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ICBA Supports Senate Regulatory Relief Legislation; Urges Further Changes

Washington, D.C. (May 4, 2006)—The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) applauds the Senate Banking Committee for advancing regulatory relief legislation for community banks as part of the Financial Services Regulatory Relief Act of 2006, which includes three provisions from the ICBA-backed Communities First Act (S. 1568).

"This measure will help bring relief to over-burdened community banks and ICBA greatly appreciates the work of Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) in developing this bill," said Terry J. Jorde, ICBA chairman, and president and CEO of CountryBank USA, Cando, N.D. "As the bill moves to the full Senate for consideration, community banks nationwide ask lawmakers to make further improvements including additional provisions from the Communities First Act which have already passed the House of Representatives."

Three provisions from the ICBA-inspired Communities First Act are included in the Senate bill. First, the bill directs the federal banking agencies to review the call report every five years to delete items that are no longer needed. Second, it would increase asset-size eligibility for an 18-month exam cycle for well-rated, well-capitalized banks from $250 million to $500 million (the Communities First Act and the House-passed regulatory relief bill (H.R. 3505) would raise eligibility to $1 billion). Third, it would increase the exemption from the management interlocks restriction from $20 million in assets to $50 million (the Communities First Act would raise it to $500 million; H.R. 3505 would raise it to $100 million).

ICBA will work closely with Congress to ensure these provisions are in any final regulatory relief legislation and to add other provisions from the Communities First Act.

ICBA also applauds Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) for his statement at the mark up calling on Congress to seriously consider whether the scope and purpose of industrial loan companies have moved beyond the original intent of Congress. "Wal-Mart's application for federal deposit insurance raised people's awareness of potentially tremendous and unintended changes to the nation's banking system. This issue deserves Congressional attention and ICBA welcomes Sen. Johnson's call for a separate debate on the ILC issue," said Jorde.

For more information, visit www.icba.org.