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Trump meets with 100-plus community bankers

Board of Directors - Monday, May 01, 2017

President Trump met with the top leadership of the Independent Community Bankers of America on Monday, including more than 100 of its members.

The meeting was requested by the president, according to Cam Fine, the president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers; and, Vice President Mike Pence was also in attendance.

“ICBA is deeply honored that the White House reached out to ICBA and invited more than 100 of our ICBA community bank leaders to meet with President Trump during our annual Capital Summit,” Fine said in a press release. The ICBA discussed issues that are top of mind for our nation’s more than 5,800 community banks—including regulatory reflief.

While Trump has met with small groups of bankers before, this is by far his largest gathering with community bankers. Since taking office, he has repeatedly sought to reassure them that he is committed to regulatory relief. He signed an executive order requiring Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to examine what can be done to provide help to institutions as part of a review of the Dodd-Frank Act.

 

Community banks are the backbone of small business in america!   - President Trump

 

Trump also met with a smaller group of community bankers in March. Participants in that meeting came away impressed, saying the president repeatedly asked his advisers if he could fix problems in the system by issuing new executive orders (many of the problems bankers brought to him either required legislation or action by an independent regulator).

Community bankers are hopeful for the passage of regulatory relief this year, though the outlook for sweeping legislation is poor.

While House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling is expected to see his relief bill pass the panel on Tuesday, the legislation stands little chance in the Senate. Democrats broadly support providing relief to community bankers, but are opposed to many of the Hensarling bill's provisions, including its restructuring of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, has said passage of a broad relief bill is unlikely, but he is working with Democrats on targeted bipartisan legislation. Hensarling and Mnuchin are expected to appear at the ICBA's Capital Summit this week.

Distrust of large institutions makes this the year of the community bank

Board of Directors - Friday, February 10, 2017

By Drew McKone | American Banker

Just as locally kept businesses differ from national conglomerates, community banks are inherently different from the big banks. We, local businesses, depend on relationships more than volume. We know our customers by name and we make banking and lending decisions down the street from where our customers live and work, not from across the country.

Even in today’s quick-fix world motivated by technology advancements, many bank customers still seek out old-fashioned customer service. Indeed, more than half of consumers prefer to interact with their bank in person, according to a report from TimeTrade. This is great news for community banks, where emphasis on customer service in the branch comes first, including promoting quality over quantity in product offerings.

Read the entire article here

A Surprising Obstacle in Small Biz Lending...Fax Machines

Board of Directors - Tuesday, December 13, 2016


By Trevor Dryer | November 21, 2016

No movie scene conveys society's frustration with old-school office hardware better than the famous one in "Office Space" — in which a group of disgruntled co-workers destroy their company's fickle printer with baseball bats.

These days, bankers may feel similarly about their fax machine, a relic that predates the digital age but is still making loan processing difficult.

Fax machine use has declined to the point where many offices no longer have them at all. Electronic communications are infinitely faster and more efficient. However, one diehard fan of faxed communication still exists. It will surprise no one to hear that that holdout is the Internal Revenue Service.

This preference isn't merely inconvenient and out-of-step with modern business practices. When the IRS documents are transmitted via fax, it slows down lending to a degree that may threaten small business' livelihood. It also introduces an unfair advantage to unregulated digital marketplace lenders, who aren't bound by the same antiquated rules and therefore can act with greater speed. The result? An unequal playing field among lenders, higher lending costs for small businesses and a competitive landscape that doesn't operate as efficiently as it could. All because of the lowly fax machine...

Read the entire article here

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