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ICBA Supports Feeney/DeMint Bill to Provide Relief from SOX for Smaller Public Companies

Community Banker Speaks at Press Conference

Washington, D.C. (May 17, 2006)—The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) applaud Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) for introducing a measure to ease requirements for small companies under the Sarbanes-Oxley law.

"By providing funding and lending to households, businesses and municipalities, community banks are vital to the economic well being of countless individuals, neighborhoods, businesses, and communities throughout the country," said W.A. "Bill" Loving, executive vice president and CEO of Pendleton Community Bank, Franklin, W.Va. speaking on behalf of ICBA during a press conference highlighting the bill's introduction today on Capitol Hill. "But that role is threatened by the cost of regulations like Section 404 that have had a severe and disproportionate impact on the profitability and competitiveness of community banks."

The Feeney-DeMint bill would exempt public companies under $700 million in market capitalization and whose revenues do not exceed $125 million from SOX Section 404. Entitled the "Competitive and Open Markets that Protect and Enhance the Treatment of Entrepreneurs Act," the measure reflects a recommendation of the Securities and Exchange Commission's Advisory Committee on Smaller Public Companies.

"ICBA commends Rep. Feeney and Sen. DeMint for recognizing the severe impact that SOX Section 404 is having on small business such as community banks and on their ability to devote financial resources to their communities," said Camden R. Fine, ICBA president and CEO. "ICBA is pleased to support this bill and we look forward to working with Congress to help pass this piece of legislation that will benefit local communities and small business alike."

An ICBA survey shows that the average community bank will spend more than $200,000 and devote over 2,000 staff hours to comply with SOX Section 404, while the General Accountability Office has said that smaller public companies have been disproportionately impacted by the high cost of Section 404.

ICBA has been working diligently with the SEC's Advisory Committee and with Congress to develop a balance between compliance with Section 404 requirements and not over-burdening small businesses with excessive compliance costs or putting consumers at risk.

Read Loving's complete remarks at www.icba.org.