ICBA Polling on Strong Community Bank Favorability Fuels Successful Capital Summit

By Rebeca Romero Rainey

May 19, 2022

After two years of virtual grassroots advocacy, the 2022 ICBA Capital Summit brought community bankers back to the nation’s capital for both in-person and virtual meetings with congressional offices. To support community banker meetings with policymakers on top industry issues, ICBA released new polling data affirming the industry’s strong public favorability at the state and national levels.

Public Support for Community Banks

Available on ICBA’s new “Public Opinion of Community Banks” dashboard—which allows policymakers, the press, and the public to view data in all 50 states—the polling conducted by Morning Consult found strong public sentiment in favor of local banking.

Among its findings, the polling found:

  • More than three in four U.S. adults say locally based lending decisions are important when determining where to bank.
  • 69% of U.S. adults cited the importance of banking with a locally based financial institution.
  • 70% cited the importance of personal banking relationships.
  • 89% said it is important that their institution is part of the regulated banking system.
  • 61% said it is important that their financial institution does not receive taxpayer subsidies—raising questions about public support for credit unions’ tax and regulatory exemptions.

The data—which community bankers can share with their elected officials and local communities—also show the positive public reception of community bank leadership in small-business and agricultural lending, including industry-leading Paycheck Protection Program lending to women-owned, minority-owned, and veteran-owned small businesses.

Keeping Up the Grassroots Pressure

This strong public support for community banking proved essential during this year’s Capital Summit, which featured community banker meetings guided by ICBA’s 2022 Policy Resolutions.

ICBA community bankers held hundreds of meetings with congressional offices in addition to breakout sessions with federal regulators, including FDIC Acting Chairman Martin Gruenberg, Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael Hsu, and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra.

While the community banking industry’s positive reputation helps ensure our voices are heard, community bankers must continue speaking out given the many critical advocacy challenges we face. Fortunately, ICBA helps keep the conversation going with our Be Heard grassroots action center, which offers customizable messages to policymakers on SBA direct lending, credit unions, tax relief under the ECORA Act, and more.

As I told community bankers gathered at the summit, the banking and policy landscape is rapidly changing, but we will succeed and ensure the future of community banking burns bright by remaining focused on the value of relationship banking. By staying centered on our industry’s community-centric business model and nonpartisan, common-sense solutions, we can achieve our policy goals—while preserving our strong public favorability among Americans nationwide.