominations from six-member banks. Each of the nominees is impressive and has clearly demonstrated a deep commitment to his/her organization, the industry and the local community.
I am pleased to announce that the WVBankers Board of Directors, through a blind selection process, selected Elisha “E.J.” Hassan, AVP and Senior Portfolio Manager at United Bank, as our inaugural Young Banker of the Year. He, along
with his fellow nominees, exemplifies what it means to be a banker. Congratulations to all the nominees for this special
recognition. With your enthusiasm and determination, the future of banking looks bright.
I would also like to congratulate United Bank, as well as the other banks that participated in our Young Banker of the Year initiative, for creating an environment that allows and encourages employees to grow and develop. Talent and Leadership Development programs are integral to that process. If your bank does not offer its own internal training
program, please look to the offerings at WVBankers.
A priority of WVBankers is to help you, your employees, and your institution thrive so that your customers and communities will too. We offer workforce training built for today but focused on tomorrow. You and your bank’s employees can reskill, upskill, and hone your expertise with our wide range of in-person and virtual training and events. Our training and education offerings span the many diverse roles and opportunities today’s world of banking offers. I encourage you to explore our options for various areas of focus.
From an entry-level perspective, WVBankers has partnered with ABA to offer basic facilitated banking courses such as
Banking Fundamentals, Money and Banking, and General Accounting. Once an employee has advanced to a first-level
officer, they are encouraged to attend the West Virginia School of Banking, a one-week program held in May of each
year. This educational program has been around for 75 years, and it is constantly updated to provide relevant and timely
content. The challenging curriculum is taught by a faculty with excellent teaching credentials and vast experience.
Students obtain a broad and fundamental understanding of significant banking, economic, and monetary issues, as well as a better understanding of day-to-day banking operations. Twenty-seven students graduated from the two-year program this spring. In 2001, we added a third year for returning students to take graduate-level classes with a more challenging curriculum as well as advanced bank simulation. Training then progresses to the Emerging Leaders Forum and the Graduate School of Banking at LSU.
As bankers, you also recognize that challenges lie in developing the key leadership requirements for institutional success and in the navigation of the managerial challenges that lie ahead. Because we know that success as an institution requires thoughtful, forward-looking leadership, I am pleased to announce that WVBankers has joined with other State
Bankers Associations across the country to offer the Society of Bank Executives, which provides a platform by which your executive team can actively engage with peers outside your market to address real-world challenges. Included in this magazine is an article submitted by the Academic Director of the Society, Dr. Paul Godfrey, where you can learn more about this empowering network.
Training programs that focus on talented younger employees in the organization are important, but none of us should become complacent in our jobs. We each have an obligation to grow and learn. The future of our industry depends on it.