Washington, D.C. (July 16, 2020) — As the leaders in responding to the economic fallout of COVID-19 and responsible for two-thirds of Paycheck Protection Program loans, community banks today provided Congress with recommendations for the next economic stimulus package.
The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) and 42 state community banking associations issued specific recommendations based on their firsthand knowledge of what works in local communities as Congress prepares new legislation next week.
"With community banks accounting for more than 66 percent of Paycheck Protection Program loans to small businesses and more than 63 percent of the approved dollar amount, they have proven themselves experts in how to respond to COVID-19 economic damage in local communities," ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said. "Community banks have been an economic lifeline to local communities and encourage Congress to advance policies that will have a meaningful impact on small businesses and jobs."
In today's joint letter to congressional leaders, the groups recommended:
- Paycheck Protection Program reforms, including a straightforward approach to loan forgiveness.
- Bank capital and accounting relief related to COVID-19-related loan losses, the Current Expected Credit Losses accounting standard, the Community Bank Leverage Ratio, and more.
- Liability protection for businesses from COVID-19-related lawsuits.
- A tax exemption for rural lending and expanded Employee Retention Tax Credit.
- Extending Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's qualified mortgage "patch."
- Raising the limit on issuing bank-qualified bonds to expedite low-cost funding for local projects.
- Increasing financial assistance for U.S. agriculture and funding for USDA loan programs.
Several of ICBA’s recommendations are already moving in Congress, including bipartisan bills to forgive PPP loans under $150,000 and establish a free online calculator to complete PPP loan-forgiveness forms. ICBA will continue working with Congress and the Trump administration to implement policies that will help community banks lead the economic recovery in local communities.
The Independent Community Bankers of America® creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. With more than 50,000 locations nationwide, community banks constitute 99 percent of all banks, employ nearly 750,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in three U.S. counties. Holding more than $5 trillion in assets, nearly $4 trillion in deposits, and more than $3.4 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community, community banks channel local deposits into the Main Streets and neighborhoods they serve, spurring job creation, fostering innovation and fueling their customers’ dreams in communities throughout America. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org.
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