Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Relationship Building 101

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Relationship Building 101

Article excerpt

REGARDLESS OF HOW LONG YOU have held your current job, you probably remember well what it felt like your first day. New responsibilities. New co-workers. A little anxiety. A desire to make a difference.

You probably also remember the people who welcomed you. Whether they introduced you to others or simply offered themselves as a resource, the hospitality they showed surely made a good impression. It also may have launched a positive, long-lasting relationship.

Bankers have an opportunity to do something similar for some very important people. With relatively new leaders at the bank regulatory agencies, 62 new members of Congress, the changeover in leadership on Capitol Hill, and the start of a fresh state legislative season, relationship building should be at the top of every banker's to-do list.

Good working relationships help decision-makers translate theoretical policies into practical, effective solutions. And the level of practicality in any legislation or rule can make all the difference to an industry as heavily regulated as ours.

That's exactly the idea behind the "freshmen fly-in" that ABA hosted in January. ABA wanted bankers to be among the first to welcome the 55 new members of the House of Representatives and seven freshmen Senators (ten if you count the three who previously served in the House), and to introduce the members to banking issues.

Relationship building is also what the Direct Contact Banker program is all about. ABA launched this new grassroots network last fall, with a goal of enlisting bankers who either had or were willing to build quality relationships with their legislators.

Bankers who have signed on with the program view political action as a core part of their jobs--a responsibility they have to protect their institutions and, by extension, their communities, and industry. …

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