ABA Pushes Back on White House Claims about Reg Burden

ABA firmly pushed back today against a report from the President’s Council of Economic Advisers claiming that the Dodd-Frank Act and other regulations has had little to no effect on community bank consolidation. “[C]ommunity banks have remained strong as Dodd-Frank reforms have been implemented,” the report found.

“There is a serious disconnect between this report and the daily reality for America’s hometown banks and the communities they serve,” said ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols. “The 1,708 community banks that have disappeared since July 2010 would be best equipped to speak on this topic — except they can’t.”

The White House report stated that “[m]any community banks—particularly those with assets between $100 [million]and $10 [billion]—have continued to grow steadily, as evident by their substantial lending growth, increasing market share in agricultural and mortgage lending, and expansion into new counties.” It also stated that “macroeconomic factors” are the principal contributor to reduced de novo activity and community bank growth.

Nichols noted that the cumulative regulatory burden imposed by Dodd-Frank and other laws has left an indelible effect. “The more than 24,000 pages of proposed and final rules bely the idea that Dodd-Frank had no impact,” he said, adding that “the rules intended for the largest banks are now considered ‘best practices’ for all banks, compounding the misery for smaller banks. Arbitrary size thresholds are stopping community banks from growing because of the added regulation, thus limiting the services they could provide.”

While defending the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act to date, the White House report echoed a message ABA has consistently delivered: the importance of “continuing to tailor regulatory requirements to reflect the different needs of community bank and the lower level of financial risk that they pose.” Nichols reiterated calls for “long overdue” comprehensive regulatory relief. “Each day another community bank leaves the field, which makes that community — and our economy — poorer.”