Guest blog by Amber R. Van Til, IBA President
Every year, rain or shine, in good times or bad, members and associate members of the Indiana Bankers Association trek to our nation’s capital for the IBA Annual Washington Trip. We go for several reasons – to meet with legislators, to hear firsthand from regulators, to renew our connections with the American Bankers Association and the Independent Community Bankers of America, and to network with each other. Our primary purpose, though, is to make ourselves known on Capitol Hill, so that the Indiana banking community has a voice.
This past week, the IBA is proud to have taken a contingent of nearly 70 people to Washington, DC, with some 40 bankers who took time from their schedules to join us. Like all of our DC trips, it was two solid days of tightly packed scheduling, with the goal of working in as much meeting, greeting, listening and speaking as possible. We were not disappointed. IBA members were warmly welcomed throughout the whirlwind schedule.
The timing of this year’s trip was especially pertinent, due to recent negative press surrounding industry cross-selling practices. Our bankers were able to share sentiments with policymakers and regulators that there is no place in the business of banking for fraudulent activities, and to encourage thoughtful regulatory reform. The keyword is “thoughtful,” however, as we must avoid a backlash of excessive regulatory rules that would further impede banks in their missions to serve their customers efficiently, effectively and profitably. That would be a terrible result from this unfortunate situation. The voice of banking professionals on the Hill, then, is critical in giving guidance to appropriate response.
Imagine if this year had been the first time our bankers met on the Hill with legislators and regulators. Would their voices have been heard? Thankfully it’s a moot point, because our bankers have been making this trip year after year, speaking on behalf of the industry and the professionals employed by Indiana’s taxpaying, depository financial institutions. This long-term relationship-building has made Indiana bankers well known and highly regarded in the nation’s capital. In the past couple of days, Indiana bankers have spoken, and their voices have been heard.
Thank you, to the IBA-member bankers and service providers who joined us on the 2016 IBA Annual Washington Trip. We appreciate your dedication to the industry and to the communities you serve.