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Executive Letter: Advocating, Educating, and Supporting Wisconsin Bankers

Rose Oswald PoelsBy Rose Oswald Poels

As WBA’s fiscal year concludes at the end of May, I am continually impressed with how bankers and WBA staff members alike take each challenge in stride. While disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic have yet to fully subside, our Association has continued its focus in promoting a healthy environment for banks in Wisconsin through actively advocating, educating, and supporting members.

In March, the Association celebrated 130 years of serving Wisconsin banks. Like it was in the first meetings of the WBA, advocacy continues to be a major focal point in our mission to support the banking industry. This year, 100 bankers from across the state attended WBA’s annual Capitol Day in Madison. Additionally, 112 banks designated Advocacy Officers to coordinate regulatory, legislative, and community advocacy efforts alongside the WBA.

With your help, 10 WBA legislative priorities or WBA-influenced bills were signed into law during the 2021–22 legislative session. WBA’s government relations team has also been busy this past fiscal year fundraising and looking ahead to the 2022 elections in Wisconsin. As of this writing, Wisconsin bankers have contributed a total of $192,193 to WBA’s political action and issue advocacy funds. Be it a donation or attendance at a public hearing, I deeply appreciate your efforts in ensuring the success of our industry!

In addition to advocating on behalf of the Wisconsin banking industry, our Association prides itself on providing bankers with in-depth and up-to-date educational opportunities. WBA offered 95 training programs and events tailored to every level of the bank this fiscal year. Of these events, 4,750 bankers were in attendance to expand their expertise and network with peers. As COVID restrictions continually loosen in the state, many WBA conferences and events have returned either in person or to a hybrid setting.

Above all, WBA’s top priority for the last 130 years has been supporting its members however possible. This year alone, nearly 1,600 bankers utilized WBA’s Legal Hotline and each day, over 2,600 bankers across the state receive the Wisconsin Banker Daily, featuring recent industry and compliance-related news, straight to their inbox.

Looking ahead to WBA’s next fiscal year, in addition to our efforts advocating and educating, WBA staff will continue to update resources and provide Wisconsin banks with the best tools for insurance, services, and products. For more information on WBA’s 2021–22 fiscal year, please look for a complete, in-depth Year in Review in the upcoming June Wisconsin Banker.

As always, I thank you for your support of WBA. Your membership continues to allow us to advocate for our industry both at the state level and in D.C., educate beginning and experienced bankers, and provide resources for all areas of the bank. Invoices for the new fiscal year dues will arrive in the mail by the beginning of June. If you have any questions or concerns about your membership, please do not hesitate to contact me.