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ICBA Commends Senate Banking Action on Housing Crisis

Washington, D.C. (May 20, 2008)—The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) commends the Senate Banking Committee for taking action to deal with the nation's housing crisis by passing the Federal Housing Finance Regulatory Reform Act of 2008, including the HOPE for Homeowners Program measure and legislation to reform the regulation of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs).

ICBA is pleased that the committee's bill retains provisions that recognize the distinct nature and independence of the Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBs) and that enhance the FHLBs' support of small business, agricultural and community development activities of community financial institutions.

The committee adopted significant changes to the legislation, and ICBA will be carefully evaluating those changes to determine their impact on community banks. Among the amendments of initial concern to ICBA are changes to provisions governing GSE portfolio holdings, capital and conforming loan limits.

"The bill gives the new regulator broad new powers that make it vital that the regulator's three key deputy directors - those for enterprise regulation, Federal Home Loan Bank regulation and housing mission and goals - be subject to Senate confirmation. Senate confirmation of these deputies would enhance transparency and accountability at the new agency," said Camden Fine, ICBA president and CEO. "ICBA looks forward to working with Congress to include this requirement in its final bill and to address other concerns of community banks."