Magazine article Independent Banker

August Advantage

Magazine article Independent Banker

August Advantage

Article excerpt

ommunity bankers who have their legislators' ears enjoy more support and achieve more progress on issues that matter to them than those who don't. However, it takes work to gain and retain congressional attention. The August recess, when legislators return to their hometowns, presents a prime opportunity to create and nurture these valuable relationships.

This year, Teresa Taylor, executive director of Independent Banks of South Carolina (IBSC), arranged meetings for IBSC member community bankers with five congressmen from their federal delegation: Sen. Lindsey Graham, Rep. Jeff Duncan, Rep. Tom Rice, Rep. Jim Clyburn and Rep. Joe Wilson. A handful of community bankers attended each meeting, and several attended more than one.

Among the community bankers was Russell Laffitte, COO of Palmetto State Bank, a $550 million-asset bank in Hampton, S.C. Of principal concern for Laffitte and other attending bankers was an extension or replacement of the Flood Insurance Act, particularly in light of the extensive flooding that has affected South Carolina over the past two years.

Discussions also centered on support of the Clear Relief Act, concern over the HMDA expansion and the challenges of helping customers while complying with data reporting requirements set by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

"It's important for us to remind [members of Congress] that our banks want to help the consumers and that regulatory burdens hamper that ability," IBSC's Taylor says.

The community bankers opted not to raise the issue of credit unions' power grab, a decision Laffitte believes was correct. …

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