FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ICBA-Backed Amendments Adopted in GSE Regulatory Reform Bill
Washington, D.C. (April 1, 2004) - The Independent Community Bankers of America praised the Senate Banking Committee for including key ICBA-backed amendments to legislation the committee passed today to create a new independent federal regulator to oversee Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks.
"With the ICBA-supported amendments by Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah) and Sen. Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) included in the committee's final bill, the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2004 will protect the housing GSEs as a key funding source for community banks," said ICBA President and CEO Camden R. Fine.
ICBA was the only banking trade association to actively lobby for a Bennett-Enzi amendment that gives Congress the authority to override the appointment of a receiver for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. "This amendment sends a strong signal to the financial markets that our government supports a strong national housing policy," Fine said.
ICBA also worked with Senator Enzi on two separate amendments, which were adopted (1) to clarify that the mission of the FHLBanks includes providing liquidity and economic development funds to community financial institutions, and (2) to require that a study on limiting depository institutions' investments in GSEs also takes into account what other investments would be available to replace those investments.
The bill, S. 1656, cleared the Senate Banking Committee by a 12-to-9 party-line vote won by Republicans.
"ICBA congratulates the Senate Banking Committee for approving these ICBA-backed amendments and thanks Senators Bennett and Enzi," Fine said. "The final outcome of this legislation will be very important to many community banks that rely on the GSEs for funding and housing finance. We look forward to continue working with the Congress to assure that legislation is ultimately enacted that preserves and protects our nation's remarkably effective housing finance system."