Top executives of two community banks in Tampa came away from a meeting with President Donald Trump encouraged that the president will work to cut regulations on banks and small businesses.
Bill West, president and CEO of The Bank of Tampa, and Jack Barrett, president and CEO of First Citrus Bank, were among 100 community bankers who met with Trump and other administration officials Monday at the White House in a gathering organized by the Independent Community Bankers of America.
Their message, “Make community banking great again!” and a take-off on Trump’s campaign slogan, was emblazoned on red baseball caps they wore and on one they gave the president.
The timing for meeting was perfect, West said.
“[Trump] made comments about reducing the regulatory burden on small businesses and banking in particular, West said. “He talked about the need to create tax reform to allow businesses to invest in themselves.”
It was important the president hear from community bankers because they supply 50 percent of small business growth capital, Barrett said.
“And let’s face it, it’s small business owners, putting their nest egg on the line every day, that create more jobs than big corporations,” Barrett said.
Also addressing the group was Vice President Mike Pence; Linda McMahon, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration; and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn. Cohn suggested moving to a two-tiered system, with different regulations for small and big banks, according to a report by American Banker.
West also is watching legislation that would revamp Dodd-Frank, the 2010 legislation enacted in response to the financial crisis. Proponents say it was designed to decrease risks in the financial system, but opponents say it imposed too many regulations on banks. A bill that would overhaul Dodd-Frank is scheduled for a vote before a U.S. House committee Tuesday.
“I don’t think anyone thinks it's a slam dunk,” West said. “Not everyone will get what they want but at least there’s an effort underway to help small businesses create jobs.”
The White House meeting came during ICBA’s Capital Summit in Washington, D.C.
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