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ICBA Applauds SEC Committee SOX Exemption Action; Urges SEC Adoption

Regulatory Relief Enables Community Banks to Focus on Communities

Washington, D.C. (December 15, 2005) - The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) applauded the acceptance by the SEC Advisory Committee on Smaller Public Companies of a recommendation to cut paperwork under the Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) law for smaller companies and urged the full Securities and Exchange Commission to adopt the proposal. If adopted, the measure will help community banks to better focus on supporting their local communities.

"We are pleased that the SEC Advisory Committee accepted its subcommittee's recommendation to reduce the SOX Section 404 burden on smaller public companies," said Chris Cole, ICBA regulatory counsel. If adopted by the SEC, this regulatory relief will significantly benefit hundreds of publicly held community banks and holding companies that are struggling with the high costs of complying with the Sarbanes-Oxley law and would enable community banks — which supply about a third of small business lending by banks nationwide — to further support small business development in their local communities, said Cole.

The Securities and Exchange Commission Advisory Committee on Smaller Public Companies' recommendation would exempt companies with market capital of less than $125 million and revenues no greater than $125 million completely from SOX Section 404, subject to certain corporate governance standards. In addition, the Advisory Committee recommended exempting smaller public companies with market capital of between $125 million to $750 million and revenues no greater than $250 million from the external audit requirements of Section 404. The Advisory Committee expects to formally approve and issue the recommendations for public comment in January.

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