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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ICBA Applauds Rural Economic Investment Act
Legislation Would Help Rural Borrowers

Washington, D.C. (Jan. 26, 2005)-The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), the nation's largest banking trade organization, today applauded the introduction of The Rural Economic Investment Act, aimed at providing narrow, targeted tax exemptions to help rural borrowers of commercial banks receive the same benefits as borrowers of the Farm Credit System (FCS).

The Farm Credit System, a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE), has tax and funding advantages over commercial banks. In addition, the FCS is the only GSE with direct retail lending authority in competition with private-sector, tax-paying commercial banks.

"By providing banks with a tax exemption on lending income earned from certain agricultural real estate and mortgage loans, community banks and their borrowers will be able to enjoy some of the same privileges that FCS lenders now enjoy," stated Dale Leighty, chairman of the ICBA and president and chairman of First National Bank of Las Animas, Colo. "We applaud Congressman Tom Osborne's bill, which will help lower the cost of borrowing for farmers and rural homeowners and be a stimulus to the rural economy."

Rep. Tom Osborne (R-Neb.), a member of the House Agriculture Committee introduced the bill. Reps. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Lee Terry (R-Neb.) are cosponsors of the legislation. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and Rep. Osborne introduced similar legislation in the last Congress (S.1263 and H.R. 4295).




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