March 15, 2023
Honolulu (March 14, 2023) — During her keynote speech at ICBA LIVE, Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey today told community bankers that ICBA’s advocacy, education and innovative efforts are driven by community banks' passion to succeed for their customers and communities.
Carrying the convention theme of “Light the Fire. Light the Way,” Romero Rainey outlined several community bank advocacy victories over the past year — including blocking ICBA-opposed efforts to impose new Durbin Amendment routing restrictions on credit cards, while also blocking expanded credit union authority and the establishment of a postal banking pilot program. She used these advocacy successes as evidence that community banker stories and engagement with policymakers is crucial to creating and promoting an environment where community banks flourish.
“Those community banker stories — which are shared through letters to Congress, conversations at ICBA’s Capital Summit, and in those conversations that you have with your representatives at their offices back home — those stories matter because they speak to the public policy, not just theory or what’s on paper,” Romero Rainey said. “We have been effective with bringing these stories to life not only because we live them, but because we care.”
Romero Rainey also pledged to continue to advance ICBA advocacy priorities calling on policymakers to:
Provide robust oversight of federal financial regulatory agencies and regulations.
Ensure any climate risk proposal does not obstruct community banks’ support for their communities.
Continue to reject controversial and counterproductive credit card routing mandates.
Enact effective and comprehensive oversight of cryptocurrencies, including stablecoins.
Oppose counterproductive changes to the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) program.
Support a fair and competitive financial services landscape, by examining and addressing tax and regulatorily advantaged credit unions, Farm Credit System entities, and industrial loan companies.
Advocate a robust Farm Bill that provides a stable safety net for American agriculture.
Advance regulatory policies that promote economic growth and job creation.
Ensuring that community banks do not pay a penny to cover the losses of SVB or any of the losses of the recent failures. Those costs should be borne by the nation’s largest and riskiest financial institutions.
Romero Rainey also reinforced that ICBA would continue to fan the flames of innovation with its successful ThinkTECH Accelerator program, which was recently brought in-house and will support year-round community bank-specific fintech programming through its new hub in Atlanta. Education was also a key element of Romero Rainey’s remarks as she stressed the importance of resources available to bankers through ICBA’s Community Banker University and the opportunities available to members to network and engage at events like ICBA LIVE and beyond.
Before closing, Romero Rainey encouraged community bankers to continue telling their story to further differentiate community banks. “Let’s work together to educate the American public about community banks and why they are the very best choice for consumers when it comes to where they bank.”
To view Romero Rainey’s speech, visit ICBA’s YouTube channel. To learn more about community banking, visit banklocally.org.
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 employ nearly 700,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in three U.S. counties. Holding more than $5.8 trillion in assets, over $4.8 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.