I was reviewing some legislative and regulatory items the other day, both from the recent past and current, and I noted several issues where ICBA acted alone or is currently acting alone within the financial services sector in advocating and promoting the interests of community banks. And it struck me that being the only national trade group to exclusively advocate for community banks really makes a meaningful difference to a member’s bottom line.
Take the deposit insurance assessment change. ICBA acted alone in developing, introducing and promoting that proposal in the Congress. No other group came to our aid. Look at the billions (yes, billions) in savings that the community banking industry is reaping from that effort. In this extended low-to-no-interest-rate environment, think what those savings mean to your bank, and then think if there had been no ICBA?
The same goes for increased permanent deposit insurance (no other national group helped us there either), retention of Trust Preferred Securities as tier one capital, no new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau examiners in your banks, and CFPB’s recognition that perhaps community banks should be exempt from many of the consumer rules that just don’t make sense for a local bank.
If for no other reason, ICBA should exist to keep the rest of the financial services sector honest—keep them on their toes. To make sure that small banks aren’t relegated to the “kiddy” policy table. Because, you see, at ICBA we never forget our reason for existence. We never forget that the interests of community banks are first, foremost and always our business. It reminds me of the old Gerber baby foods slogan when I was a kid, “Babies are our business, our only business.” Likewise, at ICBA, “community banks are our business, our only business.”