| WASHINGTON, March 9
WASHINGTON, March 9 President Donald Trump will
meet with Main Street community bankers on Thursday to learn
more about their difficulties in complying with the tougher
Dodd-Frank financial regulations enacted after the 2007-2009
The listening session is aimed at helping the Trump
administration craft a legislative plan to ease the regulatory
burdens on small banks to try to unlock more small business
lending and fuel economic growth, a senior White House official
The meeting will include chief executives of nine community
banks with assets of around $1 billion or less, along with the
heads of the American Bankers Association and the Independent
Community Bankers of America.
ICBA has advocated for a tiered system of regulations that
treat smaller banks differently than global financial behemoths,
tailoring regulations to a bank's size, business model,
complexity and risk.
The Trump White House largely shares that view.
"The type of regulation that you need for a $700 million
bank and the risks they present are very different than those
for a $200 billion bank or a $1 trillion bank," the White House
"Right now we have a lot of these rules that apply
one-size-fits-all. And if you're the small community bank trying
to comply with rules that are also applied to much larger
institutions, it's very hard to remain competitive."
Larger banks are able to spread their higher compliance
costs over much bigger asset and employee bases, while smaller
banks struggle with high costs and workloads.
One of the institutions represented in the meeting, Standard
Financial Corp of Monroeville, Pennsylvania, has just
nine branches with $488 million in assets and earnings of
$559,000 in the quarter ended December 31, 2016. It plans to
merge with a rival in southwestern Pennsylvania in a deal that
will roughly double its size.
Trump officials cited a dearth of applications to form new
community banks and around a 30 percent drop in the number of
small U.S. banks since 2008.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who is expected to
attend the meeting with Trump, along with National Economic
Council Director Gary Cohn, said at his confirmation hearing in
January that onerous regulations are "killing community banks."
Mnuchin, the former CEO of OneWest bank, a regional lender
in Southern California, pledged to ease those burdens while
maintaining "proper" regulation, "so that we don't end up with a
world where we only have four big banks in this country."
The bankers are expected to highlight compliance costs
associated with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB),
a new regulator created under the Dodd-Frank law.
The CFPB is a perennial target for Republicans, who want to
shift its funding from the Federal Reserve to annual
appropriations by Congress and shift its management, now
concentrated in a powerful chairman, to a multi-person
Another problem to be aired by the bankers, the White House
official said, will be post-crisis mortgage regulations that
hamper home loans to small business owners who may have
irregular income streams.
(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Michael Perry)