Community bankers are giving more to national political action committees as they seek reduced regulation.
Already this year, the PAC affiliated with the Independent Bankers Association of America has collected $180,000 from its 6,000 member bankers, up about 20% from last year, said Alexandra Maroulis-Cronmiller, the committee's administrator.
'Hot Issues' Spur Gifts
Ms. Maroulis-Cronmiller said the PAC hopes to raise about $300,000 this year, $80,000 more than in recent years. Meanwhile, the Savings and Community Bankers of America's PAC has raised almost $63,000 since January, compared with $72,000 in all of 1993.
She attributed the surge to such "hot banking issues" as interstate banking and the continued effort to trim regulations during an election year.
So far this year, community bankers from Wisconsin, Texas, Pennsylvania, California, and Montana have been the biggest contributors to the IBAA's PAC. About 168 banks and 644 bank officers in the five states are association members.
The PAC raised $221,000, $227,000, $215,000, and $172,000 in the last four years, respectively.
Consolidation Narrows Field
Gary Fields, treasurer of the American Bankers Association's BankPAC, said the organization had encountered problems raising funds because of bank consolidation.
Individual contributors are limited to donations of $5,000 per election, and mergers have reduced the number of potential donors. The ABA has raised $1.5 million in two years for the 1994 election - about the same as had been raised two years ago.
"It's getting more and more difficult" to raise money, said Mr. Fields. "We're working harder and harder. We'd like to raise more, but we feel pretty good about what we've raised."
The IBAA's PAC has doled out much more money in the last two elections, including this year's. In 1990, contributions for the two-year election cycle totaled about $250,000. But in 1992, the amount contributed jumped to $502,000, and girls this year have already reached $331,000, with more expected in the two months just before the November general elections.
"We got a lot of calls from incumbents," Ms. Maroulis-Cronmiller said.