Passing the Baton

Article excerpt

This time last year, at ICBA's national convention in San Antonio, FDIC Chairman Donna Tanoue, to tremendous community banker applause, announced that the FDIC would undertake a comprehensive review of the nation's deposit insurance system. The question of whether deposit insurance levels-along with vital pricing and funding issues-should be increased after 20 years was finally put squarely on the table.

For community bankers, it was an exciting moment. These policy recommendations were a courageous undertaking for Chairman Tanoue given the political dynamics at the time. The recommendations weren't supported by the representatives of the U.S. Treasury on the FDIC board or by the growing school of free-market economists. This occurred just as I embarked on my yearlong term as ICBA's president. I was expecting a busy, productive year. I was not disappointed.

Now one year later, as thousands of community bankers begin their journey to this year's convention in Las Vegas, I am encouraged by the significant progress we made together on a number of important issues, including pro-active, pro-community federal deposit insurance reform. Legislation has been introduced in both houses of Congress, and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Mike Oxley (R-Ohio) and Subcommittee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) have put deposit insurance pricing and coverage prominently on their agendas.

But we've accomplished so much more together, too. For example, we revised and modernized ICBA's bylaws. The bylaws changes strengthen ICBA representation at the state level and establish a stronger ICBA board. We also worked hard on the membership front by employing new marketing strategies and recruiting new thrift members.

As we all know, 2000 was the year that the regulations implementing Gramm-Leach-Bliley were largely written. We suffer under too many regulations and with the Bush administration and a Republican Congress, we face better days ahead. …