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ICBA Urges Congress to Pass Frank-Bachus Amendment to Limit Non-Farm Lending of Farm Credit Banks

Amendment Would Maintain Farm Credit Lending Focus on Farmers and Ranchers

Washington, D.C. (July 25, 2007)—The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) in a letter urged Congress to adopt a bi-partisan amendment offered by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Ranking Member Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) that would remove a Farm Credit System lending expansion provision from the farm bill when it reaches the full House.

"ICBA thanks Reps. Frank and Bachus for offering an amendment that will keep the Farm Credit System's activities focused on farmers and ranchers and not allow this retail GSE to use its tax-advantaged status to engage in general business and home lending," said Camden Fine, ICBA president and CEO. "The nation's community banks are already serving America's families and small businesses well by helping to finance their dreams. ICBA endorses this amendment that will rein in the FCS and protect local economies across the country."

The House is considering farm legislation this week that would allow Farm Credit institutions — which are government-sponsored lenders created to lend directly to farmers — to lend to a host of commercial businesses not owned by farmers and provide mortgages to non-farm families in many of our nation's largest suburbs. This unwarranted mission expansion shifts the focus of the FCS away from farmers toward general business and home mortgage lending.

The commercial and small business lending and mortgage markets covered by the FCS provisions are the heart of the business of community banks, and they are already serving this marketplace well. The FCS benefits from a tremendous tax and funding advantage over private sector lenders like community banks.

The Frank-Bachus amendment would not roll back any existing powers of the Farm Credit System, and it would leave in place other beneficial Farm Credit amendments, such as reforms to the Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation.