Chairman, President and CEO | The Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank

Mr. Smith has nothing on Dorothy Savarese when it comes to fighting for a cause in Washington.

As chair of the American Bankers Association, Savarese was one of a handful of bankers who met with President Donald Trump and other officials in March to advocate for regulatory relief. She also has aspoken with the Treasury Department about concerns in the industry.

In communications with regulators and lawmakers, Savarese focuses on providing real-world examples of the challenges that bankers face every day, such as how new mortgage rules make it more difficult for seasonal workers to buy homes. She also provided solutions to these issues: If a bank is willing to keep a mortgage on its books, shouldn't that loan automatically be a qualified mortgage?

Dorothy Savarese
Dorothy Savarese

During the meeting at the White House, Trump and other officials were attentive and seemed to understand the struggles that the bankers shared, Savarese said.

"Talking to them about the real-world harm that was created by well-intentioned but overreaching regulation was a huge moment for me," said Savarese, who is also the chairman, president and CEO at The Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank in Harwich Port, Mass. "The president was very focused on the implications of regulations on the ability of community bankers to serve their customers and asked many questions about that."

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Still, Congress has been slow to pass major legislation. Despite this, Savarese noted that there is "a strong bipartisan understanding of how changes could directly impact the economy and families in America."

"I've been coming to Washington for a long time and there are always obstacles in getting things done," she added.

Jackie Stewart

Jackie Stewart covers community banks and mergers and acquisitions for American Banker.