Independent Community Bankers of America submits report to Treasury on how to spur growth

The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) submitted a report last week to the U.S. Treasury Department that outlines its plan to bolster the economy by modernizing community banking regulations.

The paper, entitled “Community Bank Regulatory Relief: A Roadmap to Economic Growth and Prosperity,” said community banks operate in a “suffocating regulatory environment” that prevents them from driving economic growth.

“ICBA urges the Department of the Treasury and Congress to champion and enact meaningful regulatory relief that will allow community banks to do what they do best — serve the unique borrowing needs of their customers,” the paper said.

ICBA members met with Treasury officials on April 5 to detail its recommendations to spur growth and investment.

Among them, ICBA recommends strengthening community bank mortgage lending by reforming the “qualified mortgage” rule, unnecessary escrow requirements, and costly appraisal and application mandates.

It also calls for policymakers to ease commercial lending rules, such as data-collection and rural-credit mandates, to mitigate the negative impact on small businesses and farms.

ICBA also calls for reforming of punitive Basel III capital rules and refocusing them on the largest financial firms,

In addition, it calls on federal lawmakers to address the growth-inhibiting burdens stemming from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Bank Secrecy Act, quarterly call report and examination environment.

ICBA suggests reviewing the credit union industry’s tax and regulatory exemptions to promote a level playing field in the financial services industry.