Top Democrat Reaffirms Small-Bank Support in Challenge to GOP Leader

By Jeff Bater

Democrats underscored their continued support for community banks, disputing a top Republican’s notion the party’s lawmakers are standing in the way of changes to Dodd-Frank that would help the small lenders.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told Bloomberg Television in a May 16 interview that he would love to revisit Dodd-Frank, but that Banking Committee Democrats so far don’t seem to want to change it, even though community banks have complained about the 2010 law.

In response, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) pointed to a 2015 proposal by Senate Banking Committee Democrats that included some breaks for small banks, including lengthening the examination cycle. Their bill was an alternative to a regulatory relief plan by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who then chaired the panel.

Two of the Democrats’ bank provisions were later inserted into a highway-funding package passed by Congress at the end of 2015: a longer exam cycle and an elimination of the requirement that financial institutions send annual privacy notices to their customers, if their privacy policy hasn’t changed.

“Democrats will do everything in our power to block efforts aimed at leaving Americans at the mercy of predatory lenders and on the hook for another megabank bailout,” Brown said in a statement. “If this were really about community banks, we might have come to an agreement years ago, but Republicans are once again using them as leverage to help a rogue’s gallery of special interests.”

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Ferullo at MFerullo@bna.com

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