Let’s Take Last Week’s Convention Energy to Washington

PM1_8922ICBA’s national convention is always an incredible experience. If you haven’t witnessed nearly 3,000 members of the community banking industry in the same place at the same time, you should make a point to do so at least once in your career.

But there was something special about this year’s convention. There was a feeling, despite all the regulatory and policy hardships facing community banks, that we are on the cusp of some truly positive breakthroughs.

You could hear it on the floor of the Expo, and at the educational workshops, and at the general session speeches. I could very well feel it from the stage—that community bankers are energized and ready to make real and positive change in Washington.

As I said to the audience from the podium, the community banking industry has made important strides in recent months, from ensuring community bank representation on the Federal Reserve Board to singlehandedly getting the administrator of the Libor index to waive new fees. What was special this year was the supreme confidence I felt from our members that we can continue to build on these successes to more fully establish tiered regulations that will preserve our nation’s community banking tradition.

In my general session speech, I said we cannot rest upon these successes, because our communities and our country depend on us to continue promoting local economic growth and opportunity. The community bank message to Washington is simple: let us do our jobs, so we can continue to help our communities thrive. We owe it not just to ourselves to keep up the fight, but to our friends and neighbors and families back home.

That is why ICBA’s upcoming Washington Policy Summit is so important. It will allow community bankers from across the country to harness the energy we felt in Orlando and take our regulatory relief message to the people who make the policies we live by.

I encourage every community banker to come to the nation’s capital for ICBA’s April 28-30 summit. Because if there’s anything as powerful as an ICBA convention, it’s watching a legion of community bankers gather on Capitol Hill to make positive change on behalf of hometowns and local communities across America.

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