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Iowa Bankers Association conference


Early this week, more than 1,000 Iowa bankers and financial professionals will converge on Des Moines for the Iowa Bankers Association’s 117th annual conference at the Polk County Convention Complex. The Business Record took a few moments last week with speak with John Sorensen, president and chief executive of the Iowa Bankers Association, about the event.

Q: What are you hoping to accomplish this year?

A: This year, we’re going to be focusing much more on economic development than we have in years past. We’ll be talking about changes occurring in the rural part of the upper Midwest and trying to give our members ideas and tools that they can use in their communities to try to help grow their local economies. We hear a lot about what’s happening in rural Iowa, but we need our focus to be on solutions. We will be conducting a legislative symposium on Monday afternoon. It’s time we set aside to educate our members on the issues we face on a state and federal level and give them the opportunity to discuss the issues. John Rigler (president of Rigler Investment Co. and president and chief executive of Security State Bank in Calmar and New Hampton), who serves on the board of Iowa Capital Investment Corp., will be talking about how Iowa banks can become investors in the Iowa Fund of Funds. We’ll be following that up with a discussion of the new markets tax credit program, which is a federal program that’s operated by the Treasury Department for entities that are considering making investments in low- and moderate-income areas of the state. Under the regulations, a good part of Iowa qualifies.

Q: Who will be speaking or making presentations?

A: Howard Fineman, chief political correspondent for Newsweek magazine, is one of our speakers. Brian Wesbury, chief economist at Chicago-based investment bank Griffin, Kubik, Stephens & Thompson Inc. The conference will be wrapping up with a speech by (Detroit Free Press columnist and sportswriter) Mitch Albom.

Q: What other events do you have planned?

A: We’re going to have some fun. This is our big celebration of our industry. The official opening to the convention is Sunday night, and we will be hosting an event at the Temple for Performing Arts. We have a group called the Four Shadows that will be entertaining our group in the Temple’s main hall. Our theme this year is a movie theme, called Premiere Banking. So in between a lot of the speakers and events, we will be showing movies and clips that have a banking theme. Some will be fun and some will be more serious. Movies include “Wall Street,” “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Mary Poppins.” On Saturday, we’ll be doing a tailgate party for about 1,500 people at the Iowa State-Iowa football game.

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