New community bankers leader vows fight against onerous regs

Upon taking over as chairman of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), Bill Loving addressed the group’s annual convention in Las Vegas.

“Regulatory relief is job No. 1, and I promise you we will not let up until Congress and the regulators understand that overregulation of community banks will destroy the very economies and jobs we seek to grow,” Loving told those gathered.

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The template for his campaign against burdensome rules would be the group’s newly unveiled “Plan for Prosperity,” a policy platform that contains a dozen proposals to curb the negative effects of regulations.

The group contends that, unlike the Wall Street giants, community banks did not play a major role in causing the economic collapse of the late 2000s. But many of the hundreds of new financial rules being crafted in response to the crisis do not distinguish between the biggest financial institutions and community banks.

Loving, president and CEO of a community bank in West Virginia, called upon the ICBA’s members to reach out to lawmakers and regulators in Washington to make their case against overregulation.

“We must be engaged,” he said. “We must fight for our industry”

The ICBA represents nearly 7,000 community banks around the country.