Washington, D.C. (Dec. 2, 2021) — Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey and ICBA Group Executive Vice President of Congressional Relations and Strategy Paul Merski are featured on The Hill’s 2021 list of the top influencers in the nation. This is the fourth consecutive appearance for both Romero Rainey, who assumed the role of ICBA’s top lobbyist in May 2018, and for ICBA congressional relations team leader Paul Merski.
“Representing the nation’s community banks and being recognized by The Hill for ICBA’s efforts to advance pro-community bank policies is a privilege, particularly with so many pressing advocacy issues before Washington policymakers,” Romero Rainey said. “As a former community banker, I am honored to represent our industry and our members, who have showcased their resiliency and strength throughout the pandemic to support small businesses and local communities nationwide.”
A third-generation community banker born and raised in Taos, N.M., Romero Rainey is the former chairman and CEO of Centinel Bank of Taos. Upon graduating from Wellesley College, she returned home to Taos with the dream of continuing her family’s business of running the town’s only local community bank.
She served in several ICBA volunteer leadership capacities, including ICBA chairman, before assuming the role of ICBA president and CEO in 2018, when the nation’s community banks achieved substantial regulatory relief with the landmark passage of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155).
Merski has more than 30 years of experience in legislative and economic policy development and analysis for some of the most prominent organizations in Washington, D.C. Before joining ICBA, Merski served on Capitol Hill as the chief economist for the Joint Economic Committee and as senior tax and banking policy adviser to Sen. Connie Mack (R-Fla.).
Merski also was director of fiscal policy for Citizens for a Sound Economy, director of fiscal affairs for the Tax Foundation, and an economist for the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.
“I share this honor with Rebeca and ICBA’s entire congressional and government relations team,” Merski said. “Working in step with our state allies and volunteer bankers, we have ensured the positive story of community banking resonated with elected officials, driving meaningful legislation for the benefit of local communities.”
ICBA and community banker-led outreach was instrumental this year in:
The Independent Community Bankers of America® creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. ICBA is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education, and high-quality products and services.
With nearly 50,000 locations nationwide, community banks constitute 99 percent of all banks, employ more than 700,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in three U.S. counties. Holding more than $5.8 trillion in assets, over $4.8 trillion in deposits, and more than $3.5 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community, community banks channel local deposits into the Main Streets and neighborhoods they serve, spurring job creation, fostering innovation and fueling their customers’ dreams in communities throughout America. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org.