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ICBA Urges Congress to Pass CLEAR Relief Act

Legislation includes much-needed regulatory relief to boost communities

Washington, D.C. (Dec. 3, 2013)—The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) today testified before Congress on the need to advance legislation to relieve unnecessary regulatory burdens on community banks. B. Doyle Mitchell Jr., a third generation community banker and president and CEO of Industrial Bank in Washington, D.C., told lawmakers that the Community Lending Enhancement and Regulatory (CLEAR) Relief Act (H.R. 1750) would support continued economic growth for often-underserved communities and small businesses. The act includes several provisions from ICBA’s Plan for Prosperity regulatory relief platform for the 113th Congress.

Industrial Bank is a $350 million asset bank headquartered in the District of Columbia. The bank was founded in 1934, in the depth of the Great Depression, and is the oldest and largest African American-owned commercial bank in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. In addition to being a member of ICBA, Mitchell is chairman of the National Bankers Association, a trade association for the nation's minority and women-owned banks. While many community banks serve rural areas and small towns, there is also an important segment of community banks like his that serve urban areas and that were founded to serve minority communities that were historically ignored by other financial institutions.

“In order to reach their full potential as catalysts for entrepreneurship, economic growth and job creation, community banks must have regulation that is calibrated to their size, lower-risk profile and traditional business model,” Mitchell told the House Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations. “By rebalancing unsustainable and counterproductive regulatory burden, the Plan for Prosperity, if adopted by Congress, will ensure that scarce capital and labor resources are used productively, not sunk into unnecessary compliance costs, allowing community banks to better focus on lending and investing that will directly improve the quality of life in our communities.”

Mitchell noted in his testimony that extending by nine to 12 months the mandatory compliance date for new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau mortgage rules is among ICBA’s top regulatory concerns. The CLEAR Relief Act would help address this and other burdensome regulations by:

  • providing qualified mortgage status for community bank portfolio loans,
  • exempting community bank portfolio mortgages from new escrow requirements,
  • exempting smaller mortgages from new appraisal standards,
  • modernizing the Federal Reserve’s Small Bank Holding Company Policy Statement
  • relieving publicly traded community banks and thrifts from unnecessary accounting and auditing expenses, and
  • eliminating redundant privacy notice mandates.

To read the testimony, visit www.icba.org.

About ICBA
The Independent Community Bankers of America®, the nation’s voice for nearly 7,000 community banks of all sizes and charter types, is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education and high-quality products and services. For more information, visit www.icba.org.

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