Everyone Has a Place to Use Their Voice
From paBanker Magazine's 2019 Q1 Edition: Volume 21.1
“ADVOCACY MEANS HAVING A CAUSE THAT YOU CARE DEEPLY ABOUT, ENOUGH SO THAT YOU MAKE IT A PRIORITY TO REPRESENT THAT CAUSE WHEN POSSIBLE…BEING WILLING TO EDUCATE OTHERS AROUND YOU, SO THEY TOO CAN UNDERSTAND WHY FIGHTING FOR THE CAUSE IS SO IMPORTANT AND THAT EVERYONE HAS A PLACE TO USE THEIR VOICE.” -PA BANKERS MEMBER
PA Bankers recently conducted an advocacy audit, asking members to take a brief survey to establish a baseline understanding of how comfortable you all are with advocacy. This is just one of the powerful
statements that resulted from the survey, as well as guidance on how to begin educating our members on the importance of advocacy in the Pennsylvania banking industry.
At the beginning of the year, a significant number of new legislators were sworn into office, both in Washington, D.C. and in Harrisburg. In Pennsylvania alone, we welcomed seven new members of Congress, along with dozens of new legislators in the PA State Legislature.
On a national level, we have new political leadership in the United States House of Representatives. This change comes at a time when our industry had successfully achieved bipartisan legislative support
for regulatory and tax relief - two issues critically important to our ability to serve our customers and local communities. And in Pennsylvania, the state legislature is more philosophically divided than in
recent memory, potentially making it harder for legislation to be passed and then signed into law by the Governor.
These shifts present us with both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge will be to educate these new legislators (and our incumbent legislators, as well) that Pennsylvania’s banking industry is the
backbone of their local communities—the engine that drives their local economy through business development, small business lending, charitable giving and job growth, as well as the catalyst to help
individuals’ dreams come to life. By promoting the merits of the Pennsylvania banking industry, we have the opportunity to emphasize our value, which will ultimately strengthen that bipartisan appreciation
for what our industry means to the nation’s economy and the local communities we serve.
It is our priority to encourage advocacy among your team. We want to empower you by giving you the tools you need to strengthen your voice and make an impact. As you may have read in the Q4 edition
of paBanker magazine, the PA Bankers Board of Directors voted to elevate advocacy within the association late last year.
One of the first steps of this important initiative was to convert the former Grassroots Advocacy Advisory Committee to the Advocacy Standing Committee, which reports directly to the board. This committee, led by the second vice chair of the association and the Government Relations Policy Committee chair, is populated with representation from various committees, including: Agriculture & Rural
Issues Committee, Emerging Leaders Committee, Federal Direct Contact Bankers, Information Technology Committee, Member Relations Policy Committee, PaBPAC Board of Directors, Professional
Development Policy Committee, PR/Communications Committee and Women in Banking Committee. There are three at-large representatives as well.
This committee will provide strategic leadership on advocacy education and development within your institution. Using the advocacy audit survey results, the committee will work to find opportunities to
advance advocacy by integrating it throughout the full PA Bankers enterprise, including training and messaging initiatives.
It is our commitment to strengthen our advocacy efforts and grow our overall advocacy network — all of which will require your personal engagement, support and overall leadership. This engagement
will include actions such as writing/emailing your legislators on important industry issues; hosting them in your bank; contributing to PaBPAC State; and personally attending our various meetings
throughout the year with regulators and legislators, both at the federal and state levels. Your voice is a powerful tool; the voices of your employees add volume and strength to our industry’s message, and
we need that support today more than ever.
Your voices are powerful, but your political engagement is equally as important. In 2018, the PA Bankers Public Affairs Committee (PaBPAC) raised over $405,000 and contributed more than $335,000
to the campaigns of pro-banking, pro-business candidates running for governor, state senator or state representative – all of which were closely reviewed by the PaBPAC Board of Directors when determining financial support.
Although our PaBPAC contributions helped to elect bi-partisan, pro-banking candidates in 2018, we did not have 100-percent participation among our member financial institutions. Beginning this year, the PaBPAC Board of Directors is focusing on a three-year effort, educating all of our members on the importance of political advocacy and engaging in new initiatives with the goal of encouraging more participation and increased giving over the 2019-2021 time period. For more information about our 2019 PaBPAC Campaign, visit page 55.
We know how deeply you care about the banking industry, and we want you to make an impact on legislation or regulation that affects your institution as well as Pennsylvania’s banks. It is our responsibility
to give you the tools you need to comfortably engage in that regard.
Look for more information from PA Bankers as we explore opportunities to incorporate advocacy throughout the association. And if you have any ideas, please contact Erin Kanter, PA Bankers’ director, advocacy & government relations, via firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-255-6910; we would love to hear from you.
As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. We are looking forward to helping you tell our industry’s collective story because together we can make a difference.
President & CEO