Ending the crushing regulatory burden on Main Street community banks is and has always been Job #1 at ICBA. But over the past four years, our mission has become more urgent than at any other time in our nearly 90-year history. We have reached a regulatory tipping point that will be the end of the U.S. community banking system if the regulatory agencies and Congress don’t act now! Because of the systemic pattern of misdeeds, greed and corruption on Wall Street (think LIBOR scandal), community banks have been staggered more than ever before by the sheer volume of individual regulations with which they must comply. It has to stop or not only will the community banking industry be wiped out, but small town and rural America will be decimated as well. The very heart of our nation will be torn out and the heartbeat of thousands of towns, cities and rural areas across America will stop.
After Hurricane Katrina, the first banks to reopen (in some cases within 24 hours) were the community banks, while the megabanks abandoned their branches never to reopen. After the devastating tornadoes in southern Indiana, the first banks to reopen were the community banks serving the small towns and rural areas of that state. That same story repeats whether you are talking hurricanes along the Gulf Coast and Eastern seaboard, tornadoes in the great heartland of America or devastating fires and floods in the West. It is always local bankers who are not only there to support their communities, but whose own families are part of the community, often for many generations. Community bankers are this nation’s financial first responders.
If we lose community bankers to an avalanche of bureaucratic rules and regulations whose value is dubious at best and ruinous at worst, then we lose the very soul of what made the great economic engine of this nation work. It is our community banking system that sets America apart from all other nations in the world. It is the entrepreneurial spirit of community bankers that provide the fuel for our nation’s small businesses and that in turn create millions of new jobs across the country.
ICBA is declaring a regulatory emergency—it is our mission to do whatever it takes to not only end the crushing weight of regulatory burden on America’s community banks, but also to roll it back. Enough is enough! ICBA will not stop our crusade until community banks can once again start working for their customers and communities and stop working for the regulators and government. This insanity must stop! And ICBA is going to stop it!
Join us in our crusade to end the crushing weight of over-regulation—contact your members of the House and Senate and tell them that enough is enough!