ICBA to House GOP: Don’t obstruct reg relief

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WASHINGTON — A top banking industry leader is pushing back on an effort by House Republicans to make more changes to a regulatory relief bill winding its way through Congress.

Camden Fine, president and chief executive of the Independent Community Bankers of America, said in a statement Friday that his group “will not participate in making the perfect the enemy of the good” when it comes to further amending the legislation.

The warning follows comments made Thursday by Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, who emphasized that he would not simply “rubber-stamp” a recently passed Senate bill and that House Republicans would seek to make modifications of their own.

The Financial Services Committee has compiled a list of roughly 30 bipartisan measures that lawmakers would like to see added to the legislative package.

The Senate passed the bill — sponsored by Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, R-Idaho — on Wednesday, relaxing some provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act with the support of more than a dozen moderate Democrats, who split from their more progressive colleagues. The deal would provide a number of relief items for small and regional banks, most notably raising the asset threshold under which banks face heightened prudential standards from $50 billion to $250 billion.

Fine, a proponent of the Crapo bill, said the legislation passing the Senate will benefit the industry.

“Everything in the bipartisan Senate bill is good for community banks, credit unions and consumers. Everyone knows that,” Fine said in his statement.

While agreeing with Hensarling that “not every single good proposal is in the bill,” Fine warned that the ICBA “will not participate in killing a solid bipartisan bill just because it does not have everything we could want in it.”

Fine said just as supporters of the legislation fought efforts to derail it from the left, they will also not let the bill get deterred by other parties.

“ICBA did not stand by while the extreme left tried to attach poison pills to the bill, and ICBA will not stand by while Wall Street lobbyists tank the bill because they don’t think the bill is good enough,” he said. “Extremists on the left did their best to kill the bipartisan Senate bill. They continue to pressure and threaten the moderate Democrats who worked with Chairman Crapo to pass a good bill.”

He also emphasized that the legislation could go a long way to helping some of the country’s smallest banks and should be approved as soon as possible.

“Over 2,500 community banks have disappeared since the crisis as a result of crushing regulatory burden leaving hundreds of communities in this nation without any choices in financial services,” he said. “It is time that Republicans in the House move as quickly as possible to get this essential regulatory relief bill for Main Street America passed and sent to the President for signature.”

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Regulatory reform Regulatory relief Dodd-Frank Community banking Finance, investment and tax-related legislation Jeb Hensarling ICBA