Executive Letter: Making Your Voice Heard

By Rose Oswald Poels

Communities and organizations recognize the importance of the banking industry to local economies and to the state. They understand the knowledge, perspective, and resources you and your bank bring to the table. That’s the reason so many of you are asked to serve in influential roles with these various groups.

It’s also the reason WBA is asked to represent you and the banking industry in a wide range of roles. As representatives of the broader industry in Wisconsin, WBA staff are often involved in different organizations and working groups to provide your perspective and make sure that banking’s voice is heard. I’d like to take a moment to share a few recent examples where the executive team has been in action for the industry.

Earlier this month, WBA’s Mike Semmann was invited to address the Assembly Republican Caucus on behalf of the banking industry as part of their special meeting focused on session-wrap up and the year ahead. Mike highlighted banks’ integral role in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the work Wisconsin bankers had performed in their communities on the front lines of the economy. Bankers received two rounds of applause for recognition of their involvement and work in their communities. He thanked the Representatives for their passage of the COVID-19 relief bill which was enacted last April as well as their work on other WBA-supported legislation. Lastly, he previewed several of the active and reactive legislative priorities for the upcoming 2021-22 session.

Also this month, the Marquette University Commercial Banking Advisory Board invited WBA’s Daryll Lund to join its ranks. WBA continues to be pleased to be part of this unique program designed to provide college students with specific training on banking. As an Advisory Board member, Daryll ensures that as the program continues to develop, the industry’s needs in the next generation of bankers are met within the curriculum.

Finally, last week I was invited by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to represent Wisconsin’s banking industry on a small-group panel to discuss the Fed’s CRA modernization proposal. Joining me on the panel were representatives from the Michigan and Iowa Bankers Associations, as well as former banker Joaquin Altoro, now CEO of WHEDA.  This panel provided us with a unique opportunity to provide feedback to direct questions from the Fed, while representatives from OCC and FDIC listened in, on all aspects of the Fed’s CRA advanced proposal. While formal comments are not due until February, I shared several specific thoughts and suggestions on the proposal, including noting how critical it is for all three regulators to ultimately agree to the same proposal.

This type of advocacy and engagement is part of what we do routinely each year on behalf of our members, and we look forward to continuing our proactive involvement in 2021. It truly remains our honor to represent the good work each of you do every day.

To learn more about topics like this, join WBA at our Midwest Economic Forecast Forum and our Bank Executives Conference.