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ICBA Applauds Greenspan Statement on Industrial Loan Company Loophole

Separation of Banking and Commerce Key to Our Economic Strength

Washington, D.C. (January 26, 2006) - The Independent Community Bankers of America's (ICBA) President & CEO Camden R. Fine released the following statement regarding Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan's call for industrial loan corporation (ILC) reform:

"ICBA is pleased that in one of his last communications to Congress as Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Mr. Greenspan chose to bring attention to the problems with the ILC loophole. Like Chairman Greenspan, ICBA has long held that the ILC loophole threatens the separation of banking and commerce that has proved so beneficial for our nation's economy and the local economies of thousands of communities.

We must maintain the separation of banking and commerce to avoid economic concentration, threats to the safety and soundness of the financial system and conflicts of interest in making credit decisions which will ultimately limit consumer choice. Companies that own ILCs, unlike bank holding companies, are not subject to the provisions of the Bank Holding Company Act nor to the supervision and regulatory oversight by the Federal Reserve, which potentially creates a parallel - and lesser regulated - banking system.

Addressing this issue now is critical considering the pending application by the world's largest commercial enterprise, Wal-Mart, to acquire an ILC charter."