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Advocacy Updates from WBA’s Government Relations Team

Wisconsin state capital building view from above

Rose Oswald PoelsBy Rose Oswald Poels

In all facets, 2021 has been a busy year for WBA. Between keeping up with COVID-19 regulations and providing up-to-date resources for our member banks, WBA staff have worked tirelessly to advocate for the banks which our association serves.

Our government relations team has had a particularly busy fall from a policy perspective and so we decided to create periodic videos to keep you, your staff, and your board of directors easily (and quickly) informed not only on what is occurring in the industry but also how these key issues impact Wisconsin banks.

On October 6, WBA and 87 member banks joined in opposition of the Credit Union Legislation (AB 478/SB 451) which would provide credit unions with even more tools to grow beyond the intention of their original chartered mission much to the detriment of Wisconsin’s taxpaying banks and citizens. The grassroots involvement by bankers from around the state that signed on to the letter as well as appeared in person at the hearing allowed us to stop the bill’s current progression, though the work is certainly not done yet. It is because of your engagement that WBA is able to effectively fight against threats to our industry. In taking time out of your day to meet with legislators, they become more informed about the issues that impact us the most.

Twice in the fall session, banks have faced threats related to interchange/credit card swipe fees which call for the prohibition of interchange fees on the tax portion of a transaction. WBA successfully opposed this from being included into the state budget but have and will continue to oppose it as a standalone bill (AB 587/SB 572) as brought forth by the retail coalition.

While both of these bills will remain on our radar as we look onward into 2022, through the efforts of WBA and its member banks, each bill has only been heard by the Assembly Committee of Financial Institutions. It remains important for us to maintain momentum with our legislators until the sessions on each of these bills expires early next year.

Please share this inaugural video with your staff and Board so that they are informed of the top state legislative issues affecting banks. We plan to continue to produce the advocacy-focused videos periodically throughout the year to share both policy and political updates. Thank you again for your active engagement on policy issues as we navigate the next several months of the legislative session. Your voice on behalf of the industry leaves lasting impacts on legislators and doesn’t go unnoticed.