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ICBA Executives Join White House Economic Summit

Washington, D.C. (Dec. 16, 2004) - Executives from the Independent Community Bankers of America joined this week's White House Economic Summit. Both President Bush and Vice President Cheney spearheaded the two-day, invitation-only summit, held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

ICBA Chairman Dale L. Leighty, chairman and president of First National Bank of Las Animas, Colo., and ICBA President and CEO Camden R. Fine attended, accompanied by ICBA Executive Vice President and Director of Regulatory Affairs Karen M. Thomas, and ICBA Chief Economist and Director of Federal Tax Policy Paul Merski.

The ICBA executives joined President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Treasury Secretary John Snow, Commerce Secretary Don Evans and other top policymakers and stakeholders in discussing the direction of the national economy and economic strategy of the President's second administration.

"The President was very upbeat about the economy," said ICBA Chairman Dale Leighty. "A lot of good discussion came out of the summit on why and where our tax and regulatory systems need improvement, and we're hopeful about the direction of the next four years."

ICBA President and CEO Cam Fine agreed. "Community banks and their customers are dramatically impacted by our tax and regulatory environment. We're optimistic the administration recognizes the unique burden faced by small business owners and is pressing a much-needed reform agenda."

ICBA participants were particularly interested in the panel on tax and regulatory burden. In his opening remarks to that panel, Secretary Snow spoke of the undue burden of regulations in the United States. "It is, and has been, a top priority of the Bush Administration to be mindful of those burdens, and to reduce them whenever possible," he said. "The President believes that this is critical in the effort to make America the best place in the world in which to invest and create jobs."