Even Baby Boomers Can Embrace Change
It seems like only yesterday baby boomers like me were amazed at the surge of technology coming our way. My friends and I all yearned for a boxy computer that screeched an AOL "welcome," and that ridiculous brick shaped cellular phone that did not fit quite right in your purse. As time progresses, we are still learning and trying to embrace new technology and new devices along with the 80 different passwords to access them.
Change is inevitable. No matter what your age, we must realize technology keeps us moving forward, taking us to new heights in science, construction and development, communications, business, and even banking. In the last two years, the onset of the pandemic forced the workplace to adapt on an accelerated schedule. Aside from essential workers and businesses, most employees stayed home and learned how to attend meetings, meet deadlines and, most importantly, make money, often from the comfort of home. In many cases, businesses were able to adapt successfully. But that wasn't the case for every company. Sadly, many did not survive.
The workforce that stayed home learned new ways to do their jobs. They had to be accountable and stay on task. Employers had to keep their workers engaged and assure them that although the road ahead would be arduous, they'd get through it together.
Some businesses, like banking, played both roles, because no matter how much the workplace advances and how far technology takes us, there will always be the need for personal relationships and a personal touch in banking. Face to face meetings will never be a thing of the past at IBC Bank.
Community banks are in the business of offering a customized, personalized service experience. It is, after all, where the biggest life decisions take place. Home mortgages, personal loans or lines of credit, business loans, retirement savings accounts and more are at the center of what community banks do. These are the most personal decisions a person or family can make, and it is important that they are made with thought, care, and trust.
The banking business is a tight-knit family. Whether your financial advisor has worked with your family for generations or if you just began a relationship with your bank and the people there, your bank often knows more about you than you're willing to share with any friend. It's a unique and critical relationship. The values of that relationship really shined during the pandemic when small businesses could apply for loans through the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program, which earmarked $649 billion in CARES Act funds for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. During the pandemic, our teams worked day and night to process over 7,400 PPP loan applications for a total value of over $631 million.
From tellers to the executive leadership team, our commitment to small businesses helped them get through the worst part of the pandemic. The PPP funds IBC processed directly impacted a little over 101,800 employees. They weathered the financial challenges of the pandemic. Because of it, these are the relationships we are thankful to have and will continue to build.
Today, we find ourselves at the intersection of tried-and-true business practices and updated office procedures. Once upon a time, we were all office dwellers. While this has changed, one thing for small community banks like IBC won't change - our personal connection. Whether via phone, online or in person, customers will always have the opportunity to speak to an individual who personally knows and cares about them and their financial needs. While technology - including online banking and banking apps - have changed the industry, some things shouldn't change and won't change at community banks. We can bridge the past to the present, adapt how we do business and continue to serve customers where they are and how they feel most comfortable. We are proud to be a community bank and will always offer personal service with a "do more" attitude.
Dalia F. Martinez is the executive vice president of operations for the International Bank of Commerce in Laredo.