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ICBA Applauds Rep. Osborne Bill

Legislation Helps Level Playing Field for Rural Bankers

Washington, D.C. (May 7, 2004) - The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), the nation's voice for community banks, applauds the introduction of legislation (H.R. 4295 - The Rural Economic Investment Act of 2004) aimed at providing targeted tax exemptions that would level the playing field between commercial banks and the Farm Credit System.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Tom Osborne (R-Neb.), a member of the House Agriculture Committee. The Farm Credit System is a government-sponsored enterprise that engages in funding agriculturally oriented retail loans in competition with private-sector banks.

"By providing tax exemptions on lending income earned from certain ag real estate and mortgage activities, community banks would benefit from some of the same exemptions that Farm Credit lenders now enjoy," stated John Evans Jr., chairman of ICBA's Agriculture Rural America Committee and CEO of D.L. Evans Bank in Burley, Idaho. "We applaud Congressman Tom Osborne's bill, which will help lower the cost of borrowing for farmers and rural homeowners and be a stimulus to the rural economy."

Evans made his remarks on H.R. 4295 as several hundred of ICBA's leadership bankers arrived in Washington, D.C., to lobby on legislative and regulatory issues important to the banking industry. Similar legislation was introduced by Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) last year.