We’re Up to Bat

By Camden R. Fine, president and CEO of ICBA

As summer comes to a close and we usher in the fall, so too come members of Congress following their August recess. They are ready to get back to work, reenergized from being home in their districts and having talked with many of you—community bankers who pledged to meet with your legislators while they took a break from Washington.

I want to sincerely thank those of you who reached out to and met with your members of Congress. You used this opportunity to showcase how your community bank makes a difference in the lives of your customers and makes your community a better place for all who call it home. Not only did you explain why what you do matters, you also demonstrated, through real-life examples, why the regulatory onslaught is an epidemic that needs to be stopped.

So as lawmakers make their way back to Capitol Hill, know that ICBA is following up on your efforts by working to advance the CLEAR Relief Act—our principal legislative path toward meaningful community bank regulatory relief.

The CLEAR Relief Act would help relieve community banks of many crushing regulatory burdens that hinder access to credit, allowing you flexibility to meet borrower needs and freeing up resources you can use to make loans and create jobs. Inspired by ICBA’s Plan for Prosperity platform, the bills promote regulations that are proportionate to the size and complexity of regulated institutions to help community banks serve their communities efficiently. They include relief from mortgage rules, the Volcker rule, the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule, Sarbanes-Oxley requirements and more.

Companion bills exist in the House, with H.R. 2133 introduced by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), and in the Senate, with S. 1002 introduced by Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.).

Our goal this fall is to build unstoppable momentum for regulatory relief and for the CLEAR Relief Act specifically. But to do that, we again need community banks to stand up and be heard.

You all know that I’m a huge baseball fan, and advocacy is actually a lot like baseball when you think about it. We’re a team; we’re all in this together. We want to win the game. We want to win the series. But before we do that, it’s up to each and every one of us to leave the dugout and go up to bat, make a pitch or catch the ball. ICBA is right there with you, ready to step up to the plate.

ICBA and community banks are in a league of our own. That’s why we need the full support and commitment of every single community banker nationwide to build momentum for the CLEAR Relief Act in Congress.

So, as the summer comes to an end, we need you to carry on your mission. Contact your elected officials and urge them to cosponsor and advance this critical legislation in both the House and the Senate. ICBA’s Be Heard grassroots website (icba.org/beheard) makes it easy for you to ask your senator or representative to support this comprehensive regulatory relief legislation. ICBA has drafted letters that you can customize in order to share your individual bank’s experiences.

By taking action, you will help to support and advance the CLEAR Relief Act. Our path to regulatory relief is clear, and now is the time to act.

So get up and go to bat, bankers. We all play a part in this great game we call advocacy.

Follow Camden R. Fine on Twitter,