Peter Kravitz has a dirty little secret.
Early in his career, the Independent Bankers Association of America's legislative counsel helped write the original Community Reinvestment Act exam procedures.
"If community bankers find out about that, they might come to Washington and lynch me," he said with a laugh. Rather than being a threat to his personal safety, Mr. Kravitz's 11 years as a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. lawyer have turned out to be a key asset.
"Peter knows banking law absolutely inside and out," said IBAA executive vice president Kenneth A. Guenther. "I'm no lawyer, so if I'm speaking on a panel, I bring Peter along as protection."
During his four years with IBAA, the 48-year-old Mr. Kravitz has handled the community bank trade group's Senate lobbying. He admitted that it isn't always easy getting the community bank point of view across to lawmakers.
"There are some issues, like the restructuring of the financial system, where we just get left out by various policymakers," he said. "Sometimes, making them aware of the special problems faced by community banks is a tough education process."
Regardless, his favorite part of lobbying is sitting down with lawmakers or their aides and hashing out issues. "I really love lobbying because I love to debate policy and negotiate," he said.
Mr. Kravitz worked at the FDIC from 1976 until November 1987, when he left to join the Kirkpatrick & Lockhart law firm as a merger and acquisitions lawyer. In 1992, he joined the U.S. League of Savings Institutions as a lobbyist. When the group merged with the National Council of Savings Institutions, Mr. Kravitz was out of a job.
"I was a casualty of the merger," he said. He went back to private practice, but kept his eyes peeled for a lobbying job. "The U.S. League job gave me my first sustained taste of legislative Hill work, and I found I loved it," he said. He jumped at the chance to join the IBAA in August 1993.
While his job has its challenges, by far the hardest part, he said, is staring at the photos of his race car, which hang by his desk.
Of the five races he entered last year, Mr. Kravitz took the checkered flag in his MG Midget twice and finished in the top six in the other three.
"I'd enter every one of the 45 annual races if I had the time and money," he said wistfully.