Things May Get Easier for Smaller Banks as Senate Banking Committee Moves forward with S.2155

The “Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act” was approved by the Senate Committee on Banking today in a legislative move that may improve the environment for much beleaguered banking industry – most profoundly smaller banks. S.2155 found bipartisan support as the bill was introduced by 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats – including 13 members of the Senate Banking Committee.

Senator Mike Crapo, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, said the Committee had received over 100 submissions from a broad group of people with proposals as to how best to foster economic growth. Senator Crapo stated;

“The bill we are marking up today, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, is the outgrowth of the feedback and input garnered from this process, previous Congressional hearings, and discussions and input from members of this committee. I thank each member of this committee for their interest and involvement in the many discussions, hearings and personal conversations to help improve this bill … this package of commonsense reforms recognizes that it is important to tailor regulation appropriately, especially for community banks, credit unions and regional banks. The bill has received widespread support from commentators, regulators, businesses, and institutions representing millions of hard working Americans and consumers, including over 10,000 community bankers, more than 100 million credit union consumer members, and thousands of small business owners and entrepreneurs, among others.”

Members of the banking community were quick to applaud the legislative action that may aid an industry that has long been undermined by misdirected regulation and excessive rulemaking.

Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) President and CEO Camden R. Fine, commented;

“ICBA strongly supports the bipartisan regulatory relief package passed today by the Senate Banking Committee and thanks Chairman Mike Crapo and Sens. Joe Donnelly, Heidi Heitkamp, Jon Tester and Mark Warner for spearheading this agreement. Community bank regulatory relief is needed to improve locally based lending and economic growth. We are pleased that the bill includes many provisions from ICBA’s Plan for Prosperity and thank all senators from both sides of the aisle who have contributed to this important legislation.”

The bill was said to incorporate numerous provisions from ICBA’s pro-growth Plan for Prosperity.

Recently appointed Comptroller of the Currency Joseph M. Otting concurred with the ICBA’s sentiment.

I want to congratulate Chairman Crapo on the bipartisan Senate Banking Committee vote today to advance common sense regulatory reform embodied in Senate Bill 2155, entitled, the “Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act. The sponsors of the bill have demonstrated practical wisdom by focusing on key changes that provide meaningful and tailored regulatory relief for the industry while safeguarding the financial system and protecting consumers. The bill advances important changes that will help small and midsize banks meet the financial service needs of their consumers and businesses, and spur economic growth in the communities they serve.

Otting noted that current language created a small bank exemption allowing these small businesses to avoid the Volker Rule while making progress towards the Department of Treasury’s core financial principles released in June.

“By eliminating unnecessary regulatory burden, we are helping our nation’s banks and savings associations promote job creation and economic growth. I look forward to working with the members of the committee and fellow regulators to continue this work in the weeks and months ahead.”

The bill should move to the Senate floor soon and should easily pass as both parties have indicated their support for the measures outlined in the bill.

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