By John E. McWeeney Jr. and Robert J. Tartaglia
NJBankers’ fourth annual trip to our nation’s capital on June 5-6 was a great success. Due to great word of mouth about this exciting and important trip, we had 31 bankers attend this year – three times the number of attendees from last year. We held very informative meetings with our regulators and discussed the important issues affecting our industry. We also enjoyed the valuable networking that takes place whenever a group of senior bankers get together.
The hotel accommodations at the historic Renaissance Mayflower Hotel were perfect, as they were conveniently located across the street from the American Bankers Association headquarters in downtown D.C.
The two-day visit began with a briefing by ABA Executive Director of Financial Institutions Policy and Regulatory Affairs Wayne Abernathy. He did an excellent job of updating our bankers on the current issues ABA are focusing their lobbying efforts on in Washington. The ABA was very impressed with the size of the NJBankers delegation and emphasized how important it is for the association to be actively engaged with our Congressional delegation.
That was followed by a trip to the Treasury, where Office of Financial Institutions Policy Director Mario Ugoletti and Deputy Assistant Secretary Jeremiah Norton discussed the subprime crisis affecting homeowners and the mortgage industry all across the nation.
A Capitol Reception
After, we headed to the Capitol, where NJBankers hosted a reception, sponsored by the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, for New Jersey’s Congressional representatives. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., Congressman Scott Garrett, R-District 5, and others joined us for a cordial event in the reception room of the Capitol. Both Sen. Lautenberg and Congressman Garrett had the opportunity to address our delegation and share their views on key issues. The day ended with a dinner sponsored by Wells Fargo at the famous Morton’s Steak House, where we dined and discussed the day’s events. A wonderful day for all!
The following morning we were treated to incredible views of downtown Washington, D.C., and a great breakfast in the FDIC’s Executive Dining Room. There we heard from FDIC Vice Chairman Martin Gruenberg on various industry issues. Finally, we headed to the Office of the Currency and Comptroller, where further discussions involving Senior Deputy Comptroller Tim Long and Deputy Chief Counsel Jeff Gillespie centered on the seriousness of the subprime fallout.
Save the Date
Thank you to all who attended and a special thanks to our sponsors: The Federal Home Loan Bank of New York for our congressional reception; Wells Fargo for our dinner at Morton’s; and the Community Bankers Association for sponsoring our bus transportation around Washington. We conducted a survey of all participants and, based on those responses, have already planned some changes to next year’s program to make it even better. Please mark your calendars for next year’s trip: Wednesday and Thursday, June 4-5, 2008. We’ve already booked 50 rooms at the Mayflower Hotel to accommodate an even bigger group as this annual NJBankers tradition continues to grow!
John E. McWeeney Jr. is president and chief executive officer of NJBankers. Robert J. Tartaglia is director of government relations for NJBankers.