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The rich tradition of community banking and economic growth are at risk because of regulatory overkill, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) told Congress. Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee, ICBA Chairman John Buhrmaster said American communities are built on community bank credit and will be deprived of essential banking services unless Washington cuts excessive, one-size-fits-all banking regulation.
“Simply put—community banks and the communities they serve deserve tiered regulation that’s proportionate with their size and risk profile,” said Buhrmaster, president and CEO of 1st National Bank of Scotia, N.Y. “Only then will the strangling effect of one-size-fits-all regulation be eradicated—allowing community banks and local economies they serve to prosper.”
Buhrmaster noted that community banks are fundamentally different than Wall Street megabanks and should not be subject to the same monolithic regulatory regime. He urged Congress to continue advancing legislation with provisions of ICBA’s Plan for Prosperity, a platform of policies that would provide much-needed regulatory relief to community banks.
The ICBA Plan for Prosperity includes a variety of provisions that would offer community banks relief from certain mortgage regulations to promote local lending, improve access to capital to sustain community bank independence, and reform regulators’ oversight and examination practices to better target the true sources of financial-sector risk. Among its many provisions, the Plan would:
►Amend the Basel III capital rules to focus them more on large and international banks,
►Exempt community banks from certain mortgage reforms to support the housing recovery,
►Improve accountability in bank exams with a workable appeals process, and
►Strengthen the industry’s voice with an Assistant Treasury Secretary for community banks.