Amy Heaslet, Executive Vice President/General Counsel, Tennessee Bankers Association
One of the core services TBA provides to our membership is government relations. Representing all banks across the state—legislatively and regulatory—at the federal and state levels presents a unified voice for the industry that is strong and respected. The strength of that unity within our industry is also demonstrated through TBA BankPac.
We’ve been heavily involved in the election cycle so far and have had great opportunities to meet and support new candidates that were supported by local bankers, as well as supporting legislators who have been our strongest allies. This was only possible because of TBA BankPac and our membership’s strong support of it.
In fact, in 2021 we shattered the previous record for the amount raised in a single year. Last year, 122 banks, associate members and TBA staff contributed $258,755. And thanks to bankers and associate members’ continued support, we expect to break that record again, having already raised $237,395 this year.
Under the leadership of TBA’s Pac Chairman Pete Williston, TBA BankPac has undertaken two new initiatives to help drive even stronger fundraising numbers. First, at the end of 2021, we published an Honor Roll where we recognized individual contributors who gave at specific levels ranging from $100 to $1,000 and above. That really helped generate increased levels of personal contributions.
Additionally, in June, we began accepting credit card contributions, which has made giving quick, efficient, and possible at in-person events. In under two minutes bankers and associate members can scan the QR code at the bottom and make a personal contribution into our state fund.
Fundraising is only part of how we measure the success of BankPac. The second half is how we put your dollars to work. So far this election cycle, BankPac has contributed more than $270,000 at the state level, and we expect to give more than $400,000 by the end of the November elections. That level of giving will allow TBA to remain one of the top business PACs in the state.
It will also allow us to continue building and strengthening relationships with legislators who are supportive of business and the banking industry. Because of this, we will be in a strong position when the first session of the 113th General Assembly convenes in January 2023.
Although there will be several freshmen members in the General Assembly—three in the Senate and 16, possibly a few more, in the House—no changes are expected in Senate or House leadership. TBA works closely with those in leadership within both parties, so that consistency is beneficial to our advocacy for banking issues.
But I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. We still have the general elections ahead of us. In the next few months we’ll continue traveling across the state to meet with new candidates and incumbent legislators alongside bankers in their districts. Establishing relationships early, and displaying the connection between our Association team to their constituent bankers, has been critical to our success on Capitol Hill.
We’re having a tremendous year and look forward to deploying BankPac funds to support those who are strong advocates for our industry. The most effective way to do this is through our bankers. Please let us know if there’s a candidate in your area you would like BankPac to support, and we will.
As we move past the elections and prepare for session, please let us know if there is anything we can do legislatively to help your bank. Our legislative agenda is driven by banker feedback and focused on enabling banks to efficiently and safely serve their customers and communities. I look forward to hearing from you.