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ICBA Statement on SEC Delay of Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404(b) Audit Requirements

Washington, D.C. (Dec. 12, 2007)—Camden R. Fine, president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), issued the following statement on Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox's recommendation to postpone Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404(b) audit requirements for small SEC filers - including community banks - for one year:

"ICBA commends and thanks Chairman Cox for recommending a one-year delay of SOX 404 audit rules and we look forward to the SEC adopting his recommendation in January. The SOX 404 audit rules impose an excessive and disproportionate burden on community banks and divert their resources away from providing services and valuable credit to customers. As the only national association exclusively representing community banks, ICBA and our member community banks have worked hard to explain to policymakers how this requirement impacts community banks. We are grateful that our pleas are being heard.

"ICBA also thanks House Small Business Chairwoman Velazquez (Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y.) for holding today's hearing and for her support of the ICBA-endorsed Communities First Act (H.R. 1869), which would exempt community banks from SOX 404 audit requirements. ICBA will continue to work with Chairwoman Velazquez and SEC Chairman Cox to make this exemption permanent."

ICBA testified today before the House Committee on Small Business which held a hearing on the SOX 404(b) audit rules. Testifying on behalf of ICBA, William (Bill) A. Loving, Jr., executive vice president and CEO, Pendleton Community Bank, Franklin, W.Va., called on Congress to postpone the implementation of SOX Section 404(b) for small companies and advance the Community Banks Serving their Communities First Act of 2007 (H.R.1869). The legislature would exempt community banks with assets of less than $1 billion from SOX Section 404 requirements and would raise the threshold for registration under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from 500 to 1,000 shareholders, exempting more community banks from the regulatory burdens of both SOX and the Exchange Act.