On Jan. 29, the Independent Community Bankers of America and the American Bankers Association signed a joint letter asking the two Senate leaders – Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the majority and minority Senate leaders respectively – to put S. 2155 (the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act) on the Senate’s agenda soon.
The ICBA and the ABA were joined by the Credit Union National Association and the National Association of Federally Insured Credit Unions, all urging the Senate to take action and get this bipartisan approach to reform scheduled. The bill currently has 24 co-sponsors, including 12 Republicans, 11 Democrats and one independent who caucuses with Democrats.
Assuming all 51 Senate Republicans support the bill – which is not an absolute certainty by any means – the bill has a sufficient number of votes to overcome the threat of a filibuster.
“ … (S. 2155) is a carefully crafted, bipartisan bill that includes common-sense improvements to the nation’s financial rules that will allow community banks and credit unions to better serve their customers and communities,” the groups said in a statement. “It will open doors for more creditworthy borrowers and businesses, and it will contribute to local economic growth and job creation nationwide.”
OBA President and CEO Roger Beverage echoed the group’s statement.
“That’s the point that many in Congress simply don’t recognize,” Beverage said. “This bill is about making more credit – specifically, more mortgage credit – available to consumers. It’s what we’ve been pushing for for seven years or more, and it’s needed to get the nation’s economy rolling again.”
In their letter, the groups recognized the hard work that Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) has done, and specifically recognized the four Democratic
members of the committee who helped make this bill possible. Those Senators are: Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.); Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.); Jon Tester (D-Mont.); and Mark Warner (D-Va.). They led the effort to negotiate a bipartisan compromise with Chairman Crapo and the other Committee Republicans.
“S. 2155 is an example of how it’s supposed to work in Washington,” Beverage said. “Unfortunately, the system is so broken now that this bill represents the exception, not the rule.
“I don’t want to jinx anything,” he said. “We have a ways to go, and Leader McConnell isn’t really doing us any favors. Frankly, I don’t know at this point if he’s for us or against us, and right now I’d bet the latter. But hopefully the rest of the Senate doesn’t see it the same way. I know our two senators do not see it that way and are firmly on board.”