Community bankers urge lawmakers to pass legislation promoting regulatory relief

At a House subcommittee hearing this week, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) testified on the need to pass legislation that promotes tiered regulations for community banks.

“Community banks didn’t cause the financial crisis, and we should not bear the weight of overreaching regulation intended to address it,” Robert Fisher, president and CEO of Tioga State Bank in Spencer, New York, speaking on behalf of ICBA.

Fisher, speaking at a hearing held by the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, expressed support for several bills that could ease the regulatory burden for community banks.

“ICBA is strongly encouraged by recent, bipartisan momentum for community bank regulatory relief from both sides of the Capitol, and we are optimistic that meaningful relief will soon be signed into law,” Fisher said.

He cited several bills that could provide regulatory relief, including the Community Financial Institution Exemption Act (H.R. 1264), introduced by Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX). This bill would exempt community banks with less than $50 billion in assets from all rules and regulations issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Fisher also mentioned the Home Mortgage Reporting Relief Act of 2017 (H.R. 4648), introduced by Reps. Tom Emmer (R-MN) and Randy Hultgren (R-IL). This legislation would provide temporary enforcement relief from new Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data collection and reporting requirements and restrict the CFPB’s ability to make the new data publicly available.

Another bill Fisher and ICBA supports is the Community Bank Reporting Relief Act (H.R. 4725), also introduced by Hultgren. This measure would provide for short-form call reports in the first and third quarters for banks with assets of less than $5 billion.

Lastly, Fisher cited the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155) as a positive piece of bipartisan for community banks.