Regulatory Rollback

Illustration by Warren Gebert

Illustration by Warren Gebert

ICBA updates Plan for Prosperity for Congress this year

By Paul Merski

After seeing several regulatory relief priorities all the way through Congress last year, ICBA recently launched an updated legislative platform to roll back excessive regulation. The latest Plan for Prosperity builds on the successes of late 2015 to usher in additional relief during the 2016 session of the 114th Congress.

ICBA’s updated platform remains focused on reforming regulations that inhibit access to capital, stifle lending and overwhelm community banks with excessive regulatory oversight. For instance, the Plan for Prosperity would:

  • amend the Basel III capital rules and the Volcker Rule;
  • expand community bank exemptions from Consumer Financial Protection Bureau mortgage restrictions;
  • improve accountability in bank exams with a workable appeals process; and
  • implement community bank tax credits to offset the government-sponsored advantages of credit unions and the Farm Credit System.

This is merely a snapshot. The complete plan, which is available online (see sidebar), includes nearly 40 common-sense provisions that are designed to be advanced quickly through Congress.

Solid foundation

ICBA updated the Plan for Prosperity because several policies passed Congress last December as part of the FAST Act transportation law. Those provisions eliminate redundant privacy notice requirements, extend the 18-month exam cycle to qualifying institutions with less than $1 billion in assets; expand access to CFPB rural mortgage lender benefits; and allow thrift holding companies to take advantage of recent Securities and Exchange Commission registration thresholds.

This is a strong foundation on which to enact additional relief that will make a positive difference for local communities. Several high-priority regulatory relief bills are pending in Congress, including the multipronged CLEAR Relief Act and Financial Regulatory Improvement Act as well as more targeted measures focused on Basel III, streamlined call reports, tailored regulations and the CFPB.

Whether through a shotgun approach of all-purpose legislation or rifle-shot measures focused on a single issue, ICBA will do everything in its power to advance these policies. Indeed, that is why the Plan for Prosperity was developed as a flexible set of priorities that can adapt to the ever-evolving legislative environment.

Take Action!
To get involved and tell your members of Congress to advance the Plan for Prosperity, visit ICBA’s Be Heard grassroots resource center at

Read More
For more details, read ICBA’s updated Plan for Prosperity at

Taking action

ICBA and community banks have to use every legislative resource at our disposal because making these regulatory changes is essential to our industry and the people it serves. The only way to stop runaway regulation is by getting Congress to act, and the only way we can do that is by actively reaching out to our lawmakers in Washington.

That’s why ICBA helps community bankers take action, through our Be Heard grassroots website and this month’s Washington Policy Summit. Only by vocal outreach—from the C-suite to the frontline—can we ensure Congress is listening.

Community bankers know what policy changes will allow the industry to put borrowers in their first home or support a local small business. To truly make a difference, we have to work collectively to get Washington to do something about it.

Paul Merski ( is ICBA’s executive vice president of congressional relations and chief economist.