Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Helping Lawmakers Succeed

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Helping Lawmakers Succeed

Article excerpt

YOU DON'T HAVE to run for political office--or even work on a campaign, as I and many of you likely have--to know that it is demanding and tedious work that requires tremendous commitment, stamina and patience. And while winning is the goal, it's also only the beginning. About an hour after the toast to celebrate a candidate's election, the really hard work begins.

The more than 50 new members being sworn into Congress in January have spent the days since Nov. 8 transitioning from their previous lives, jobs and homes to their new positions, weighted with their own expectations and those of their constituents. No doubt they all want to succeed and do right by their communities. Knowing this--and believing it--is the first step in helping them do so.

As bankers, we might sometimes wonder if Washington is aligned against us. We've seen enough ill-fitting regulations and heard enough bank-bashing to think policymakers just don't get us--in fact don't even like us. But really, our interests and those of our elected officials are remarkably in tune. We both need and want the communities, families and businesses we serve to thrive economically. It's a fundamental mission we share. Sometimes we just need to remind them and demonstrate this inextricable linkage between the common good and our own success.

The best way to do this sort of dot-connecting is through in-person meetings. That's why ABA hosts a "freshman fly-in" at the beginning of each congress, encouraging bankers with newly elected senators and representatives to visit them in their Washington offices, introduce themselves and establish their bank as a source of reliable information on banking and economic issues.

It's also why more and more bankers are hosting their lawmakers at their banks, where they can introduce them to staff and customers who can act as witnesses to how important banks are to their communities, how they operate and how policies play out back home. …

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