We’re asking for your help to advance Wisconsin’s banking industry and to provide a leadership experience for one of your bankers by signing up a member of your team to be a WBA Advocacy Officer. Last October, the WBA Board named the Advocacy Officer program as one of its strategic priorities. It’s a great way to deepen the engagement and participation of the banking industry in legislative and community advocacy with direct benefits to your bank. You’ll be joining 90 banks that have already named someone.

Have someone in mind at your bank or at least know you want to appoint someone? Let us know! Email Jon Turke or Mike Semmann to get your name on the list.

What is an Advocacy Officer?

The Advocacy Officer is a volunteer position coordinating regulatory, legislative, and community advocacy efforts for the bank by working with the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA). The Advocacy Officer works with other bankers, WBA staff, state, local, and federal levels of government, and other state or national trade groups.

Appointing an Advocacy Officer has Advantages for your Bank.

An Advocacy Officer helps your bank and the industry by providing action and input on legislative and regulatory policy items as well as strategic direction and assistance to the WBA Government Relations Committee. As part of the job, the Advocacy Officer may read articles, perform research, manage internal and external communication, contact legislators, and work with community leaders as well as others in the bank.

Similar to the WBA BOLT Section, these bankers have special opportunities for peer networking, educational growth, and leadership development. For example, this past February, former banker and current state Representative Terry Katsma addressed an advocacy officer dinner highlighting banking policy at the state level.

Being an Advocacy Officer is Easy and Comes With a Solid ROI on Time.

  • Advocacy Officers receive insider information about Madison and Washington, D.C. as well as what’s going on in Wisconsin’s economy and the banking industry (just one email per week – that’s it).
  • An Advocacy Officer receives information on the best ways to inform bank staff about key industry developments and hold no-cost events that promote the bank and the industry.
  • An Advocacy Officer is asked to be out of the bank only one day per year at the WBA Capitol Day (just like members of the WBA BOLT section).

Who Should be the Advocacy Officer at my Bank?

The typical background for this position usually includes someone who has an interest in public policy, a strong understanding of the banking industry (compliance, credit, external relations, etc.), the ability to speak for the bank on matters of regulatory or public policy, and has a fairly flexible schedule that is at their own discretion.

WBA Pro-tip: If you have someone signed up for the BOLT program, name them as your Advocacy Officer! A CEO can definitely be the Advocacy Officer, but your time is valuable, so maybe give someone a leadership opportunity!

What are the Main Expectations of an Advocacy Officer?

  • Keep informed of legislative and governmental issues that impact both the bank and the banking industry.
  • Communicate quarterly (optimally) with the bank’s Board of Directors and Officers on state, local and national issues impacting the industry.
  • Coordinate at least one “Take Your Legislator to Work” event annually.
  • Participate in the annual Capitol Day hosted by the Wisconsin Bankers Association.
  • Coordinate annual fundraising activities for the WBA’s ABW and Wisbank PAC for the bank’s Board of Directors, Officers, and Employees.
  • Contact both state and federal legislators on emerging issues and encourage other bank personnel to do the same.
  • Be the liaison within the bank for communication of WBA advocacy actions and initiatives to bank officers and board. Any other duties as assigned by the bank President/CEO.

Turke is WBA director – government relations.