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The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and the nation’s community bankers  lauded the members of Congress who, despite frequent deep partisan divides, voted to pass the bipartisan Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155)—legislation that will spur greater consumer access to credit and business lending in Main Street communities. The House passed the legislation with a bipartisan 258-159 vote following the Senate’s 67-31 vote in March, sending the bill to President Trump to be signed into law.

“This hard-fought, long-awaited community bank regulatory relief legislation will put community banks in an enhanced position to foster local economic growth and prosperity. By unraveling some of the suffocating regulatory burdens community banks face, they are better able to unleash their full economic potential to the benefit of their customers and communities,” ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said. 

 

The act includes numerous provisions to:

* provide “qualified mortgage” status for portfolio mortgage loans at most community banks,

* exempt certain community bank loans from escrow requirements,

* simplify community bank capital requirements,

* create a short-form call report for use in the first and third quarters by certain well-rated community banks,

* expand eligibility for the 18-month regulatory exam cycle to more community banks,

* ease appraisal requirements to facilitate mortgage credit in local, rural communities,

* exempt most community banks from the Volcker Rule,

* exempt community banks that make 500 or fewer mortgages per year from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new, additional HMDA reporting requirements,

* expand access to the Federal Reserve’s Small Bank Holding Company Policy Statement to help more community banks build capital,

* allow federal savings associations with $20 billion or less in assets to operate with national bank powers,

* improve regulatory treatment of reciprocal deposits and certain municipal securities, and

* provide relief for larger community banks, including higher asset thresholds for systemically important financial institution designations, and easing of stress testing and formal risk committee requirements.