By Toni Lapp
March 9 – Despite recent headlines about health-care reform, immigration bans, the CIA and Wikileaks, regulatory relief remains on President Trump’s agenda, evidenced by his meeting with community bankers from across the country. He later described the meeting in a tweet as a “great listening session.”
The president said he was concerned with the impact of banking regulations on access to credit, and he noted that community banks provide about half of all loans to small businesses.
Representatives of two major community banking groups met with President Trump on March 9.
Later in the day, press secretary Sean Spicer reinforced the president’s message by opening up his daily press briefing commenting on the Dodd-Frank Act’s regulatory burden.
“While large banks can hire large armies of compliance officers whose sole purpose is to make sure they meet the ever-growing number of regulations, it increases costs of doing business for community banks, leading some not to engage in some forms of lending or simply due to the time and costs involved,” he said.
“By reforming the regulatory system so that is efficient, effective and appropriately tailored, we’ll stop treating these critical institutions in our communities the same as banks that have exponentially more in assets, enabling them to engage even more with small business and entrepreneurs that stimulate local economies.”
Among those meeting with the president were ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols, ICBA President and CEO Camden R. Fine, and nine bankers. Also present were Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, National Economic Council Chairman Gary Cohn and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. Topics of discussion included the importance of tailored regulation and the need to ensure regulatory capital standards are aligned with actual risks and conducive to credit availability.
In interviews with Bloomberg and CNBC, Fine reported that the ICBA “couldn’t be more pleased” with the meeting, and said that Trump was “unscripted, engaged and knew the language.”