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ICBA Supports Treasury’s Attention to Small Business Lending

Appreciates Spirit of Transparency and Accountability

Washington, D.C. (February 10, 2009)—Cynthia L. Blankenship, chairman of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and vice chairman and chief operating officer of Bank of the West in Grapevine, Texas, and Camden R. Fine, president and CEO of ICBA, today issued this statement following remarks made by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

“As our country continues to weather economic hardship, ICBA and our nation’s more than 8,000 community banks look forward to working with Secretary Geithner and the Treasury Department to quell the current economic turmoil and navigate our country through these uncharted waters. Even in the midst of this turmoil, the vast majority of our nation’s community banks continue to be solid, well-capitalized financial institutions. As common-sense lenders that did not engage in the practices that led to the current economic crisis, community banks stand ready and able to help their local communities recover from the fallout.

“ICBA supports Treasury’s attention to small business lending and agrees it is key to recharging our economy and creating and sustaining jobs. Small business is the lifeblood of America’s national and local economies, and ICBA has consistently urged policymakers to keep a sharp focus on the needs of the small business sector as they craft solutions. As always, community banks are well-positioned to help small businesses get back on track throughout our country.

“ICBA also appreciates Treasury’s intention to proceed in a spirit of transparency and accountability. This is especially important because our current crisis clearly shows that no financial institution should be allowed to be so large that if it stumbles it would cause the collapse of our entire financial system and jeopardize our entire economy.

“As Treasury moves forward with its financial stabilization plan, any solutions should not penalize community banks for problems they did not create and activities they did not participate in. All community banks should have equal access to programs that will help them continue to serve their customers in cities and towns throughout America.”