The Iowa Bankers Association held its quarterly board of directors meeting today with special guest Gov. Kim Reynolds, who participated in a discussion about a range of issues important to the banking industry.
The governor shared the latest on the state’s investments in workforce, broadband and housing. She suggested all of these investments would supplement the critical work performed daily by Iowa banks. The board thanked Reynolds for her leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and discussed workforce concerns caused by the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate on organizations with more than 100 employees. The board also provided a local economic update, noting that having a bank on Main Street still matters as 173,000 Paycheck Protection Program loans were made to farmers and small businesses, pumping $8 billion into the Iowa economy and saving 800,000 jobs.
The board also shared that mortgage and PPP fee income helped make 2021 a good year for banks but narrow margins and weak loan demand will make 2022 more difficult. They discussed agriculture as a bright spot for the state but with rising input costs. It was shared that banks are encouraging farmers to lock in 2022 input costs much of which they can afford to prepay. The board also asked Reynolds to consider, within any tax reform package, a solution that would give community banks a chance to compete with credit unions on an equal basis. A potential federal tax increase would put further stress on banks’ ability to compete with untaxed competitors.