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ICBA’s Community Bankers Make Their Voices Heard on Capitol Hill

Lobby Days Provide Opportunity to Work with Congress

Washington, D.C. (May 22, 2006)—The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and more than 300 of the association's leadership bankers have come to the nation's capital this week to tell members of Congress that community banks are the foundation of local economies through small business lending, job creation and providing financial services to millions of Americans.

"ICBA is working with Congress on legislation that affects not just community bankers, but millions of our customers who depend on their local banks for business and consumer loans, mortgages and other financial services," said Terry J. Jorde, ICBA chairman and president and CEO of CountryBank USA, Cando, N.D. "Community banks are the engines that help drive investment in communities across our nation."

ICBA is working with Congress on a number of major legislative efforts that would free up resources for financial institutions to invest in local communities. Among these are:

  • Relieving the disproportionate regulatory burden through the ICBA-backed Communities First Act (H.R.2061 and S.1568) and other legislation so that community banks can fully focus on lending in and developing their communities.

  • Maintaining the separation of banking and commerce by fighting the threat posed by commercial firms, including Wal-Mart, which seek to acquire industrial loan companies by exploiting a loophole in the law.

  • Narrowing the competitive gap with tax-subsidized credit unions and allowing credit unions to freely choose the charter that best fits their customers' needs.

  • Passing meaningful estate tax relief for small businesses.

  • Achieving a strong, uniform national standard for customer data security.

  • Supporting sound corporate governance that would ease costly audit requirements for smaller public companies and allow for new lending and investment in local communities.

"Community bankers live in the community, take pride in the community, and have a financial stake in the community. We stay with the community in good times and in bad," Jorde said.