By Mel Canterbury
R.B. Summitt, President of Sevier County Bank, and community leader for many years, spoke to the Sevier County Republican Party meeting last Tuesday evening.
He addressed concerns that the current financial reform bill being debated in the US Congress will in many cases grant even more federal government control of all financial services.
He said, “In Washington and in the national media, it seems ‘bank’ is a four letter bad-word, which may be true when it comes to Wall Street but community banks like Sevier County Bank and four others head-quartered in Sevier County are ‘Main Street banks’ and should be distinguished from and not condemned with the multibillion dollar money center companies.”
In early May, Summitt traveled with a group of 60 other members of the Tennessee Bankers Association to Washington, DC to discuss such issues with representatives of the Administration, the FDIC, Federal Reserve, Independent Community Bankers Association as well as all Tennessee Congressmen and Senators.
He said that elected officials agree that the proposed legislation is not good, places a particular burden for the community banks and noted the Administration’s proposal avoids dealing with either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, which were at the center of the subprime housing fiasco and are still losing billions of dollars.
Summitt added that the proposed financial reform legislation would remove the flexibility small-town bankers have had to make loans and some of the language sounds like federal credit allocation, similar to the recent restructuring of student loans.
More regulations and government controls could be devastating to the five community banks in Sevier County as well as nationally.
He mentioned that most officials felt there was an unwritten agenda or some move to force more consolidation of the approximately 8,000 banks in the USA causing even more financial concentration and fewer choices for consumers.
Summitt expressed grave concerns about our national debt and opined that the very large credit unions that want to be banks should have to pay their fair share of income taxes.
He closed by saying that the Federal bureaucracy and Congress itself need reform, not health care, student lending or community banking.
For those who missed the speech, the Sevier County Republican Party invites residents to attend their meetings, held the third Tuesday of each month at the Courthouse.
Check the Web site for more information at www.seviercountyrepublican.com or send an email to seviercountygop.com.
Banker Concerned about Government Proposed Financial Controls
By Mel Canterbury