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    Arent Fox Partner Craig Engle Talks with American Banker about Bank’s Use of Political Data

    March 11, 2015

    Arent Fox Political Law partner Craig Engle was quoted by American Banker in an article discussing how banks can lend money to high profile political clients such as Senate candidates, the Democratic National Committee, or the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

    The article focused on how Amalgamated Bank, a New York-based, union-owned bank that has struggled to turn a profit, is trying to attract new customers by appealing to a liberal clientele. Keith Mestrich, the bank’s chief executive since August 2014, stated “In the second half of this year, Amalgamated is planning to market its digital banking services to liberal customers across the country — ahead of the 2016 campaign cycle.”

    Mr. Engle said there are regulatory challenges for banks trying to build a business model around a political niche, saying that, “There are definitely political cycles, just like there are business cycles.” He also talked about how the political landscape could offer a lot of business opportunities, explaining that campaign finance was a $7.4 billion industry during the last presidential campaign cycle.

    Mr. Engle elaborated that, in spite of the risks, attracting big-name clients could provide a valuable marketing boost. “It’s not a matter of the bank thinking, ‘Am I going to lose this money?’” he said, adding “It’s a matter of the bank thinking, ‘Do we want to be known as [California attorney general] Kamala Harris’ banker?’”

    To read the American Banker article, click here.