Staying on the Offensive

Article excerpt

A year ago, as ICBA's new president and CEO, I addressed our association's National Convention and declared that the time for playing defense was over. ICBA was going on the offensive!

During the last year ICBA has been both more aggressive and innovative in representing community banks in Washington, D.C. We are drawing clear lines. We're recruiting allies wherever we can, and speaking out to anyone who will listen- and forcefully correcting the record when necessary. Perhaps most significantly, we're proposing constructive solutions, rather than just stopping bad ideas presented by others.

This new approach is paying dividends on a number of fronts for community banks-from rebutting outlandish credit union propaganda, to standing toeto- toe against Wal-Mart, to demonstrating the real waste and harm of stifling regulatory burdens.

Probably the most visible example of ICBA's new approach is the Communities First Act (H.R. 2061). This bipartisan regulatory and tax relief package is the only bill currently before Congress that solely addresses the needs of community banks. CFA is the product of ICBA and its affiliated state associations working in unison. The bill proposes more than 30 practical, eminently doable solutions. It's proactive rather than simply reactive.

After watching more and more credit unions morph into overgrown billion-dollar behemoths that do everything and serve everyone- except pay taxes and serve people of modest means as their congressional mandate intends-ICBA said enough! We instigated an influential, nonpartisan Tax Foundation study that substantiated the fallacy of the credit union's Depression- era image, and triggered the first congressional hearings in two decades probing the legitimacy of the credit union tax exemption. …