By Colin Barrett, President/CEO, Tennessee Bankers Association
Whether or not we make a formal declaration, many of us make New Year’s resolutions. Eat better. Get regular exercise. Spend more time with the family. Don’t eat a bowl of cereal right before bedtime. And while that last one might just be me, we all set goals to live happier, healthier, and more meaningful lives this time of year.
In 2020, there will be many opportunities within the TBA to achieve goals for your bank and the overall industry. So as you budget both your time and resources, here are a few resolutions I hope you will consider in the year ahead.
Attend TBA Credit Conference
TBA’s Credit Conference continues to grow as the largest gathering of Tennessee bankers each year. The credit committee, led by Bank of Tennessee’s Robert Bradley, has developed a strong, credit focused program for the February 13-14 event. The highlight of this year’s program is FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams, who will join us for a discussion on the direction of the FDIC under her leadership. Additional topics will include fintech, hemp, the economy, and more. Contract Monique White at mwhite@TNBankers.org or visit www.TNBankers.org/credit for up-to-date program information.
Increase Your Political Engagement
While it might seem that Washington stops during a presidential election year, there are many issues at play that can have a significant impact on our industry. In September, the House passed the SAFE Act, legislation allowing financial institutions to bank marijuana related businesses (MRBs) in states that have legalized it for recreational and/or medicinal purposes. While Tennessee is one of the 17 states that has not legalized it, the legislation would be helpful to us as it also clarifies a bank’s ability to serve industrial hemp companies and officially ends “Operation Chokepoint.”
Our efforts are now in the Senate where Senate Banking Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) has indicated his interest in moving this forward while Speaker Mitch McConnell continues to have concerns. Additional legislative efforts, including credit union taxation, BSA/AML reform, and a “stop and study” of CECL, will continue to be priorities.
In order to make your voice heard on these and other issues, plan to join us for our annual Washington ConferenceMay 4-6. This is a great opportunity to engage with legislators and regulators while spending time with peers from across Tennessee.
Closer to home, all eyes will be on the race to replace retiring Senator Lamar Alexander. Former Ambassador to Japan (and former Pinnacle bank director) Bill Hagerty and Vanderbilt surgeon Manny Sethi will face off in the Republican primary. On the Democrat side, James Mackler, a decorated soldier, will likely be the nominee. These candidates are crisscrossing the state already, and I encourage you to get to know them.
Participate in Financial Literacy Week
During this year’s inaugural Financial Literacy Week, 72 banks participated by educating students, elderly, and their communities at large by participating. While our banks are helping Tennesseans daily, this is an opportunity to highlight those efforts in a collective manner. In 2020, the dates will be April 6-10. Assign someone from your bank to coordinate your efforts, and invite legislators and community leaders to join you. For more information and resources for your bank, please visit www.TNBankers.org/finlitweek.
Register for the TBA Annual Meeting
In 2020, the TBA returns to one of its most popular Convention destinations, The Breakers in West Palm Beach, Fla. This beach resort will once again provide the perfect backdrop for networking and education as the TBA celebrates its 130th anniversary. The room block is now open, and I hope you will be able to join us.
In addition to the above, the TBA will continue providing government relations, education, and products and services that you expect from your Association. If I can help you in achieving any of your bank’s resolutions, please reach out.