Thursday, May 27, 2010

One-size-fits all banking regulation? What consequences for community banks?

Listen to this story from American Public Media's Marketplace program. The dateline is Hampton, Iowa, population 4,218, and the report queries whether the same banking regulations should apply to community banks (like the one in Hampton) as apply to the "too big to fail" ones. Iowa Public Radio reporter Sarah McCammon holds out Hampton State Bank as an example of a community bank that would struggle under the greater regulation of mortgages and credit cards that are now being debated in Congress. She reports on a low-interest loan program the bank put together to lure back to Hampton young professionals and others who grew up there but had moved away, and she holds this laudable program out as an example of the sort of thing community banks might not have "time" to do if faced with greater regulation. The story is replete with idyllic images of small-town America and family values, invoking them to argue against regulation. But the story didn't make clear to me how more regulation will prevent the bank from offering programs such as the low-interest loans to help sustain its community population and human capital. On the other hand, I am not convinced that community banks are need of the same types of regulation as Wall Street institutions.

1 comment:

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