Sen. Moran Stresses Importance of Keeping Rural Banks Competitive

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) reiterated his support for small community banks during the final day of the American Bankers Association’s Washington Summit. He discussed his sponsorship of the Enhancing Credit Opportunities in Rural America Act, or ECORA, and other legislation intended to bolster the competitiveness of rural and agriculture-focused banks.

“ECORA would provide borrowers—ranchers and farmers—with access to credit at less expensive rates,” he said. Under ECORA, interest from loans to farmers secured by agricultural real estate would be exempt from federal income tax. ECORA also would level the playing field between banks and the tax-advantaged Farm Credit System. “It would help ensure that small community banks are competitive and have the tools to best meet the unique needs of the rural customers they serve.” ECORA remains an important issue for ABA, and the association continues to advocate for its passage.

Moran also mentioned the Community Bank Regulatory Relief Act, which he co-sponsored. The legislation is intended to provide community banks with regulatory relief amid coronavirus recovery by lowering the community bank leverage ratio and delaying the implementation of Current Expected Credit Loss accounting standards for community banks until December 2024. “This should pass relatively easily,” Moran said, clearly frustrated with the amount of time it’s taken to get the bill out of committee. “It is a pretty darn common-sense approach, but the banking committee has a problem getting legislation to the Senate floor.”

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