MO Bankers Share Tax Reform Benefits With President Trump

Wednesday, March 7, three Missouri bankers received a phone call for an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — meeting the president of the United States.

Kevin Baker with Great Southern Bank in Springfield, Bryan Cook with Central Bancompany in Jefferson City and David Turner with Hawthorn Bank in Jefferson City were invited by the White House to participate in a roundtable discussion with President Trump on Tuesday, March 14, at Boeing in St. Louis. These bankers joined fellow business leaders from 10 Missouri-based companies to highlight the benefits of tax reform legislation passed by Congress in late December.

“The meeting was an opportunity to speak about our company and how we have embraced tax reform,” Baker said.

Great Southern Bank, along with Central Bancompany and Hawthorn Bank, awarded bonuses to their full- and part-time employees as a result of the tax reform bill. The bankers shared this in their remarks to the president.

“The bank felt it was reasonable and fair to share some of income from the tax cut with the hard-working staff at Central Bank because they really helped earn it,” Cook said. “It shows the bank’s commitment to our employees and our communities.”

Each panelist was given a few minutes to share prepared comments with Trump. In their preparations with White House staff, the business leaders were told the president may engage with them with follow-up comments. This happened with Turner, who was the first banker to give his remarks.

“The president began talking about the bipartisan bill in the Senate and how it would help community banks,” Turner said. “He asked if I was following the bill, and I told him I was and that the bill could pass today.”

Late that afternoon, the Senate voted 67-31 to pass S. 2155, the bipartisan regulatory reform bill whose co-sponsors included Sens. Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt.

Changes to Dodd-Frank was a topic Baker, Cook and Turner discussed in a separate meeting with U.S. Secretary Treasurer Steven Mnuchin. Before the panel discussion with Trump, the bankers spoke with Mnuchin about regulatory reform for the banking industry.

“He’s on board with deregulation and noted there’s much to be done, but it’s one step at a time,” Turner said.

In recalling their afternoon with Trump, the bankers admitted they were excited and nervous.

“Hearing ‘Hail to the Chief’ as the president enters the room does raise the hair on the back of your neck,” Turner acknowledged. “It was a moment I won’t forget.”