Bair Tells ABA Agencies Will Be Sensitive to Small Banks’ Needs

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. will try to be sensitive to the needs of community lenders worried that the Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul will harm their businesses, FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair told bankers today at a conference in Washington.

Community banks will face a far smaller impact from Dodd- Frank than their bigger rivals, Bair told members of the American Bankers Association in comments aimed at assuaging criticism of the law enacted in response to the credit crisis.

“Dodd-Frank is almost completely targeted at large financial institutions,” Bair told members of the ABA, a Washington-based industry group that mainly represents smaller lenders. “The large institutions, they are really facing the brunt of this. The community banks are not.”

Groups representing community banks -- generally defined as lenders with capital of $1 billion or less -- say their survival is being threatened by new limits on fees for overdrafts, debit cards and late payments. ABA members today raised concerns over Dodd-Frank provisions including a proposed cap on debit-card “swipe” fees that may make smaller lenders less competitive.

“We will continue to try to be sensitive to community banks,” Bair told an audience of more than 900 community bankers. “My tenure at the FDIC has shown that I am not the enemy of community banks.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Meera Louis in Washington at mlouis1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lawrence Roberts at lroberts13@bloomberg.net

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