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ICBA Applauds Homebuyer Tax Credits as Means to Stimulate Housing, Broader Economy

Washington, D.C. (April 8, 2008)—The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) applauds the House Ways and Means Committee for its proposed Housing Assistance Tax Act of 2008 and inclusion of an ICBA-inspired first-time homebuyer tax credit to help revive the nation's housing market.

"The tax proposals in this bill are solid and well-targeted and will quickly help prospective homebuyers, first-time homebuyers and the troubled housing sector," said Cynthia L. Blankenship, ICBA chairman and vice chairman and chief operating officer of Bank of the West, Irving, Texas. "With the addition of tax credits and assistance for first-time homebuyers, community banks nationwide will be in an even better position to offer solutions to the current housing slowdown."

Notably the ICBA praised the $7,500 first-time homebuyer tax credit. "A first-time homebuyer tax credit is a proven means to jumpstart stalled home sales, reduce the record unsold housing inventory in many areas, and to stem the ongoing sharp decline in home prices - the root cause of much of today's credit market and economic stress," said Camden Fine, ICBA president and CEO. "Many of our nation's local economies in states such as California, Florida, and Ohio are suffering under the downward spiral of unsold homes and declining home values. A temporary, homebuyer tax credit is the right incentive that will help breathe life back into the housing market."

ICBA first proposed to Congress a homebuyer tax credit in its nine-point economic stimulus plan in January 2008.

Additionally, ICBA applauds the inclusion in the Ways and Means Committee bill a measure to help the Federal Home Loan Banks assist in the municipal bond market.

In the Senate, lawmakers are also advancing a homebuyer tax credit in its housing package. ICBA looks forward to working with Congress to pass this much-needed housing stimulus legislation.