Gridlock? Congress Getting Along on Community Bank Reg Relief

20131122 Gridlock

What gridlock? While bipartisanship can be hard to come by here in Washington, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have found common ground on an issue near and dear to my heart: regulatory relief for community banks.

The latest example is this week’s House Financial Services Committee markup. The committee approved two bills that advance long-sought provisions in ICBA’s Plan for Prosperity regulatory relief platform.

One (H.R. 2446) would change the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau so that it is governed by a five-member commission rather than a single director. The other (H.R. 3193) would strengthen the Financial Services Oversight Council’s review standard for CFPB rules. Together, these bills would provide for a greater variety of views and expertise on CFPB rulemaking, more input from the prudential banking regulators and, ultimately, balanced rules.

ICBA has long advocated these bills and looks forward to working with the rest of the House to advance them. But these aren’t the only bills that will be keeping us busy—and that’s a good thing.

Just last week the same committee passed a separate Plan for Prosperity measure that would allow more community banks and thrifts to benefit from the Small Bank Holding Company Policy Statement. Meanwhile, ICBA is working with the Senate to advance legislation to eliminate redundant mailings of annual privacy notices (H.R. 749), a Plan for Prosperity bill that’s a hair’s breadth from reaching the president’s desk.

With so many controversial issues swirling around the leaf-strewn streets of Washington these days, regulatory relief for community banks and their customers is a no-brainer. But that doesn’t mean community bankers can be complacent—nothing’s a cakewalk on Capitol Hill. That’s why ICBA recently conducted a grassroots blitz to maximize support for the CLEAR Relief Act (H.R. 1750/S. 1349), which incorporates a number of Plan for Prosperity provisions in one easy-to-swallow legislative package. Nearly 20 cosponsors have signed on to the bills in both chambers of Congress just this week, bringing the total number of cosponsors for the legislation to more than 100.

So rest assured, community bankers, our voice is being heard in Congress. There is momentum for our policies supporting economic growth and opposing regulatory red tape. But let’s keep up the hard work and carry meaningful relief from overregulation all the way through to the end. I know all of us share common ground on that—let’s leave no doubt that Congress does as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s