FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FDIC Chairman Hears Impassioned Call Against Increasing Regulatory Bank Burden
San Diego, Calif. (March 16, 2004) - Known as someone who enjoys impromptu questions during his public addresses, FDIC Chairman might have anticipated a tough question or two before he speaking today during the Independent Community Banker's National Convention.
Instead of a tough question, Powell heard an impassioned call to arms from an Arizona community banker against the increasing regulatory load community bankers have shouldered in recent years.
Lee Stenehjem of First International Bank & Trust in Scottsdale, Ariz., recounted how community bank regulations that took up just a half-inch binder in 1981 now fill an entire room. He then, standing on his chair, he implored asked all the community bankers attending the convention to join him in expressing their frustration. He asked them to stand up, raise their fists in the air and shout, "We're mad as Hell and we're not going to take it anymore!"
And the bankers did. Stenehjem led the audience in a round of cheers that ended in applause.
A former Texas community banker, Powell said he sympathized with Stenehjem and others. But he warned that substantial regulatory relief can only come from Congress and encouraged bankers to reach out to their legislators.
"If you're depending on us to do it, it's not going to happen. We have to do what Congress says," said Powell, referring to the FDIC's role in regulatory relief. "Community bankers need to be engaged, write letters and become a Terry Jorde [ICBA's incoming vice-chairman and member of the Federal Advisory Committee]. She's engaged."