ICBA Reg Relief Push Takes Big Step Forward

Nov 15, 2017
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From the Desk of Cam Fine

Bipartisan Senate agreement includes many Plan for Prosperity provisions

ICBA’s push for meaningful regulatory relief for all our nation’s community banks took a significant step forward this week with the announcement of a bipartisan legislative agreement in the Senate. As ICBA Chairman Scott Heitkamp wrote in a new American Banker op-ed on prospects for regulatory relief in the 115th Congress, there is plenty of room for optimism among community bankers.

The agreement—announced by a coalition of 18 bipartisan senators led by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and committee Democrats Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Mark Warner (Va.)—incorporates numerous provisions from ICBA’s Plan for Prosperity regulatory relief platform.

Among its many provisions, the agreement would expand exemptions for Home Mortgage Disclosure Act reporting and escrow requirements, provide “qualified mortgage” status for portfolio mortgage loans at most community banks, simplify community bank capital rules, and increase eligibility for a short-form call report and the 18-month exam cycle. It also would ease appraisal requirements, exempt most community banks from the Volcker Rule, expand access to the Federal Reserve’s Small Bank Holding Company Policy Statement, and improve regulatory treatment of reciprocal deposits and certain municipal securities.

The Senate agreement also includes provisions specifically designed for larger community banks with assets from $10 billion to $50 billion. Among them are measures eliminating mandatory Dodd-Frank Act Stress Testing (DFAST) and removing the requirement that publicly held companies establish a risk committee.

While these ICBA-advocated Plan for Prosperity provisions would go a long way to help community banks of all sizes and charters, the Senate agreement must pass through several legislative hoops before it can be enacted into law. ICBA will continue working with members of Congress and the Trump administration to expand on these measures while calling on community bankers to make their voices heard in Washington for truly substantive relief.

Make no mistake—community banks have tremendous support on Capitol Hill. The House has already passed dramatic community bank relief with House Financial Services Committee Jeb Hensarling’s (R-Texas) Financial CHOICE Act. Joining Crapo, Donnelly, Heitkamp, Tester and Warner is a bipartisan coalition of original co-sponsors that could provide a filibuster-proof majority. They are Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Angus King (I-Maine), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.).

Let’s work together to maximize our impact in Washington and ensure this victory extends to all community bankers from coast to coast.