Magazine article Independent Banker

Autumn for Too-Big-to-Fail?

Magazine article Independent Banker

Autumn for Too-Big-to-Fail?

Article excerpt

After a long August of scorching town-hall meetings in their home districts, members of Congress are returning this month to the highly uncertain political climate of Washington, D.C. This year's remaining agenda for Congress and the Obama administration, ambitious and wide-ranging, includes substantial issues such as health care, cap-and-trade legislation, an energy bill and the 2010 federal budget. Enacting financial regulatory reform that addresses the dangers from too-big-to-fail institutions is also a top priority of both the administration and the Congress.

The administration's sweeping regulatory reform plan, the subject of congressional hearings that ICBA participated in this summer, represents the most far-reaching financial legislation in 75 years. At its heart, the plan endorses many vital ICBA policy recommendations to rein in the megabanks and unregulated nonbanks that have brought Americans so much anxiety and pain during the past two years.

Community bankers should be cautious and vigilant but also confident and hopeful that our positions on how to deal with too-big-to-fail will have an impact on the national debate. The political credibility and influence of community bankers and ICBA have never been greater in the nation's capital. True to ICBA's messages, community banks are widely regarded as trusted, common-sense financial providers that never wavered from serving and safeguarding their customers' long-term interests.

As a result, the outlook for community banking's policy objectives in Washington-in stark contrast to Wall Street's-is bright. Most of ICBA's major policy recommendations have had powerful allies in the administration and Congress from the outset. The administration's reform plan, which has some troubling and serious flaws, incorporates most of ICBA's key policy recommendations. (See the cover story on page 22 and Washington Watch on page 12. …

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