Edwards to Bankers: Make COVID-Era Innovations Stick

In his final remarks to bankers as ABA chair at the ABA Annual Convention, United Bank CEO Jim Edwards challenged bankers to embrace the innovations they deployed during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Through the pandemic, our customers—consumers and small-business clients—have seen what we can deliver, and they want more,” he said. “It may be tempting to want to get back to normal, but I encourage you to resist that temptation. Let’s . . . figure out how to avoid going back to business as usual. Let’s make the best parts of what we collectively accomplished in the past year stick.”

One change Edwards highlighted was United Bank’s recent completion of the Bank On account certification process. “It wasn’t a heavy lift for us as bankers to get the program added to our bank’s checking account lineup, but I think the ultimate impact will be quite substantial,” he said. “Not everybody needs a Bank On account—but we all benefit when those who do need one can come into the mainstream banking system.”

Edwards also announced the upcoming ABA Emerging Leaders Awards, which will be awarded in 2022. “Today’s emerging leaders are tomorrow’s decision-makers,” Edwards said. “Honoring the leadership traits we want to see in our banking C-suites is how we’ll continue raising the bar for the entire banking industry.” More information on the awards will be available in the coming weeks