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ICBA Commends House Panel for Passing New Louisiana Recovery Measure

Bill Would Help Relieve Borrowers' Financial Burden

Washington, D.C. (December 15, 2005) - The Independent Community Bankers of America commended the House Financial Services Committee for its rapid passage of a bill to establish the Louisiana Recovery Corporation, H.R. 4100 sponsored by Rep. Richard Baker, (R-La.) and supported by Committee Chairman Rep. Michael Oxley, (R-Ohio).

"This legislation's aim is to offer financial stability to homeowners and facilitate community rebuilding in Louisiana as that state recovers from the devastating impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita," said David E. Hayes, ICBA chairman and president and CEO of Security Bank, Dyersburg, Tenn.

The legislation includes a fund to allow the federal government to purchase impaired loans of borrowers affected by the disaster. This provision will further enable dozens of community banks doing business in the state to focus resources on recovery and rebuilding their communities.

H.R. 4100 would establish a special agency, the Louisiana Recovery Corporation, which will work with willing property owners to purchase both residential and commercial property, relieving hurricane victims of their mortgage obligations up to $500,000 and transferring title to the corporation. Bonds issued by the U.S. Treasury would fund the acquisitions. The corporation would then make necessary infrastructure repairs before selling the property to private developers through a competitive bidding process.