Banks To Fight Regulatory Relief ForCUs

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WASHINGTON - (05/20/05) -- Key lawmakers made it clear Thursdaythat a regulatory relief bill to be introduced in Congress over thenext few weeks will focus on helping small banks and credit unions."Regulatory burden particularly falls on smaller banks and creditunions," Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the Texas Republican who is draftinga regulatory relief bill, told members of the House FinancialServices Subcommittee on Financial Institutions during a hearing.But major impediments--similar to ones that doomed last year'sbill--arose during Thursday's hearing, where the powerful bankinglobby said they will oppose any bill to ease regulatory burden oncredit unions, even if it means destroying their own chances forReg Relief. "We are unalterably opposed to the credit unionindustry's new proposal to expand chartering powers," Terry Jorde,president/CEO of CountryBank USA, Cando, N.D., told lawmakers onbehalf of the Independent Community Bankers Association, just twoweeks after the ICBA succeeded in getting its own Reg Relief billintroduced that would deliver billions of dollars in new tax breaksfor community banks. Representatives of the American BankersAssociation, which opposed last year's Reg Relief bill solelybecause of its credit union provisions, told The Credit UnionJournal they will probably oppose this year's version as well forthe same reason, but reserved judgement until a formal bill isintroduced. CUNA Chairman Dick Ensweiler, who testified on behalfof credit unions, rejected suggestions that the credit union lobbymeet with the bankers to discuss a compromise bill that bothparties could support.

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