The Missouri Banker is a bimonthly magazine from the Missouri Bankers Association that focuses on the issues affecting the Missouri banking community. Comments about the magazine, including potential articles and promotional opportunities, should be directed to Lori Bruce.

Bankers Must Be Loud, Present With New Congress

Jackson Hataway, MBA President 

Midterm elections are quickly approaching, and with them, a new Congress with new priorities. Historically, midterms are a statement on the current presidential
administration. The president’s party typically loses seats, resulting in divided government (if that wasn’t the case already). At the moment, it looks likely history will repeat itself, with the House moving to a comfortable Republican majority. The Senate is more difficult to call because of the few competitive races, although it will be a slim majority for either party. Missouri will introduce three freshmen — two in the House and one in the Senate.

Regardless of the election outcomes, the opportunity and priority for our industry is clear: press for regulatory oversight that has largely been absent for the past two years. The federal agencies have continued to bypass formal rulemaking processes and force industry change through everything from blog posts to exam manual changes. The problem has become so severe that the American Bankers Association, along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Texas Bankers Association and others, have filed a lawsuit against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and CFPB Director Rohit Chopra for unsanctioned regulatory overreach. MBA and all of our sister associations will be joining in this lawsuit very soon. There is a very real path to a potential U.S. Supreme Court hearing on this issue, thanks to the recent Environmental Protection Agency ruling.

Regardless of the outcome of the legal challenge, our industry must be loud and present as a new Congress is introduced. The great news is many members of Congress know that the agencies have stepped far beyond their intended bounds — and they are ready to put a stop to it. Just ask Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer about his thoughts on current agency leadership. The bad news is there are endless industries with similar goals. Some of these groups are on the other side of our issues, or they want their priorities to leapfrog ours. That cannot happen. We must be there
first, and your voices will be critical in that effort.

We are at the precipice of change in at least one chamber of Congress, and potentially both. Although that will create a divided government, it will finally give us a chance to bring some accountability back to agencies that have had free reign for too long. Banks should not be in a constant game of “gotcha” in which the rules are changed without warning. Let’s make sure the next Congress is ready to help rein in regulators run amok.

published September/October 2022 in The Missouri Banker