I was surprised and disappointed by Jim Well's BankThink piece"Are Small Banks Big Banks' Pawns in Assault on Dodd-Frank?". As chair of the American Bankers Association's Community Bankers Council, I have the honor and responsibility of being a spokesperson for the community banking industry. I take this job seriously, and took great care to report on the growing regulatory burden that is suffocating our nation's small — but vital — financial institutions.
ABA, the Independent Community Bankers Association and the Credit Union National Association all testified that the Dodd-Frank Act was destined to make a bad situation much worse by adding more compliance burdens on community banks and credit unions.
We each had plenty of examples of burdensome new rules to cite, including new mortgage regulations, a proposal requiring community banks to register as municipal advisors and debit interchange price controls. We also all discussed how the cumulative effect of these compliance demands is straining resources, both human and financial.
Truth is, little of what I said was actually new. ABA has been cautioning policymakers for years not to make traditional banks, which had little to do with the financial crisis, pay the price for it. But as more proposals to implement Dodd-Frank Act provisions emerge, the law's direct and indirect impact on community banks becomes clearer, and the need for Congress to address the problem becomes more urgent.
ABA proudly represents all banks, small and large. We advocate solutions that will enable our members to be better at what they do: lend, safeguard deposits, reinvest in their communities and help businesses grow. Reforms that meet this test will get always get our support; those that do not will not. That's not a scheme. It's just common sense.
Chairman, President and CEO
First United Bank & Trust