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ICBA Calls on Congress to Forgo Expedited Credit CARD Act Dates for Community Banks

Washington, D.C. (September 29, 2009)—The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) today issued the following statement regarding the Expedited CARD Reform for Consumers Act of 2009 (H.R. 3639), which would change the effective date for the reforms in the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (H.R. 627) to Dec. 1, 2009.

“Our nation’s more than 8,000 community banks are common-sense lenders that offer credit and debit cards on fair terms as a means of providing valuable services to their customers. The recently enacted Credit CARD Act and its effective dates are already placing substantial burdens on the 74 percent of community banks that offer credit card programs as they change systems, train employees and implement procedures to comply with the new rules. Expediting the compliance date of the provisions from February and August 2010 to Dec. 1, 2009, will harm America’s Main Street community banks, which never engaged in the misleading practices targeted by the bill. It will be virtually impossible for most community banks to comply in time with the expedited date due to their limited compliance resources. As a result, many community banks may decide they must discontinue offering these products to their customers, which will likely result in the consolidation of the credit card industry into the hands of a few large financial institutions that can absorb the compliance burden.

“ICBA urges Congress not to change the effective dates for community banks, so that they can continue working to comply with the requirements by the original dates. Community banks remain the backbone of our national and local economies. During this time of economic crisis, reputable community banks should not be asked to endure further burdensome regulations that divert attention away from their key purpose—to lend to their customers and keep money flowing where it is needed—in communities throughout Main Street America.”