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Big banks shake up Washington lobbying shops

Reuters  |  WASHINGTON 

By Pete Schroeder

(Reuters) - Two of Wall Street's largest Washington-based trade groups said on Tuesday that they were merging, as big banks rethink their lobbying strategies under the business-friendly administration of U.S.

The (TCH) and the Financial Services Roundtable (FSR), which both count the likes of , and among their members, will combine to form a single group to push policy changes in the nation's capital, they said in a joint statement.

Greg Baer, TCH's president, will serve as of the new group, which has yet to be named. FSR announced in February that its chief, former Tim Pawlenty, would leave the organization this month.

The merger combines TCH's focus on research and regulatory issues with the FSR's experience in lobbying lawmakers, said one person familiar with the deal.

A payments company run by TCH to process transactions across the system will remain a separate entity after the merger, which should be completed within 60 days.

Big banks, long-reviled in Washington, have been beefing up and refocusing their external and internal lobbying operations in a bid to capitalize upon Trump's pledge to relax financial rules introduced following the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

announced several new hires to its government relations team in January, including a new head of public policy, Beth Zorc, who previously had been at the

In July, named as its new Berry had previously worked as chief of staff for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and as an at the Axios.

Commercial banks spent a record $66.6 million on lobbying in 2017, according to the political contributions database OpenSecrets.

"Everyone's really concentrating their power and their turf," said Paul Merski, an vice at the Independent Community Bankers of America, which represents small banks.

While big banks are hoping regulators picked by Trump will eventually ease rules imposed on them, they have yet to score any major victories, despite over a year with Trump in the and Republicans running

(Reporting by Pete Schroeder; Editing by and Rosalba O'Brien)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, March 14 2018. 01:30 IST