Timothy Zimmerman, the new chair of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) believes the biggest threats to banks right now are hackers, FinTech firms and other nonbanks.
“Cybersecurity is something on everyone’s list that we’re concerned about,” said Zimmerman, according to American Banker. “We really have concerns about what the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is doing — their proposal to issue special-purpose bank charters. That would give [FinTech firms] access to the banking system, but it would allow them to avoid the responsibilities we have. It could be that we have one level of regulation and they have another level, and it would be easier for consumers to deal with them than us. All we want is a level playing field. We really think Congress should decide if the OCC has the authority to grant such a charter. We think they got ahead of themselves, and we’d like to see that rolled back and done in a more careful way.”
Zimmerman, who is the CEO of the $970 million-asset Standard Bank in Monroeville, Penn., also spoke about the ongoing issue with credit unions, which have come under attack by 52 state bankers’ associations, who recently sent a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, encouraging him to continue his tough stance on the credit union federal tax exempt status.
“[Credit unions] don’t pay federal taxes, and, in addition to that, there’s continued expansion beyond what they’re really supposed to be doing,” said Zimmerman. “So, right now they continue to expand into commercial lending, and they have … expansion where basically now if you’re living and breathing, you qualify under [credit unions’] field-of-membership rules. They also don’t have responsibilities under the Community Reinvestment Act.”
Zimmerman is hopeful new legislation that aims to replace the Dodd-Frank Act will help traditional banks focus more on customer service and less on regulations.
“We have worked tirelessly to try to get regulatory relief for community banks,” he said. “We now have a bill that has bipartisan support, and we have a lot of good things in this bill that will help community banks.”