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Community Banking Industry Remains Healthy ICBA’s New Chairman Says

Blankenship, Addressing Annual Convention, Renews Fight to Close ILC Loophole

Orlando, Fla. (March 5, 2008)—The community banking industry remains healthy and continues to be the foundation of the communities they serve nationwide, said Cynthia L. Blankenship, Independent Community Bankers of America's (ICBA) newly elected chairman and vice chairman and chief operating officer of Bank of the West Irving, Texas. Blankenship spoke to nearly 3,000 attendees gathered for the 2008 ICBA National Convention and Techworld held in Orlando, Fla., March 2-5.

"My efforts for the year ahead will focus on building on what has come before to ensure our association stays strong and vital - so that our industry stays strong and vital," Blankenship told the gathering. "ICBA and community banks stand for good common sense business ideals and that has and will keep our banks healthy and prosperous now and in the future."

Blankenship also renewed ICBA's fight to maintain the separation of banking and commerce. "Both Wal-Mart and Home Depot have withdrawn their applications for an industrial loan company (ILC)," she said. "But we still need to get legislation passed to permanently close the ILC loophole. There is still work to do."

Noting that seven of every 10 community banks are ICBA members, Blankenship called on her fellow community bankers to stay committed to educating state and federal lawmakers and the American people about the vital role of community banks. "Community bankers make a difference in the lives of people within our communities every single day. We have made investing in our communities a way of life," she said. "We need our own voice. A voice that is only speaking for us. A voice that has but one mission. That voice is ICBA."

The ICBA National Convention and Techworld is the largest and most vital community banking industry event of its kind in the nation, attracting community bankers, industry representatives and state and federal regulatory officials. In addition, with 230 exhibitors, ICBA's Techworld features comprehensive community bank-tailored products and services reflective of a dynamic and innovative community banking industry.

Find the text of Blankenship's speech at www.icba.org.