By Rose Oswald Poels
Grassroots advocacy is a fundamental aspect of WBA’s efforts in supporting the industry, and your involvement is critical to the success of our advocacy priorities. As very few legislators have experience in banking, bankers are looked upon as trusted members of the communities our elected officials represent and are essential in conveying the impact legislative proposals will have on your community, bank, and industry.
In not only wrapping up the 2023–24 legislative session, but looking ahead to the elections later this year, it is vital that all bankers remain proactive in making their voices heard on issues impacting our institutions. The last year has seen significant success — especially at the state level — and we must keep this momentum going to ensure that our industry’s concerns are addressed and understood by policymakers.
On Thursday, February 22, 2024, the Association’s first advocacy event of the year — Capitol Day — will bring together banking advocates from across Wisconsin at the State Capitol. With so many key initiatives that we wish to accomplish, including guarding against changes to credit card swipe fees and pushing for financial institution modernization and elder fraud protection, it’s important that bankers utilize this invaluable opportunity to meet face to face with their representatives.
Capitol Day is also a great way for all bankers to expand their experience as advocates. In 2023, nearly half those present during the event were first-time attendees. In emphasizing the key issues impacting banks in Wisconsin and providing insight into the political and policy landscape of the state, you and your team will gain updates from the WBA Government Relations team as well as hear from a legislative panel and guest speaker to ensure confidence going into the small group meetings that WBA will arrange with state legislators determined by Assembly and Senate district.
Additionally, WBA will once again host two Washington Trips to meet with our congressional delegation — one in conjunction with the American Bankers Association (ABA) and the other in conjunction with the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA).
Regardless of your bank’s membership in either national trade group, all WBA members are welcome and invited to attend either (or both) the WBA/ABA Washington Summit on March 18–20, 2024 in Washington, D.C. and the WBA/ICBA Capital Summit, which will take place April 28–May 1, 2024. During each of these two trips, bankers can expect to hear from a variety of speakers as well as make trips to Capitol Hill that WBA will arrange to visit with those in our congressional delegation. Please let me know if you are interested in attending one of these two key summits at your earliest convenience.
Bankers are instrumental in amplifying the value of our industry and demonstrating how public policy impacts a bank’s ability to aid in the economic growth and vitality of their community. The Association is your partner in assisting your bank in its grassroots involvement and uniting the voices of all bankers in Wisconsin for the betterment of the industry. Thank you for your dedication to advancing the interests of the banking sector; I hope to see you and/or other members of your team this spring either at the State Capitol in Madison or on the Hill in D.C.