FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ICBA Reiterates Need for Community Bank Access to TARP
More Flexible Exam Environment Will Help Economy Recover
Washington, D.C. (January 13, 2009)—The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) today urged policymakers to quickly provide access for all community banks, including Subchapter S and mutual institutions, to the Troubled Asset Relief Program's Capital Purchase Program so that community banks can more fully participate in helping restore economic vitality to cities and towns throughout America.
"It is vital to note that community banks had no role in creating the current problems we face. They are solid, common-sense lenders that are well-capitalized and well-positioned to drive economic recovery in their communities,â€ said Cynthia L. Blankenship, ICBA chairman and vice chairman and chief operating officer of Bank of the West, Grapevine, Texas, in her testimony to the House Financial Services Committee. "ICBA urges Congress to direct the Treasury to quickly provide funds for Subchapter S and mutual institutions, which have not been eligible for funds under the existing terms of the CPP."
Blankenship said that while the vast majority of community banks have enough capital to serve their current customers, additional capital from the CPP for interested banks would help them serve more consumers and businesses—something that would be immensely beneficial to the economy during this critical time.
"ICBA also recommends that the bank regulatory agencies adopt a more flexible and reasonable examination policy, particularly with respect to real estate lending, so that community banks can further meet their communitiesâ€™ credit needs," said Blankenship. "Congress and the FDIC should also address expiring deposit insurance coverage and glaring inequities in the deposit insurance system so community banks have continued access to local deposits, which are the main source of lendable funds."
ICBA appreciates Chairman Barney Frank's (D-Mass.) leadership on this issue and for introducing legislation to address it. ICBA urges swift passage of the TARP Reform and Accountability Act of 2009 since it contains many provisions that will enhance the ability of community banks to continue to serve America's communities during these challenging times.
To read the full testimony, visit www.icba.org.