Thursday, April 18, 2024

Oklahoma bankers make voices heard on Capitol Hill visit

Oklahoma bankers made their way to Washington during the last week in April to meet with members of the Oklahoma congressional delegation and specifically ask them to support quick action on S. 2155.
These Oklahomans were among the more than 1,300 bankers attending the Government Relations Summit hosted by the American Bankers Association.

“It was a great group of our state’s banking leaders, but what I found as exciting was the fact that there were several new faces,” OBA President and CEO Roger Beverage said. “During our visit we heard from a number of key players, including Acting Director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Mick Mulvaney.

“We also heard from Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) who told us that, in his view, S. 2155 is a good start on community banking reform, but more needs to be done. Rep. Luetkemeyer is a community banker from Missouri, and he’s actively seeking to replace Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. So is Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas (R-Cheyenne), who is also a member of the HFSC. I respect him and his views. I just don’t agree with him that trying to amend this bill is in the interest of OBA-member banks.”

Beverage noted the ABA’s GR Summit came on the heels of a similar gathering sponsored by the ICBA earlier in the month, “and we’re all singing the same song,” he said. He also noted that every member of our Oklahoma delegation told us that S. 2155 will ultimately pass the House and be sent to the president for signature. The question is how quickly the House is willing to act.

“I have to confess, I don’t understand why there’s such a delay,” Beverage said. “I got into a bit of an argument with Rep. Mullin over his insistence on dragging this thing out until September or October. I also told him I don’t understand why House Leadership is deferring to a chairman who’s so stubborn and who’s not running again. The congressman defended the House leadership’s position of not interfering with Hensarling at this point, while confirming that the bill will eventually pass the House, and so there wasn’t much more to say.

“I firmly believe that time is NOT on our side. At every stop I explained my view of reality, that we are one tweet away from absolute political chaos, especially if the president decides to fire the special counsel (Robert Mueller) or the deputy attorney general (Rod Rosenstein) or something goes wrong with the plans to meet with the North Korean leader.

“In my mind, it’s like driving for a touchdown. You’ve been getting your backside kicked all over the field, but you’ve finally engineered a sustained drive. You’re first and goal at the one-yard line. You turn to the coach for the signal and he tells you to spike the ball three times.

“What? Are you nuts? Let’s put the points on the board while we can and come back for more later in the game. Markwayne is a great friend and we support him 100 percent, but I still think leadership’s approach to getting this ball (S. 2155) over the goal line is the wrong approach, and I told him so. And I’m sorry if I (torqued) him off. I was trying to make the case for moving the bill quickly.”