Banks must be free to make lending decisions, Nichols says during Texas energy tour

American Bankers Association President and CEO Rob Nichols last week joined Texas Bankers Association Chairman Ford Sasser and CEO Chris Furlow on a listening tour through Texas to hear from bank leaders and discuss the critical role banks of all sizes play in supporting the state’s energy sector.

During the three-day tour, participants received a briefing from Federal Reserve Senior Business Economist Jesse Thompson on the critical links between the energy industry and the local economy in Houston and Southeast Texas; visited two of the most important energy exporting facilities in Corpus Christi; and held a roundtable with community bankers in Odessa about regulatory concerns and how a rapid transition to a low-carbon economy could have significant effects on Texas communities, the U.S. economy, national security and the nation’s community banks.

At a final tour stop in Dallas, Nichols emphasized ABA’s longstanding view that banks should be free to make their own independent lending decisions based on their assessment of risk, and that the government should not seek to pick winners and losers. “Government needs to get out of the way and let banks be banks,” he said. “ABA believes that free-market principles, creditworthiness, and safety and soundness should be our guides—not ideologically driven agendas that seek to make banks a social police force.”

“Together, we want to be voices for collaboration and common sense when it comes to protecting our environment without destroying the livelihoods of Texas workers, the economic security of energy sector small businesses and communities, and the viability of banks that support them,” Furlow added.