Engage Your Lawmakers and Invite Them to Your Community Bank
Step 1 - Submit a Formal Request
Whether an event is scheduled in Washington or back home, your lawmaker’s scheduler in the Washington office is likely the gatekeeper. You can identify your lawmaker’s scheduler in the Find Your Legislators Directory.
Many lawmakers provide an online “Meeting Request” form on their individual website that can be used in place of a faxed request. Visit www.house.gov or www.senate.gov to find your lawmaker’s individual site and determine if this is an option. If not, ICBA strongly recommends that you fax the request to your lawmaker’s office. It will be received and submitted for consideration much quicker than a mailed letter. After a reasonable amount of time to accommodate transmission, call the scheduler to confirm receipt of the request.
Step 2 - Secure the Meeting
Over the coming days or weeks, the scheduler will work with you to arrange a mutually agreeable time for the meeting to occur. Reaffirm to the scheduler that you would like for your lawmaker to visit the bank, discuss how it operates in the current regulatory environment, and learn ways in which the lawmaker can actively help. The more specific you can be about who will be in attendance, what will be discussed, and why you would like to meet with the lawmaker, the more likely the request will be approved.
Step 3 - Notify ICBA and Your Community Banking Colleagues
As soon as you have confirmed a meeting with a lawmaker, or one of their staff, please email all relevant details to John Coleman. This will ensure you have all the support and resources you need; whether providing one-pagers on the current top issues affecting your community bank, offering data showing the community bank impact in the state or district, or having an ICBA lobbyist call in to the meeting to help discuss a technical policy question, ICBA will fully support your advocacy efforts. Finally, share the opportunity with your colleagues. There is strength (and influence) in numbers. Personally reach out to your fellow community bankers nearby and invite them to attend.
Step 4 - Use ICBA as a Follow-Up Resource
Hosting a meeting with your lawmaker is invaluable exposure for lawmakers to our unique issues, but it is equally invaluable to report back on the meeting's details to John Coleman. For instance, perhaps the lawmaker requested specific information that could not be provided during the course of the meeting. Maybe he or she agreed to cosponsor a particular bill and ICBA should reach out to the lawmaker’s staffer to ensure that happens.
You are already reallocating time and attention from running your community bank to meet with your lawmaker. Pass the baton to ICBA and let us know what needs to be done to further promote the value of community banking to the lawmaker. Your role as a constituent community banker is to show-and-tell, so let ICBA tie up any loose ends afterward.
Step 5 - Fill out a Congressional Meeting Report Form