Washington, D.C. (May 4, 2023) — The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) today proposed a new USDA Express program to a Senate Agriculture subcommittee at a hearing focused on credit and risk management provisions in a new farm bill. Gus Barker, chairman of ICBA’s Agriculture and Rural Committee and the president and CEO of First Community Bank in Newell, Iowa, testified before the Senate panel.
“By authorizing a new USDA Express program modeled on the Small Business Administration’s ‘Express’ program, lawmakers can promote quick USDA approval within 36 hours because lenders would make credit decisions while ensuring careful due diligence by having more skin in the game, with a lower guarantee of 50-75 percent,” Barker said. “This improves access to credit for family farmers and ranchers in a timely fashion.”
The new Express Loan proposal is part of ICBA’s key principles for a new farm bill, which also include adequately funding commodity programs and the farm safety net, ensuring access to crop insurance and risk management tools, and rejecting proposals to broadly expand Farm Credit System authorities into non-farm lending.
In his testimony, Barker also advocated passage of the Access to Credit for our Rural Economy (ACRE) Act, which would make interest income on farm real estate and rural mortgage loans tax exempt to lower mortgage payments for rural America while helping to level the playing field with nonbank lenders.
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 $5.8 trillion in assets, $4.8 trillion in deposits, and $3.8 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.