Lobbying 101

Okay, you're ready to take action. What now? We've put together some frequently asked questions and responses to help you become a more effective advocate for community banks.

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All constituents should identify themselves and make sure to say that you are representing yourself and other community bankers in their district.

Sometimes legislator's schedules change at the last minute and you meet with staff only. These meetings with staff often last longer than meetings with the legislator, and as trusted advisers, staff are often pivotal in determining their boss' position on a particular bill.

Make sure to stay on topic to the 2-3 major issues at hand. If you run out of time, that is ok. It provides a ready-made reason for a follow up visit or phone call.

Make sure to bring the issues to the local level by making a connection between specific legislation and your mutual district. Remind the legislator that your customers are their constituents. Whenever possible, focus on the experience of your customers.

Do your homework on the issues and be prepared to talk about how they affect your customers and business.

Don't leave the meeting without making a clear ask of the legislator. A specific request for co-sponsorship of a particular bill or a YES vote is key.

Leave behind a lobbying card with the staff member for them to reference. Follow up with a thank you note to those you met with. Feel free to extend an offer for the legislator to visit your bank back in the district.

Summarize the meeting and let ICBA congressional relations staff know how it went.


Traffic in Washington can be unpredictable and security lines are often long. Make sure to leave plenty of time to get to your meeting and leave heavy metal items or jewelry behind.

Time is a limited resource! Get straight to the issues at hand. Introduce yourself and jump right into the substance.

When possible, focus on your customers and not your bank's bottom line.

It is illegal to discuss PAC contributions in government offices!

A thank you note and phone call is always appreciated. Invite the lawmaker to your bank or make an effort to go to an in-district meeting or town hall.

Getting to Yes

Common Responses from Lawmakers and How to Rebut Them

"Doing your best is agreeing to support legislation that would provide meaningful regulatory relief for community banks. Can I get your commitment now to co-sponsor our bill?"

"You’re right, we are old friends. And I need you on an issue that is important to the community banks in our state. Can I get a commitment from you to support this legislation?"

"Congresswoman, you make a good point. You need to know where all interested parties stand on the issue. When speaking with those groups, please ask them whether it is in the consumers’ best interests to have a strong and vibrant community banking sector. If not, what is their alternative?"

"I appreciate that, Congressman. If you are serious about taking my views into consideration, you’ll understand the need to exempt community banks from overly-burdensome regulations. Please let me know what additional information I can provide to assist you."


For more information, questions, or assistance, contact John Coleman, Director of Advocacy

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