WASHINGTON – Some bankers recently had another opportunity to voice their opinions on the impact the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 has had on the way they do business. At an Oct. 14 SEC Webcast, hundreds of questions were fielded on the Act, which was arranged by the agency's Advisory Committee Meeting on Smaller Public Companies. The Committee met to continue discussions on making recommendations for changes in the current regulatory system for smaller companies under the securities laws, including the impact of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX). Some of the anonymous questions and comments submitted were from banks and at least one had concerns with being able to compete with credit unions. "We are not a `global' competitor, however it does hurt our competitiveness against credit unions, and similar sized banks that are not subject to SOX," the banker wrote. Another banker believed small, community banks were being singled out: "The regulatory environment, especially for small community banks like we are, has become suffocating and the amount of dollars spent ridiculous!" while another wrote "We are a small community bank but must report and comply with SEC regulations that are the same for very large companies. It is expensive and of no increased value to our shareholders." The 21-member Advisory Committee was established in December 2004 and continues to look at a number of areas including internal controls; corporate disclosure; and accounting standards. The Advisory Committee has been charged with making recommendations for changes in the system by April 2006.

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