Washington, D.C. (Oct. 11, 2001) — The Independent Community Bankers of America today applauded the Farm Credit Administration Board's decision to withdraw its National Charter proposal as requested by ICBA and the Treasury Department. The Board noted the potential problem the proposal could cause to the co-operative nature of the System and the need for better business planning by System institutions. Hundreds of ICBA's community bank members wrote FCA in opposition to this proposal.
"FCA's Board deserves credit for doing the right thing. This decision is in the best interest of rural agricultural credit markets because it lessens the threat of large lenders cherry picking the best loans of small lenders while ignoring struggling family farmers and ranchers," stated Dale Leighty, chairman of ICBA's Agriculture-Rural America Committee and president of First National Bank of Las Animas, Colo.
ICBA has consistently pointed out that removing geographic restrictions would lead to unfair predatory lending practices by the larger Farm Credit System institutions and threatened local lending to farmers, ranchers and rural communities.
ICBA is the primary voice for the nation's community banks, representing 5,000 institutions at nearly 17,000 locations nationwide. Community banks are independently owned and operated and are characterized by attention to customer service, lower fees and small business, agricultural and consumer lending. ICBA's members hold more than $486 billion in insured deposits, $592 billion in assets and more than $355 billion in loans for consumers, small businesses and farms. They employ nearly 239,000 citizens in the communities they serve.