Change Agents: Banking’s Next Generation

By Ken Burgess

When FirstCapital Bank of Texas opened its doors in 1998, we had just a handful of people. You know the drill for a small bank just starting out: Everybody wears a lot of hats.

At that time, everybody in the bank just walked into my office whenever they wanted to, and we would sit down and discuss things. That’s changed over time because it’s just not possible anymore. As our bank has grown, it’s transitioned from everybody being hands on and involved in everything to a system of teamwork and managers—attributes you see in a larger organization. That creates cultural challenges in terms of both finding and nurturing talent as we continue to change and grow.

I view change as a constant. This means we’re not the same bank this year that we were last year, and we won’t be the same bank next year that we are right now. We emphasize as part of our culture the need to embrace change. It’s built into our recruiting, hiring and onboarding efforts because we will always be growing and adapting to the communities and customers we serve. I need people on our team who look at change as opportunities. Otherwise they’re not going to be happy and we as an organization won’t be as nimble.

The world is changing and technology is changing, whether we want it to or not. I believe that if you’re going to be successful, you have to have a willingness to embrace change. One way to remain at the front of the wave is to cultivate and nurture banking’s next generation—our industry’s emerging leaders.

Supporting and growing the involvement of our industry’s emerging leaders is one of my top priorities this year as ABA chairman. It was gratifying earlier this year to see a record attendance at ABA’s Emerging Leaders Forum in Washington, but also to spend some time with the members of ABA’s Emerging Leaders Advisory Board. 

The bankers are committed, passionate and excited about our industry’s future.

They will challenge us in ABA’s leadership just as your emerging leaders challenge you in your banks. It’s what they do. And they’re good at it.

They recognize that things don’t stay the same. 

Five years ago, we started a leadership development program for our bank’s newer team members. Our motivation for this was fairly simple. We wanted a way to identify young people—emerging leaders at FirstCapital Bank—and provide them a more structured path to help them develop their leadership skills.

One benefit of this initiative is that, today, we have 40 team members serving on FirstCapital Bank’s Grassroots Committee. This committee, among other things, is responsible for promoting our bank’s political advocacy efforts. Our emerging leaders also are making a difference for our bank, our customers and our industry. We have team members supporting Habitat for Humanity, volunteering in our public schools and sharing their skills and expertise with many other local nonprofit organizations. 

Our culture emphasizes that we care about our customers, and each other. We work together as a team. We have each other’s backs. And we put our customers first as our number one priority. We want to be staying out front—leading on behalf of our bank, our customers and the communities we serve. Together, our industry will be out in front and poised for the future as well.

ABA Chairman Ken Burgess is chairman of FirstCapital Bank of Texas, Midland.