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FIGHTING THE FATIGUE IN 2018

From paBanker Magazine's 2018 Q1 Edition: Volume 20.1

A belated happy new year to our valued members and readers of paBanker magazine! As we close out the first quarter of 2018, I am prouder than ever of the work our bankers are doing to make dreams come true in their local communities. They continue to share those efforts with their customers and lawmakers. 

Advocacy is a cornerstone activity of our association. It has been proven repeatedly that strong, local stories can shape and improve the perception of our industry - an industry that continues to be under attack from competitive forces in the cyber, political and economic environments. It is why your association has four registered lobbyists working on your behalf; 15 policy committees, subcommittees and working groups actively involved in current legislative and regulatory issues; and operates one of the largest political action committees in the state (PaBPAC). Changing perception among 253 state legislators and a congressional delegation of 20 requires significant time, energy and resources. I can share with you that we are strategically devoted to all three.

But with that high level of activity comes a level of risk. If there’s anything that keeps me up at night, it’s a fear that the constant pace that our members have experienced since the implementation of Dodd-Frank has led to fatigue at a time when we cannot afford to be tired. In this 24-7 news cycle of political warfare and information overload, it’s easy to see why you might want to turn the dial down, step back, and let things take their course. 

We cannot afford to become complacent. The challenge for our association is that not only are we a member-focused organization; we are a member-driven organization. Our success is your success, and we are only as good as our volunteer base and its efforts. 

Our most seasoned advocates know that the adage, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” is a creed when it comes to influencing legislative outcomes and ingraining a message into a constantly evolving legislative body. Over the last several years, we have used aggressive grassroots tactics to avoid an excessive increase in our state bank shares tax, push for both federal tax reform and regulatory relief, and advocate for many other issues at the federal and state levels. It is important that we celebrate our victories – large and small – to remember why the train must keep moving forward full steam ahead.

Last spring, 55 of you joined the association in Washington at the American Bankers Association’s (ABA) Government Relations Summit, and 73 joined us for PA Bankers Day at the State Capitol in Harrisburg. Then, in the fall, 33 joined us in Washington for the annual regulatory visit, and 322 of you joined us as we learned about advocacy from our lawmakers at the Fall Recognition Breakfasts.
These examples were in addition to a myriad of in-person meetings, personalized e-mails, contributions to our PAC, and other ways that you demonstrated the spirit of advocacy on our behalf. Thank you for
your commitment to your industry and your local community. Your efforts are not going unnoticed. 

Looking ahead, I want to challenge us to do even better. As we enter another election year, your continued advocacy is critical. Start gathering your stories and be prepared to share your local impact at this year’s ABA Government Relations Summit on April 23-25, 2018, in Washington, D.C. and PA Bankers Day at the State Capitol on April 30, 2018, in Harrisburg. I encourage you to reach into your own organization and engage a new source (or new sources) of energetic industry supporters. While lawmakers want to hear from your executive team, they should also get to know the next generation. Bring your emerging leaders and use these events as opportunities to introduce them into political advocacy.

For those of you unable to join us for either of the events above, there are many ways to get involved in advocacy with the association. Become part of our Contact Banker programs and serve as an ambassador to your local legislators. Another effective way to support our efforts is by contributing to PaBPAC. Included with this magazine is the 2017 PaBPAC Annual Report. The PaBPAC Board of Directors, led by Todd Brice, president and CEO of S&T Bank, has been evaluating our political strategy over the last few years. This work will continue to help us speak with one voice and to elect pro-business, pro-banking candidates. I want to thank them all for their efforts and for continuing to raise the bar on participation each year. With 62 percent of all member banks contributing to PaBPAC, we have an opportunity to increase member participation, with the goal of having every member bank participate in this industry-wide effort. While we have room to grow, I am proud of how your total contributions continue to surpass so many other PACs. Just think what we could do with increased participation. Together, by demonstrating a shared commitment to this industry, we will make an
even bigger difference.

You may choose to get involved or stay involved with the association’s advocacy in many ways, but we hope to hear from you in 2018. I know we can fight the fatigue by finding new ways to celebrate our successes and teaching others of the value it can bring to their businesses and their communities. We truly are better together, and I look forward to seeing what we all can accomplish this year.

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Duncan Campbell
President & CEO