by Alejandro "Alex" Sanchez, FBA president and Chief Executive Officer.
Our industry is a noble one. Our bankers do so much to help make dreams come true each day by creating new home and business owners throughout our country. This is the ultimate American dream. The free enterprise system in our country is, by far, the greatest wealth-building system that has ever been created, and bankers play an integral role in this system. To the vast majority of the public, a banker is a banker, with little distinction. Some people think of bankers at small, hometown community banks; some think of those at larger, regional banks; and others think of those at nationwide banks. All in all, most members of the public see bankers through one lens. Relief can come to all banks of all sizes. Bankers of all sizes agree that our community banks do nor have the resources to keep up with the morass of regulations coming out of Dodd-Frank. Community bankers continue to be limited in the diversity of businesses like the mortgage business, which many community banks have exited. Many community banks just do not have the growing income to keep up with the compliance costs of the never-ending regulatory tsunami that brings waves of never-ending paperwork. Seeking relief for these community banks does not hurt our banks of larger sizes. Many bankers have also told me that the regional banks are not on Wall Street and, quite frankly, are not systemic risks to our financial system. These banks need regulation based on the activities in which they engage (or do not engage). They should not be treated as a systemic risk. Regulation in this manner would save these banks hundreds of millions in compliance costs.
For our larger institutions, there is always talk of breaking up these banks. Government breaking up a business is not the right answer. Will our government also break up competitors under the jurisdiction of lees say of a country like China? No, of course not. This would leave U.S. banks at a competitive disadvantage. What if a major American corporation needed funding and they had to go to a bank in a non friendly country to the United States? Is that what we want? Of course not. What would be the state of the U.S. if that were to happen? The answer is not good. Our industry must stay united and recognize and realize that different sectors of our industry may need different types of relief for different reasons. All in all, our industry continues to spend billions of dollars on compliance, and regulation is important to a large degree. Our industry must continue to be united in advocating for smart regulation. The FBA will always advocate for our industry.