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ICBA: Community Bankers Welcome President Obama

Washington, D.C. (January 21, 2009)—Cynthia L. Blankenship, chairman of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and vice chairman and chief operating officer of Bank of the West in Grapevine, Texas, and Camden R. Fine, president and CEO of ICBA, today issued the following statement.

“On behalf of our nation’s more than 8,000 community banks, ICBA welcomes President Barack Obama and his administration and we look forward to working together to find solutions to the unprecedented economic challenges we face. ICBA looks forward to working collaboratively with the president and his team to restore economic vitality to cities and towns throughout America. Our nation’s community banks are solid, well-capitalized, common-sense lenders that stand ready and able to help their local economies and communities recover.

“It is clear that the current financial crisis has shown our nation, and nations around the world, that bigger is not better and that financial consolidation is not the right path, but instead a path that has resulted in great pain for millions of Americans. The continued vitality and strength of our country’s community banks in the midst of this crisis proves that community banks are the part of our financial fabric that works.

“Community banks did not engage in the practices that led to the current economic crisis, so as new solutions are put in place, they should not be penalized for problems they did not create. To act quickly and efficiently, all community banks, including mutual institutions, need to be considered and have access to programs, such as the TARP, that will help them better serve their customers. We need to think beyond the tired old policies that caused the current crisis and find solutions that set us on a path toward a stronger and brighter tomorrow.

“ICBA looks forward to continuing a solution-minded dialogue with President Obama and his administration, so that community banks can continue to perform their vital function in serving their customers and play a key role in our nation’s economic recovery.”