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OBA president to Congress: Over-regulation harms small banks, communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Excessive regulation is making it more difficult for the nation's community banks to aid their customers, particularly in small, rural communities, according to testimony on Thursday from the Oklahoma Bankers Association's president and CEO to the U.S. House Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access.

OBA President and CEO Roger Beverage told the subcommittee a community bank is much more than simply a bank to residents of small and rural communities and the excessive regulations currently being placed on the industry, particularly from the Dodd-Frank Act, are forcing these community banks to merge with larger ones or simple shutter their doors.

“A bank's presence is a symbol of hope, a vote of confidence in a town's future,” Beverage said. “When a bank sets down roots, communities thrive. When they leave or reduce services, communities and customers do not thrive. It's that simple.”

Beverage also emphasized regulation shapes the way banks do business and can help or hinder the smooth functioning of the credit cycle.

“Bank regulatory changes – through each and every law and regulation, court case and legal settlements – directly affect the cost of providing banking products and services to customers,” he said. “Even small changes can have a big impact on bank customers by reducing credit availability, raising costs and driving consolidation in the industry that limits consumer choice.”

Beverage joined fellow witnesses Shan Hanes, president and CEO of the First National Bank of Elkhart in Elkhart, Kansas, and Marcus Stanley, policy director of American for Financial Reform based in Washington, D.C. After each of their 5-minute testimonies, the trio took questions from the Committee.

You can read Beverage's full testimony by going to http://www.aba.com/Advocacy/Testimonies/Documents/BeverageTestimony.pdf. Or you can watch it on the player below or by going to this link on YouTube.

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