President's Message - November / December 2014
The Illinois General Election is now behind us, and we now know that a balance of power in Illinois and in Washington has been restored. This new balance could have a positive effect on some critically important issues for the banking industry.
While we’ve all had to endure the onslaught of negative and oftentimes misleading campaign ads for what seemed like an eternity, rest assured, the IBA was actively involved in every statewide and legislative race promoting our industry and its interests, gathering the facts and tracking the polls.
With our members’ help from across the state, we worked daily with incumbents, surveyed and interviewed new candidates, and participated in dozens and dozens of fundraisers. This year, the IBA, through ILLINOIS BANKPAC, is on track to contribute over $230,000 to candidates in the Primary and General Elections and was able to get involved in many key races. Special thanks to those banks, bankers, and associates who contributed to ILLINOIS BANKPAC to enable us to promote and defend our industry. That said there is no doubt that we were outspent by many of our competing industry and trade groups.
We must raise more PAC funds to be competitive in the political world in which we live and do business. If you haven’t contributed to ILLINOIS BANKPAC in sometime, or if you’ve never contributed, please consider making a contribution -- even if it is a small one. We need you, and our industry needs you!
While our “issues” have been sidelined until after the election, we never stop talking about what is important to our industry! It is critical that groundwork is laid and fastened when the opportunity arises for our issues to be addressed. We are keenly focused on many, many issues. At the state level, among many banking related matters, taxation and the state’s budget top out our list. The endless list of federal matters includes seeking specific improvements to the mortgage reform laws, ensuring that merchants are required to protect their customer financial information using the same standards as the banking industry, and eliminating tax exemptions or subsidies for credit unions and farm credit banks.
Speaking of credit unions, the IBA just rolled out another round of “messaging” for billboards and radio spots intended to make lawmakers and consumers aware that credit unions have long outgrown their tax exemption.
By now we hope you have been hearing about our Let’s Talk Banking Series. These meetings are intended to connect bankers face to face with elected officials. They enable bankers to talk about the issues that matter most. Issues that are keeping bankers awake at night. We are planning to expand these meetings significantly in 2015 to ensure that bankers’ voices are heard – we hope you will join us!