Grassroots lobbying is a powerful tool capable of producing tangible results for the community banking industry.
Nothing is more effective in terms of industry advocacy than a community banker relationship with a legislator. By building a relationship with your senators and representative, you are a key component to ICBA’s legislative and regulatory efforts. When a lawmaker has a question about the financial services industry, you or someone at your bank should be their first call.
Facetime is important. By setting up in-district meetings, attending town halls, or inviting your lawmaker to your bank you will build a relationship over time. Be a good corporate citizen of your local community and consider hosting a fundraiser for a legislator or contributing directly to their campaign.
Communicate the Main Street perspective to your legislator. Nobody knows your customers and business better than you. Don’t be a pest, but be persistent. Making regular contact with your lawmakers and staff will ensure that you become a trusted resource on issues related to community banking. Personal visits in-district or in Washington, particularly during ICBA’s annual Capital Summit, personal phone calls with legislators and their staff, emails, and ICBA calls to action are all great ways to keep in touch and make sure your lawmaker knows how policy issues affect you and your customers. Every point of contact should include a direct ask for co-sponsorship or a yes/no vote on a particular piece of legislation.