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ICBA and Community Bankers Ask SEC To Adopt SOX 404 Relief

Call for Directing Resources to Small Businesses

Washington, D.C. (April 4, 2006)—The Independent Community Bankers of America and nearly 200 community bankers are urging the Securities and Exchange Commission to adopt the recommendations made by an SEC Advisory Committee to fully or partially exempt smaller public companies from Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX).

"The intensity of responses by community banks indicates strong support for the committee recommendations," said Chris Cole, ICBA regulatory counsel. "Adopting the recommendations would greatly enable community banks — which supply about a third of small business lending by banks nationwide — to further support economic development and job creation in their local communities."

In addition, this relief would significantly benefit the hundreds of publicly held community banks and holding companies that are struggling with the high costs of complying with SOX. ICBA and the community bankers fully support the Advisory Committee's recommendations for "scaled or proportional representation" for smaller public companies and in particular, exempting micro-cap companies from the internal control attestation requirements and small-cap companies from the external audit requirements of SOX Section 404. Community bankers also support a study to consider whether the 500 shareholder threshold for registration under the Securities and Exchange Act should be updated and how to reduce duplicative regulatory reporting.

"The Advisory Committee's Final Report is an excellent roadmap for the SEC to adopt a system of scaled or proportional securities regulation for micro-cap and small-cap companies," said Cole. "We urge the Commission to adopt the Advisory Committee's recommendations."

For more information, visit www.icba.org.