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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ICBA Champions Bankruptcy Reform

Washington, D.C. (Feb. 16, 2005) - In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee today, Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), the nation's largest banking trade organization, strongly urged swift passage of bankruptcy reform.

In the letter, Camden R. Fine, president and CEO of ICBA, writes, "After eight years of congressional consideration, enactment of this bill is long overdue. While opponents continue to use dilatory tactics to delay and attempt to kill this bill, consumers are being asked to bear the brunt of the costs of a broken bankruptcy system."

Fine writes that the bill addresses the needs of the poor and disadvantaged by protecting "women and children by strengthening their ability to collect alimony and child support; it shields low income filers by providing them access to chapter 7 without qualification; it helps consumers through a 'debtors bill of rights' requiring the disclosure of bankruptcy fees; and it safeguards all families against the high costs of having to pay for the bankruptcy abuses of others."

"A recent poll revealed that four out of five voters, of all parties, races, genders and income brackets, favor reform," Fine added. "An even higher percentage favors an income test requiring high-income filers to pay back part of their debt. This is pro-consumer, common sense legislation. The sentiments of the majority of Americans can no longer be ignored."

ICBA has worked toward this reform over eight years and two presidencies. Since 2000, bankruptcies in the United States have risen 28 percent, representing a total of more than 7.5 million bankruptcies.