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By Rose Oswald Poels

The mission of WBA is one that could not be driven without the support it receives. The association advocates for a variety of objectives to benefit you and your communities, such as PPP deductibility, ECORA, elder fraud legislation, and so much more. Not only does this support come from the membership – the WBA staff work to support this mission as well.

Each year, WBA holds a fundraiser for Wisbankpac and Alliance of Bankers for Wisconsin (ABW), two critical methods of promoting advocacy for the Wisconsin banking industry. Ultimately, the funds raised are used to help support pro-banking political candidates that are not “D” or “R”, but “B” for the “Banking” Party.

Contributions to the ABW Conduit and Wisbankpac go a long way in the defense of our industry. ABW is WBA’s registered conduit and allows an individual banker to direct contributions to the candidate or candidates of their choosing. Wisbankpac is the registered political action committee of WBA. The committee supports pro-banking candidates in Wisconsin by pooling individual banker contributions to maximize their overall impact in the political process.

Participants who helped support this cause chose from three possible options: A specified contribution from payroll, a check made out to one of the funds, or the purchase of one or more Jeans’ Day stickers for a casual dress day at the office. As a thank you for their generosity, WBA held a Summer Olympics-themed week of competitive chair races and Olympics trivia for all staff to participate in, giving the athletes and academics their own respective chance to prevail. My race against Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff Daryll Lund did not land me on the tri-level podium, but it was an exciting day that offered great weather and good fun.

The fundraiser welcomed any amount that staff was willing to donate, but participation in this fundraiser is never required in any way. However, I could not be prouder to state that collectively, the association of 45 people raised over $9,000 to support these advocacy efforts, surpassing an initial goal of $7,000.

Thank you to all staff members who participated in this advocacy fundraiser on behalf of the association. It is through such a passionate community of bankers, WBA staff, and associate members that we are able to extend beyond these goals we set out to achieve and carry out our mission of promoting a healthy environment for banks in Wisconsin through actively advocating, educating, and supporting our members.

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Bankers Association and WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels applaud Representative Ron Kind (D-WI) on introducing a bipartisan bill, the Enhancing Credit Opportunities in Rural America (ECORA) Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 1977).

ECORA would remove the taxation on income from certain farm real estate loans that are made by financial institutions backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The removal of this taxation would reduce banks’ cost to make farm real estate loans, providing farm customers with a more competitive market for interest rates.

"WBA is proud to support the Enhancing Credit Opportunities in Rural America (ECORA) Act to provide affordable credit in rural communities," said WBA Board Chair Paul Kohler, President and CEO of Charter Bank in Eau Claire, Wis. "As we continue to face the economic impacts of the pandemic, the introduction of ECORA is especially important to support the agricultural industry with tax exemptions that farm credit institutions already receive."

Congress is in a position to help our country’s farmers by lowering the cost to acquire credit. Farm prices remain stagnant while the cost of land and farm inputs continues to rise. ECORA offers a simple solution during a time of declining farm incomes without creating new government payments or programs.

By, Cassie Krause