WASHINGTON-Three Republican Senators introduced a bill prior to the congressional August recess to provide regulatory and tax relief for community banks. Senator Sam Brownback (S-Kan.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), introduced the Community Banks Serving Their Communities First Act (S. 1568) at the end of July. The Independent Community Bankers of America has been the primary force behind this legislation, which was first introduced in the House in May of this year by congressman Jim Ryun (R-Kan.). The House bill currently has 65 sponsors and has been endorsed by more than 40 bank trade associations across the country. While credit union lobbyists have wooed over 70 co-sponsors to the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (H.R. 2317), they have not managed any visible movement in the Senate. The credit union trades are working toward the best way to proceed with the provisions in the bill, lobbyists have said, whether that is as a standalone bill or tacking it onto the overall regulatory relief bill to be introduced after the recess. “Community banks everywhere are struggling with a disproportionate and overwhelming regulatory and tax burden,” David E. Hayes, ICBA Chairman and president of Security Bank in Dyersburg, Tenn. said. “By lightening this burden, this proposal will benefit consumers, small businesses and our local economies by allowing community banks to focus their resources on serving their customers.” ICBA President and CEO Camden R. Fine added, “The regulatory and tax burden placed on our nation’s community banks doesn’t just affect the bank’s bottom line. It negatively impacts consumers and small businesses in our communities. Community banks are out there every day helping people build businesses, buy homes and improve their finances. If they must divert limited resources to comply with an overwhelming number of regulations, they can’t help grow and improve their communities.”

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