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Community Bankers Will Continue to Rise to the Challenge

It’s the values of our nation’s independent community bankers that is the true voice of America

Phoenix, Ariz. (March 21, 2009)—Community banks will continue to rise to the challenge and define the destiny of community banking, said R. Michael Menzies, incoming chairman of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and president and CEO of Easton Bank and Trust Co., Easton, Md. Menzies spoke to nearly 3,000 attendees gathered for the 2009 ICBA National Convention and Techworld held in Phoenix from March 18-21.

“It’s up to community bankers to restore the image of banking so that when people hear ‘banker,’ they think of the loan that got their favorite restaurant going, the tuition loan that let a family send one of their own for the first time off to college, the money that helped build the community center and the eye doctor’s practice, and helped rebuild a neighbor’s home after a tragic fire,” Menzies said.

He went on to say that more than ever before we need a choir to sing as loud as possible that Wall Street is not America. “As independent bankers, we value capitalism and want free markets that allow people to take risk and make a fortune, or lose money when the risk becomes excessive,” Menzies said.

Menzies reiterated that ICBA will continue its efforts to tell Washington that it’s time to break up too-big-to-fail, too-big-to-regulate entities and also communicate that our nation’s more than 8,000 community banks intend to be part of the solution to restoring our economy, and they should not be unfairly taxed since they did not participate in the practices that led to the current economic crisis.

“Wall Street has its role to play, but it is the values of our nation’s independent community bankers that is the true voice of America,” he said.

The ICBA National Convention and Techworld is the largest and most vital community banking industry event of its kind in the nation, attracting community bankers, industry representatives and state and federal regulatory officials. In addition, with 247 exhibitors, ICBA’s Techworld features comprehensive community bank-tailored products and services reflective of a dynamic and innovative community banking industry.

Find the text of Menzies speech at www.icba.org.

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