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ICBA Opposes 'Hasty Action' by Congress Over OCC Preemption Rules

Washington, D.C. (April 15, 2004) - The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) today sent a letter to each U.S. senator urging that they reject proposed resolutions to overturn rules recently adopted by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency that provide that the National Bank Act, not state law, governs many national bank activities.

The Resolutions of Disapproval (S.J. Res. 31 and S.J. Res. 32) proposed by Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) address two separate OCC rules. One resolution would preempt a number of state laws regarding lending and deposit-taking activities, and the other would provide that the OCC has exclusive examination authority over national banks and their subsidiaries.

Instead of taking "hasty action" on Sen. Edwards' resolution, ICBA recommends that the Senate Banking Committee continue its oversight of the OCC regulations.

ICBA did not support adoption of these regulations when proposed, recommending instead that the OCC continue pre-empting state laws on a case-by-case basis. Nevertheless, ICBA's letter states that Sen. Edwards' proposed resolutions are "deeply troubling" for several reasons:

  • "ICBA has supported and continues to support preemption in many individual cases considered by OCC and the courts. These longstanding agency and court decisions could be called into serious question if Congress passes the resolutions under the Review Act."

  • "Congressional enactment of the resolutions could chill additional case-by-case preemption by federal banking agencies." For example, new state consumer protection laws "increase banks' regulatory burden and have negative unintended consequences for bank customers."