The Independent Community Bankers of America is supporting recently filed legislation that it says will relieve community banks of unnecessary regulatory burdens.
The Community Lending Enhancement and Regulatory (CLEAR) Relief Act, introduced by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) on April 26, includes several provisions from ICBA’s pro-growth Plan for Prosperity regulatory relief platform.
“The CLEAR Relief Act would help relieve community banks of many crushing regulatory burdens that hinder access to credit, allowing community banks flexibility to meet borrower needs and freeing up resources they can use to make loans and create jobs,” ICBA President and CEO Camden Fine said in a statement.
The ICBA is a trade group that promotes the interests of the community banking industry.
The CLEAR Relief Act promotes regulations tiered to the size and complexity of regulated institutions to help community banks serve their communities. Among its provisions:
exempting community bank portfolio loans from a variety of new mortgage rules, including Qualified Mortgage, escrow and appraisal regulations;
supporting additional capital opportunities for small bank and thrift holding companies by raising the Small Bank Holding Company Policy Statement asset threshold from $1 billion to $10 billion;
reforming capital requirements for mortgage-servicing assets of non-systemic banking institutions;
expanding community bank exemptions from Home Mortgage Disclosure Act reporting;
eliminate unnecessary mandates on small-business data collection;
amending Equal Credit Opportunity Act and Fair Housing Act policies to bar “disparate impact” claims and require discriminatory intent;
classifying reciprocal deposits to improve consumer access to banking services;
restricting regulators from ordering deposit accounts to be closed without a material reason, a move intended to curtail such abuses as Operation Choke Point; and
limiting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau supervision and enforcement to institutions over $50 billion in assets.
“Serving on the House Financial Services Committee, I heard countless stories from consumers about the impact Washington has on their ability to access banking products and move toward financial independence. The bottom line is that the Obama-era regulatory environment has stifled growth and hurt local communities,” Luetkemeyer said in a statement. “The pendulum has swung too far, and it’s time to return to a common-sense, responsible approach to financial regulation that protects consumers from harm without jeopardizing access to the financial products they need to grow their businesses, invest in their communities, and provide for their families.”
In March, President Donald J. Trump met with community bankers from across the country to discuss the difficulties they have faced as a result of the excessive regulatory environment fostered by Dodd-Frank. Included in the meeting was Luanne Cundiff, president and CEO of First State Bank in St. Charles, Missouri.
“Since the implementation of Dodd-Frank, over 1,900 banks have disappeared across the country,” Cundiff said. “Community banks are critical to our local economies and with the alarming number of these banks closing, we are hoping for relief from costly regulations. [This] legislation would be a big first step in allowing community banks to be able to serve the customers in our regions.”
Luetkemeyer introduced similar legislation in the 113th and 114th Congresses.