Business View Magazine | September 2022

108 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE VOLUME 9, ISSUE 9 “Through the American Bankers Association, we and other state bankers associations were having Zoom calls daily for the first few months of the PPP because there were new rules and questions that weren’t anticipated that they had to answer. I sat in my office seven days a week, getting those updates and typing up emails to send to all of our member banks. The expectation of our members was if they weren’t hearing from us, there was nothing to report. That’s how an association effectively serves its members. “But the bankers were the true heroes because they were literally building a plane while it was taking off. They did a remarkable job and put millions of dollars into their communities to help small businesses stay afloat and did it all out of a sense of duty and patriotism.” BVM: How does the NCBA promote banking as a career? Gwaltney: “It is a great career. A lot of high school and college students don’t know the wide variety of opportunities available as a banker. From the retail piece to commercial banking, investment banking, IT, security, human resources, marketing. We have a Bankers in Schools program through our 75 member North Carolina Young Bankers division (bankers who are 45 years of age and younger) and every April they go into the schools and teach a simple budgeting lesson and give some guidance and inspiration to students. “Because there is a great need to diversify our workforce, we’re also partnering with the 12 North Carolina HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges & Universities) and the Risk Management Association (RMA) and we’re going to teach the RMA Credit Essentials curriculum in the HBCU business schools, where students can participate in our Future Bank Leaders ‘club’ program. When they graduate, they will have a college degree wrapped around an RMA Credit Essentials certificate, which tells an employer they’re ready to go to work in credit analysis and on their way to becoming commercial bankers.” BVM: “What does the landscape look like for NCBA over the next three to five years? Gwaltney: “The number of bank employees in North Carolina has grown to 90,000. Banks have 2100 branches across the state. So the industry here is vibrant and doing well. At NCBA, we’ll continue to be strong and growing for the foreseeable future. We’re adding staff and building our leadership team so that we can do even more. This industry is resilient and will guide our economy through whatever comes our way.”