WASHINGTON - Community bankers have come out against a proposed Securities and Exchange Commission regulation that would prohibit companies from seeking management advice from their auditors.

The rule "would unnecessarily constrain the ability of community banks and other smaller institutions to use their independent auditors for internal audits, consulting, and other services," Thomas J. Sheehan, president of the Independent Community Bankers of America, wrote in a letter Thursday to the SEC.

"A realistic balance must be maintained for small financial institutions and other organizations, particularly those located in rural or isolated areas, that have few options in audit firms," he added.

The SEC is reviewing comments and has not determined when it will issue a final rule.

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