Individual Bankers' Voices Essential to Industry Success

All the pieces are on the board, and now it's time to play. 

Our industry expended a lot of time and effort last year to help get pro-banking candidates elected to office in November, with a stunning level of success. However, the work is far from over. 

The political climate in Madison and Washington, D.C. is ripe for pro-banking action, but it will take dedication and steady communication from individual bankers in order to see traction on priority items such as regulatory relief and meaningful tax reform for our industry. Now that the candidates have taken office, they need to hear from their constituents—you—that they're moving in the right direction, because they're already hearing from those who want them to change direction.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, members of Congress have been getting so many calls in the opening days of the Trump Administration that some constituents are complaining they can't get through to their lawmakers. The article provides anecdotal evidence that the largest uptick in complaint calls have come from primarily Democratic districts. In addition, both the Washington Post and The Hill have reported that the two Republican senators voting "no" against Trump's education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos cite constituent calls as a reason for their decision. Wisconsin bankers will have to get loud with their grassroots advocacy efforts in order to be heard on the issues that matter most to our industry.

So what can you do to help WBA's advocacy efforts on behalf of the industry succeed? In two words: Get Involved. Below are five actions you can take this year to promote our industry to lawmakers in Madison and Washington, D.C.:

1)    Learn about the issues: WBA's website and various electronic publications like The Pundit provide a wealth of information about advocacy topics relevant to banking; make use of that information and learn about the issues. 

2)    Attend WBA advocacy events: Beginning this month, WBA is hosting and/or organizing several advocacy-related events, including trips to Washington, D.C. and the annual Capitol Day in Madison. Please consider participating in one or more of these events. 

3)    Contact your representatives: It's one of the most powerful and effective ways to make yourself heard. When you call a legislator's office, the staffer will record your comments and stance on particular issues. Lawmakers often consider the tallies before voting on those issues. 

4)    Contribute: Your monetary support of pro-banking candidates through either of WBA's political action funds goes a long way toward helping our industry in the advocacy arena by getting candidates elected who will listen to our side of the story. 

5)    Speak up: Spread the word about political involvement to your staff, directors and customers. Let them know how to make their voices heard and why it's important for them to speak up.