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ICBA Commends OTS for Ensuring Thrift Industry Safety and Soundness

Separate Regulator Supports Focus on Housing Finance

Washington, D.C. (May 25, 2006)—The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) commended the Office of Thrift Supervision for its success as our nation's primary thrift regulator and for ensuring the safety and soundness of our thrift industry.

“Today's thrift industry is healthier than ever and the OTS has done an excellent job providing oversight, including during some troubled times,” Ted Gurzynski, vice president and senior credit officer at PyraMax Bank FSB, Greendale, Wis., representing ICBA, told the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. “Having a separate regulator for thrifts can help focus that industry on the nation's housing market and housing finance to the benefit of millions of Americans who have yet to realize the dream of owning their own home.”

ICBA told lawmakers that the OTS has demonstrated it has the expertise and competence to regulate all aspects of the thrift industry. As long as OTS-regulated institutions prefer a separate regulator and support the OTS through assessments, the agency should remain a separate regulator, ICBA said.

In addition, ICBA commended OTS Director John Reich for his leadership and for his efforts to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden on banks and thrifts. ICBA has been at the forefront in working with regulators and Congress to provide regulatory relief to help community banks and the consumers, small businesses and local governments that depend on community banks for financial services.

ICBA also told lawmakers that the association promotes mutuality as a viable charter alternative that should be accorded parity in all respects with other charter forms. “ICBA agrees with the OTS that regulators should be neutral when it comes to charter choice and charter conversions,” Gurzynski said.

PyraMax Bank is one of a growing number of ICBA-member community banks that are federal or state savings associations or thrifts regulated by the OTS.