Legislation promotes access to credit amid era of weak commodities prices
Washington, D.C. (March 27, 2019)—The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) today expressed support for legislation to support farmers, ranchers and rural homeowners. Authored by Rep. Steve Watkins (R-Kan.) and co-sponsored by Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), the Enhancing Credit Opportunities in Rural America Act (H.R. 1872) would allow community banks to lower loan rates and more efficiently serve borrowers by exempting interest income on farm real estate and rural mortgage loans from taxation.
“ICBA strongly supports the Enhancing Credit Opportunities in Rural America Act, which will allow community banks to offer lower rates to rural borrowers and homeowners in communities across the nation,” ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said. “Community banks, which make 80 percent of all agricultural loans across the banking industry, should play on the same level playing field as other providers of credit in rural America that already enjoy these same advantages.”
Under ECORA, interest earned on loans secured by agricultural real estate would not be taxable. The bill would provide similar relief to interest on loans secured by rural single-family homes that are the principal residence of the borrower in towns with a population of less than 2,500. Together, these provisions will offer community bankers greater flexibility to work with farmers who may have trouble servicing their debt while giving lenders a strong incentive to remain in the rural farming and housing markets.
The legislation would implement a recommendation in ICBA’s Community Focus 2020 policy platform, a multifaceted agenda designed to promote greater access to financial services and economic opportunity throughout local communities.
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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