Federal Delegate’s Report

Emily Hofer

Federal Delegate’s Report

By: Emily Hofer, ICBA National Director, Merchants State Bank- Freeman

Summer has come and gone. School is back in session. We’ll see for how long! My third quarter column for “the Bottom Line” is usually a recount of the fantastic ICBSD retreat that should have happened in late July in the beautiful Black Hills. Our retreat is one of my family’s favorite weeks of the year, in spite of squirrel attacks! as many of you know, I’m a social person. I think one of the young attendees at a retreat a few year back even started calling me the “party monster.” Maybe because I’m usually one of the last bankers standing at our social hours and campfires? Needless to say, it’s been a long six months of few social gatherings, no concerts, and pitifully few live sporting events for me. I miss the interaction with my peers and friends. I’ve kept my circle tight and my few get-togethers outdoors. I’m sure many of you have also altered your “normal” routines in one way or another over the past six months. I’m sure glad we live in a state with lots of space and less people. However, I’m growing weary of virtual Zoom or MS teams meetings, where the first five minutes are spent helping everyone remember how to use the mute button!

ICBA is gearing up virtual meetings for its Fall Federal Delegate Board and Committee leadership meetings. Although we will not gather together, our job and mission will be the same – advocating for Community Banks. The Q3 ICBA priorities include many coronavirus-related issues. as we transition to the PPP forgiveness stage of the game, ICBA is pressing the treasury department on our behalf to create simplified forms and processes. Additionally, ICBA is working on legislation that would preserve expense deductions for PPP borrowers. I am on the safety & soundness Committee at ICBA, and we are working towards the extension of TDR provisions, ensuring origination and/or holding PPP loans has no impact on a bank’s risk-based capital and leverage ratios, and keeping the 8% Community Bank Leverage Ratio permanent. Although we have all been thrown into a reactionary mode in the wake of COVID and the ever-changing landscape it is shaping, ICBA has not taken its foot off the gas pedal on cannabis-banking, beneficial ownership collection and reporting, credit union abuses, etc.

 

Consider what you can do to help ICBA achieve real results for the Community Banking industry. An unfortunate consequence of our “failure to gather” this year has been a hit to the annual fundraising for the ICBSD PAC. The golf event and silent auction – two very fun events – at our annual retreat are the two biggest fundraisers for our ICBSD PAC. Heading into an election year, our support of the PAC is very important. Our lobbyist and PAC advisory committee members are able to support candidates in South Dakota that support Community Banking. The PAC gives us a seat at the table and amplifies our voice in Pierre. Think of all the money saved by not traveling to conventions and meetings in the past six months, and consider a contribution to the ICBSD PAC and the ICBPAC. Ask your board members and employees to consider a gift to the ICBSD PAC and ICBPAC. Community banks employ nearly 750,000 people nationwide. Only approximately 3,000 bank employees contribute to the ICBPAC annually. Think of the impact of $5 dollars – or even only $2 – from each of those 750,000 employees to the ICBPAC!

 

Community banks have risen to the call and showcased their outsized role during this unprecedented time by supporting communities and small businesses when they’ve needed it most. We need to keep that narrative going by communicating with lawmakers in Pierre and Washington, DC. I beat this drum in every column I write. We as Community Bankers are the backbones of the communities that we serve. Our grassroots efforts are more important than ever in this constantly- changing environment. For many of us Community Banking has been a rewarding and enriching experience. Ask yourself what you can do for Community Banking.

 

I’m looking forward to a new season – a season with less regulatory changes, a season of prosperity for Main Street America, and a season of face-to-face meetings with peers and friends. Until that time comes, I hope to see you all virtually. As always, if you have any questions, comments, or stories to share, I can be reached at ehofer@msb-sd.com or 605-660-4790.

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