ABA Banking Journal - May/June 2017 - 21
> POWER UP PROFILE
Advocacy Starts Locally
Jay Jenkins' recipe for advocacy success: start early,
engage locally and keep it bipartisan.
BY EVAN SPARKS
IN HIS LOCAL market of Carlsbad, New Mexico, banker engagement in public
affairs and community life is "a job requirement," says Jay Jenkins, president
and CEO of Carlsbad National Bank, a $357 million-asset bank tucked in New
Mexico's far southeastern corner in a town with less than 30,000 residents.
"If we're not successful economically
here in Carlsbad, I may not have a
job," he explains.
That involvement spans everything
from the chamber of commerce
to the Little League to civic events
and political activities. And local
participation is something he requires
of his bank officers, just as he was
involved during the nearly two decades
he's been with the bank. In addition
to his bank role, Jenkins serves in
leadership roles with the Carlsbad
economic development agency and
with a local nonprofit serving people
with special needs.
That involvement pays off when
it comes to building valuable
relationships with policymakers. For
example, Jenkins recently got pulled
into a meeting with the mayor of
Carlsbad and Rep. Steve Pearce (R),
a House Financial Services Committee
member. The mayor wanted to have
Jenkins' perspective as a banker in the
room. "Being involved locally helped
with growing those relationships on a
broader scale," he says.
Jenkins emphasizes reaching out to
lawmakers' field staff. For example,
Sen. Tom Udall (D) has a local office in
Carlsbad. "I've continued to reach out
to them," Jenkins says. "They know I've
got their back, and they've got mine." In
2015, Udall visited the bank in person.
With bipartisan representation on
Capitol Hill, Jenkins emphasizes
the need to "work both sides" of
the aisle and not limit relationships
by party affiliation. "I vote for the
person," he says. "I'm going to favor
the person who lines up with what
In addition to expecting community
and civic involvement from his
officers, Jenkins also asks his
board to contribute to the New
Mexico BankPac, which he does
personally. The bank's holding
company contributes to the Fund for
Economic Growth. "By participating,
we create the ability to get things
done," he says.
Jenkins has been taking his message
of participation statewide in his
current role as president of the New
Mexico Bankers Association. "New
Mexico is like a spread-out small
city. If you're involved a little, it's
easy to get to know people in other
parts of the state."
And whether you're serving
depositors, making loan deals,
persuading lawmakers, recruiting
companies to town or helping people
in need, the personal relationships
you build are what help drive the
banking industry forward.
Capitol Hill, Jenkins
emphasizes the need
to "work both sides" of
the aisle and not limit
relationships by party
affiliation. "I vote for
the person," he says.
"I'm going to favor the
person who lines up
with what we believe."
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