May 2018

Message from our Board Chair

I am heading to La Vista, Nebraska, this weekend for the HCI Advisory Board meeting where we will  review the results of this year's conference and begin the planning process for another wonderful HCI experience.
This will be my last year to sit on this board.  It has been my privilege to serve as the chair for six of the seven years that I have served on the board of this amazing organization.  HCI was f ounded in 1980 by First Citizens National Bank, and it remains the only bank club organization exclusively for community bank club members.  Its goal is to improve their knowledge in banking and travel, so that they become stronger and more vibrant.

HCI's uniqueness includes:
  • Membership of Non-competing banks
  • The only Certification program in North America
  • Networking and Peer Programs including:
    • Annual Peer Group Conference        
      • March 11-15, 2019 La Vista, NE (Omaha)
    • Annual Fall Forum Training
      • November 2, 2018 Dubuque, IA
  • Preferred Travel Partner Members
  • Member-Only Best Practice resources
If you are not yet a member, don't wait to join.  You're missing out on some great bank club education and partnerships. 
Learn more  and join today by contacting Tina Goeske at 952-835-6543.

Val Kelsey, CBCD  

The 2018 Peer Group Wrap Up Newsletter is now available

Remember the fun of the Branson conference when you read the conference review newsletter and view the photos.  Read it Now

We also have a web page dedicated to this year's event with a summary and slide show.  Go to the site 
Enjoy the memories!!

Member Spotlight: Connie Francis
American Trust & Savings Bank
Dubuque, IA 

Connie Francis is the new club director of the AmeriClub at American Trust & Savings Bank in Dubuque, Iowa.  She started the job in September 2017.  She says, "When I interviewed for the role of club director, my first question was, 'How am I going to learn the travel part of this job?'" Julia (Terwilleger) replied, "Your personality is a perfect fit, and we can teach you the rest. We are members of Heritage Clubs International, and they will play a huge part in the process." "So, from the minute I got the job," says Connie, "I knew HCI would be very important on my journey to becoming a successful club director."

Connie had the huge advantage of training with the former club director Julia Terwilleger for five months before Julia retired in February. She feels very blessed to have had that time with her to learn the ropes; plus, Julia is still available for Connie to reach out to for help if she gets in a pinch.

Connie's biggest challenge as a new club director has been learning to live life a year or more in advance. After having worked in traditional banking for 30 years where life was pretty much managed from month to month, she says, "I sometimes find myself wondering what year it is now!" Planning club events so far in the future takes a little getting used to, but it makes for great trips that are anticipated for a long time.

Her club members have been amazingly supportive of Connie in her new role, giving suggestions and feedback to assist her in the transition. She says that it has been very smooth. Even if they have felt that Julia did it better, they have been gracious enough to not say so. "They have just embraced me", she says, and she thanks Julia for paving the way for her.

HCI has already become extremely important to Connie. She says, "I have HCI on a pedestal. I think you're an amazing organization, and I thought Peer Group was wonderful." She was pleasantly surprised by how inclusive the other club directors were. "I couldn't believe how many people invited me to join them at a meal or to sit by them at an educational session. They valued my opinions even though I don't have nearly the experience that they do. They were so understanding." The other thing that surprised her was the benefit of having the HCI Travel Partners with all of the various offers and opportunities that they provided. An important benefit of HCI that gives Connie peace of mind is the fact that the PTOs are vetted to ensure financial stability. "When you're writing large checks a year in advance, it is reassuring to know that they have a solid reputation and will be around when it's time to travel with them."

Partner Profile: Hospitality Tours

When Lisa Thompson from Kaw Valley State bank in Wamego, KS was planning a trip to New York City, she called Ted Nelson of Hospitality Tours.

"Hospitality Tours is a great company to work with. I was able to work with Ted from the beginning for our trip to New York. We got an added bonus of having Ted as our Guide in New York City. He was very knowledgeable and we had a fantastic trip!!"

And when  Becky Custer from First National Bank of Griffin, GA worked with Hospitality Tours on recent trip to Niagara Falls she reported:   "Ted is easy to work with and provided a great customized tour for my group. Our guide was local and provided a most memorable experience for everyone."

Cindy Blaine from Farmers Savings Bank & Trust in Traer, IA really appreciated the way Hospitality Tours has the connections to network with other HCI banks to keep costs low and make sure trips don't cancel.

"Ted makes it easy to network with other banks because of the invoicing and gives a price break based on total number of customers (the combination from both banks) for the trip, and just what each bank has traveling."

These comments and many more from HCI bank club directors reveal what Hospitality Tours has been doing for 37 years for more than 125 Heritage Club Banks:
  • Deep local knowledge of the trips they plan
  • Customized itineraries specializing in bank club travel
  • Easy networking with other HCI banks
  • Great local guides
Hospitality Tours only focuses on the Northeast United States and Eastern Canada. It is a small enough area to know intimately and yet large enough to have many world class destinations in that little corner of North America such as:
  • New England
  • Cape Cod
  • New York
  • The Hudson River Valley
  • Washington DC
  • Pennsylvania Dutch
  • Niagara Falls
  • Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec
This year at Peer Group, Hospitality Tours sponsored a dinner with their partners The Shrines of Quebec. Ted did a beautiful presentation on touring in Montreal and Quebec City featuring five of Canada's great Shrines. They are looking forward to bringing many HCI bank clubs to see these magnificent edifices of faith.
Ted Nelson Crop
Ted feels his relationship with Heritage Clubs is special in his business and his life:

"HCI has been an important part of our business for more than 23 years. These bank clubs are unique in the travel industry in the level of care they have for their members and their willingness to offer exciting travel with innovative itineraries and great experiences that many groups don't bother to include. We love our relationship with so many of the Club Directors and are very proud to have been one of the first Preferred Tour Operators of HCI in 1995."

You can reach Ted at  or 800-966-1331.

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