How to maintain momentum after S.2155

S.2155 was a great victory—but there’s more to do.

By Joshua Habursky, ICBA

The historic passage of S.2155 coupled with generational tax reform legislation will make 2018 one of the most impactful years in recent memory for the community banking sector. The grassroots commitment and advocacy efforts of community bankers across the country have been widely noted by elected officials, and the impact will resonate for months and years to come.

ICBA and community bank advocacy are certainly in an advantageous position as the 115th Congress closes out. However, this is no time to rest on our laurels. There is much left to be accomplished. The push for regulatory relief never ceases, and community banks must never cede the high ground as the preeminent financial services advocacy group. We have a host of issues ahead of us, and your participation is essential in bringing them to the forefront of Congress members’ and regulators’ attention.

As ICBA prepares to advance more community bank legislation, it is important that you recruit new employees of your community banks to participate in our advocacy programming. It can be as simple as retweeting a message to a member of Congress or as extensive as making the trip to Washington, D.C., next spring for the ICBA Capital Summit. All of these efforts are a part of ICBA advocacy, and your time and talent are needed. In preparation for future initiatives, our advocacy and communications team will continue to build additional resources to make your experience communicating with elected officials and regulators more seamless and less time consuming.

We recognize that your top priority is serving your communities to help them grow and thrive. When we ask you to take action, know that we are doing so at a pivotal time in the public policy process, usually targeting a key office, staff member or lawmaker. To sustain our grassroots momentum, we must deliver these messages with the appropriate efficiency and frequency.

Now is the time
As ICBA builds capacity, develops additional resources and takes stock of existing programs, we hope that you will engage with us and provide constructive feedback. At the beginning of each Congress, we survey the entire ICBA membership to identify key contacts with elected officials and preferred communication methods. When the time comes in the early months of the 116th Congress, please take a moment to complete the ICBA State of Advocacy survey so that we can grow our grassroots and “grasstops” outreach. We’ll be sending you that link directly.

It asks questions like: Do you socialize with your member of Congress? Do you attend the same community events? Do you want us to send you advocacy text messages or emails? Do you prefer Facebook over Twitter? Answering these questions will not only improve our efficiency but will also help us determine new initiatives and modifications to existing programs. Tell us what we are doing right and where we can improve.

It’s important to add that you don’t have to wait for this survey to share your opinion. Feel free to call or email me to tell us how we are doing or if you need help with your outreach efforts.

The future is bright for community bank advocacy, and your efforts this Congress should be applauded. In the coming months, I hope you will remain actively engaged in our advocacy programs and build off the momentum gained from these recent and monumental successes.

Joshua Habursky ( is ICBA’s assistant vice president of advocacy.