Does Your Bank Have a Presence in the Community?
Tips on Telling Your Member of Congress About Your Bank and Its Important Role in the Community
Too often bankers only go to Capitol Hill to ask for something-specifically, legislative support or opposition. It's almost like an employee who regularly comes into your office asking for a raise, without giving you a reason to grant the request. If the employee instead demonstrates how valuable he or she has been to your institution, volunteers to do a special project, or comes up with a solution to a pressing problem, you probably won't need much prodding to reward him or her. This employee will have already proven his or her worth to you. Similarly, banker relations with lawmakers can improve if the lawmakers know - in detail - all the things that bankers do for the Member of Congress' constituents back home in the District. With that in mind, here are some tactics you could use when meeting with your Members of Congress:
Put some numbers on the difference your bank makes to the community. How much has your bank done for your Members' constituents? Specifically:
- How many mortgages did the bank make, and how many people did it put in houses?
- How many small businesses did it help start, and how many jobs did it create as a result?
- How many other consumer loans did it make and to how many individuals?
- How much did it pay in taxes?
- How many charitable contributions did it make-and to which organizations?
- How many hours did its employees volunteer to which good causes?
- Talk about specific accomplishments at the bank that made you proud to be a banker. If you would want your Member of Congress to know one thing about your bank or your role as a banker, what would it be? When answering this question, keep in mind the effect of banking on your Member's constituents.
- Bring or send newspaper clippings about your banks' good works in the community.
- Host a getting-to-know-you event at your bank's offices back home. Invite other community leaders and consumer representatives to meet the Member.
Visits or communications based solely on your bank's good work and its positive effect on the community will help build a relationship with your Member of Congress based on an area of mutual interest - the members of your community. A future call from you about specific legislation won't be the first time your Member hears from you, and he or she will have already learned from you how supporting pro-banking legislation can benefit constituents.
Questions? Please contact the Grassroots Office for more information.
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