Magazine article Independent Banker

Prolific Policymaking

Magazine article Independent Banker

Prolific Policymaking

Article excerpt

With community bankers already looking ahead to the rapidly approaching new year, they can look back on 2018 as a momentous period of advocacy gains. In fact, a considerable portion of next year's agenda will involve implementing the significant policy successes enacted this year.

If 2017 was a turning point for community banks, with many longtime priorities finally on track for passage in Washington, then 2018 was the consummation of those efforts. This was a year of not only congressional regulatory relief but also of a more common-sense approach to community banks by the banking agencies. We saw the long-overdue confirmation of a member to the Federal Reserve Board's community banking seat, enhanced Small Business Administration programs and more.

And all of it was the culmination of relentless, years-long advocacy by ICBA and the nation's community banks. Here's a look at some of what we accomplished this year.

Right-sized regulations

The most high-profile community banking victory of 2018 was the passage of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S.2155). Signed by President Donald Trump in May, this historic law is the result of a multi-year ICBA effort to further tier regulations to the size, risk, complexity and business model of community banks.

S.2155 includes numerous policies from ICBA's Plan for Prosperity, including provisions offering "qualified mortgage" relief, simplifying capital requirements, implementing Volcker Rule and escrow exemptions, expanding access to the 18-month exam cycle and authorizing a shortform call report. It also provides relief for larger community banks, such as eased stress testing and risk committee requirements. These gains came on top of the significant tax relief contained in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act finalized at the end of 2017.

While ICBA continues to encourage regulators to quickly implement the outstanding provisions of S.2155, the agencies have issued guidance or regulations on many policies. Relief from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule, reciprocal deposit reform and more have already advanced. A comprehensive tracker on the implementation of S.2155 and an interactive timeline on its passage are available at icba.org/s2155

Sustainable environment

The steady implementation of S.2155 is due in no small part to the improved regulatory environment. New regulators, such as Joseph Otting at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Jelena McWilliams at FDIC and Mick Mulvaney at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), have worked to instill a culture of transparency and accountability at their agencies.

Michelle "Miki" Bowman will prove a valuable presence on the Federal Reserve Board as she fills the ICBA-advocated position dedicated to individuals with experience in community banking. …

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