Community banks have served as America’s engines of local economic growth since our nation’s founding, and the United States remains the only country in the world served by a broadly based, vibrant community banking sector. As our economy and financial system continue to evolve, community banking must be preserved and strengthened. The empowerment of community banks is a sure route to rekindling America’s economic vitality.
Today we have an opportunity to comprehensively rethink, restructure, and modernize the regulation of the American financial services industry to ensure that it promotes economic growth, prosperity, and job creation. Regulatory relief for community banks is a critical part of this effort. The purpose of this paper is to describe what is unique about American community banks, survey the regulatory environment in which they operate, identify regulatory barriers, and recommend solutions that will allow them to serve as engines of economic growth and prosperity for generations to come