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ICBA Statement on Senate GSE Reform

Washington, D.C. (July 29, 2005) - The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) President and CEO Camden R. Fine issued the following statement in response to the Senate Banking Committee's approval by an 11-9 vote of legislation to reform the regulation of the housing government sponsored enterprises - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - and the Federal Home Loan Banks:

"We strongly support provisions in the Senate Banking Committee-approved GSE reform bill that strengthens oversight of the GSEs while maintaining the status of the enterprises and recognizing the unique characteristics of the Federal Home Loan Bank System. These enterprises play a key role in helping community banks provide competitive mortgage financing to millions of consumers and are a key factor in our country's homeownership rate being at an all-time high. Any new regulator must be independent and have authority comparable to a bank regulator."

"We commend the committee for rejecting attempts to establish a 'bright line' drawing a fixed barrier between the primary and secondary mortgage markets. And we are pleased that the committee included ICBA-backed language clarifying that the Federal Home Loan Banks' mission includes supporting small business and agricultural lending as authorized by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. ICBA worked closely with Senator Enzi last year to develop this language."

"As this bill moves to the Senate floor, ICBA looks forward to working with Chairman Shelby and the Committee to improve the legislation, particularly to allow the regulator to base portfolio limits on safety and soundness only, not on the size and nature of the portfolio holdings."