Washington, D.C. (Sept. 20, 2023) — The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) today commended the House Financial Services Committee for passing ICBA-advocated legislation to restrict the ability of the federal government to introduce a U.S. central bank digital currency.

“ICBA and the nation’s community banks strongly oppose the creation of a U.S. central bank digital currency, which would disintermediate community banks, reduce credit availability, and undermine consumer privacy,” ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said. “By barring the Federal Reserve from issuing a U.S. CBDC to consumers, the CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act would avoid the unnecessary risks to consumers and small businesses that a U.S. CBDC would pose. We encourage Congress to continue advancing this important legislation.”

The CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act (H.R. 5403) — introduced by House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) — would prohibit the Federal Reserve Banks from offering products or services directly to individuals, maintaining individual accounts, or issuing a CBDC to individuals. The legislation also would bar the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department from issuing a CBDC without congressional authorization.

As ICBA has said in a recent written statement to Congress, in letters to the Fed and White House, and in an American Banker op-ed earlier this year, a U.S. CBDC would harm community banks’ access to deposits and ability to lend funds to support economic growth. A U.S. CBDC would also threaten the health of the U.S. financial system by altering the roles and responsibilities of the private sector and the central bank; by destabilizing existing banking and payments systems; and by eroding the Fed’s ability to conduct monetary policy. Further, the policy goals that have been articulated in support of a CBDC would best be addressed through readily available alternatives, such as FedNow.

ICBA will continue to strongly oppose the creation of a U.S. CBDC and to support passage of the CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act.

About ICBA

The Independent Community Bankers of America® creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. ICBA is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education, and high-quality products and services.

With nearly 50,000 locations nationwide, community banks constitute roughly 99 percent of all banks, employ nearly 700,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in three U.S. counties. Holding nearly $5.9 trillion in assets, over $4.9 trillion in deposits, and more than $3.5 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community, community banks channel local deposits into the Main Streets and neighborhoods they serve, spurring job creation, fostering innovation and fueling their customers’ dreams in communities throughout America. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org.