ORLANDO, Fla. — Relish the victories, then quickly get back to work.

That was the tone of the message Camden Fine, chief executive of the Independent Community Bankers of America, delivered to attendees of his organization's annual convention on Tuesday.

Fine went through a laundry list of the ICBA's accomplishments in the last year or so, including fee waivers for most community banks that rely on Libor, changes to qualified-mortgage rules and bipartisan legislation on flood insurance.

"We still have ground to gain," Fine said. "We still have to be brave. We still need you standing up and speaking out."

Being brave and "standing up and speaking out" were points Fine repeatedly returned to during his remarks, echoing the song "Brave" by Sara Bareilles, which played as the ICBA's leader took the stage.

The banking industry has an opportunity to have even more victories this year. "We're confident we will have more success in this Congress," Fine said.

Fine and other community banking advocates contend that community banks have been unfairly punished by regulation that followed a financial crisis caused by other bad actors.

His speech Tuesday was no different.

"We have to press our advantage, we need to build on our sterling reputation as community bankers," Fine said. "We're not the ones who have paid more than $150 billion in fines for wrongdoing."

Of course, regulators may see the crisis quite differently.

For instance, Doreen Eberley, director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s risk management supervision division, told attendees Monday that new capital rules address gaps in prior guidelines that left banks without much-needed funding during the crisis. She was responding to an attendee's question as to whether community banks were overregulated.

 

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