Message from President

Dear Fellow Bankers and Friends:

I am pleased to represent you as this year's president of the Community Bankers of West Virginia.  This is my second stint as president of your organization and I'm truly honored to be involved in such a "noble" profession as "Community Banking".

I say noble as I just finished reading an article in The Wall Street Journal about a "Big Bank" being fined $9 billion dollars for knowingly doing business with sanctioned nations or, in other words, countries that do business with terrorists.  Now nine billion is a lot of money, but there is no mention of criminal prosecution of any bank executives or directors in this matter.  Can you imagine if a community bank would do something like this how fast the Justice Department would have you and your directors fined and probably thrown in jail?  To knowingly put financial interests above what is the "right thing to do" is not noble and is not what Community Bankers do.

A Community Banker has a major impact on the health and vitality of the towns they call home.  We provide capital for businesses and individuals to grow financially and realize their dreams.  We fund many worthwhile charities with many of our employees devoting time and effort to making our communities good places to live and raise a family.  A Community Bank is as "American as Apple Pie" and you should be truly proud to be involved in such a noble profession.

But as you know, to survive the current economic environment and regulatory onslaught we need to be on top of our game.  Accordingly, a strong trade group like CBWV and our national affiliation with the Independent Community Bankers Association (ICBA) is an essential tool in making sure our voices get heard by policy makers.  You can stand on the sidelines and leave the heavy lifting to your peers, but I can assure you when we meet with our representatives at both the state and federal level, our voices are heard!

As a Community Banker, I have been a member of CBWV for over ten years and our bank has greatly benefited from the products, services and education that the association provides.  More importantly, CBWV has offered many networking opportunities with fellow bankers and policy makers that I would  have normally not experienced.  So if you want to get more involved with CBWV, we are always looking for qualified candidates for our various committees and the board.  Another great resource to broaden a young person's experience and firm up your succession plan is to enroll them in our "Leadership Bankers Program", which will graduate its first class this Fall.

Any way you slice it, CBWV is a great value for the price and truly looks out for the interests of community banks which, as many of you know, are the backbone of small towns throughout America.  I look forward to serving as your president over the next year and if you should ever have any questions about the organization, please don't hesitate to call me directly at 304-728-2431.  Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

Bob Baronner

Bob Baronner CBWV President

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