HONOLULU -- Fighting expanded powers for credit unions and NCUA's efforts on disclosures during mutual savings bank conversions are top priorities for the Independent Community Bankers of America in 2007, the group announced during its recent National Convention and Techworld.
"Fighting for Competitive Equity with Tax-Exempt Credit Unions," was one of the association's top issues for the year. ICBA stated that it opposes expanded powers for credit unions, particularly attempts to raise the cap on member business loans, as long as they are tax-exempt and do not have to comply with the Community Reinvestment Act. ICBA also supported the right of financial institutions to choose their charter type and backed legislation to prohibit NCUA from preventing credit union conversions to a bank or thrift.
The Farm Credit System needs to be restrained as well, according to ICBA. The group "adamantly opposes" FCS's HORIZONS Project to expand lending while retaining tax and funding advantages as government sponsored enterprises.
ICBA is also opposing commercial entities from entering banking through industrial loan companies.
At the same time, ICBA will be working to reduce its members' own regulatory and tax burdens via the Communities First Act that was introduced in the House and Senate last Congress.
Other items on ICBA's "To Do" list included preserving the Federal Home Loan Bank System and the integrity of the housing GSEs; promoting payment system security; reducing Sarbanes-Oxley Act burdens; protecting customer privacy and data security; and promoting financial literacy.
"Whether located in small towns, suburbia or big city neighborhoods, community banks grow our towns and cities by funding small businesses and using local dollars to help families purchase homes, finance college and build financial security," incoming ICBA Chairman James P. Ghiglieri Jr., president of Alpha Community Bank, Toluca, Ill., said. "Promoting policies such as supporting the separation of commerce from banking, ensuring local farmers have a dedicated source of credit, and promoting financial literacy create a stronger economy for our customers, for the communities we serve and for our entire country." --firstname.lastname@example.org