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Thirty-two State Groups Endorse Communities First Act

Washington, D.C. (May 4, 2005) - Thirty-two state community banker groups signed a letter to Rep. Jim Ryun (R-Kan.) endorsing the "Community Bankers Serving Their Communities First Act," which Ryun introduced on May 3.

The associations wrote that the "Communities First Act" as it is being called, is "critically important to promote the economic viability of local communities." They wrote: "Numerous studies show that community banks are disproportionately burdened by unnecessary record keeping and regulatory requirements. These burdens divert important resources from supporting small businesses, local lending and community development initiatives. Under the crush of regulatory burden and disproportionately high taxes, many community banks are struggling to remain competitive in their local markets against lightly regulated nonbank financial institutions and huge tax-exempt credit unions and farm credit associations."

The groups added: "The Communities First Act will address these issues by providing badly needed regulatory burden relief and tax reform that will enable community banks to better focus their resources on serving the financial needs of their customers and their communities."

The Ryun bill also has been endorsed by House Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), who said he will hold hearings on the bill later this year.

The full text of the endorsement letter is posted on ICBA's electronic press room at www.icba.org/pressroom, under "Letters to Capitol Hill."