What Is the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA)?

The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) is a domestic trade organization that represents about 5,700 small to mid-size community banks. The ICBA provides various benefits to its members, such as conferences and publications, as well as a voice on Capitol Hill. The ICBA represents members holding more than $4 trillion in deposits, $5 trillion in assets, and $3.4 trillion in consumer, small business, and agricultural loans.

ICBA member banks employ more than 760,000 people nationwide, and compose 99% of American banks. They make more than 60% of all the nation’s small business loans, and more than 80% of all agricultural loans.

Key Takeaways

  • The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) is a membership-based financial organization dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its employees.
  • The ICBA supports the community banking industry through effective advocacy, best-in-class education, and high-quality products and services.
  • The ICBA offers its members national representation, professional development, innovative products and services, and exclusive tools and information.

Understanding the ICBA

The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has a chapter in each state. The Independent Banker is a monthly, subscription-based magazine published by the ICBA and sent to community bankers nationwide. The ICBA supports fair competition for financial institutions and the separation of banking and commerce.

The ICBA and community bankers seek to advance a more efficient system of banking regulation, unbiased laws governing the financial sector, a safer and more secure business environment, and more effective agriculture policies to extend the nation’s economic growth to every corner of the country.

In their latest brief, entitled Community Focus 2020, the ICBA includes policy prescriptions on the following issue areas:

  • Regulatory Relief
  • More Competitive Landscape
  • Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering
  • Data Security, Fraud, and Privacy
  • Preserving Mortgage Lending
  • Tax Relief
  • Industry Concentration and Systemic Risk
  • Agriculture and Rural America
  • Community Bank Innovation
  • Payments
  • Cybersecurity

Advocacy Efforts by the ICBA

During financial industry reform efforts in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the ICBA lobbied Congress to protect the smaller banks. Its primary goals were to prevent credit unions from gaining a competitive advantage over community banks, and maintaining a regulatory loophole that would allow smaller banks to retain a choice of regulator.

The ICBA strongly supported H.R. 3329, a bill introduced to the 113th Congress that would require the Federal Reserve to revise regulations applicable to small bank holding companies (BHCs). The bill would allow BHCs with fewer up to $1 billion in assets to incur more debt than larger institutions in order to acquire more banks. Currently, this privilege is restricted to small BHCs with fewer than $500 million in assets. The bill would also let savings and loan holding companies qualify for these more lenient restrictions on debt. The ICBA, as well as the American Bankers Association (ABA), felt that America’s community banks, savings and loans, and thrifts would benefit from this loosening of restrictions, as it would allow them access to more capital in order to finance small business and consumer lending, community development, and job creation. The ICBA further argued that the loosening of restrictions is necessary to keep pace with inflation, asset growth, and industry consolidation among America’s community banks.