Friday, March 10, 2017

Trump tells community bankers he will ease regulations and make it easier to lend money

President Trump told representatives of community banks Thursday that he will "deliver regulatory changes that will make it easier for them to lend money," Michael Marois and Toluse Olorunnipa report for Bloomberg Politics. Trump told the bankers, “We must ensure access to capital. You’ll be able to loan, you’ll be able to be safe, but you’ll be able to provide the jobs that we want and all create great businesses.”

Trump called community banks "the backbone of small business in America," said they "play a vital role in helping create jobs by providing approximately half of all loans to small businesses," and "Nearly half of all private sector workers are employed by small businesses."

Bloomberg reports, "One way in which Trump favors re-regulation of financial institutions is his support for restoring the Glass-Steagall, which since the Depression had separated commercial and investment backing until its repeal under President Bill Clinton in 1999. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Thursday that Trump remains committed to reimposing the act’s restrictions on banks, a position shared by prominent liberals."

Community banks want relief from the Dodd-Frank Act, "a sweeping overhaul of U.S. banking regulation put in place after the financial crisis of 2008,"  reports Bloomberg. "For banks with less than $50 million in assets, a 2013 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis found that adding two employees to handle compliance would cause nearly a third of those banks to become unprofitable."

On top of Dodd-Frank, "Persistently low interest rates have squeezed profitability from community banks’ business models: collecting more interest from borrowers than they pay for deposits," Bloomberg reports. "A slew of new regulations have also hobbled key sources of non-lending income, including the fees some banks can charge retailers and other businesses for processing card transactions. Many regional and local lenders are combining to reduce costs."

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