FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ICBA Urges Treasury: Respond Expeditiously to Community Bank SBLF Applicants
Deadline for SBLF Applications is Sept. 27
Washington, D.C. (September 19, 2011)—With the Sept. 27 deadline for Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF) applications rapidly approaching, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) continued to urge Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and top bank regulators to respond expeditiously to all community banks that still have questions and concerns on the status of their applications.
“ICBA worked diligently with Treasury, Congress, and the bank regulatory agencies from the start to advance the best program possible. I am confident that the SBLF program will result in job creation and our communities will benefit,” ICBA President and CEO Cam Fine wrote in the letter. “We again implore Treasury and all the bank regulators to do everything in their power to ensure all SBLF applicants’ concerns are addressed in the short remaining weeks before the program terminates.”
While ICBA is pleased that Treasury has approved more than 380 community banks for $4.3 billion in capital under SBLF, many interested community banks are still eager to deploy additional capital to boost economic activity in their communities. In the letter, ICBA asked Treasury to take a second hard look if there are any legitimate questions regarding the treatment of an application. ICBA’s Fine highlighted that this is critical to ensure the SBLF reaches its full potential and all interested community banks are treated professionally and fairly.
“ICBA has devoted substantial resources to the SBLF effort over the past 18 months because we believe that it will have a timely and positive impact on the economy. We worked diligently to see this program enacted, despite high hurdles to overcome in Congress,” Fine wrote.
Since enactment of the SBLF, ICBA has worked to ensure that the best terms are available, including Tier 1 capital treatment, and to ensure that as many interested community banks as possible have the opportunity to participate, whether they are organized as C corporations, Subchapter S banks or mutuals.
“We have fought the many delays and roadblocks that have hampered the implementation of this SBLF program, including the dividend waiver requirements added by Treasury late into the program’s launch,” Fine wrote. “As we enter the final weeks of the program, it is urgent that Treasury remain focused and determined to assist the community bank applicants that remain frustrated with program execution and process.”
Fine wrote that, at a minimum, Treasury must more clearly and fully explain why individual applications were not approved. “These bankers deserve a full and timely explanation, not only because they have invested time and resources to complete the applications, but because in the time remaining there may still be opportunity to supply additional information, address concerns, correct misunderstandings and potentially qualify more applicants before the clock runs out,” Fine wrote.
Finally, in view of the extended delays in rolling out the applications and announcing approvals, ICBA also urged Treasury and the bank regulators to ensure that approved applicants have all the appropriate and reasonable time necessary, even beyond Sept. 27 to the extent that regulatory authority allows, to finalize and complete SBLF capital transactions. While the administration is advancing additional economic measures for Congress to consider, Treasury should make every effort to ensure the SBLF program.
To read ICBA’s letter to Treasury, visit www.icba.org.