The Wisconsin Congressional Delegation gave Wisconsin's banking industry a loud and clear message last week in Washington DC: Step up your game! Given the healthcare legislation meltdown in the U.S. House of Representatives last week, it would behoove all bankers to listen as the industry can't afford the same result on financial regulatory reform.

Last week, 25 Wisconsin bankers attended the WBA Washington Conference, held in conjunction with the ABA GR Summit. This was a historic event as a record number of bankers (nearly 1,500 from all 50 states) attended this event. Members lobbied the Wisconsin Congressional Delegation on "Tailored" regulation and the CHOICE Act, repealing the Durbin Amendment on interchange caps, Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act, support for Thrifts and Mutual banks, transparent examinations and tax reform. This ABA created "leave behind" highlights the issues bankers addressed and the talking points used to support the industry's position.

All attendees heard from Financial Services Chairman Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) on the CHOICE Act and from other members of Congress on the current legislative dynamnics and what leadership on both sides of the aisle hope to acheive and how bankers should manage expectiations.

At the same time, attendees repeatedly heard the same message from members of Congress: We need to hear from you! Many industries and groups see the opportunities that this session presents to them. As their outreach efforts increase, it is necessary for bankers to do the same or be lost in the shuffle. 

During a dinner for Wisconsin attendees, they specifically heard former U.S. Solicitor General and Wisconsin native, Paul Clement discuss U.S. Supreme Court dynamics and dissect the hearings on the appointment of Paul Gorsuch to the Court. Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee) also spoke at dinner and addressed the CFPB and regulatory issues.

The WBA BOLT (Building Our Leaders of Tomorrow) section had a strong presence at the Washington Conference this year as Leif Christianson, Peoples State Bank, Wausau and Troy Bartoshevich, Park Bank, Milwaukee both were selected for a scholarship. The scholarship was awarded by WBA and ABA for them to attend the ABA Emerging Leaders Forum in addition to the Washington Conference.

It is critical on both the Federal and State levels that bankers be heard in 2017. WBA members have two opportunities to lend their voices to this effort in the next few months.

On the federal level, the ICBA Washington Policy Summit will be held April 30 - May 3, 2017 which WBA staff will be attending. WBA members are encouraged to participate by registering here.

WBA will also host its annual Capitol Day on May 10. At this event, bankers will meet face-to-face with legislators and their staff to illustrate how Wisconsin's banks are helping Wisconsin's economy, business and communities. Registration is complimentary and available by clicking here.

Thank you to the following WBA members who attended the WBA Washington Conference!

Wisconsin Delegation Attendee List

Troy Bartoshevich
Park Bank, Milwaukee

Michael Boettcher
First National Bank-Fox Valley, Neenah

Leif Christianson
Peoples State Bank, Wausau

Michael DeLong
First Bank of Baldwin

Nikos Efthimiou
East Wisconsin Savings Bank, Kaukauna

Cynthia Erdman
Partnership Bank, Tomah

Morgan Farmer
Park Bank, Holmen

Dave Feldhaus
Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago

Brooke Frehse
The Stephenson National Bank & Trust, Marinette

Rachel Goodell
Unity Bank, Augusta

Corey Hoze
Associated Bank, Milwaukee

Sharon Kirsh
Horicon Bank

Gary Kuter
Capitol Bank, Madison

Jay McKenna
North Shore Bank FSB, Brookfield

Donna Oathout
American National Bank, Beaver Dam

John Oathout
American National Bank, Beaver Dam

Tom Pamperin
Premier Community Bank, Marion

Dan Peterson
The Stephenson National Bank & Trust, Marinette

Peter Prickett
First National Bank-Fox Valley, Neenah

Elisa Rollo
Stephenson National Bank & Trust, Marinette

Charlie Schmalz
East Wisconsin Savings Bank, Kaukauna

Jeff Schmid
Fox River State Bank, Burlington

Dan Shepard
Waukesha State Bank

Keith Shepard
Waukesha State Bank

WBA Staff Participants

Rose Oswald Poels
Mike Semmann