May 3 - Seldom will you find a Member of Congress spending his or her few days out of session at a community bank. That’s just where freshman U.S. Representative Kyrsten Sinema spent Wednesday afternoon. “It’s our job in Congress to strike the appropriate balance between a secure banking industry and adequate access to capital for families and small businesses,” said Sinema. “In order to fortify the banking community – a core component of Arizona’s economy – we must strengthen access to capital for middle-class families as well as review the impacts of regulatory burdens.”
The Arizona Bankers Association brought Representative Sinema to Arizona Bank & Trust in Phoenix. Bank President and CEO Jerry Schwallier said, “[t]his was a great opportunity to demonstrate to Arizona’s only banking committee member how the decisions made in Congress impact the people we serve in Arizona. I wish more public officials would take the time to do what Ms. Sinema did today.”
Community bank presidents Gail Grace, Sunrise Bank; Mike Thorell, Pinnacle Bank; and Ed Zito, Alliance Bank, all attended the briefing along with Paul Hickman, CEO of the Arizona Bankers Association. Hickman commented, “[t]he community banking industry in Arizona today is facing increased pressure on all fronts. Our association’s highest priority is to help both banks and entire communities by acting as their liaison to the government.”
The industry is working to grow the economy in the wake of the 2008 recession while also responding to the most comprehensive banking reform law of modern times. The Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 is 2,319 pages long. By comparison, the last major banking industry reform law – Gramm Leach Bliley – was 144 pages. The Dodd Frank Act directs 398 separate rulemakings, of which 148 have been finalized, 121 are in some form of promulgation and 129 have yet to be even proposed.