Thursday, August 11, 2016

Community-bank association chief says megabanks hinder efforts to help his members

Camden Fine, Independent
Community Bankers group
A lobbying battle is brewing between big banks and community banks, Ben McLannahan reports for Financial Times. "As regulators pushed through new laws to rein in the biggest and most complex lenders such as Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, their smaller rivals have complained of being swept up in the effort." Small banks say "Congressional attempts to free them from an expensive, inflexible and inappropriate regime have been repeatedly thwarted by the big banks."

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan, the nation's largest bank, wrote an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal arguing "that big and small banks should unite as allies, not enemies, as they are 'interdependent' as customers as well as competitors," McLannahan writes. Camden Fine, head of the Independent Community Bankers of America, which represents more than 6,000 banks with almost $4 trillion of assets, responded with a letter of his own. Fine said "the reliance of the biggest banks on 'a government guarantee against failure' had 'destabilised the banking ecosystem.'"

Fine also pointed out that "Democrats rejected a Republican bill to extend relief to community banks because they said it contained a host of unacceptable concessions for Wall Street," McLannahan writes. Fine told The Financial Times, “We could probably pass our agenda tomorrow, if the megabanks didn’t constantly interfere. And so the tactic of Jamie Dimon and some of the other CEOs and their trade-group allies is to try and paint this picture that community banks are somehow hurting Wall Street banks, when the truth is just the opposite.” (Read more)

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