Pub. 15 2020-2021 Issue 3


Washington Update: Playing the Long Game

After months of planning and preparation—and if we’re being honest, a little angst—Americans went to the polls in record numbers in early November to cast their votes in presidential, state and local races. The contest topping the ticket was one of the most high-profile and most contentious presidential races in recent memory, and at the time of this writing, it isn’t quite in the rearview mirror: several states have yet to certify their results, some legal challenges are pending, and of course, the Electoral College has yet to meet.

But with major media outlets calling the race for former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris, ABA is preparing for a Biden administration to take over in early 2021. It’s also looking likely that Congress will remain divided, with Republicans in control of the Senate and Democrats maintaining control of the House—though with two critical Senate races in Georgia going to runoff elections, it will still be several weeks until we know for certain.

Regardless of how the balance of power may shift, ABA will continue to draw on its nearly 150-year history of working alongside both parties to find commonsense policy solutions that will support economic growth. It’s a longstanding tradition that we’re proud of, and we have made tremendous progress in recent years in advancing a pro-growth, common-sense and data-driven approach to banking policy.

In fact, many of the significant pieces of banking policy have been bipartisan in nature. Take for example S. 2155—the regulatory reform law that Congress passed in 2018. That effort was a testament to how lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were able to come together to help clear some of the roadblocks that stood in the way of banks’ ability to serve their customers, clients and communities.

That same cooperative spirit is desperately needed today, when so many families and businesses are still feeling the extreme economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we look ahead to 2021, the economic recovery will be top of mind for policymakers in Washington and the financial industry will have an important role to play in the ongoing response.

Banks played a monumental role as economic first responders in the early days of the pandemic to address the economic dislocation that stemmed from the health care crisis, and we’ll continue our work in the weeks and months ahead—keeping an eye on economic indicators, responding to problems early and helping to restore our nation’s economy. ABA stands at the ready to work with the next administration and lawmakers from both parties to bolster the economy, increase opportunity and create a brighter future for all Americans.

At the same time, we won’t lose sight of our other policy priorities. We’ll continue to put our policy and advocacy expertise to work to address the important issues facing our industry, from AML/BSA reform to CECL to cannabis banking.

As one might expect from a trade association that’s been around for nearly a century and a half, our eyes are on the long game. And while some of the tactics we employ may change with the times, our agenda will remain the same—and will continue to be driven, first and foremost, by the banks we serve.


Rob Nichols, President and CEO, American Bankers Association

Email Rob Nichols at

This story appears in 2020-2021 Issue 4 of the Nebraska Banker Magazine

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