What Does the Trump Presidency Mean for Banks?

At approximately 2:30 a.m. EST Wednesday, Donald Trump took a conciliatory call from Hillary Clinton and began his speech to accept the position as the 45th President of the United States of America.

This morning, across the country, people woke to the news and a gnawing feeling in the pit of their stomach. Regardless of which candidate got our vote and whether we are feeling a sense of victory or defeat, we all share two questions—what does this mean and what is ahead for us? The reality is that we can’t know until we’re able to look back in hindsight.

Even President-Elect Trump captured that sentiment in his acceptance speech, saying:

So, it’s been what they call a historic event, but to be really historic, we have to do a great job…and hopefully at the end of two years or three years or four years, or maybe even eight years…you will say that that was something that you really were very proud to do…[1]

There are so many strategic, tactical, economic, and personal angles through which we can look at this election, but I’d like to focus on hope and opportunity.

As he is known to do, Seth Godin made a really articulate plea to people to get out and vote. In his post, he talks about the fact that these historic inflection points are hard because they’re defined by uncertainty. “Change is always rough around the edges. It has no right answers, no ideal keys that unlock the future.”[2] He’s right, of course, and we all know this.

Our current moment of change requires hope. It also requires a willingness to try to see the world through a new or widened lens, and to do our part to motivate change in the right direction.

Each of us who voted had a set of reasons. For many banking professionals, the volatile economic and regulatory path we’ve been on may be on that list. We’ve been stifled by high levels of regulation, cost of doing business, and risk. It’s been virtually impossible to create the kinds of results and outcomes that meet our vision for our financial institutions and our clients.

There’s hope that a Republican-controlled Congress and Republican President could reduce some of the regulatory burden and economic barriers that have stunted progress. There’s talk that the change will create upheaval in the Federal Reserve[3], thwart an interest rate hike, and produce significant changes to national tax policies. Right now, we can only guess about the different issues. But we do know that moving forward in a positive direction demands that we rise above rhetoric, let go of fear, and look forward with hope.  

And here’s something to consider. An enormous ‘silent majority’ came out, raised their collective voice, and changed the direction of our country. The shock of the outcome is at least in part due to the fact they had been largely quiet. For those banks that strive to create leadership and governance structures that reflect their community demographics, and that have felt informed about the personal needs of their clients, this should be a call to action.

This election means many things for our country, our communities, our businesses, our families, and each of us. For banks, it means a great opportunity to widen our lens, listen in a different way, and consider new ways to be a positive force for change for each member of our community.


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[1] Acceptance Speech Transcript, Donald Trump, November 8, 2016

[2] How they talk you out of voting, Seth Godin, November 6, 2016

[3] What Trump’s Win Means for the Fed, WSJ, November 9, 2016


Topics: Regulations, Healthcare Reform Trump

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