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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ICBA Testifies in Favor of Balanced Policy in Bankruptcy Reform

Washington, D.C. (Feb. 10, 2005) - Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), the nation's largest banking trade organization, today urged Congress to act swiftly to pass long-overdue bankruptcy legislation reform.

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Michael S. Menzies, president and CEO of Easton Bank and Trust Co. in Easton, Md. and chairman of ICBA's Policy Development Committee said, "ICBA recognizes that all other borrowers pay for the losses created by those who are discharged from their debts. This tax on the majority of individual borrowers should be mitigated wherever possible."

Menzies added, "A balanced policy will recognize that there are situations where it is appropriate to relieve individuals of all or part of their financial responsibilities, but at the same time will encourage Americans to take ownership of their financial health."

"This marked the fourth consecutive Congress in which bankruptcy reform legislation has been overwhelmingly approved by the House and Senate," said Camden R. Fine, president and CEO of ICBA. "Yet despite strong bipartisan support, the legislation continues to be caught up in controversy over unrelated provisions. ICBA urges the committee to move quickly to enact this vital legislation."

ICBA has worked toward this reform over eight years and two presidencies. Since 2000, bankruptcies in the United States have risen 28 percent.




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