All Politics Is Local

By Fine, Camden R. | Independent Banker, May 2006 | Go to article overview

All Politics Is Local


Fine, Camden R., Independent Banker


Community bankers know that their success depends upon developing and building relationships-whether with service providers, shareholders, employees, customers or the broader communities in which they operate. In the community banking world, success ultimately hinges on personal relationships with our customers and fellow workers.

This same principle applies to the public policy process of our great American democracy. It works best when elected and appointed officials, who create our laws and regulations, fully understand those who are affected by their actions.

This month more than 300 community bankers from throughout the United States will travel to Washington, D.C. As industry leaders, these community bankers are gathering for ICBA's annual Joint Committee Meetings. Not only will they be stating the views and policy positions of the community banking industry to policymakers on Capitol Hill and at the banking agencies, they will also be strengthening their individual relationships with their members of Congress.

Relationship building begins at home, or as the late Tip O'Neil said, "all politics is local." Yes, it's important for ICBA's leadership bankers to meet with their representatives when in the nation's capital, but that kind of access starts by initiating and nurturing a relationship in the home district.

Of course, ICBA's government relations staff is instrumental to the process. Nurturing and maneuvering legislation and regulations through Washington's often Byzantine public policy channels demands a team of full-time watchdogs. This point was underscored in last year's American Banker survey that rated ICBA as the industry's most effective advocate in Washington.

But no national association can be really effective without its members' grassroots involvement. …

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