Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Unity Wins the Wars

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Unity Wins the Wars

Article excerpt

When former NBC News anchorman Tom Brokaw spoke at our ABA convention in October, he made me think anew about some of the struggles our country has faced and what it takes to win.

Brokaw's book, The Greatest Generation, tells the heroic story of those who won World War II. They often fought hedgerow to hedgerow, moving forward bit by bit, and taking enemy territory piece by piece.

That was a time of extraordinary unity for our country. And that's what it took to win World War II.

I find some essential analogies in that era for ABA, as we push forward on our legislative agenda.

The first is unity. The only way our industry can win regulatory relief is by presenting a united front to members of Congress. To disparage one bank is to disparage the industry.

Members of Congress will listen to a united industry. We lost too many battles in the Dodd-Frank debate because we were divided. But we showed what unity can do when we nearly stopped the Durbin amendment on interchange last year.

Our unified industry won an overwhelming victory in November, when the House voted 420-2 for an ABA-backed bill to raise the current 500-shareholder threshold for SEC registration to 2,000 for banks and bank holding companies. ABA is pushing for passage of a companion bill in the Senate, S. 556.

A second analogy: the willingness to fight hedgerow to hedgerow--or in legislative terms, bill by bill.

ABA has been working on an increase in shareholder threshold since 2005. …

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