Senate Passes Major Financial Reform Bill

HOT OFF THE PRESS – Some big changes to financial laws and the Volcker rule in particular – this is controversial bill below we present a press release from supporters of the bill since that is what we have on hand now and not because we are for or against this bill  (update we also have AFR and Rootstrikers statement against the bill calling it the bank lobbyist act added at the bottom)- see below for how the Senate voted and the ICBA and AFR and Roostrikers comments on it.

bank lobbyist act
By Senseiich (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Washington, D.C (March 14, 2018)—The Independent Community Bankers of America®(ICBA), the leading proponent of community bank regulatory relief, today thanked the Senate for passing pro-community bank legislation and urged the House to advance needed relief immediately. The bipartisan Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155) would bolster local economic and job growth by providing much-needed relief to Main Street community banks.

“S. 2155 includes common-sense regulatory relief for our nation’s nearly 5,700 community banks while preserving vital consumer protections and effective regulatory supervision,” ICBA President and CEO Camden R. Fine said. “ICBA thanks the many senators who supported this bipartisan legislation as well as the House for already passing numerous regulatory relief bills included in S. 2155.”

S. 2155 includes numerous provisions from ICBA’s pro-growth Plan for Prosperity platform to:

  • provide “qualified mortgage” status for portfolio mortgage loans at most community banks,
  • exempt certain community bank loans from escrow requirements,
  • simplify community bank capital requirements,
  • create a short-form call report for use in the first and third quarters by certain well-rated community banks,
  • expand eligibility for the 18-month regulatory exam cycle to more community banks,
  • ease appraisal requirements to facilitate mortgage credit in local, rural communities,
  • exempt most community banks from the Volcker Rule,
  • exempt community banks that make 500 or fewer mortgages per year from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new, additional HMDA reporting requirements,
  • expand access to the Federal Reserve’s Small Bank Holding Company Policy Statement to help more community banks build capital,
  • allow federal savings associations with $20 billion or less in assets to elect to operate with national bank powers,
  • improve regulatory treatment of reciprocal deposits and certain municipal securities, and
  • provide relief for larger community banks, including higher asset thresholds for systemically important financial institution designations, and easing of stress testing and formal risk committee requirements.


“S. 2155 is a robust package of community bank regulatory relief focused on Main Street, not Wall Street,” said ICBA Chairman Scott Heitkamp, president and CEO of ValueBank Texas in Corpus Christi. “This legislation has strong bipartisan support for good reason—it will ease unnecessary regulatory burdens on community banks so they can continue meeting the needs of their customers and communities.”

Notably, S. 2155 has the Trump administration’s full support and would be signed into law upon passage in the House. As noted in its State of Administration Policy, the legislation builds on numerous common-sense regulatory relief bills already passed by the House, including the ICBA-advocated CLEAR Relief Act (H.R. 2133), Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act (H.R. 2226), Securing Access to Affordable Mortgages Act (H.R. 3221), and more.

ICBA and the community bankers nationwide sincerely thank the senators listed below for demonstrating their support for community banks with their YES vote on S. 2155:

  • Alexander (R-Tenn.)
  • Barrasso (R-Wyo.)
  • Bennet (D-Colo.)
  • Blunt (R-Mo.)
  • Boozman (R-Ark.)
  • Burr (R-N.C.)
  • Capito (R-W.Va.)
  • Carper (D-Del.)
  • Cassidy (R-La.)
  • Cochran (R-Miss.)
  • Collins (R-Maine)
  • Coons (D-Del.)
  • Corker (R-Tenn.)
  • Cornyn (R-Texas)
  • Cotton (R-Ark.)
  • Crapo (R-Idaho)
  • Cruz (R-Texas)
  • Daines (R-Mont.)
  • Donnelly (D-Ind.)
  • Enzi (R-Wyo.)
  • Ernst (R-Iowa)
  • Fischer (R-Neb.)
  • Flake (R-Ariz.)
  • Gardner (R-Colo.)
  • Graham (R-S.C.)
  • Grassley (R-Iowa)
  • Hassan (D-N.H.)
  • Hatch (R-Utah)
  • Heitkamp (D-N.D.)
  • Heller (R-Nev.)
  • Hoeven (R-N.D.)
  • Inhofe (R-Okla.)
  • Isakson (R-Ga.)
  • Johnson (R-Wis.)
  • Jones (D-Ala.)
  • Kaine (D-Va.)
  • Kennedy (R-La.)
  • King (I-Maine)
  • Lankford (R-Okla.)
  • Lee (R-Utah)
  • Manchin (D-W.Va.)
  • McCaskill (D-Mo.)
  • McConnell (R-Ky.)
  • Moran (R-Kan.)
  • Murkowski (R-Alaska)
  • Nelson (D-Fla.)
  • Paul (R-Ky.)
  • Perdue (R-Ga.)
  • Peters (D-Mich.)
  • Portman (R-Ohio)
  • Risch (R-Idaho)
  • Roberts (R-Kan.)
  • Rounds (R-S.D.)
  • Rubio (R-Fla.)
  • Sasse (R-Neb.)
  • Scott (R-S.C.)
  • Shaheen (D-N.H.)
  • Shelby (R-Ala.)
  • Stabenow (D-Mich.)
  • Sullivan (R-Alaska)
  • Tester (D-Mont.)
  • Thune (R-S.D.)
  • Tillis (R-N.C.)
  • Toomey (R-Pa.)
  • Warner (D-Va.)
  • Wicker (R-Miss.)
  • Young (R-Ind.)


For a comprehensive look at ICBA and community banker advocacy on behalf of this legislation, visit ICBA’s “Support S. 2155, Support Community Banks” webpage. For more information on what’s in S. 2155, view ICBA’s summary of the bill’s key provisions by asset size.

AFR press release below

AFR Condemns Passage of S. 2155


Statement from Lisa Donner, executive director, Americans for Financial Reform:

“A bipartisan majority of senators has chosen to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression by handing big banks and their lobbyists deregulatory gifts, at the cost of increasing the risks to financial stability, and the likelihood of consumer abuse, including racial discrimination, in mortgage lending. This legislation doesn’t serve families or communities, nor is it policy that most Americans support. It puts the interests of financial institutions ahead of the rest of us.”

  • A major provision of S. 2155 has always been the elimination of enhanced supervision for banks with assets between $50 and $250 billion, a group of large banks that includes SunTrust, American Express, and Fifth Third.
  • The bill also lets 85 percent of U.S. banks out of the full reporting requirements under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, a vital tool in fighting racial discrimination in lending.
  • It also curbs oversight of the U.S. subsidiaries of major foreign banks like Deutsche Bank and Santander; a last-minute addition to the bill does nothing to change that.
  • Other parts of the bill would reduce consumer protections for mortgages, especially for buyers of manufactured housing.
  • Another provision would release custodial banks such as BNY Mellon and State Street from important capital requirements. The same provision is likely to also benefit JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup.

RootStrikers below

Today, The Senate voted to pass S.2155, known as the Bank Lobbyist Act.

Reporting emerged this morning that Chuck Schumer had given “the green light” since last year to members of the Democratic Caucus to partner with the GOP and push bank deregulation legislation. He even pledged to “facilitate a floor vote” on the bill, according to Sen. Heitkamp.

In response to the vote, Kurt Walters, campaign director at Demand Progress’s Rootstrikers project released the following statement:

“Today’s vote to deregulate big banks and facilitate racially discriminatory loans is a shameful moment for the Senate. The 17 Senate Democrats who joined the GOP to deliver this bank giveaway were as politically short-sighted as they were reckless in putting our economy at risk.

“But we learned today that the Senate Democrats in this breakaway Bailout Caucus were not operating alone – they were aided and abetted by Senator Chuck Schumer.

“If Schumer’s goal was to put our financial system at risk, promote racial discrimination, and leave voters confused about which party is controlled by Wall Street, then he delivered masterfully.

“Can Schumer’s Democrats claim to stand against racial discrimination after voting to make it easier for banks to get away with forcing worse loans on communities of color?

“Can Schumer’s Democrats claim to fight for the little guy after deregulating 25 of the country’s 40 biggest banks – and making it more likely the little guy’s money will be used to give them bailouts?

“This is not what Americans expect or deserve from the top Democrat in the Senate. If progressives sit at home on Election Day this November, Chuck Schumer will be the one to blame.”

Additional information about grassroots opposition to the Bank Lobbyist Act and Chuck Schumer’s role in facilitating its passage is below:

  • In recent days, activists at Rootstrikers, Daily Kos, and CREDO collected more than 125,000 petition signatures demanding Chuck Schumer move to block the Bank Lobbyist Act, and New Yorkers protested outside the Senate leader’s Brooklyn home against the bill last week.
  • A broad coalition of membership groups including Demand Progress, CREDO, RootsAction, American Family Voices, Democracy for America, Daily Kos, Americans for Financial Reform and Public Citizen delivered more than half a million grassroots comments to the Senate opposing the Bank Lobbyist Act, including emails, petition signatures, and phone calls. Rootstrikers’ grassroots activism was central to branding the supporters of the Bank Lobbyist Act as the #BailoutCaucus.

A broad set of news reports and opinion leaders put the blame with Schumer for facilitating the bill’s passage:

Vox: “You wouldn’t see defections on this scale… if leaders really wanted to block it. It’s an abdication of responsibility, and it’s appalling.”

Indivisible policy director Angel Padilla: “Dem leadership might be ostensibly opposed to this bill, but is LETTING this bill pass… @SenSchumer needs to be held accountable for assisting rather than resisting.”

The New Republic: “If Schumer really wanted to stop the bill, he could certainly do more.”

Politico: “Schumer gave the banking bill’s Democratic backers the green light to continue working with the GOP…  ‘Sen. Schumer said, ‘Look, if you guys can get it out of committee, you guys can get great bipartisan support, we’ll facilitate a floor vote,” said Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).”