In a move intended to reduce regulations for smaller banks, the U.S. Senate on March 14 passed Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo’s Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155) with a bipartisan vote of 67 to 31. Crapo is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.
“One-size-fits-all regulation does not work, so we thank the 67 senators who supported this important reform bill,” said Trent Wright, president and CEO of the Idaho Bankers Association. “A special thanks to Sen. Crapo and Sen. [Jim] Risch and to the courageous 17 Democrats for their support on this effort, which will help Idaho bankers better serve their communities.”
Although more than 100 amendments had been proposed for it, the committee approved just one, which included provisions negotiated and agreed to since the bill passed out of the Banking Committee on December 5, said Amanda Critchfield, spokeswoman for Crapo. “Many of those provisions were aimed at encouraging capital formation, and more consumer protections for veterans, consumers, and homeowners,” she said.
One provides free and ongoing credit monitoring for active-duty service members, Critchfield said. Another protects veterans from predatory lending by requiring Veterans Administration lenders to demonstrate material benefit to consumers when they’re refinancing their mortgage. Another prohibits private student lenders from declaring loans defaulted or accelerating collection against a student solely based on the death or bankruptcy of a co-signer, and releases co-signers of their student loan obligations following the death of a student, she said.
The bill’s next stop is the House. “There are several ways in which the House can approach this bill: a formal conference committee to hash out differences between the Senate bill and several House-passed measures; an informal process that will allow the respective Chairmen and staff to work out compromises; or the House could simply vote on the Senate bill,” Wright said. The Independent Community Bankers of America, a trade association representing more than 5,700 community banks, including many in Idaho, is encouraging the House to pass the Senate bill, because it has already debated and passed several of the provisions in S.2155.
Critics say S.2155 doesn’t address problems community banks face, and at the same time takes away tools from regulators.