Be a Part of It

Article excerpt

Is your to-do list overflowing? Mine is-both at my community bank day job and as your new ICBA chairman.

ICBA and its leaders are deep into working toward the best outcome on regulations related to the Wall Street Reform Act. We're providing workable policy ideas to maintain equal, viable access to the nation's home financing system as the debate over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac unfolds. We're acting to extend SBA-loan program incentives and increase the guarantee on SBA loans to 90 percent; the tax-exempt eligibility for loans guaranteed by the Federal Home Loan Banks; and the $30 million issuance allowance for popular tax-exempt qualified-small-issue bonds.

We are fighting to correct the disconnect between regulators in Washington and the examiners in the field. Having to satisfy ever more burdensome regulations, even when they shouldn't apply to our business model, is hampering lending, impeding staff and hurting profitability.

We are defending the Farm Bill budget against proposed cuts, recommending improvements to USDA's business- and industry-guaranteed loan program, and opposing devastating cuts to crop-insurance programs. We are urging Congress to extend the Guaranteed Rural Housing Loan Program past May 1, keep tax-exempt credit unions from further impinging on our turf, guard against problems with the coming Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and more. And that's just the first page of the list.

But my to-do list as your chairman is about more than facts, figures and policies. It's about communication, inspiration and leadership. It's about showing you-and legislators, regulators, media, our supporters and our detractors-that the balance of power is shifting from Wall Street to Main Street. It's also about getting you to look up from your balance sheet and employee roster and strategic plan and to get involved in the big picture. …