Gaming for change

Some say politics is a game. And at the 2017 ICBA Capital Summit, held in Washington, D.C. in May, it was. There, attendees played Political Capital, a game that illustrated how ICBA advocates for community banks in the weeks leading up to a legislative vote. In the game, players chose from different actions and were then awarded points based on the effectiveness of their strategy. “The players not only learned about the inner workings of Capitol Hill but gained an appreciation for all the work the ICBA government relations team does to advance the organization’s policy priorities,” says Matthew Zablud of Beekeeper Group, which created the game with ICBA.


Four weeks before the vote

ICBA staff members host a fly-in event that brings community bank advocates to Washington, D.C., to speak directly with legislators. They also attend a political action coalition (PAC) event for members of Congress who have supported community banking efforts in the past. Both of these actions drive early engagement and awareness of the issue and bill among House members.


Surprise setback!
The opposing consumer advocacy group launches a new online software system that collects a substantial amount of small-dollar donations for its PAC.


Three weeks before the vote
To refresh House members’ knowledge of the issue, ICBA staff members host a briefing focused on the association’s Plan for Prosperity for congressional staff. They explain how the proposed bill would benefit the community banking industry and its customers.


Two weeks before the vote
ICBA asks community bankers to send their members of Congress letters explaining how important community banks are to their local small businesses, stories that resonate with members of Congress before a vote.


One week before the vote
ICBA launches direct lobbying and grassroots efforts to highlight the bill’s importance. Phone campaigns target undecided members of Congress in both D.C. and their districts throughout the day of the vote. Lobbyists for ICBA go to Capitol Hill to meet members of Congress in person and try to persuade them to vote in the bill’s favor.


Day of vote
Thanks to the efforts of ICBA and its members, the bill passes!

Here’s the scoop on how ICBA plays the game to pass bills that help community banks and their customers prosper.


Get 10 swing-vote members of the US House of Representatives to vote “Yes” on a regulatory relief bill in order to get it to pass the House.


A consumer advocacy group that falsely claims regulatory relief will eliminate all consumer protections and that is working in opposition to your advocacy efforts.