Grassroots Tips & Resources
Tips on “How to” Communicate with Elected Officials and Regulators
A "comment letter" typically has two distinct purposes — to describe the letters that individuals and entities submit in response to requests for public comment on proposed rulemaking or other agency activity and to refer to the correspondence that issuers and regulators exchange concerning proposed rulemaking or activity.
Comment letters truly do have weight in regulatory decisions. It is important that the agencies know in detail how a particular rule will impact your business and also your customers.
When Writing a Comment Letter to an Agency, remember:
- Include the proposed rule’s docket number and subject matter in the subject line of your letter.
- Print the letter on your bank’s stationery. Provide a brief description of your institution – including your location, asset size, your community involvement and your main areas of business.
- State the issue that you are writing about and clearly identify your support or opposition to the rule. Elaborate by stating what the proposal will mean for your bank. Providing specific examples of how a proposal would work, citing cost estimates, and explaining the impact on consumers are all extremely effective.
- Not every portion of a proposed rule may impact your business. Focus on the major points that concern your bank, the Illinois banking industry, and your customers.
- Avoid form letters. For many major issues, you will be able to utilize the IBA’s Grassroots Action Center to create a customized letter. These letters clearly explain the impact of the proposed rule while also allowing you to include personal information and comments about your bank.
- Contact the IBA if you are unsure of the status of an issue or if you need further assistance.
Lobbying Elected Officials
Here are a few tips to effectively lobby elected officials. This information will put you at ease when discussing important industry issues.
- Always be courteous - even if disagreements arise.
- Let the legislator know that you represent the IBA as well as your bank.
- Mention your bank’s ties to the legislator’s district – How many of your bank’s facilities and employees are located in the legislator’s area? What type ofcommunity service does your bank perform in his/her district? Do you have any similar interests?
- Briefly articulate the challenges our industry faces & explain what our elected officials can do to improve the business climate.
- Explain how currently proposed legislation would directly affect your bank.
- Refer to bills by name and/or number.
- Be clear about action you would like the legislator to take.
- Feel free to present IBA provided position or issue papers to the legislator.
- Provide a business card and also send your legislator a follow-up thank you note.
- Let IBA Government Relations team know about the success of your visit!
- Consumer Foreclosure Brochure
- Illinois Legislative Directory
To order a copy of these publications, contact the IBA’s Government Relations department.