This week has borne witness to a sometimes comical, sometimes irritating debate on the Senate floor about a bill that will bring regulatory relief to community banks.
Much of the opposition to this bill is being led by a former supporter of community banks – Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) – who keeps reading from a list of talking points that demonizes banks, and especially “big banks.”
“It’s been frustrating to watch,” OBA President and CEO Roger Beverage said. “I put too much faith in (Sen. Warren), believing she would keep her promise she made to me on the day she was sworn into office: ‘Roger, you tell those community bankers out there that I’m going to be their champion.’ And I did that, repeatedly and at national meetings of bankers in Washington, much to the amusement of my colleagues and most OBA-member banks.
“Some champion. At one point (on March 7), she said bankers are engaged in ‘breaking the law.’ The hell they are. Community bankers are trying to help their customers.
“All they talk about are the ‘big banks’ and how they’re going to rape the country if this bill is passed. It’s very disappointing to listen to these outrageous arguments being made by the opposition. They are apparently reading from a different version of the bill than I am.”
Beverage noted Sen. James Lankford made an incredible presentation in support of the bill on the Senate floor, citing testimonies from at least five OBA-member banks.
“If you have not watched the speech, you really should do so,” Beverage said. “He specifically names a few bankers who give examples of what Dodd-Frank has meant to their business and how bank customers have been marginalized.”
Click here to Watch Sen. Lankford’s floor speech.
“This bill will help millions of Americans gain access to credit that they cannot do today,” Beverage said. “Millions. It will be monumental in helping the economy take off even more than it has already.”
There have been more than 100 amendments filed, including Sen. Mike Crapo’s substitutive amendment that makes a number of changes to the original legislation, based on some of the objections made by opponents.
Senator Crapo (R-Idaho) chairs the Senate Banking Committee.
The parties have not yet reached an agreement on which amendments will be debated, and we anticipate consideration of the bill will resume when the Senate returns to session next week.