Vol. 108 2024 Issue 2 (Mar/Apr)

Chairman’s Report

Ben-Bochnowski- Chairman IBA FEATURE

It’s election season already in Indiana. While national politics remain divided, members of the Indiana Bankers Association have maintained unwavering support for our industry. Last year, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis had two open positions on its board for Michigan-based financial institutions. As you have likely heard, credit unions won both of those seats. Effectively, the bank vote was split between five candidates while credit unions rallied behind their only two nominees, clinching the victories.

This year, two spots are open for Indiana-based financial institutions. As the voice of the Indiana banking industry, it is my firm belief that the IBA needs to guide our members to speak in a unified manner to prevent what happened in Michigan from repeating here at home.

To that end, we are changing how we interact with the FHLBI nomination process. For the first time in our history, the IBA will endorse two candidates to fill the two Indiana seats up for election on the FHLBI board. The credit union leagues have organized their members like this for years, to their success and our chagrin. We cannot allow them to speak with one voice while we remain split.

This endorsement process is an IBA Board initiative, but it is not a time for us as Association leadership to pick favorites. The IBA membership will decide who they want in an internal “primary” process, then we will rally all IBA member banks to support the top two vote-getters in the FHLBI election.

Here’s how the process will work:

  • April 1-26 (4 weeks): The nomination period is open. An email announcement will include a nomination form where you can put forth a nominee, including yourself, for the open seats. This is also the time for candidates to conduct their campaign for support.
  • May 6-17 (2 weeks): The voting period is open. The IBA will distribute a survey via email with all the nominees submitted in April. The CEO of each IBA member bank within the FHLB system will be allowed to cast a single vote.
  • May 22: Results are announced. The top two vote-getters will receive the endorsement of the IBA.

With the IBA endorsement comes:

  • an announcement in the July/August issue of Hoosier Banker with a clear call from me as IBA chairman for all IBA member banks to support the top two vote-getters in order to maximize our chances to get bankers in both open seats;
  • a reminder email to all IBA members who are eligible to vote in the FHLBI election ahead of the voting period; and
  • 1-2 email reminders during the FHLBI voting period.

The IBA does not show favoritism among its members, but we fight to preserve the voice of banks in the Federal Home Loan Banks, particularly at this crucial time when the FHLB system is under scrutiny. It is the Board’s position that the process I have laid out here represents our best foot forward in doing that.

Feel free to reach out to me or the IBA team with any questions about this process or our decision to make this change.

Ben is chairman and CEO of Peoples Bank, Munster, and its holding company, Finward Bancorp. He also serves on the board of directors of the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions, a position he was appointed to by Gov. Eric Holcomb in 2019.

Get Social and Share!