Rebeca Romero Rainey: Use your voice

Rebeca Romero Rainey
Photo by Robert Severi

[There is a] need for strong voices to weigh in on how new regulation will affect our communities and the customers we serve.

This month’s issue of Independent Banker focuses on regulation and compliance, which continue to be costly and important topics for our industry.

A 2020 U.S. Government Accountability Office report concluded that a “very small” community bank could spend up to 2.4% of operating expenses on Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) work alone. And costs are rising, with more than half of compliance officers expecting to make an increase in their budgets.

This doesn’t seem to match up with what makes community banking different. Being relationship bankers, we pride ourselves and our industry on going the extra mile—or miles, as proven by your heroic efforts during the Paycheck Protection Program—to serve our customers and communities.

Now we’re facing a wave of potential new regulations. A Thomson Reuters survey indicated 78% of bankers expect an additional barrage of regulatory information to hit the scene in the next year. This would mean more staff time would be absorbed into analyzing, assessing and implementing new guidance.

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What you need to know

Understanding new developments in regulation readies you to better respond to evolving compliance requirements and expectations. Join us virtually in October for the Compliance Institute to learn more.

This points to the need for strong voices to weigh in on how new regulation will affect our communities and the customers we serve. As we get wind of the conversations circulating on Capitol Hill, know that ICBA will be here for our industry every step of the way.

We, as community bankers, must speak up on behalf of a regulatory framework that is reasonable, facilitates strong commerce and allows for flexibility for community banks and their customers. Know that ICBA will continue to advocate on your behalf.

We encourage you to join ICBA in this fight. Speak to your representatives and senators and let them know what you need to better serve your communities. Reach out to ICBA staff to ensure you have support in addressing the most pressing issues of the day. Take advantage of the resources in our Take Action Be Heard Action Center. And read on to get the latest on compliance and regulatory developments and advances in technology that may help you mitigate their effects.

I’m a firm believer that our perspective shapes the outcome of a situation. It’s our job to remain positive while working to move the needle in the right direction. We have a strong track record in advocating for shifts that support the greater good of our customers and our communities, and we have the benefit of leading from a place of mission: serving our communities. By keeping that perspective at the front of our efforts, we will prevail.

Rebeca Romero Rainey
President and CEO, ICBA
Connect with Rebeca @romerorainey