There's never been much love lost between the American Bankers Association and the Independent Community Bankers of America, and the fierce debate over regulatory reform has only escalated tensions.
Though the groups have thousands of overlapping members, they had starkly different reactions to the various carve-outs for community banks in the Dodd-Frank Act. The ICBA's take is that small banks can better compete with large ones if they are exempt from restrictions on issuing trust-preferred securities and examinations from a new consumer protection regulator. Without naming ABA by name, CEO Cam Fine blasted "the spin machines of the [large banks'] trade groups working full time to convince community bankers there is nothing good in this bill."
The ABA argues, however, that there is little in the Dodd-Frank Act to celebrate and that the final version would have been less harsh if a certain trade group it didn't name hadn't pursued its own agenda.
"Our leverage to force a better bill was significantly undermined," CEO Ed Yingling wrote in a memo to ABA members. "Our primary goal should have been to protect traditional banks at every turn, with a united message."
Former Comptroller of the Currency John D. Hawke Jr. had some harsh words for the Obama administration for not naming longtime OCC official Julie Williams as acting comptroller until a replacement for John Dugan is named.
Williams, the agency's No. 2, has twice been acting comptroller in the past. In a letter to American Banker, Hawke suggested that the snub this time around was retaliation for Williams' defense of national bank preemption, which the adminstration has tried, but failed, to eliminate.
"There is no lawyer in the country more knoweledgeable than Julie on matters of financial regulation and policy, and no one has added greater strength... to the national banking system," Hawke wrote.
"Those responsible for this unfortunate decision should be ashamed of themselves."