Small Banks to Energy Panel: Block That Bill!

WASHINGTON -- Opening a new front in its fight against banking reform proposals, the Independent Bankers Association of America has called for a full review of the Bush administration's bill by a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

In testimony Thursday to the subcommittee on telecommunications and finance, IBAA president David Ballweg said the panel should scrutinize the reform package that emerges from the House Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs Committee.

The "implications for our entire economy are too grave to give this bill a routine once-over," Mr. Ballweg said.

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, has criticized many provisions of the bill and has promised a full review. Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., chairman of the subcommittee to which Mr. Ballweg spoke, has also signaled his skepticism.

Mr. Ballweg, who is president of Community State Bank of Union Grove, Wis., told the subcommittee members: "The Treasury's sweeping financial reform package ignores the needs and concerns of Main Street America - its consumers, small businesses, farmers, ranchers and shop owners."

Among the plans opposed by IBAA are continuation of the "too big to fail" policy; interstate branching; cross-ownership of banks and other commercial enterprises; and greater centralization of regulatory authority in the Treasury Department.

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