FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ICBA Asserts Benefits of Mutual Bank Charter to Pennsylvania Community Bankers
Washington, D.C. (October 16, 2007)—Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) President and CEO Camden Fine praised the community-oriented benefits of mutual banks and reiterated ICBA's long-standing opposition to merging the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) into the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and to elimination of the federal savings institution charter in a speech delivered in Harrisburg, Pa. on Tuesday.
"ICBA supports all community banking charters, whether family-owned, publicly held or mutually owned, and has long committed to defending the choice of mutual ownership for tax-paying savings institutions before regulatory bodies and Congress," said Fine. "Mutual institutions were established and are maintained for the benefit of their communities, depositors and borrowers." Fine spoke to community and mutual bankers gathered for the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers' 2007 Mutual Conference in Harrisburg, Pa.
ICBA created its Mutual Bank Council in 2003 to support mutual banks, which have become members in increasing numbers. The ICBA Mutual Bank Council represents the interests of the association's mutual institutions members in policy decisions, including:
- Supporting charter choice and opposing any legislative or regulatory action to pressure mutual institutions to convert or eliminate the option of mutuality.
- Supporting the right of a mutual institution to defend itself from activist depositor groups, and therefore, a private right of action for mutual and savings institutions under the Savings and Loan Holding Company Act.
- Supporting mutual holding companies and the issuance of minority stock as a way to remain partially mutual. ICBA supports a recent OTS proposal that would allow mutual holding companies to include a provision in their charters to limit the amount of stock held by an investor to 10 percent of the total amount of minority stock.
- Supporting the right of mutual institutions to refuse funds offered for deposit by persons outside a mutual institution's community.
ICBA also advocates for tax parity between community banks and credit unions, and has sharply criticized the National Credit Union Administration for adopting conversion regulations intended to obstruct the right of a credit union to convert to a mutual institution.