First National Bank of Gilmer President Kelly Stretcher was among those who went.
The bankers are members of the Texas Bankers Association, which represents the entire Texas banking industry, from regional to community banks.
“We wanted to let our lawmakers know that we run the traditional banks that are the engines of economic recovery in our communities,” said Texas Bankers Association Chairman Vic Pierson, president of Moody National Bank in Galveston. “We did not cause the economic crisis plaguing our communities; we are the solution.”
The bankers met with Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, as well as with members of the Texas Congressional Delegation.
In addition, they were addressed by Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair, Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Director of the National Economic Council Larry Summers and Acting Office of Thrift Supervision Director John Bowman.
The bankers discussed the following issues with the lawmakers:
• Alternatives to a 20-basis-point special assessment proposed by the FDIC to recapitalize the Deposit Insurance Fund. The special assessment, on top of planned increases in quarterly premiums, would undermine the banks’ ability to lend and support the economic recovery, the association says.
• Changes to the definition of “fair value.” Recent changes to the definition of fair value, combined with current market illiquidity, have resulted in overstated economic losses.
• Mortgage cramdown legislation, which gives bankruptcy judges the power to unilaterally reduce the remaining balance on a mortgage and modify or change the interest rate or term of the loan. This would result in increased interest rates and reduced mortgage availability, bankers said.
• The state of banking in Texas, which, thanks to the state’s healthy economy, is doing well: 98 percent of Texas banks are well-capitalized and credit availability is good.
The Texas bankers were part of a group that included 840 bankers from all over the U.S., which is a record turnout for this event.
The Texas Bankers Association (www.texasbankers.com), founded in 1885, is a statewide association that represents 86 percent of Texas banks. Ninety-eight percent of its membership is comprised of Texas-based community banks, with a median asset size of $114.4 million.