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Deposit Insurance Reform - Your Grass Roots Lobby Needed

WWR ARTICLE
MARCH 29, 2002

 

DEPOSIT INSURANCE REFORM - YOUR GRASS ROOTS LOBBY NEEDED

At ICBA's recent annual convention, FDIC Chairman Don Powell urged community bankers to become personally engaged in the deposit insurance reform debate and communicate their views to Congress to move H.R. 3717-The Federal Deposit Insurance Reform Act of 2002- forward. "We can't get there, folks, by ourselves," he said. "We will not get there by ourselves. I know I am preaching to the choir today, but I am going to ask you one more time to resolve, each and every one of you. . . to become engaged in this very, very important public policy issue. It's critical to the banking industry. It's critical to America. It's good public policy."

Chairman Powell was right on the money. To prevail in the face of formidable opposition, community bankers must get involved-right now-on this issue that is so crucial to our institutions and our communities. Congress MUST be convinced that community bankers care about this bill.

The time to deliver your message is NOW, when your Representatives and Senators are home for their Spring break (March 22-April 7).

Chairman Powell made a strong pitch for raising FDIC coverage levels. "I am very committed to increase coverage levels," he stated. "It's important to recognize today that the coverage is not really $100,000. Coverage is $47,000. And if we don't do something about it, it's going to continue to deteriorate."

The community banking industry now has its best opportunity ever to increase FDIC basic coverage levels and enhance coverage for retirement accounts and municipal deposits. But only if Congress hears from you!

If you have already sent an e-mail to Congress in response to ICBA's Action Alert e-mail, thank you. Every contact helps. But personal, face-to-face contact is the most effective way to lobby your Representatives and Senators. So we urge you also to make a personal contact while Members are home on Spring break.

The House Financial Services Committee is set to vote on this pro-community bank legislation soon after it returns the week of April 8 from its Spring recess. But there are powerful forces in Washington that strongly oppose increased coverage including the big financial conglomerates, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, Ranking Senate Banking Committee Republican Phil Gramm (R-TX), and Comptroller of the Currency Jerry Hawke. The battle to increase basic coverage levels could be lost if we don't act now!

Please let your member of Congress know you support H.R. 3717 - and specifically, its provisions to increase basic deposit insurance levels to $130,000, raise coverage to $260,000 for retirement accounts, and allow greater municipal deposit coverage. Let your Member know that attracting and retaining core deposits is critical to your bank's ability to serve your community's credit needs. Core deposits are the single most important source of low-cost funding and liquidity community banks rely on to make loans. Let's keep core deposits in our communities!

To assist you in this effort, this issue of Washington Weekly Report includes:

  • A Lobbying Action Plan to use during the Spring break;
  • A Message Platform with points to raise when talking to your Representative;
  • A Legislative Update on deposit insurance reform legislation;
  • A summary of H.R. 3717 as approved by the Bachus subcommittee in the House; and
  • A Claims vs. Facts Sheet addressing arguments made against higher FDIC coverage levels.



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