Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Help Us Help U.S

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Help Us Help U.S

Article excerpt

HELP ME HELP you. That's not only one of several memorable lines made famous by the movie Jerry Maguire. It's also the essence of the message ABA has sent to our nation's elected leaders. In a letter to President Donald Trump the day after his election, and in our communications with the 115th Congress, ABA has asked policymakers to help us help them achieve our shared goals for a vibrant and growing economy

Our message is a reflection of who we are and what we do. Banks don't make widgets. We make loans--with some $8 trillion worth currently on banks' books. And loans by their definition help to expand the financial capacity of our customers, enabling a family to build wealth through homeownership, a farmer to buy new technology or equipment to increase yields, or a small business to grow and hire more employees.

Banks also are in the security business--safeguarding $12 trillion in deposits, keeping customers' personal financial information secure and ensuring the timely delivery of more than $150 trillion worth of payments. Put these core functions together, add in the many other money management services banks offer, and you've got an industry whose very mission is creating prosperity.

In addition, the tangible and intangible benefits to America's hometowns through banks' donations and volunteerism make a dramatic impact on their viability and vitality that is difficult to quantify, but easily seen.

When banks appeal to policymakers for help, we do so on behalf of their constituents--and our customers, clients and communities. That should make it easier to get to "yes," but sometimes it's not just in what we say, but how we say it. And what we focus on--our customers and communities or our bottom line.

ABA's Government Relations Council and Board of Directors considered this when we met in December to set our policy priorities for 2017. We talked about the importance of telling lawmakers and regulators not what banks want but what those whom we represent need. We outlined what we are for, not what we are against. …

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