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Small businesses are the crux of every town — and many rely on the help of community banks to survive.
Williamsburg resident Marshall Warner is the executive vice president of Chesapeake Bank and recently partnered with its president and CEO, Jeff Szyperski, to lobby for change in federal banking regulations.
Their goal: make it easier for individuals to get business, mortgage, and other loans through their local banks. Their audience: high-level politicians, including members of the U.S. Congress, and President Donald Trump.
This week, Warner met with lawmakers to express his concerns during the American Bankers Association and Virginia Bankers Association Government Relations Summit in Washington, D.C.
Szyperski says the duo is pushing for legislation to lift some of the regulations enacted by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in July 2010.
“Our business model is entirely different than that of the mega banks, and yet we have the same regulations,” Szyperski said.
On March 9, Szyperski represented Virginia as one of nine community bankers from across the country to meet with Trump to plead their case.
“Meeting the president was surreal,” Szyperski said. “I think now he understands our plight and seems committed to help. I walked away feeling encouraged and optimistic.”
Local issues, he added, are not always the same as national issues and it was vital to outline their differences when meeting with Trump.
Williamsburg currently has five Chesapeake Bank branches. The bank’s niche is business loaning, but it also provides mortgage and car loans and other services. Szyperski has been working for the company, headquartered in Kilmarnock on the Northern Neck, since 1990.
“We live in these small communities, and we know who our borrowers are,” he said. “By helping community banks, you are also helping the communities as well.”
Chesapeake Bank prides itself on having employees who give back to the communities where they reside. Warner, for example, has been active in Williamsburg since he moved to the area in 1998 from Tom’s River, N.J.
He’s a former chairman of the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance, and past president of the United Way of Greater Williamsburg. Additionally, he has served on the boards of the James City County Economic Development Authority, Williamsburg Health Foundation, Williamsburg Landing, and the local Kiwanis Club.
“I enjoy my job because of the energy and satisfaction of helping others,” Warner said. “I enjoy giving back to the communities we serve.”
Warner and Szyperski are hopeful community banking will see some federal regulatory changes in 2017, and the result will allow small banks to thrive.
“I don’t think you will ever find a strong community bank without a strong community, and you won’t find a strong community without a strong community bank,” Szyperski said. “We are entirely synergistic. What we can do to help the community, in turn, helps us.”
Read more profiles of local residents in WYDaily’s section In Our Hometown.