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ICBA Statement on Passage of Economic Recovery Package

Washington, D.C. (February 14, 2009)—The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) is pleased that several key ICBA-recommended provisions were included in the economic recovery package passed by the House and Senate today.

“ICBA appreciates that several of its key recommended provisions were included in the economic recovery package passed today by both the House and Senate. The continued vitality and strength of our country’s community banks in the midst of this crisis proves that community banks are the part of our financial fabric that still works, and these measures will help our nation’s more than 8,000 community banks continue to serve their customers in cities and towns throughout America,” said 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.

ICBA’s recommended provisions include the following:

  • First-time Homebuyer Tax Credit extended through Nov. 30, 2009, the repayment provision removed and the credit increased to $8,000;
  • AMT relief for 2009;
  • Bank qualified tax exempt bond interest tax relief, alternative minimum tax (AMT) relief, and small-issuer annual limitation increased from $10 million to $30 million. Also, an additional $3 billion total for ICBA-backed New Markets Tax Credit total in tax year 2008 and 2009;
  • $630 million to increase the Small Business Administration (SBA) government guarantee to 90 percent and reduce lender and borrower fees;
  • Subchapter S built-in-gains tax relief to reduce the built-in-gains holding period from 10 years to seven years for 2008 and 2009;
  • $250,000 in small business immediate expensing extended for one year;
  • Five-year net operating loss allowed for small businesses with $15 million or less in annual gross revenue;
  • Grants to supplement the housing tax credit program and flexibility to the states to exchange tax credits upfront for cash grants; and,
  • Funding to support over $10 billion in Rural Housing Service single family loan guarantees and almost $3 billion in rural business and industry loan guarantees.

The package also included limits on bonuses that Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) recipients may pay to high -level employees. ICBA appreciates that the bill takes into account the differences between community banks and the larger recipients by reducing the number of employees covered, based on the amount of assistance. The language also permits TARP recipients to repay assistance without penalty. “Many community banks have expressed concerns about new conditions that Treasury or Congress could impose after they accepted assistance. After all, these conditions address abuses by larger recipients, not community banks that didn’t participate in the activities that led to the current economic crisis,” said Blankenship.