WASHINGTON- Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) delivered the following remarks on the House floor today in support of H.R. 3791, legislation to help small community banks raise capital and serve their customers:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 3791, which is a much-needed regulatory relief and economic growth bill sponsored by an outstanding, energetic and inspirational freshman on our committee, the gentlelady from Utah, Mrs. Love.
As we look at the state of our economy today, we know one thing for certain: the economy is still not working for millions of working Americans.The economy is under-performing dramatically by any historical standard.
Given how far the economy fell when the Washington-induced real estate bubble burst in 2008, history shows we should have had faster growth than normal during a rapid rebound phase.
It didn’t happen. Instead, there hasn’t been a single year when economic growth has reached even three percent. One published report on this failure noted “there is no parallel for this since the end of World War II, maybe not since the beginning of the Republic.”
Last quarter’s GDP growth of only one percent just punctuates the matter for working families who find themselves working harder for less. They have seen their paychecks shrink by more than $1,600. No wonder 72 percent of Americans believe the country is still in a recession. That’s the reality they’re living every day. For them, the recession never ended.
But I don’t need polls telling me that the economy is still not working for millions of working families. Virtually every day I receive letters and emails like these:
Carla from Mesquite, Texas in my district writes: “We are struggling to make ends meet. My husband had temporary work for three months the last two years. He has been looking for work…and not finding any.”
Michael from the town of Forney in my district in East Texas writes: “I hear on the news how the economy is improving and I see Wall Street making money. Average folks like me are not seeing any economic improvement.”
The painful truth is the Washington hyper-controlled economy is failing low and moderate income Americans who simply want their fair shot at economic opportunity and financial security.
Perhaps nowhere is this hyper-regulation of Washington being felt more than when it comes to the customers of Main Street community banks. They are being buried under an avalanche of red tape, which is increasing costs for consumers, restricting their choices and harming their personal finances.
Let’s look at some examples. Credit card rates have risen drastically, making them unaffordable and unavailable for a number of would-be borrowers. Federal regulations on auto loans could hit some borrowers hard, with a nearly $600 increase in interest payments on a $25,000 loan over a four year period.
Small business lines of credit have been cut back dramatically and the incredible regulatory burden placed on homebuyers has complicated the buying process and led to fewer community banks offering mortgages. The fact is that these higher costs are being felt at the same time that paychecks and savings are stagnant for working families -- it just compounds the problem.
And the sheer weight, volume and complexity of Washington regulations is also killing prospects for jobs to be created, it is killing opportunities to spur economic growth, and it is harming working Americans. It is killing their ability to achieve financial independence through their home mortgages, through their auto loans, through their credit card loans, through their small business lines of credit.
So it is on their behalf, on behalf of the Carlas and the Michaels of America and the millions of others like them, that we are here to pass a very simple, but very helpful bill. This is truly a common sense piece of legislation. This bill sponsored by Mrs. Love will make it easier for our small, hometown community banks to raise capital so that capital can be turned into local jobs and economic growth on Main Street.
We know that passing this bill will immediately benefit more than 400 community banks across America. Not big banks. Not Wall Street banks, but community banks. Those are the banks that historically focus their attention on the needs of local families, small businesses and farmers. As a matter of fact, passage of this bill is a long-standing goal of the Independent Community Bankers of America.
But at the end of the day, we shouldn’t pass this bill simply because it’s good for community banks. We should pass this bill because it’s good for their customers -- the people who benefit from the loans and services that community banks provide, and the people who will work at the jobs, the people who will create this stronger economic growth.
Wouldn’t it be nice to hear for a change that community banks are once again hiring new loan officers to serve their communities as opposed to more regulatory compliance officers to serve their Washington masters? That’s how you help capitalize more small businesses and help families pay their bills, plan for the future, and achieve the dream of financial independence.
I again applaud the gentlelady from Utah, Mrs. Love, for her leadership, for fighting tenaciously for working families in her district and across America. I encourage all Members to support and adopt H.R. 3791.