Community Bankers Association of Illinois

IMPORTANT UPDATES ON THE FINANCIAL REFORM DEBATE
10/16/09

Congress is currently in the process of considering important financial reforms. Now more than ever before, our elected officials in Washington are listening to the opinions of community banks on the many reform proposals. Community banks now have a tremendous opportunity to attain reforms that have been long overdue. Community bank involvement in the grassroots lobbying process is imperative, and CBAI will continue to contact you when your participation is needed.

HOUSE COMMITTEE APPROVES CFPA EXEMPTION FOR COMMUNITY BANKS

The House Financial Services Committee approved an ICBA/CBAI-advocated amendment to the Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act (H.R. 3126) on October 15 that will provide significant relief to all community banks with assets less than $10 billion.

The amendment would exempt community banks from primary CFPA enforcement and examination authority. Consumer examinations would remain with the banking agencies, and the CFPA could not assess fees against these community banks to fund the agency. As a result, bank regulators, not the CFPA, would have primary authority to enforce consumer-protection laws. The amendment was sponsored by committee members Brad Miller (D-N.C.) and Dennis Moore (D-Kan.) and co-sponsored by Illinois committee member Bill Foster (D-Batavia).

CBAI was notified of the pending action by ICBA yesterday and immediately emailed and called the Illinois congressmen on the committee. After the vote, Congressman Foster’s office contacted CBAI to announce the outcome (the amendment was approved by voice vote). CBAI thanks Congressmen Miller, Moore, Foster, and all the Illinois delegation members who supported this amendment.

COMMUNITY BANKS LOBBY TO REJECT CREDIT UNION AMENDMENT

In addition to the Miller/Moore amendment, CBAI, ICBA and community banks throughout the nation were successful in helping prevent an amendment that would exempt all credit unions from Consumer Financial Protection Agency examination. This amendment would have unreasonably segregated credit unions of all sizes from community banks that are equally, if not more, deserving of an exemption from the Act. A total exemption for credit unions would create an inequitable situation and a legislative imbalance that could threaten the viability of an exemption for community banks.

Again, CBAI was notified of the pending action by ICBA and immediately contacted the Illinois delegation committee members urging their opposition to this amendment. Community bankers in Illinois and throughout the country also contacted members of the House Financial Services Committee to urge opposition to the amendment. In addition, the ICBA Government Relations staff worked with members of Congress and their staffs to rally opposition to the amendment. This amendment could resurface as the markup resumes next week, and continued grassroots outreach is important. Please email your member of Congress today and urge them to oppose this harmful amendment.

GREENSPAN: “BREAK UP TBTF BANKS”

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan offered support for CBAI and ICBA positions on downsizing too-big-to-fail financial institutions. Greenspan told the Council on Foreign Relations yesterday that regulators should break up too-big-to-fail financial institutions because their implicit government guarantee poses risks to the financial system. “If they’re too big to fail, they’re too big,” Greenspan said. “I don’t think merely raising the fees or capital on large institutions or taxing them is enough.” His comments received coverage by several news outlets, including Bloomberg.

CBAI is the only Illinois banking association calling on Congress and the administration to downsize the largest, systemic-risk financial institutions. CBAI has been advocating this position for years, and is pleased to gain the support of the former Fed Chairman. CBAI is also supporting a grassroots campaign to pass legislation that would broaden the assessment base for FDIC deposit insurance premiums and create a separate systemic-risk premium for too-big-to-fail banks.

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