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ICBA Spells Out Position on FCRA Bill

Washington, D.C. (Nov. 14, 2003) - Kenneth A. Guenther, president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America, has sent the following letter to all House and Senate conferees on Fair Credit Report Act legislation (H.R. 2622):

"As the conference negotiations move forward on H.R. 2622, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) would like to articulate our position on key provisions in both the House and Senate passed legislation that are of importance to our members.

"First, to ensure the continued availability of low cost credit, it is critically important that the uniform national standards in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) are permanently re-authorized as both the House and Senate bills would do. Uniform credit reporting standards ensure the availability of credit, especially to low and moderate-income borrowers, and help to maintain the efficiency of the nation's credit system.

"Second, in both bills there are new obligations for bankers to further the important interests of combating identity theft. In our judgment the House language accomplishes this goal with better balance, and we strongly support provisions in the House bill preempting state law in the area of identity theft.

"Third, if changes to the Senate bill regarding affiliate sharing and the marketing solicitations opt-out provisions are made during conference, it is critically important that none of these alterations place community banks that rely on third-party relationships in order to market and provide a full array of financial products and services to their customers at a disadvantage with large banks with affiliate structures. These stricter marketing opt-out provisions, which are not contained in the House bill, will be burdensome for community banks and will restrict their ability to inform customers about non-bank offerings such as insurance products that may be appropriate for their customers.

"Finally, the risk based pricing notice provision in Section 311 of the Senate bill will also present an additional compliance burden on community banks with the separate notice requirement. There is no similar requirement in the House bill, which we support.