Blaine's Bulletin: Community Banking Month

Washington, April 26, 2019

Throughout my time serving Missouri’s Third Congressional District, I’ve consistently fought for the rights of our local communities to make decisions for themselves.  Unfortunately, many in D.C. have a “Washington knows best” mentality about everything from healthcare to banking. It seems like politicians from across the nation are constantly attempting to establish additional government control in our everyday lives.

This has been particularly obvious in the banking sector with notoriously anti-bank leaders like Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Senator Elizabeth Warren proposing new regulations on what feels like a daily basis. Banking regulations play an important role in the United States economy, as do the financial institutions throughout our communities. As members of Congress, we also play the important role of writing the laws that responsibly regulate these institutions, not simply for the sake of regulation, but to protect our growing economy.

In America, community banks comprise 99% of all bank charters, provide 60% of the nation’s small business loans and 80% of agricultural loans. For many small towns, like my hometown of St. Elizabeth, a community bank is the only physical banking presence. For more than 60 years, my late father Bill spent every day looking into the faces of family farmers and ranchers hoping to realize their dreams as they walked into his bank in St. Elizabeth, Missouri.  My father understood the importance of community banking the first day he started in 1940, and he passed that understanding on to the generations that followed him. In small towns, banking isn’t just about savings accounts and mortgages.  It’s about playing an active role in the community from making sure the restaurant down the block can make payroll to sponsoring the little league team so the kids can get new hats this year.

April is Community Banking Month, a time to highlight the importance of hometown banks that are the lifeblood of Main Street America. As a lifelong Missourian and former community banker myself, I understand firsthand the importance of keeping small financial institutions in business to ensure our local communities benefit from America’s broad economic prosperity. I will continue fighting for community banks across the nation as a member of the House Financial Services Committee, ensuring our financial system is responsibly regulated and families and small businesses have access to the services they need. Community banks understand that looking a person in the eye and offering a firm handshake is the recipe for a growing and prosperous community. We must do everything we can to make sure that never changes.