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Remarks by James D. MacPhee at 2010 ICBA Convention

It has been an honor representing you these past two years, acting as your extended voice at state conventions as Judy and I have traveled throughout the country.
And ICBA, the only national trade association that exclusively represents community banking, has been speaking for all of us in Washington as the nation’s voice for community banks.
The theme for this year’s Convention and Techworld echoes what we have been saying: ICBA, through all that we do, is empowering Main Street.
Working in partnership with our state associations, we are giving community banks the tools that they need to lead our nation through the economic recovery, to restore confidence in our financial system, to back small businesses and spur job creation.

Empowering Main Street – not just words but reality.

Reality in the many banking products and tools our ICBA services network, led by Gary Teagno, provides to thousands of community banks;

Reality in our educational programs, led by Greg Martinson, that sharpened the skills of more than 30,000 community bankers last year;

And the reality of our overwhelming advocacy successes.
Our tremendous ICBA staff under Cam Fine and our government-relations team, led by Karen Thomas and Steve Verdier, have worked tirelessly to ensure that our voices are heard in Washington, by the administration, the Congress and the regulators.

Our communications team, led Karen Tyson and her staff, have brought us front and center in the media. In fact, I am almost disappointed if I turn on the TV or read an article about banking that does not mention ICBA or one of its members! What a job they have done.

Thanks to their hard work, the world knows that community banks did not create this mess, and they also know that too-big-to-fail is not a myth.

They know that those financial institutions that brought on this economic disaster must be downsized and resolved.
And ICBA is giving us access we couldn’t get on our own. Without ICBA, I and 11 other community bankers would not have been called to a private meeting at the white house with President Obama, Treasury Secretary Geithner, and National Economic Adviser Larry Summers. Now that's what I call access!
That was a red-letter day for me, and one I will never forget.
You can expect that kind of access to continue into the future. The key decision-makers know we are the common-sense lenders, and they value our opinions.
I am proud of the accomplishments of Mike Menzies, our chairman, this past year. What a warrior! He has served us well, and he will continue to be a leader in our industry.
I feel extremely fortunate to have my good friend Sal Marranca as my wingman this year. It is reassuring to know that he will always have my back because there’s so much I want to accomplish. 
My goals this year have been set forth by our policy-development committee and voted on and approved by our board of directors, and I pledge to do my best to attain those goals:
Our number-one priority this year is to end the doctrine of too-big-to-fail.

I pledge to promote the creation of a systemic-risk regulator, a separate systemic-risk premium and systemic-risk fund, so that the life insurance is in place before the patient dies.

I also pledge to do whatever I can to carry your messages that regulatory overkill and forced write-down on loans have had a negative effect on lending in our banks.

And to make sure that the Administration, Congress and regulators consider the impact of their decisions on community banks as a top priority.

I will not lose sight of these goals, and I will do my very best to inspire others to do the same, especially our young bankers.

We had impressive victories last year; several of our important amendments were included in major legislation in the House. But this year could prove to be an even bigger challenge in the Senate.
Make no mistake about it: we have tremendous forces working against us.

But I am confident. We have the best leadership bankers in the business chairing and serving on our committees and leading the charge.

And we have our wonderful ICBA staff working on our behalf.
I know what they can do; I have seen them in action. They are smart. They are tough. And they are committed to working hard to protect your interests.
Now, I am asking each of you to make a couple of commitments as well. First, to commit your time when called on to contact your Congressmen or Senators. And second, to commit to the ICBPAC and the 100 club. Not a donation but an investment in the future of your franchises.
As Thomas Jefferson, our third president, once said:

“We in America do not have government by the majority – we have government by the majority who participate.”
My friends, this is our time. We hold the high ground, but I need your help to continue holding it. We are the ICBA, you and I. We will not fail. We will not back down. Now is the time we all fight for each other!
God bless and thank you all for the honor of representing you as chairman of the Independent Community Bankers of America.