State associations urge swift passage of S. 2155

In a letter to the speaker of the House of Representatives and the minority leader in the House, the Oklahoma Bankers Association joined the other state bankers associations urging for swift passage of the community bank regulatory relief bill, S. 2155.

“We thought it was important to make certain House leadership on both sides of the aisle be aware of our collective position on this bipartisan bill,” OBA President and CEO Roger Beverage said. “The speaker has indicated that it will ultimately pass the House, but in the meantime Sen. (Elizabeth) Warren (D-Mass.) is trying to do everything she can to put pressure on Democrats and others in an effort to kill the bill. It’s even showing up in Oklahoma of all places.”

Beverage noted the industry remains united in its support for the immediate passage of S. 2155 but has concerns about timing.

“The ABA and the ICBA are united in their support for this bill,” he said. “This letter demonstrates that, likewise, the states are united in their support for it. I firmly believe that when we’re together, we’re much stronger, and I think the Senate result shows that.

“But time is our enemy on this deal. Chairman Hensarling is fixated on making his mark on the process, but apparently without understanding the impact he’s already had on the first two titles of the bill. The longer this drags out, the higher the chances that Sen. Warren will sow her seeds of confusion and outright misrepresentations about what the bill actually does to help customers of traditional community banks.”

Here’s the letter that was delivered to Congress:

The undersigned [52] state bankers associations, representing the full breadth of our nation’s banking institutions, wish to express our strong support for S. 2155, the “Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act” (emphasis added). We urge the full House of Representatives to immediately take up and pass S. 2155.

The need for targeted regulatory reform is well-documented. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, Congress took aggressive action to rework the regulatory landscape and the rules under which our nation’s financial institutions operated. While well-intentioned, some of these rules significantly limited the ability of banks to serve their customers and communities.

This was acutely true for community banks. S. 2155 reflects a careful, bipartisan and reasoned approach that aims to build upon the regulatory progress of recent years while making targeted, common-sense fixes that reinforce the ability of our nation’s banks to serve their communities (emphasis added). In doing so, this legislation strengthens the overall health and safety of our financial system.

The undersigned organizations commend the House of Representatives for its enormous contributions to the provisions that developed the final work product embodied in S. 2155. The bill reflects years of House Financial Services Committee hearings and legislative deliberations, and includes numerous bipartisan provisions originated in the House.

Upon enactment of this important bill, our nation’s communities will be greatly indebted to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, his colleagues on the committee and members of the House who – along with the Senate – took action to reduce impediments to job creation and economic growth.

We urge swift passage of S. 2155. Thank you for consideration of our views.