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ICBA addresses Bernanke on SBLF

Below is a letter Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) sent to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke regarding the Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF). In the letter, ICBA asks for prompt assistance in ensuring the SBLF works as intended.

August 10, 2011

The Honorable Ben Bernanke

Chairman, Federal Reserve Board

20th & C Streets, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20551

Dear Chairman Bernanke:

On behalf of ICBA’s nearly 5,000 community bank members, I write to ask for your prompt assistance in ensuring the Small Business Lending Fund works as intended. After much delay in finalizing the terms and conditions of the SBLF program, Treasury began approving applications on July 7, less than three months before the program expires on September 27, 2011 – one year after the authorizing legislation was signed into law. Some 900 community banks have applied, but to date, Treasury has approved only a handful of applications and disbursed $590 million out of the $30 billion authorized by Congress. With little over a month left, I urge you to do everything in your power to address the concerns of the remaining eligible applicants who have the capacity and expertise to put SBLF funds to work in their communities as intended by Congress.

Specifically, we urge the Federal Reserve to work closely with Treasury to provide the dividend payment waivers needed to ensure that stable banks eligible for the SBLF program can participate. We urge the Federal Reserve and Treasury to promptly reexamine and rectify the policies and procedures blocking SBLF applicants’ potential approval and to immediately modify any arbitrary deadlines jeopardizing final approvals. Many applicants have reported that the Federal Reserve is simply refusing to address the dividend waivers, thus potentially neutering the success of the Treasury SBLF program. 2

Congress enacted the SBLF to bring credit to small businesses and thereby boost much-needed economic growth and employment. Please ensure the Federal Reserve is working to support the community banks interested in participating in a successful SBLF program. We urge the Federal Reserve to help, not hinder, the SBLF approval process.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

/s/

Camden R. Fine, President and CEO

cc: Janet L. Yellen, Federal Reserve Board Vice Chair

Elizabeth A. Duke, Federal Reserve Board Governor

Daniel K. Tarullo, Federal Reserve Board Governor

Sarah Bloom Raskin, Federal Reserve Board Governor

Timothy F. Geithner, Secretary of the U.S. Treasury

Jason Tepperman, Director, Small Business Lending Fund, U.S. Treasury

Martin J. Gruenberg, Acting Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

John G. Walsh, Acting Comptroller, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency


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