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Community Bankers Bring Voices to Capital During ICBA Washington Policy Summit

Top issues: Supporting Common-Sense Regulatory Relief, Ending Too-Big-To-Fail

Washington, D.C. (April 24, 2013)—Today nearly 1,000 members of the community banking industry gathered in Washington for the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) annual Washington Policy Summit, which runs through Thursday. Community bankers from around the nation will meet with their members of Congress and regulators to discuss top issues that affect community banks and the customers they serve on Main Street. Key issues include supporting regulatory relief as part of ICBA’s Plan for Prosperity, ending too-big-to-fail, stopping the tax-subsidized credit union charter re-write, supporting a community bank exemption from Basel III and creating a new farm bill.

“Community banks are the bright spot in this nation’s economic system—lending to local residents and small businesses, which create jobs and stimulate economic growth at the hometown level,” said Bill Loving, ICBA chairman and president and CEO of Pendleton Community Bank in Franklin, W.Va. “We’re looking  forward to speaking with our policymakers this week so we can explain important issues face-to-face, including  how reducing unnecessary and overly burdensome regulations is a smart and cost-free way to boost economic activity and job growth across the nation.”

Community bankers plan to address the following issues with members of Congress, while making specific recommendations, including:

  • Supporting regulatory relief and ICBA’s Plan for Prosperity, which is a set of legislative priorities designed to provide regulatory and tax relief for community banks to promote economic growth.  Community bankers will explain that regulation should be tiered and proportionate to the smaller size and lower risk profile and business model of community banks.
  • Supporting solutions to downsize too-big-to-fail and too-big-to-jail megabanks.  Ending the anti-free-market subsidies to too-big-to-fail banks is essential for safeguarding taxpayers and our economy.  Too-big-to-fail banks have grown larger since the financial crisis.  The five largest now hold assets equal to 56 percent of the economy versus 43 percent just five years ago.  These banks threaten our economy and inhibit free competition, innovation and access to credit in small communities and rural areas.
  • Stopping the tax-subsidized credit union charter re-write (H.R. 688 and H.R. 719). Community bankers will explain to policymakers that current legislation would benefit only multi-billion-dollar credit unions and would harm credit union members; federal, state and local budgets; and taxpayers. In addition, community bankers will argue that supplemental capital legislation would undermine the member-owned, cooperative character of credit unions—the very basis of their tax exemption—by opening them up to outside investors.
  • Supporting an exemption from Basel III capital standards for banks below $50 billion to deter further industry consolidation and prevent disastrous and unintended consequences in local communities.  Community bankers will explain to policymakers that Basel III was meant to apply to only the largest, systemically important and internationally active banks.  Imposing complex and excessive capital standards on community banks will threaten the nation’s economic recovery and limit lending on Main Street.  
  • Creating a new farm bill because the current bill expires on Sept. 30.  The new farm bill should maintain crop insurance funding and address regional differences as needed for different crops.  ICBA urges Congress to reject legislation or regulations that allow the Farm Credit System to expand into non-farm credit.  Congress should also maintain robust USDA guaranteed farm and business loan programs.

In addition to meeting with their policymakers, community bankers will hear remarks from key speakers during ICBA’s Washington Policy Summit. Speakers include House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Senate Banking Committee member David Vitter (R-La.) on Wednesday and Senate Banking Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) on Thursday.

For a full list of ICBA’s policy priorities, and more information about community banks, visit www.icba.org.

About ICBA
The Independent Community Bankers of America®, the nation’s voice for nearly 7,000 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 www.icba.org.

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