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ICBA Community Banker Addresses Small Business Credit Concerns at Federal Reserve Board Program

Washington, D.C. (July 12, 2010)-Jack Hopkins, president and CEO of the $700 million CorTrust Bank in Sioux Falls, S.D., will represent the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) in a panel discussion being held today by the Federal Reserve regarding the financing needs of small businesses. During the program, which will also be attended by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills and Federal Reserve Governor Elizabeth Duke, Hopkins plans to discuss the strong role community banks serve nationwide in lending to small businesses, the impact of tax and regulatory policies on community bank lending and the need for Congress to pass SBA loan program incentives and the $30 billion Small Business Lending Fund. 

"I am honored to be part of this Federal Reserve Board program and look forward to discussing critical issues where community banks can continue to support small businesses and our economic recovery," said Hopkins. "Community banks like mine take tremendous pride in working with local small businesses to help them thrive and expand. Our nation's nearly 8,000 community banks are poised to further aid in the economic recovery by continuing to lend to local small businesses on Main Street." 

For their size, community banks are prolific small business lenders, in fact, 57 percent of bank small business loan balances were funded by community banks with less than $10 billion in assets.  While community banks are lending to their local small business customers, hurdles remain, including lack of demand from qualified borrowers, and uncertainty in pending tax and regulatory policies.  "We must have a policy environment that supports increased small business lending," Hopkins said.  "Bank regulators perform a critical function, but they must strike the appropriate balance between regulating safety and soundness and allowing the flow of properly underwritten credit."

During the panel, Hopkins plans to explain that the examination environment can have chilling effects on the extension of credit to creditworthy borrowers, while also stressing the need for Congress to extend SBA lending incentives and the proposed $30 billion Small Business Lending Fund Act of 2010.  This legislation, which was passed by the House last month and is pending in the Senate, is crucial to supporting the financing needs of local small businesses across the country.

ICBA is working with Congress and federal agencies on these important issues to ensure that community banks can continue to meet the needs of their small business customers.  To learn more about ICBA and community banks, visit http://www.icba.org/.