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ICBA Endorses Regulatory Relief Legislation

Washington, D.C. (October 18, 2005) - In testimony to Congress, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) endorsed the Financial Services Regulatory Relief Act of 2005 sponsored by Reps. Jeb Hensarling, (R-Tex.) and Dennis Moore, (D-Kans.) and called on Congress to move forward with a number of measures to reduce the regulatory burden on community banks.

"Reducing the regulatory burden remains a top concern of community bankers and we strongly support this subcommittee's efforts to reduce it," said David E. Hayes, ICBA chairman and president and CEO of Security Bank, Dyersburg, Tenn., in testimony before the House Financial Services Committee subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit.

Hayes commended Reps. Hensarling and Moore for including in the bill a number of regulatory and tax relief provisions from the ICBA-backed Communities First Act (H.R. 2061) that will help community banks as well as consumers, small businesses and local governments which depend on community banks for financial service.

Among the CFA provisions included in the bill are:

  • Direct the bank agencies to streamline call reports;
  • Permit community banks to file short-form call reports every other quarter;
  • Expand the eligibility for the 18-month exam cycle to banks with up to $1 billion in assets;
  • Expand the eligibility of bank holding companies for simplified reporting to $1 billion in assets; and
  • Exempt banks from having to send out annual privacy notices if they do not generally share information and have not changed their policies.

"By lifting the yoke of regulatory burden from our backs, the CFA would allow community banks to focus our resources on serving our customers and communities," Hayes told Congress.

ICBA said it supports the Gillmor-Frank (Reps. Paul Gilmor and Barney Frank) compromise measure included in the Hensarling/Moore legislation as a first step to closing the industrial loan company (ILC) loophole, by limiting the branching powers of new ILCs owned by non-financial companies. However, Hayes urged Congress to go a step further. "The best way to deal with the mixing of banking and commerce made possible by the ILC loophole is to close it by bringing ILCs under the Bank Holding Company Act," he said.