By Michael Stevens, GSBC President-Elect

This month I began “Phase 3” of my career as I prepare to become the president of the Graduate School of Banking at Colorado (GSBC). This transition will be complete when my friend, Tim Koch, retires on July 31.

As I closed out my career with the Conference of State Bank Supervisors a few weeks ago, I wrote about how state regulators were collaborating to harness technology, data and people to keep pace with significant changes in the economy. There is a legacy of collaboration between the states that provides a foundation for this initiative’s success.

This is very similar to what is occurring in banking. Banks are assessing how they can deploy technology, utilize data, and attract a new generation of bankers. I think it sells the industry short to categorize this as community banks “remaking” themselves or “fighting for relevance.” The industry has a long track record of evolving with the economy. At its core, the traditional banking model is designed to serve the needs of its market. While there are always opportunities for operational efficiency, the ultimate goal is to have the products, services, and delivery channels to meet the needs of the markets they serve. Community banks are the lifeline for local economic development, helping to support agriculture, new business formation, job creation and home ownership.

I heard a midwestern banker talk about his bank’s total focus on the deployment of new technology and the challenges that presented. However, he put it in the context of the decisions he and his father made 40 years earlier coming out of the ag crisis. They determined their future direction and the markets they wanted to operate in to best serve their stakeholders. This is just what community bankers do. They respond to, and in many cases help to lead, a changing marketplace.

I am excited to continue my career with another organization with a deep history and important legacy. GSBC was founded in 1950 by the Colorado Bankers Association and the University of Colorado Board of Regents. Over seven decades, GSBC has educated more than 8,000 bankers, regulators, and other members of the financial services industry.

All of the graduate banking schools, along with GSBC’s Executive Development Institute for Community Bankers®, are part of the fabric of the banking system in the United States. They support the network that provides ideas and strategies for banks to continue to evolve as they have done since the founding of the republic.

This is a great industry doing exciting things built on a legacy of change.