The Independent Community Bankers of America has one advantage over big financial companies: It has representatives in the districts of every single member of Congress.
"Over the course of the year, every senator has been contacted one way or another," said Steve Verdier, the senior vice president and director of congressional relations for ICBA.
The group is using that advantage this week by flying in hundreds of community bankers for the group's annual Washington policy summit and setting up meetings on the Hill on the fast-moving financial regulatory reform bill.
Verdier said bankers are coming from almost every state ("I'm not sure we have any Hawaiians or Alaskans"). He said Tuesday would be the group's biggest lobby day on the Hill.
ICBA was still weighing the derivatives language passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee late last week, determining whether it would affect community banks' occasional hedging of interest rates, Verdier said. The group has opposed the creation of an autonomous consumer protection agency focused on the financial industry. For a story on lobbying over the financial regulatory bill, click here.