March 08, 2023
Washington, D.C. (March 8, 2023) — The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) called on the federal government to support and prioritize research on the specific effects of digital assets on community banks and their customers.
In a letter to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on how academic and government research can help policymakers assess the potential effects of digital assets, ICBA said crypto assets, nonbank stablecoins, decentralized finance, and an ICBA-opposed U.S. central bank digital currency pose significant risks to community banks, consumers, and the financial system.
“Community banks are the bedrock of the nation’s financial system and economy,” ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said today. “As the government considers how to develop its agenda for digital assets, ICBA and its members call on the Office of Science and Technology Policy to prioritize research on the current and potential impacts of digital assets on community banks and the communities they serve.”
In its letter, ICBA called on the OSTP to:
Assess the full range of potential economic and social consequences that could result from a digital dollar disintermediating community banks.
Focus research on how the continued expansion of nonbank stablecoins and DeFi would specifically affect community banks and their communities.
Perform additional research on blockchain technology and other potential regulatory or legal solutions that could help mitigate the myriad threats of ransomware, sanctions evasions, and other financial crimes facilitated by digital assets.
Examine how instant payments facilitated by the Federal Reserve’s FedNow Service can address many of the issues that digital asset advocates claim can only by solved by a CBDC.
As Washington develops policies to address the impact and risks of digital assets, ICBA continues its long-standing calls for policymakers to develop a clear regulatory framework for crypto, to focus on crypto’s role in facilitating financial crimes, to ensure the traditional banking system continues to be a safe haven from the crypto sector’s instability, and to oppose the creation of a U.S. CBDC.
The Independent Community Bankers of America® creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. ICBA is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education, and high-quality products and services.
With nearly 50,000 locations nationwide, community 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.