By Jack Hartings, Chairman of ICBA
Taking advocacy to the next level—that’s what community bankers did last month at ICBA’s Washington Policy Summit, and they have the results to prove it. With nearly 1,000 community bankers and industry advocates swarming the nation’s capital to advocate positive reform for our industry, community bankers stepped up and participated in more than 300 meetings with policymakers.
Never shy about who you are and what you stand for, community bankers achieved tangible results at this year’s summit that are helping to drive the meaningful change we need. Because of you, the CLEAR Relief Act in the House (H.R. 1233) added 22 bipartisan co-sponsors in just one week after the meetings to bring its total to 40. Not only that, the CLEAR Relief Act in the Senate (S. 812) has tacked on eight for 29 total bipartisan co-sponsors.
That’s results, community bankers! You should be commended for your efforts. You stood up and spoke out—many of you with real-life stories and testimonials about how regulatory burden is impacting your customers and community. That’s what our representatives on the Hill and regulators need to hear. They heard it loud and clear during ICBA’s Washington Policy Summit, thanks to all of the vocal community bankers who attended. But we can’t stop here. There are more stories that need to be told to illustrate the negative impact that excessive regulatory burden is having on real people and real communities—both of which depend on their community banks as a local source of funding.
Story time isn’t over. In the pursuit to enact meaningful regulatory relief for community banks in this Congress, the House Financial Services Committee leadership is seeking specific examples of how current regulatory requirements have hindered lending and ultimately harmed consumers. The committee is not looking for examples of how regulations have harmed bank profitability, but how they adversely affect your customers.
ICBA is taking the lead to get your specific community banker stories to Congress.
ICBA is making the case to Congress for community bank regulatory relief. Please share how regulations have negatively impacted your bank’s consumers by visiting www.icba.org/beheard.
To that end, please share your specific examples with ICBA (see sidebar). The committee is looking for examples of the loans that your bank would traditionally make but now cannot due to the current regulatory environment.
No detail should be spared in sharing stories of customer impact. Areas to cover could include, but are not limited to, consumer, residential mortgage and small-business lending. Examples should be as specific as possible. And know that the staff at ICBA will redact sensitive customer information before your comments are passed on to the committee.
So go ahead and tell your story, your customers’ stories, and your community’s story. The bottom line is that everyone on Main Street is impacted by crippling regulatory burden—not just the community banks. The sooner Congress knows just how much its actions affect everyday Americans, the better. And who better to illustrate that than the people who know their customers and community best—our nation’s community bankers.
Jack Hartings is president and CEO of The Peoples Bank Co. in Coldwater, Ohio.