Banking and Finance Law Daily President holds listening session with community bankers
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Thursday, March 9, 2017

President holds listening session with community bankers

By John M. Pachkowski, J.D.

In a meeting with President Donald J. Trump, a group of community bankers and trade associations discussed how the current regulatory environment affects their ability to serve customers and drive economic growth.

According to the American Bankers Association, topics of discussion included the importance of tailored regulation, the need to hold the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau more accountable, regulatory changes to increase small business and mortgage lending, the impact of compliance burden, and the need to ensure regulatory capital standards are aligned with actual risks and conducive to credit availability. The Independent Community Bankers of America noted that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, National Economic Council Chairman Gary Cohn, and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus were also in attendance.

In remarks released by the White House, the president acknowledged CEOs from the following community banks: Cape Cod Five Mutual Company; Bank of Bennington; Standard Bank; Centennial Bank; First State Bank of St. Charles; ValueBank Texas; Chesapeake Bank; and FirstCapital Bank of Texas.

Vital role. The president stated, "Today’s discussion is crucial to my jobs agenda and to the American people. Community banks play a vital role in helping create jobs by providing approximately half of all loans to small businesses, and that’s been dwindling because the community banks have been in big trouble."

He also noted his recent Executive Order directing the Secretary of the Treasury to report back in 120 days on what rules promote or inhibit the administration’s priorities. The president called it "a big executive order, a very powerful executive order." He added, "It’s taking a lot of the regulation away. You’ll be able to loan. You’ll be able to be safe. But you’ll be able to provide the jobs that we want and also create great businesses."

Avalanche of burdensome regulations. Following the meeting, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said, "It is encouraging to have a president who is listening to the concerns of community bankers who have been buried under an avalanche of burdensome regulations as a result of Dodd-Frank. We are losing, on average, a community financial institution a day because of the sheer size, weight and complexity of these regulations that prevent community banks from serving their customers."

Hensarling added, "Republicans on the Financial Services Committee are eager to work with the President and his administration this year to fulfill the pledge to dismantle Dodd-Frank and unclog the arteries of our financial system so the lifeblood of capital can flow more freely and create jobs. The Financial CHOICE Act, our bold and forward looking plan, replaces Dodd-Frank with new policies to protect consumers by holding Wall Street and Washington accountable, end bailouts and unleash America’s economic potential."

Important step. Rob Nichols, the ABA’s president and CEO said, "Today’s meeting is an important step toward policy changes that will allow banks to go even further in helping communities and our economy thrive." He added, "A careful review of Dodd-Frank and other financial regulations will strengthen financial institutions and allow them to continue driving economic growth."

Common-sense regulatory relief. A statement by the ICBA noted that it "looks forward to continuing to work with President Trump, his administration and Congress to advance common-sense regulatory relief that will support communities nationwide."

Companies: American Bankers Association; Bank of Bennington; Cape Cod Five Mutual Company; Centennial Bank; Chesapeake Bank; FirstCapital Bank of Texas; First State Bank of St. Charles; Independent Community Bankers of America; Standard Bank; ValueBank Texas

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