ICBA’s Rebeca Romero Rainey: Race for Community Banks and Main Street a Marathon, Not a Sprint

March 01, 2022

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San Antonio (March 1, 2022) — During her keynote speech today at ICBA LIVE, Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey reminded community bankers they are the heartbeat of this nation’s economy and every community deserves a community bank dedicated to its success.

Carrying the convention theme of “All In, All Heart,” Romero Rainey inspired ICBA’s membership by thanking them for their heroic efforts throughout the pandemic while pointing to what’s next as the association serves its one and only mission — to create and promote an environment where community banks flourish.

“By continuing to push forward even in the darkest of days and the most challenging of times, by remaining focused on what it is that drives us, by knowing our priorities, we accomplish what we need to and maybe even more than we ever thought possible,” Romero Rainey said. “Even in the face of challenge, entirely new circumstances — radical change and impossible odds … we advance, we run that marathon.”

Romero Rainey noted several ICBA and community bank victories over the past year, including the association’s successful campaign against the IRS bank reporting proposal, the omission of anti-community banking tax provisions from spending legislation, and its public opposition to professor Saule Omarova’s nomination for comptroller of the currency. She also pledged that ICBA will continue its momentum to advance several advocacy priorities, including:

  • Mitigating the negative impact of new 1071 data collection and reporting requirements and credit union overreach.
  • Advancing the SAFE Banking and ECORA acts in support of a cannabis banking safe harbor and rural economic growth, respectively.
  • Pressing for higher regulatory asset thresholds and an end to the industrial loan company loophole.
  • Standing firm against expanded interchange price controls, excessive overdraft restrictions that would harm consumers, and authorizing the U.S. Postal Service to offer additional banking services.

“We have our work cut out for us,” said Romero Rainey, “But I have no doubt that again, ICBA and community bankers will prevail by standing firm, speaking out, and working together.”

She then encouraged community bankers to get involved in ICBA advocacy—pointing bankers to ICBA’s grassroots resources and calling on them to attend ICBA’s Capital Summit, which will be held in Washington this May to advocate before members of Congress and regulators for community bank-friendly policies that will benefit their customers and communities.

“I truly believe we can make anything possible,” she said. “We just have to take the time to do it—take the chance and dream big for ourselves, for our families and—as we bring this back to why we are here today—for this amazing industry.”

To view Romero Rainey’s speech, visit ICBA’s You Tube channel.

About ICBA

The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) is the nation’s voice for community banks with its mission to create and promote an environment where community banks flourish. We are dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education, and innovative products and services.

With nearly 50,000 locations nationwide, community banks constitute roughly 99 percent of all banks, employ nearly 700,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in three U.S. counties. Holding nearly $5.9 trillion in assets, over $4.9 trillion in deposits, and more than $3.5 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.