Groups Urge Senate Action on Regulatory Revamp for Banks

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By Jeff Bater

Sept. 8 — Banking and credit union interests are calling on the Senate Banking Committee leadership to act promptly and pass legislation meant to give lenders a break from regulation.

The American Bankers Association, the Credit Union National Association, the Independent Community Bankers of America, and the National Association of Federal Credit Union wrote a letter, dated Sept. 8, to Sens. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) expressing strong support “for promptly enacting comprehensive bipartisan financial regulatory relief.”

Shelby chairs the Senate Banking Committee and Brown is the ranking member. The panel approved an amended version of Shelby's bill, S. 1484, along party lines in May. Senate Democrats attacked Shelby's bill as a rollback of important Dodd-Frank Act protections and offered an alternative measure that, like Shelby's, included breaks for smaller banks, but did not provide changes in other areas such as the systemic risk designation process for larger banks.

Step in Right Direction 

“We have continually heard senators on both sides of the aisle express support for helping our nation’s community financial institutions,” the letter said. “While no single piece of legislation is perfect, measures, such as S. 1484, the Financial Regulatory Improvement Act of 2015, are a step in the right direction.”

Lawmakers returned Sept. 8 from their summer recess, with negotiations on some sort of financial regulatory relief in front of them. The letter said a growing volume and complexity of regulations is driving the decline in community lenders, with remaining institutions forced to hire new compliance staff instead of loan officers.

“On behalf of our members we urge the Senate not to allow rhetoric to stand in the way of promptly passing needed reforms and supporting the financial needs of America’s communities,” the lending groups wrote. “With limited time remaining in this Congressional session, it is imperative lawmakers work together and pass a legislative product that is bipartisan, and provides meaningful relief for community institutions and consumers throughout this country.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Bater in Washington at jbater@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mike Ferullo in Washington at mferullo@bna.com

The letter is available at http://op.bna.com/bar.nsf/r?Open=jbar-a26u5z.