Positioned for Progress

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The pundits and pollsters—“a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”—didn’t see it coming. In defiance of nearly every election model and electoral college projection, Donald Trump won a decisive victory while Republicans retained control of both the Senate and House of Representatives.

America’s electoral majority has spoken, and they’ve demanded change. It’s to be President Trump, a proud political outsider with experience in boardrooms instead of policy briefings. Trump’s historic triumph not only flipped the electoral map—delivering Upper Midwest states long held by Democrats—it also served as a repudiation of the status quo and an unmistakable call for more limited government.

ICBA and community bankers are well-positioned to take advantage of this new mandate. Republican control of the executive and legislative branches presents a unique opportunity to advance meaningful regulatory relief that will help our industry continue fostering economic and job growth at the local level. We fully intend to leverage this opportunity for the benefit of community banks and the communities they serve.

United Republican control of both branches will set in motion a whirlwind of policy action in 2017. The newly elected president and GOP lawmakers—if they work together and across the aisle—can break longstanding policy gridlocks, reverse government overregulation and deliver the meaningful change voters have demanded. The incoming president has proposed a new governing order in which adopting any new regulation will require first eliminating two existing regulations. This is a harbinger of good news for ICBA’s nonpartisan agenda of regulatory and tax relief.

Meanwhile, Congress remains full of pro-community bank lawmakers. In the 2016 cycle, our nonpartisan Independent Community Bankers Political Action Committee used $1.9 million in contributions to support more than 300 federal candidates and committees at a 95 percent success rate. A key component of our strategy was outreach to candidates with community banking ties. ICBPAC funds supported the campaigns of several community bank board members, including Dr. Neal Dunn (R-Fla.) of Summit Bank in Panama City, Scott Angelle (R-La.) of Farmers Merchants Bank and Trust in Breaux Bridge, and Dr. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) of Farmers Bank and Trust in Great Bend. Amid the chaotic reshuffling of committee assignments and new-member orientations next month, community banks are positioned to get down to work on day one of the new Congress.

For ICBA and the nation’s community banks, radical change in Washington will mean an exceptionally busy year, but also a period of potential positive breakthroughs. ICBA and community bankers enjoy strong and positive relationships with policymakers on both sides of the aisle. We look forward to working with both parties under the new regime in Washington to make meaningful reforms that will support local communities, job creation and economic prosperity nationwide.


Follow Camden R. Fine on Twitter, @Cam_Fine.

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