Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

"If We Engage, We Will Prevail"

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

"If We Engage, We Will Prevail"

Article excerpt

Several years ago, I attended a meeting with my congressman, Frank Lucas (R-Okla.). Congressman Lucas somewhat upbraided the bankers in attendance by telling us: "You bankers are the greatest arbitragers of capital the world has ever seen. But you are going to lose the most profitable parts of your business if you don't engage in a broad way to defend your industry."

That was a real call to arms for me. From that time on, I have engaged in promoting bankers' grassroots efforts. Under former ABA Chairman Brad Rock, the ABA's grassroots efforts grew dramatically, turning out thousands of banker contacts in a very short time. Now, ABA can email a call to action and expect results immediately from bankers across the country. So, in a few years, we have come a long way. But there is more to do.

As we all know, our industry has been and is under attack from many fronts. This administration has vilified all banks. The examiners are more difficult than ever before. Finally, the economy is still very sluggish after enduring the greatest economic catastrophe since the Great Depression. The public is neither understanding of nor sympathetic to the banking industry. No ground swell of public support will emerge to mitigate Dodd-Frank or the CFPB. If they are to change, it is up to us.

We have to lead.

This year, we have undertaken an effort to reenergize and restructure our already good grassroots strategy. Jonathan Felts, ABA senior vice-president for political advocacy and grassroots, has joined us as our first ever political director. …

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