While the energy and excitement of the 2014 MIB Convention seemed impossible to top, that is exactly what happened during the 2015 MIB Convention & Tradeshow. This year’s convention proved, once again, to be our best convention yet to date.
Held July 16-18 at Big Sky Resort, MIB’s total convention attendance equaled last year’s numbers of 160 persons, which such number is a historical high for attendance at a venue outside of the Flathead Valley. In addition, we exceeded our 2014 numbers for the number of banks represented – 20, and the number of vendor companies in attendance – 29, of which 23 showcased their services as exhibitors during Friday and Saturday. Thanks to the faithful support of these community banking affiliated companies, the Association’s sponsored donations also hit record levels at over $21,000.
In recognition of their support of the Association and Montana’s community banks, please take the time to check out these sponsors on the 2015 MIB Convention Sponsors page and to thank them with your patronage! We would especially like to thank ICBA Services Network, ICBA Bancard & VISA, and United Bankers’ Bank for sponsoring at the highest levels. Our convention wouldn’t be such a great success without the support of our sponsors!
Part of the enthusiasm for this year’s event was due to a top shelf lineup of speakers. Jim Nowak of United Bankers’ Bank presented on liquidity and was a strong participant in all convention activities. Friday evening keynote speaker and United States Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) revved up the Grizzly-Bobcat rivalry existing among the convention attendees and shared his perspectives on current national and world events. We recognize Steve for being the first Bobcat to serve in the U.S. Congress.
Nationally known and highly esteemed speaker, Tom Parliment entertained Saturday workshop and lunch attendees with his sage yet entertaining, advice for “Tactical Approaches for Managing Profitability in a Rising Rate Environment.” The MIB was very pleased to have ICBA Chairman Jack Hartings and his wife JoAnne personally join us at the convention. Jack and Joanne also joined us for an exciting day of whitewater rafting on the Gallatin River. MIB deeply appreciated having Jack as our Saturday keynote speaker, and we were glad to be presented a check from ICBA signifying ICBA’s royalties to MIB for 2015.
Perennial convention favorites Melanie Hall, Montana Commissioner of Banking, and Patrick Barkey, Director of the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, shared their perspectives on the current state of banking, the economy, and job trends in Montana. MIB associate members Chris Thomas and Eric Jensen of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines presented on funding loan growth, and Angela Murdo and Bill Mills of Anderson ZurMuehlen, P.C. hosted an independent bankers’ roundtable to share helpful Montana community banking specific insights and practices.
At the annual member meeting held on Saturday, members elected the 2015-2016 MIB officers. The officers are as follows: Amy Quarles as President, Tom Christnacht as President-Elect, Jeff Koski as Vice President, and Adam McQuiston as Treasurer. Three new directors were also elected to the MIB Board: Daniel Day, Andrew West, and Michael Moore. MIB members honored years of faithful service by retiring directors Ron Rosenberg, Martin Olsson and Murry Moore, and thanked outgoing president Kenny Martin for a job well done.
On Saturday night, MIB hosted the MIB PAC silent auction and reception, which such event is designed to support MIB’s lobbying effort on behalf of Montana’s community banks. A variety of donated Made-In-Montana crafts and arts raised $2,350 for the MIBPAC account and provided winning bidders with great deals and everyone else with a lot of fun. Golf and rafting awards and a dozen prize drawings during our Friday Vendor’s Night Banquet also made winners of attendees.
Big Sky Resort proved to be an excellent venue for this year’s convention, with meeting rooms that amply met our growing needs. Cooler weather provided a bit of a break for our Friday afternoon golfers and whitewater rafters, and a free lift pass nearly to the summit of Lone Mountain gave hotel guests a spectacular summertime view of Montana’s largest ski resort.
New attendees to the MIB convention frequently comment on the unusual atmosphere of warm camaraderie and fun informality in conjunction with professionalism and quality offerings that pervades our conventions—evidence of the true Montana spirit of community banking. Many vendors say it is their favorite event of the year. MIB is pleased to provide such an enjoyable experience in partnership with our sponsors and members, and we look forward to continuing our trend in putting on “the biggest little community banking convention in the West.” MIB is the only Montana banking association whose sole mission is to represent the interests of Montana community banks. As such, be sure to mark your calendars for next year’s convention, July 21-23, 2016 at Kalispell, Montana! We hope to see you there.