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ICBA: Congress Should Consider Community Banks in Economic Recovery Efforts

Washington, D.C. (January 7, 2009)—Camden R. Fine, president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), today issued the following statement.

“As members of the 111th Congress begin to consider ways to restore our nation's economy, ICBA encourages them to keep community banks in mind as they review various economic recovery proposals and new regulations for the financial services industry. Our nation’s more than 8,000 community banks are solid, well-capitalized common-sense lenders that did not engage in the practices that led to the current economic crisis, and they stand ready and able to help their local economies and communities recover from the fallout.

“In order to be part of the solution, community banks will need access to all proposed programs and should not be penalized for problems they did not create. As it stands now, a vast majority of community banks have been shut out of the Treasury's TARP because subchapter S corporation banks and mutual institutions have no way to access the program. In order for community banks to act quickly and efficiently, all community banks need access to the TARP and we urge the Treasury to immediately issue the terms by which they may do so.

"In addition, ICBA urges Congress to proceed with caution when considering proposals for restructuring our financial regulatory landscape. At a minimum, Congress should end financial policies that allowed for the creation of a handful of financial institutions whose sheer size has held the taxpayer hostage and threatened the very foundations of our nation’s economy. And any new restructure proposals need to be proportional to the risk an institution poses. Community banks should not be required to pay the same price as those mega financial institutions and unregulated financial firms that created the problems.”

“ICBA realizes that our country is in uncharted waters, but with the support of the new Congress, we have no doubt that community banks will continue to perform their vital function in serving their customers and in helping to restore economic vitality to cities and towns throughout America.”

For more information, visit www.icba.org.