VOL. 11 | NO. 22 | Saturday, June 2, 2018
Op-Ed: New Banking Law a Step Forward for Community Banks
COLIN BARRETT, Tennessee Bankers Association
Tennessee’s banks help our communities in the Volunteer State flourish. Small-business owners count on banks to provide the loans they need to succeed. Consumers depend on these financial institutions when they need a mortgage or car loan.
Due to regulatory restrictions and cluttered red tape from our nation’s capital, obtaining these loans have become harder and harder.
But thanks to the power of grassroots advocacy and the support of pro-community bank elected officials, including Rep. David Kustoff, Washington has approved much-needed financial reforms.
The landmark Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155) provides regulatory relief to our nation’s community banks so they can continue financing the dreams of Americans in local communities.
S. 2155, which is one of the most bipartisan pieces of legislation we’ve seen in a long time, is right-sizing regulations and fixing the unintended consequences created by Washington bureaucracy.
Far too long, banks have been hampered by the ever-increasing federal regulations that raised compliance costs, reduced local credit availability, and played an important role in the decline of new bank formation and consolidation within our industry, increasing systemic risk while reducing consumer choice.
Now S. 2155 will help rejuvenate communities. It offers targeted, common-sense fixes to ill-fitting financial regulations that have limited the ability of banks to serve their customers. The benefits include:
• Allowing banks to get back to the basics: lending to customers, strengthening communities and helping the economy grow.
• Enabling community banks to better lend and bank the underserved community.
• Protecting seniors by providing safeguards to people who report senior abuse and exploitation to law enforcement.
• Tackling better ways to fight cybercrime.
By igniting the economic power of community banks, lawmakers such as Rep. Kustoff are signaling a sea change that encourages greater access to financial services that puts customers first while contributing to our nation’s financial recovery.
And while there’s still more we must do to right-size financial regulation, this new law is a step in the right direction. Finally, it will be easier for banks to get back to relationship banking and focus on the needs of our customers rather than the mounds of regulatory paperwork.
Colin Barrett is the president/CEO of the Tennessee Bankers Association.