Legislative and Regulatory Plan Focuses on Expanding Economic Opportunity
Washington, D.C. (March 4, 2019)—The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) today unveiled its new legislative and regulatory policy platform: “Community Focus 2020: The Community Bank Agenda for Expanding Economic Opportunity.” The multifaceted agenda—which ICBA is sharing with policymakers in Washington—advocates common-sense reforms that will promote greater access to financial services and economic opportunity throughout local communities nationwide.
“ICBA’s Community Focus 2020 agenda supports needed financial and regulatory reforms that policymakers on both sides of the aisle can advance,” ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said. “We look forward to working with the Administration, Congress, and financial regulators to advance these policies to ensure a robust, fair and competitive financial system that best serves consumers.”
Community banks are well-positioned to support greater economic opportunity. Serving the nation’s rural, suburban and urban communities with more than 52,000 locations, community banks are critical to ensuring that every local community can join in the nation’s broad economic prosperity. ICBA and community bankers developed Community Focus 2020 to advance a more efficient system of regulation, unbiased laws governing the financial sector, a safer and more secure business environment, and more effective agriculture policies to extend the nation’s economic growth to every corner of the country.
Community Focus 2020 includes policy prescriptions on the following issue areas:
- Regulatory Relief: Ensuring common-sense reforms that tier regulations to community banks’ scale and risk profile, including capital standards and the bank exam environment, to better promote the flow of credit and economic opportunity for all individuals and families.
- More Competitive Landscape: Promoting a fair playing field between current providers of financial services, such as community banks, and new entrants in the marketplace while scrutinizing the taxpayer-subsidized advantages enjoyed by tax-exempt credit unions and Farm Credit System lenders.
- Community Bank Innovation: Promoting financial innovation and collaboration with fintech companies as well as regulations that foster a level playing field across the financial sector.
- Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering: Addressing outdated BSA/AML rules to make them more efficient and effective by raising the currency transaction report and suspicious activity report thresholds and ensuring that beneficial ownership information is collected and verified by either the IRS or other appropriate federal or state entities at the time a legal entity is formed.
- Data Security, Fraud, and Privacy: Advancing proper security and confidentiality of customer information and supporting equally strong safeguards for the many other entities that use and store consumer financial data.
- Preserving Mortgage Lending: Supporting access to an open and robust secondary mortgage market, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are a source of capital for lenders of all sizes and are obligated to serve all markets at all times.
- Tax Relief: Promoting tax and budget policies that foster economic growth and support the community banking sector by providing tax reforms and encouraging private savings and small business investment.
- Industry Concentration and Systemic Risk: Advancing legislative and regulatory changes that would curb or end advantages enjoyed by too-big-to-fail banks while preserving the separation of banking and commerce to ensure unbiased credit decisions and avoid excessive market power.
- Agriculture and Rural America: Advocating policies that will support rural America by strengthening community banks, which fund nearly 80 percent of all agricultural loans from the commercial bank sector.
- Payments: Creating a legal and regulatory environment governing payments that does not discourage community banks from offering various payments services that best address consumer needs.
- Cybersecurity: Supporting policies that broaden supervision of technology service providers while recognizing existing cybersecurity frameworks, tools, and assessments for community banks to avoid duplicative and counterproductive obligations.
ICBA and community bankers look forward to working with policymakers on advancing this agenda. To view the policy platform, visit https://www.icba.org/communityfocus2020.
The Independent Community Bankers of America® creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. With more than 52,000 locations nationwide, community banks constitute 99 percent of all banks, employ more than 760,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in five U.S. counties. Holding more than $4.9 trillion in assets, $3.9 trillion in deposits, and $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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