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IBAT Engages Bracewell & Giuliani to Increase D.C. Lobby Efforts

 

Dec 19 - The Independent Bankers Association of Texas is pleased to announce it will begin a relationship with the Policy Resolution Group at Bracewell & Giuliani effective Jan. 1, 2014. PRG, based in Washington, D.C., will provide strategic advice and represent IBAT on Capitol Hill, helping IBAT advocate for legislation that would provide regulatory relief for community banks. Given the current regulatory environment with ever-increasing pressures and compliance burdens that disproportionately affect community banks, the IBAT Board of Directors voted to engage PRG to help IBAT pursue legislative relief from these burdens.

Since the passage of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, community banks in Texas and across the country have suffered from a landslide of new regulations aimed at correcting the actions of the largest financial institutions. While inappropriate behavior and policies of too-big-to-fail banks caused the financial meltdown, community banks and their customers continue to face an onslaught of new regulations.  

“We could not be better represented by the fine work our national association, the Independent Community Bankers Association of America, is doing in Washington,” Chris Williston, IBAT president and CEO, said. “Our relationship with PRG will be in total concert with the legislative priorities established by ICBA and its state association affiliates. It will also be of great assistance when additional boots on the ground are needed.”

Additionally, IBAT will continue to be represented by Jim Wise of the PACE Group LLP, who has been advising the association and assisting in its D.C. advocacy efforts for the past 10 years.

“The IBAT board believes the time has come to focus even more of our efforts and resources on pushing for legislative action in D.C. that will begin to resolve the misdirected regulatory burden that has been placed on community banks in recent years,” Jay Gober, IBAT volunteer chairman and First State Bank (Graham, Texas) chairman and CEO, said. “All community banks like mine operate differently than larger institutions. We need Congress to not only recognize that a one-size-fits-all regulatory approach won’t work, but also to take legislative action to fix the current system.”

This year has seen a flurry of Congressional legislative activity aimed at regulatory relief for community banks and the creation of a bifurcated regulatory system for the banking industry. Most, if not all, of these efforts originated as part of the ICBA Plan for Prosperity, which IBAT helped create. The need for a two-tiered regulatory system is one of the few issues in Congress that continuously receives bipartisan support.

“The good news is there is a nearly universal belief among members of Congress that community banks are different,” Scott Segal, PRG founding partner, said. “These banks did not contribute to, nor profit from, the widespread bad behavior that created the financial crisis, and they should not be made to pay such a heavy price for the misdeeds of others. We truly believe that community banks, which invest in and fuel local economies and small businesses, are necessary. We’re thrilled to represent IBAT and advocate for community banks.”

IBAT’s retention of PRG comes after a separate and recent decision by former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, now senior counsel at Bracewell & Giuliani, to accept the role of honorary chair of the IBAT Education Foundation. Hutchison, who retired from the U.S. Senate this past January, has been a supporter and friend of IBAT since her time in the Texas Legislature. In this new role, she will help promote the Education Foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of IBAT that funds initiatives to help community bankers actively create a more secure financial future for all Texans. The Foundation’s focus is on providing financial literacy programs for teachers and students.

For additional information about IBAT and its legislative work on both the national and state level, visit www.ibat.org.


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