I worked at a bank the summer between high school and college. It was a time when I hadn’t a clue what I might become when I grew up. At 17, I wasn’t at all convinced of the value of being an adult and I suppose I wasn’t a very good employee. 

I came of age in a decade of ongoing crises: A 20-year war was just winding down; the stock market had crashed; we had an oil embargo and an energy crisis; the economy wasn’t growing, and there was a general concern about the future. Sound familiar?

The three months I spent on the eighth floor of the American National Bank in St. Paul, Minn., would surely have been lost to time had I not, many years later, built a career writing about banking. But the two-and-a-half decades I’ve worked for you have kept that long-ago period alive for me. It’s an early mark in a pattern, which is something I’ve been trained to recognize. 

I’ve also been trained to be reflective (or maybe I’m naturally this way) and the events that have unfolded in recent weeks have elevated this sensibility. All of the illness reported each day; all of those people dying, alone. Reports of jobless claims growing and growing and growing. It makes one think about time passed and about what to do with the days that remain.

The career I built has been one marked by belonging to one industry: Banking. I believe the work we do here matters and as such, we pour much of ourselves into the creation of this publication. My hope is that these years in service to you have been meaningful from your perspective.

Recently, a friend of the magazine reached out to tell us he’d asked someone to share some pictures with us for publication, and in sharing word of his request he used the term “our regional BankBeat publication.” I was struck, and touched really, by his use of the possessive pronoun. This reader regards this magazine as a shared asset in which he himself claims a stake. What an amazing testament to the power of our shared community. What a compliment!

The community we serve is small but vibrant, and we will continue to serve it as long as the market supports us. I trust your support will endure through the current crisis and well beyond, but I also recognize that the economic challenges we face together are great. Therefore, I don’t take your support for granted. I am neither afraid of the effort it takes to earn your trust, nor afraid of what’s needed to keep it. But I also ask for your help. 

The companies that advertise on these pages, or breeze into your inboxes with our Thursday E-newsletter, these companies are also part of our community. I ask that you let them know their presence here matters. Because it does. Greatly. Today more than ever.

We know you are now working long and hard to help the economy recover; you are fighting for businesses across your communities to survive. We’re here to cheer you on, to share ideas, to inform and inspire, to get you thinking about new ways to solve age-old problems. Solutions are already pouring out of your offices. We want to spend the coming years sharing those successes with your peers. Help us do that, will you?

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