by Michael Stevens, GSBC President

Since our students walked off campus on Friday, July 29, 2022, the banking industry has experienced incredible events which challenge what we know and believe.

Persistently high inflation, rapidly rising interest rates, two significantly sized bank failures and one voluntary liquidation (each with a peculiar characteristic) all generated angst and anxiety. Some banks experienced funding pressures while several publicly traded banks had the market put them to the test. Yet, many of the spillover effects we would logically expect have not materialized. The economy is moving along and as of now, avoiding a recession. Unemployment remains in check. Credit quality is good overall. The industry remains profitable and only 4.43 percent of banks are unprofitable.

As we step back to consider these events, how banking has changed and will likely continue to change, we have the responsibility to think about what it means to GSBC and how we can best serve the industry.

Developing Fundamentally Strong, Forward-Thinking Leaders

The work we have done through the strategic planning process and its ongoing discernment in the past year proves that GSBC is headed in the right direction. Through projects and new courses, we are affording students the opportunity to study and brainstorm what the future may look like. The industry needs leaders who have a forward-looking mindset and can build resilient community banks.

GSBC’s mission is to provide financial and leadership development to community banking professionals. While we believe a future-oriented mindset is critical for a leader to build a resilient organization, our mission also affirms our belief that financial and leadership development are the critical foundation for ultimate success. These beliefs have been critical to the transformational experience that has defined GSBC for decades, which will continue to be at our core into the future.

The Essentials, Leaders, Readiness Framework

The GSBC Curriculum Philosophy states each course should be structured around the themes Essentials, Leaders and Readiness. This framework poses three critical questions for examining our curriculum and its associated impacts:

  1. What are the crucial elements of the subject matter?
  2. What is the role of the leader in this area?
  3. How is this area changing and what opportunities, risks and tools may exist in the future?

After a year of turmoil, we believe our approach serves the best interest of the industry while remaining true to our legacy. The fundamentals of banking are critical to being an effective community banker. Leaders who can instill a corporate culture, effectuate change, establish values, and articulate a vision are indispensable. And the skills to evaluate how the market is changing, seize opportunities and respond to crises will ensure a vibrant and resilient organization.

We are excited to embark on another two weeks of educating and connecting more than 500 community bankers, regulatory professionals, and industry advocates from around the country. While our schedule is multifaceted, our intent is simple—to bring “Bolder Banking” to our industry by educating, inspiring, and giving voice to transformative ideas that will shape the future of our industry.


Michael L. Stevens, President