Community Bankers To Congress: We Are Not Wells Fargo
ICBA urges lawmakers to promote consumer choice through targeted relief
Washington, D.C. (Sept. 20, 2016)—The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) urged Congress to keep in mind the differences between community banks and megabanks as lawmakers consider any legislative response to Wells Fargo’s massive consumer fraud. In a letter to members of Congress, ICBA called for targeted regulatory relief for community banks to promote consumer choice in financial services.
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“Community bankers are gravely concerned that the legislative and regulatory reaction to Wells Fargo will again fail to distinguish between too-big-to-manage banks and community banks,” ICBA President and CEO Camden R. Fine wrote to Congress. “Costly, unnecessary new requirements would only hamper community banks’ ability to serve their customers and further drive consolidation and concentration of the nation’s financial resources.”
In its letter, ICBA wrote that community bankers are outraged by the rampant fraud perpetrated by Wells Fargo on millions of Americans, for which the megabank recently paid $185 million in fines. While megabanks such as the $1.9 trillion-asset Wells Fargo operate a transactions-based business model that incentivizes abuse of consumers, community banks are built on a relationship model in which reputation is everything.
ICBA noted that Congress should avoid the kinds of overreaching laws and regulations enacted after the recent financial crisis, which disproportionately affected local institutions. Further, the Wells Fargo fraud should not inhibit the passage of bills containing tailored regulatory relief for community banks, as prescribed by ICBA’s Plan for Prosperity platform.
Much-needed community bank regulatory relief legislation is before Congress today, and “its momentum should not be stalled by the fraud at Wells Fargo,” Fine wrote. “Fix what’s wrong with American financial services by strengthening what’s right with it—community banks.”
The Independent Community Bankers of America®, the nation’s voice for nearly 6,000 community banks of all sizes and charter types, is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education and high-quality products and services. For more information, visit www.icba.org.