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ICBA Officials Attend White House Signing of Key Credit Reporting Bill

Washington, D.C. (Dec. 4, 2003) - Independent Community Bankers of America Chairman C. R. (Rusty) Cloutier, president/CEO of MidSouth Bank, N.A., of Lafayette, La., and Camden R. Fine, president/CEO-elect of ICBA, attended a small and festive ceremony in the historic Roosevelt Room of the White House to witness President George W. Bush sign the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 into law.

"It's a great honor to have President Bush invite us to represent the ICBA and community banks at this ceremony," said Cloutier. "While protecting consumers privacy rights, this vital legislation is sensitive to the growing regulatory burden facing thousands of community banks and breaks important new ground in addressing the growing problem of identity theft."

Cloutier and Fine each praised the president, the U.S. Treasury and the congressional leadership in crafting this bi-partisan legislation. Fine noted the leadership role of Treasury Assistant Secretary Wayne Abernathy in developing the administration position to include identity theft protection provisions in the bill.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Oxley (R-Ohio) and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) worked very closely with ranking minority members Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) in getting this must do legislation done. Congratulations!

For more than a year, ICBA worked with a diverse coalition of more than 30 consumer and business lobbying groups — including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Consumer Choice Coalition and the National Retail Federation — to garner broad support for the new law, which passed both Houses of Congress by overwhelming votes.

"ICBA was actively involved in supporting this bill from the very beginning," Fine said. "This was must-pass legislation, and the ICBA worked diligently to see the bipartisan bill ultimately enacted today."

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act makes permanent seven key national credit reporting rules in the Fair Credit Reporting Act that ensure the wide-scale availability of credit throughout the country that is important to economic growth and job creation. The law also gives consumers more tools to safeguard their personal information and defend against identity theft.

For instance, it guarantees consumers annual free access to their credit history reports. It also allows consumers to place a "fraud alert" warning on their credit files if they think criminals may have obtained their financial information.