Three-quarters of the community bankers responding to a survey released Thursday by Pacific Coast Bankers' Bancshares said they would vote to approve the bailout bill if they were in Congress.
However, 60% of the 200 community bankers who participated in the survey said they would change the plan before approving it; only 15% said they would approve it as is.
The $504 million-asset parent of Pacific Coast Bankers' Bank in San Francisco said it conducted the survey Tuesday and Wednesday with its broker-dealer subsidiary, Banc Investment Group LLC.
The most common item on bankers' wish lists was an increase in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. limit; 72% of respondents said they wanted the bill to include an increase, while 63% said they wanted an assurance that the plan to buy bad bank assets would apply to community banks, and 49% said they wanted accounting relief on how losses are treated.
Nearly half the respondents (48%) said they would consider selling assets to a government program. The amount those bankers would sell averaged $2.5 million. And 72% of the bankers said they would like more information about how they could use the program.
Comments from the survey's participants reflected a sharp difference of opinion, with some favoring legislative action and some opposing it. "Even if there are weaknesses in the plan, it has to be passed," one banker wrote. Others said a bailout would reward bad decision-making and excessive risk-taking.