PACB Legislative Update
By Allison Coccia, Director of Government Relations, PACB
The pandemic known as COVID-19 has had a rapid and dramatic impact on every aspect of human life. Community bankers have had to pivot to creative strategies including deferred payments and shuttering their own lobbies in order to best preserve the health and welfare of their customers while meeting their needs. Community bankers are ever-adapting and resilient, always keeping the best interests of their customers in mind.
PACB is committed to serving as a resource for community bankers as the crisis progresses. We acted swiftly to address the needs of our members and their customers, by establishing regular open lines of communication for bankers as the crisis was unfolding, connecting bankers with their state and federal regulators to receive guidance on their attempts to mitigate economic fallout for consumers and small business; engaging lawmakers to act while serving as a conduit for community banker concerns; connecting bankers with industry experts and of-the-minute education; and providing a dynamic Coronavirus Resource page on our website www.pacb.org.
Peer to Peer Information Exchange
Community bankers found themselves having to act quickly and creatively to address social distancing concerns and consumer lending needs. PACB scheduled a series of calls for our Board of Directors and the full membership to exchange ideas and listen to the immediate concerns and challenges community bankers were facing.
Observing all anti-trust regulations, bankers exchanged ideas on closing down lobbies, expediting drive-through service, branch sanitation, addressing non-life-sustaining business closings, rural versus suburban challenges.
Community Banker & State & Federal Regulator Interactive Calls
The response to the Coronavirus is ever-evolving with financial regulators responding to the urging of community bankers, elected officials and citizens with new guidance and updates multiple times a day.
In a joint effort, PACB and the Pennsylvania Bankers Association held weekly regional conference calls for members with state and federal financial regulators and stakeholders like the Pennsylvania Department of Banking & Securities Secretary-Nominee Richard Vague, The Philadelphia Federal Reserve, the Cleveland Federal Reserve, the Office of Comptroller of Currency (OCC,) the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC,) and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh. Community bankers had the opportunity to hear from regulators as new guidance was being issued, brief the regulators of the economic conditions in their local communities, and ask the important questions that directly impact their ability to serve customers.
Advocacy to Elected Officials
As new consumer and small business banking challenges unfolded, community bankers had a direct pipeline to legislators via PACB. PACB relayed concerns like deferments, TDRs, loan modification, forbearance & requests to lower the CLBR to 8% to Senator Pat Toomey who acted quickly and decisively to urge Congress and regulators to address their concerns. As a result, financial regulators acted in real-time to ensure the prudent flow of credit and liquidity.
We worked with the PA Department of Banking & Securities through the Governor’s office to make sure banks were open for business and financial services was declared essential and critical parts of the nation’s infrastructure.
PACB held conference calls with community bankers and our Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation to inform them that our banking system is adapting and addressing consumers’ and small business needs in a safe and secure manner and to ask for their support of the Coronavirus Stimulus Package.
We worked with various stakeholders to fight to allow critical contributors to the extension of consumer credit like title insurance companies and Recorders of Deeds to remain open for business.
Connecting Community Bankers with Industry Experts Associate Members
PACB VP of Strategy & Operations, Barbara Holbert facilitated a conference call on behalf of community bankers with our Associate Members. Bankers were provided with of the minute white papers from industry experts on the topics of Tech, Core & Operations; HR Benefits & Employment Issues; Consumer & Commercial Lending & Legal Issues.
PACB COVID-19 Resource Page on our PACB Website
Lastly, PACB Communications Director, Eric Kovac, created a dynamic COVID-19 Resource page on our website to ensure that community bankers had access to the latest output on the Coronavirus. Located at pacb.org/coronavirus, this webpage includes resources for community bankers and consumers provided by ICBA, PACB, the CDC, PA Department of Health, PA Department of Banking & Securities, the US Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Reserve, OCC & FDIC, as well as a number of resources provided by PACB Associate Members. This webpage is closely monitored and updated regularly as more information becomes available.
PACB remains committed to serving as a resource for community bankers, and will continue to seek ways to help them serve the unique needs of their customers and communities.
Allison Coccia is Director of Government Relations at PACB. She can be reached at 717.231.7447 or firstname.lastname@example.org.