Bankers have been waiting a long seven years for regulatory and tax relief in the wake of Dodd-Frank's passage in the summer of 2010. In June 2010, Wisconsin had 272 headquartered banks with almost 30,000 employees. As of June 2017, there were 215 institutions with 21,000 employees. While federal regulations are not the entire reason for the decline in numbers, they are a huge part of it. Since enactment of the law, bankers have been telling Congress how much these provisions not only hurt the industry but consumers in their districts.
Political change takes time. The framers of our Constitution designed the system so it would be difficult to pass legislation in the first place. As you recall in 2010, Democrats had 58 seats in the U.S. Senate and were able to convince two Republicans from "blue states" to join in the final passage of the bill. Over the course of the last seven years, bankers from across the country have supported candidates on both sides of the aisle who are convinced changes must be made. The result of that continuous, dedicated support is in the latest deal in the U.S. Senate that already has nine Democrats supporting regulatory relief.
Your involvement in WBA's advocacy efforts is essential to passing legislation that is good for the industry. Whether it's traveling to Washington, D.C., attending Capitol Day in Madison, hosting Take Your Legislator to Work events, and/or donating to the Wisbankpac/ABW Conduit, all components of advocacy are crucial to creating the environment necessary for positive changes for the industry.
As both tax reform and regulatory relief bills work their way through the legislative process, we are going to need increased involvement from the membership in contacting our senators and your member of Congress to let them know how important these bills are for the industry and your customers—their constituents. Watch for emails and other communication from WBA for more information in the coming weeks.
Turke is WBA director – government relations.