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California Bankers Attend Annual Washington, D.C. Visit; Announce Position on the Too Big to Fail Act

Last week, June 11-13, nearly two dozen California bank executives joined CBA President & CEO Rod Brown and CBA Executive Vice President & COO Maurine Padden for the association’s annual visit to the nation’s capital.

Prior to start of the visit, CBA’s federal government relations committee (FGRC) adopted an oppose position on S.798, also known as the Too Big to Fail Act, or the Brown-Vitter Bill.The committee opposed the bill for a number of reasons, but most importantly because it seeks to shift control over setting capital standards from the regulators to Congress, and also because the capital standards set forth in the proposed bill are simplistic, differentiating on asset size alone without taking into account the risk profiles of the institutions. Jeff Ball, CBA chairman, FGRC member, and president & CEO of Friendly Hills Bank- one of California’s smallest banks- supported the association’s oppose position noting that the legislation as drafted would impose arbitrary capital standards, which would constrain the asset size at which an institution can operate and still deliver a return to shareholders. Ball also said the bill would lead toward a competitive disadvantage in wholesale and international markets where large U.S.-based banks play a vital role in supporting transactions that are essential for an efficient economy.

During the first evening of the D.C. visit, ABA executives Mike Hunter, the association’s chief operating officer, and executive vice presidents James Ballentine and Gary Fields, greeted the banker delegation, and briefed the group on a number of key industry federal issues. During the two-day visit, the bankers met with a number of regulatory officials including an FDIC breakfast briefing hosted by Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig, and a U.S. Treasury briefing conducted by Don Graves, deputy assistant secretary for small business, community development and housing policy. Additionally, the group attended a third briefing with four officials from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Lisa Applegate, mortgage implementation lead; Elizabeth Brennan, senior advisor to the director; Delicia Reynolds Hand, staff director for the office of consumer advocacy; and Paul Mondor, managing counsel for the office of regulations.

The banker delegation also met with several members of California’s congressional delegation, as well as other influential members of the House Financial Services Committee. In addition to advocating opposition to the Brown-Vitter Bill, these legislative meetings were opportunities for bankers to discuss a number of significant industry issues including the credit unions’ attempt to increase their business lending authority, mortgage reform and the Municipal Advisors Relief Act. Jeff Ball and Rod Brown also had an extraordinary opportunity, courtesy of Golden Pacific Bancorp Chairman Frank Washington and CEO Kirk Dowdell, to take a private tour of the Supreme Court and meet with Justice Clarence Thomas. The conversation with Justice Thomas included a discussion of general banking issues and the current impact of Dodd-Frank on the industry.

CBA wishes to thank all the following visit participants for taking the time to travel to Washington, D.C., and advocate for our industry on these very important issues: Dwight Alexander, Chris Ball, Jeff Ball, Don Bausley,Tom Beene, Kevin Blackburn, Mary Curran, Tom Dobyns, Kirk Dowdell, Dan Doyle, Joe Eisele, Don Fracchia, Lesa Fynes, John Hou, Bob Hughes, Don Johnson, Scott Kavanaugh, Ron Oliveira, Scott Racusin, Rick Sanborn, Peter Villegas, Rick Visser, Louise Walker and Ken Yates.

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