WASHINGTON—The American Bankers Association said Wednesday it will begin airing television advertisements in Montana and North Carolina in support of Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C., in the upcoming midterm elections—the first time the group has independently funded ads in support of political candidates.

The ads follow Tester’s support for a Senate bill to give regulatory relief to community banks, as well as Budd’s work on the House Financial Services Committee.

“Both Budd and Tester are supporting good public policy to help the economy grow,” said Rob Nichols, ABA’s president and chief executive. “Both are going into campaigns and we are making our voice heard in these two states in support of these two candidates for reelection.”

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont.
The ABA praised Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and his "willingness to work across the aisle to pass commonsense financial regulatory reform in the Senate." Bloomberg News

While the ABA would not comment specifically on how much the group is spending on ads in the upcoming midterm elections, Rob Engstrom, its chief political strategist, said spending is in six figures.

The ABA said Budd and Tester are just the first candidates it will actively promote. The group is partnering with the banking associations at the state level in supporting certain candidates in their re-election campaigns.

“This is the first of additional ads,” Nichols said. “It’s instructive that these first two ads are bipartisan and bicameral. We got someone in the House, someone in the Senate. You got a Republican and a Democrat and there will be additional ads to come.”

The advertisement for Tester features three community bankers in Montana who talk about how they have helped their communities grow and how the senator has helped make that possible.

“His willingness to work across the aisle to pass commonsense financial regulatory reform in the Senate will help Montana and the rest of the country," Nichols said. "ABA stands ready to support candidates in both parties such as Senator Tester who are willing to help America’s banks better serve their customers and communities.”

The advertisement for Budd features a chairman of a community bank in North Carolina expressing her support for Budd's policies that have helped businesses in the district.

“Rep. Budd understands the important role North Carolina's banks play in the economy, and his strong support for commonsense legislation to allow banks to better serve their customers and communities benefits all North Carolinians," said Peter Gwaltney, president and CEO of the North Carolina Bankers Association.

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