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

The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) is a domestic trade organization that represents about 5,000 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 $4.7 trillion in deposits, $5.7 trillion in assets, and $3.6 trillion in consumer, small business, and 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 Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA)

The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has a chapter in each state. It supports fair competition for financial institutions and the separation of banking and commerce.

The ICBA offers its members national representation, professional development, innovative products and services, and exclusive tools and information. That includes free daily email news bulletins and a discounted subscription to Independent Banker, a monthly magazine for community bankers published by the ICBA.

Community banks employ more than 700,000 people nationwide and compose 99% of American banks. Together, they make more than 75% of all the nation’s small business loans, and more than 80% of all agricultural loans.

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 a 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 Independent Community Bankers of America (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 (Fed) to revise regulations applicable to small bank holding companies (BHCs). The bill lobbied for BHCs with up to $1 billion in assets to incur more debt than larger institutions in order to acquire more banks—a privilege restricted to small BHCs with fewer than $500 million in assets.