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Community Banks Essential to America’s Economy

Outgoing ICBA Chairman Ghiglieri Touts Advantages of Community Banks

Orlando, Fla. (March 4, 2008)—Independent Community Bankers of America's (ICBA) outgoing chairman, James P. Ghiglieri, Jr., in his farewell address today before the 2008 ICBA National Convention and Techworld in Orlando, Fla., told nearly 3,000 attendees that community banks are vital to the nation and its economic health.

"America is the land of entrepreneurs and small businesses, which are the lifeblood of our economy, and community banks fund those small businesses and help communities grow," he said. "As a community banker, you and I make a difference in the lives of the people in our community. We know that we are able to make our communities better places to live and work."

Noting that community bankers need a strong, steady voice in the nation's capital, Ghiglieri, a third generation community banker, said that ICBA tells the story of the benefits of community banks to our nation. "No other national trade association is exclusively dedicated to community banks. ICBA has only one mission, community banks."

"This unique role played by ICBA makes a huge difference for community banks in Washington, D.C. Whether we're speaking out to maintain the separation of banking and commerce by asking Congress to close the industrial loan company loophole or promoting tiered regulation that accommodates the differences between trillion dollar banks and community banks or working to keep the Farm Credit System from expanding into non-farm lending, ICBA is advocating on our behalf day in and day out."

Ghiglieri urged his fellow community bankers to stay involved in their communities and their government. "You can make a difference; a difference in your life, the life of your association, the life of your community bank and the life of your community."

The full text of Ghiglieri's speech is available at www.icba.org.