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ICBA Urges Congress to Support Community Banks’ Role in Supplying Credit to Small Businesses

Washington, D.C. (June 10, 2009)—The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) today urged Congress to support the community banking sector's important role in supplying credit to small businesses by promoting policy recommendations that would foster even more community bank lending.

“Our nation's more than 8,000 community banks are well-positioned to help get our economy back on track through greater small business lending,” said Cynthia L. Blankenship, ICBA immediate past chairman and vice chairman and chief operating officer of Bank of the West, Grapevine, Texas, in her testimony to the House Committee on Small Business. “During these economically challenging times, SBA lending programs must serve as a counterbalance to tight credit markets. ICBA supports strong SBA programs, fair regulatory treatment and tax policies that will foster robust community bank small business lending-something that is critical to the economic recovery effort in cities and towns throughout America.”

In March, Blankenship participated in the Obama Administration's launch of new Small Business Administration (SBA) lending initiatives on behalf of community banks. The program, aimed at helping small business borrowers and lenders, was developed to unfreeze secondary markets.

In her testimony, Blankenship urged Congress to extend or make permanent the temporary SBA lender and borrower fee reductions applied to 7(a) and 504 loan programs and give priority to small banks in implementing the 7(a) lender fee reduction. ICBA also called on Congress to enact tax reforms such as a five-year net operating loss period to help struggling small businesses ride out the recession.

Blankenship stressed the vital role that community banks play as small business lenders across the country. She said that while community banks represent about 12 percent of all bank assets, they make 20 percent of all small business loans and more than half of all small business loans under $100,000. In fact, 48 percent of small businesses get their financing from banks with $1 billion and under in assets.

ICBA appreciates the work of Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) and pledges to work with the Small Business Committee to ensure our nation's small businesses have the access to capital they need to invest, grow and provide jobs and spur economic growth.

To read ICBA's testimony, visit www.icba.org.