Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Banks Seek Easing of Job-Creating Lending Rules

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Banks Seek Easing of Job-Creating Lending Rules

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Bankers are gearing up a campaign to persuade the Clinton administration that easing regulation on their industry will encourage job-creating lending.

The Independent Bankers Association of America, a trade group for locally owned and operated banks, issued a study Tuesday that found 9,700 community banks pay $3.2 billion a year to comply with just 13 sets of regulations.

That amounts to 24 percent of the banks' net income. And the cost was measured before regulations resulting from the 1991 banking bill went into effect. Compliance requires the full-time attention of 22,800 employees, according to the study prepared by Grant Thornton, a consulting group, for the trade association.

"The cost of complying with existing regulations, both in time and money, is overwhelming _ a drag on the banking industry and its customers," the trade group said.

Extrapolating the results of the study to all 12,000 commercial banks in the United States, including huge multistate bank holding companies, brings the cost of compliance to $11 billion a year.

But the burden is heaviest on smaller banks, the trade group said. The average community bank has just 20 full-time employees, it said, and complying with the 13 sets of regulations requires the equivalent of 1 of those employees.

The study, the opening shot of what is sure to prove a concerted industry push this year, was immediately denounced by a consumer group, but there is some indication bankers will get a sympathetic hearing from the administration. …

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