Steven M. Klein 

NJBankers Provides a Sail to our Industry

I am deeply honored to serve as Chair of the New Jersey Bankers Association for 2023-2024 and thankful to all the incredible leaders who are great stewards of our industry and incredible mentors and teachers to me and so many others. 

A sincere thank you to Chris Maher for his leadership and steady hand during an incredible time of change at the association and challenge in our industry. 

I would also like to express my appreciation to our 200+ associate members whose services and support make much of what we do as an industry possible.

But most of all, I would like to shine on light on NJBankers staff under Mike Affuso’s leadership.  The challenges our industry faces now and in the future are many, but I know NJBankers will be our sail and help to move us forward and thrive!

Messaging- LOUD and CLEAR

Bankers in general tend to be a conservative group, and for good reason. NJ banks are trusted advisors, providing capital and services that are vital to thriving economies and vibrant communities. This enormous responsibility requires the confidence of those we serve, and there is no better way to do that than maintaining prudent and appropriate risk profiles, focused on solid financial results, strong capital, asset quality, and liquidity.

Unfortunately, circumstances and events that are outside of our control can threaten to undermine the confidence we have all worked so hard to build.  That’s why it is so important to have the government relations and public affairs resources of NJBankers led by Brittany Wheeler.  Add to that, the communication resources of John Mangini, and you have a power team that ensures all stakeholders hear, LOUD and CLEAR, that New Jersey banks aren’t anything like the banks that caused so much turmoil in March of this year, and they can have confidence in their New Jersey bank!

People- Developing and Taking Care of Talent as the Clock Ticks

Banks deliver value to their customers and communities in many different ways, with many unique operating models. One common element though is people. Without well trained, passionate, purpose focused and talented individuals, banking, especially community banking, will not thrive.

The talent clock is ticking, and it keeps getting louder.  We as an industry have a limited amount of time to leverage the incredible talent, knowledge, and expertise of today’s leadership throughout our organizations. Two of my top priorities will be working with Mike, Jenn Zorn and Jessica Jakobson to 1) augment and bring forward innovative and engaging internship and entry level programs to attract our future leaders and 2) provide best in class training and development programs to ensure our current talent resources continue to grow and our new talent we attract into the industry develops the banking skills they need for success at New Jersey banks.

Equally important to attracting and developing talent, is taking good care of our talent. NJBankers again has the answer to this challenge.  Bankers Cooperative Group, led by Matt Cooney, not only provides progressive customized solutions, they also have a unique perspective on our bank and associate bank members to provide solutions that most others can’t, simply because that are not woven into the New Jersey banking community and NJBankers.

I am grateful for the support I have received from the New Jersey banking industry for over 30 years, and humbled that I have been given the opportunity to serve this incredible and noble group.  I have had the opportunity over the last year to work closely with Mike Affuso. His passion for the association, its staff, and its membership is infectious and I’m confident under his leadership NJBankers will be our sail and New Jersey banks will thrive!