Banks Say Reducing Regulatory Burdens Top List for 2014

Reducing regulatory burdens for community banks tops the Independent Community Bankers of America’s legislative and regulatory priorities for 2014, the group announced on Tuesday during its annual national convention.

The group’s other top priorities include achieving mortgage lending and housing finance reform, improving community banks’ access to capital, introducing accountability to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and ending the concept of “too big to fail.” 

“ICBA advances its top policy priorities each year to guarantee all community banks have the opportunity to support greater economic growth, job creation and prosperity nationwide,” said John H. Burhmaster, incoming ICBA chairman and president of 1st National Bank of Scotia, N.Y., in a statement. “ICBA’s policy agenda is focused on reducing excessive regulatory burdens community banks face, ending too-big-to-fail and fostering ways to create greater, stronger economic growth in communities across the country.”

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As part of its goal to get relief for community banks from “crushing” regulatory burden, ICBA is advocating for tiered regulations for community banks, their customers, and their communities. The organization’s “Plan for Prosperity” has a number of targeted provisions providing regulatory relief for community banks, enabling them to dedicate more time and resources to serving their communities.

ICBA also wants to expand exemptions and accommodations for well-underwritten community bank mortgages and supports legislation providing “qualified mortgage” status under the CFPB’s ability to repay rules for loans originated and held in portfolio by community banks—including balloon mortgages—regardless of loan pricing. 

Another priority: advancing regulations that would end megabank advantages.

“The greatest ongoing threat to the safety and soundness of the U.S. banking system is the dominance of a small number of too-big-to-fail megabucks,” said the ICBA in its announcement. 

The group, which represents nearly 7,000 community banks across the nation, also reiterated support for legislation seeking to make the CFPB more accountable by replacing its current single-director governance with a five-member commission. 

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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