The Independent Bankers Association of Texas (IBAT) announced this year’s three winners of its coveted Five*Star Award in June during the association’s 2021 IBAT Connecting Leaders Conference held in Grapevine, Texas. The 2021 recipients are Fenimore, Kay, Harrison & Ford LLP (category 1, small-size business); Bank Compensation Consulting (BCC) (category 2, medium-size business); and CLA (category 3, large-size business).
Since 2002, IBAT’s Five*Star Award has recognized associate members that routinely provide excellent service and innovative solutions to help community banks grow, enhance profits and gain efficiency. One award is given in each of three categories, which are based on the number of employees. To be in consideration for the Five*Star Award, an associate member must earn enough engagement points—gained through participation in IBAT and industry events, etc.—to be in the top 10 percent of its category. IBAT member banks then vote to determine the winner in each category. Criteria used to determine this year’s winners included service excellence, human relationships, integrity, commitment to the community banking industry and exceptional value to the banks they serve.
“It is our pleasure to recognize this year’s Five*Star Award winners that not only support Texas community banks through their exceptional products and services, but also through their industry advocacy efforts,” says Christopher Williston, IBAT president and chief executive officer. “These companies are dedicated to and passionate about our industry, and IBAT member banks are extremely appreciative.”
Category 1 winner Fenimore, Kay, Harrison & Ford is a law firm that specializes in providing legal services to community banks throughout the country on a full range of corporate, securities, governance, regulatory matters and mergers and acquisitions. All of its partners are alumni of financial institutions practice groups within large international law firms, bringing a wealth of sophisticated experience in representing financial institutions. This is the fourth time in the past five years that the firm has received the Five*Star Award.
Category 2 winner BCC specializes in assisting financial institutions with the evaluation of their compensation programs. With BCC’s help, banks identify deficiencies in their current programs and create customized plans to fill these gaps. The company also helps identify ways to offset the cost of plans with bank-owned life insurance. BCC has helped more than 600 banks in 40 states with an expert team that includes certified public accountants, certified financial planners, attorneys, MBAs and a former bank president.
CLA won in category 3 this year. The accounting firm provides audit, consulting, outsourcing, tax and wealth advisory services to a number of industries nationwide, including financial services. CLA administers the IBAT Endorsed Service Provider CECL allowance calculator solution for banks, which estimates the potential impact of the new allowance for loan and lease losses (ALLL) accounting standard on financial institutions. The company’s industry insiders also help banks reduce the cost of telecom expenses without changing carriers.
“Community banking is a relationship business,” Williston observes. “During 2020, with events canceled, many of our associate members could have pulled their volunteer and financial support, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, associate member after associate member stepped up to continue their strong support of IBAT and the community banking industry during a very difficult season.”
Formed in 1974, IBAT represents Texas community banks. The Austin-based group is the largest state community banking organization in the nation, with membership comprised of more than 4,600 banks and branches in 700 Texas communities.