Washington, D.C. (May 21, 2020) — The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) today provided comprehensive recommendations for Congress to consider including in the next legislative package responding to the coronavirus pandemic. The recommendations would ensure a more flexible federal response to help small businesses and households recover from the economic impact of the emergency.
"These recommendations were developed in consultation with community bankers from across the country representing rural, suburban, and urban markets," ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey wrote. "These bankers have a critical stake in finding solutions that will help their communities survive the crisis and rebound strongly once restrictions are lifted."
In today's letter to congressional leaders, ICBA recommended:
- Paycheck Protection Program reforms to support more flexible spending by small-business borrowers and a straightforward approach to loan forgiveness.
- Bank capital and accounting relief related to COVID-19-related loan losses, the Current Expected Credit Losses accounting standard, the Community Bank Leverage Ratio, and more.
- Liability protection for businesses from COVID-19-related lawsuits.
- A tax exemption for interest on loans secured by agricultural real estate or primary residences in rural communities.
- Extending Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's qualified mortgage "patch."
- Raising the limit on issuing bank-qualified bonds to expedite low-cost funding for local projects.
- Enhancing support for U.S. agriculture via increased financial assistance, support for USDA loan programs, and regulatory forbearance.
ICBA's complete listing of legislative and regulatory positions and priorities unrelated to COVID-19 are available in its 2020 Policy Resolutions. ICBA will continue working with Congress and the Trump administration to implement policies that will help community banks support local communities and help them recover economically from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Independent Community Bankers of America® creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. With more than 50,000 locations nationwide, community banks constitute 99 percent of all banks, employ nearly 750,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in three U.S. counties. Holding more than $5 trillion in assets, nearly $4 trillion in deposits, and more than $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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