Chris Furlow

Chris Furlow
TBA President & CEO

Election 2020 one year out: Forecasting the future

2020 Election buttonAt a recent meeting of nearly 100 community bankers, I was asked about the inverted yield curve and whether I could assess whether a recession was imminent. I was quick to admit that I am not an economist. There are individuals far more learned who might propound on such a consequential forecast. However, those seeking predictions should note that many of the most respected economists often get it wrong.

Our industry loathes uncertainty, but uncertainty has become a constant in today’s global, hyper-political environment. There are factors beyond the control of community bankers that dictate the condition of the U.S. and global economies. The status of the yield curve is certainly important, but there are other critical questions to ask.

If and when a downturn inevitably occurs, who will hold seats of power when decisions about our industry are made for years to come? Who will make critical appointments to regulatory positions? Who will determine those who will hold seats on key congressional committees such as House Financial Services and Senate Banking? When we need level-headed officials to steer the nation out of bad times, will those leaders be people who understand the importance of banks to their communities? Will our leaders believe in the free enterprise system? Or, will power rest in the hands of politicians who want post offices to provide bank services in our communities? Note: The postal service lost more than $3.9 billion in 2018.

One year from now, the nation will vote. The election will determine who will lead our country and who will have a significant impact on the future of banking. On Nov. 4, 2020 — the day after our presidential and federal elections — how will you feel? Regardless of the outcome, will you feel that we did all that we could?

There is much we cannot control, but we can control our own ability to actively advocate for our industry. There are nearly 150,000 bank employees in Texas that represent an influential network of citizens who serve and care for the people of their communities every day. These are citizens concerned about the future of the industry that provides them a livelihood. All of us have a role to play — TBA, as your trade association, individual bankers, as leaders in their communities, and our bank employees who have family and community circles of their own.

What can you do today?

First, run a BankPac campaign to support candidates who support Texas community banks. Those who castigate banks are raising money now and will flood Texas with their dollars in 2020.

Second, inform employees about the candidates who support our industry. Encourage them to ask their family members and neighbors to support candidates who value community banks. This not about an “R” or “D” next to a candidate’s name. It is about those who support the best interests of our industry, the customers our banks serve and the livelihoods of our employees.

And third, plan to join us for meetings with officials and candidates in 2020 such as TBA’s D.C. Fly-In and the Capitol Blitz in Austin. The community banking story is most clear for officials and candidates when they hear directly from you — constituents who are leaders in their communities.

For more information on what you can do, call us at TBA. We have information, tools for contacting candidates and guidance if you are new to political engagement. Meanwhile, TBA will continue to work hard to support candidates of any political party or persuasion that understand that strong banks mean stronger communities.