Washington, D.C. (March 28, 2017)
—The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) today told Congress that the nation’s economy and consumers would fare better if policymakers address overly burdensome community bank regulations. Testifying before the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, ICBA Chairman R. Scott Heitkamp said excessive regulations are limiting access to credit for many Americans and inhibiting the economic recovery.
“Simply put, regulatory overkill is cutting off access to credit for credit-worthy borrowers,” said Heitkamp president and CEO of ValueBank Texas in Corpus Christi, Texas. “The expense and distraction of regulatory compliance divert scarce funding and management resources from community lending—particularly for those marginal borrowers whose applications warrant closer review and a greater capacity for risk.”
Heitkamp noted that community banks are outsized lenders due to their first-hand knowledge of borrowers and local communities, though he cited examples of credit-worthy borrowers who have been directly harmed by regulatory lending restrictions. For instance, customers who relocate for a new job or small-business owners who cannot comply with income-documentation requirements are being denied mortgage loans because of federal ability-to-repay rules.
Fortunately, there are many readily available legislative solutions to community bank overregulation and its negative economic impact, Heitkamp said. ICBA’s pro-growth Plan for Prosperity platform contains nearly 40 separate legislative recommendations to alleviate excessive burdens and promote lending while preserving consumer protections.
“Despite some recent, positive news on the state of bank lending, now is not the time to be complacent,” Heitkamp said. “We strongly encourage this committee to complete the work that was begun in the last Congress and enact meaningful regulatory relief for community banks.”
The Independent Community Bankers of America®, the nation’s voice for more than 5,800 community banks of all sizes and charter types, is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education and high-quality products and services. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org.