Dodd-Frank reform will boost local banks, communities they serve

Ballard Cassady Jr.
Ballard Cassady Jr.

I am always interested, but dismayed, to read media stories praising the Dodd-Frank Act (Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act).

My dismay results from the fact that media does not seem to care that such an imposing piece of legislation has done nothing to reform Wall Street or protect consumers, despite both of those goals being identified in the title.

Instead, this law has stifled traditional banks from serving their clients in a way that truly serves the consumer’s best interests and established a cookie-cutter approach to banking services that does not consider the diverse needs of individuals at all stages of life.

Kentucky banks have always been the cornerstone of communities, especially rural communities, and Dodd-Frank has stifled banks’ ability to make customer service their first priority — instead it is paper processing.

That is why Kentucky and consumers need Dodd-Frank reform.

As president and CEO of the Kentucky Bankers Association, I closely follow banking issues on a state and federal level and encourage the passage of the Financial CHOICE Act of 2016, which will help strengthen the economy, allow banks to serve their customers and keep traditional banks in our communities.

The CHOICE ACT, supported by Central Kentucky Congressman Andy Barr, does a number of things that Dodd-Frank does not — most notably it reforms Wall Street and protects consumers.

The CHOICE Act increases accountability for the most complex and least transparent institutions, while allowing consumers, small business, communities and traditional banks to go about the responsible day-to-day business of improving our economy and helping our communities thrive.

This is done by holding the largest, most complex institutions to a standard that matches their business models while allowing the business of traditional, everyday banking to be transacted without unnecessary bureaucratic red tape and with the flexibility to allow your local bank to work with you during both good and difficult times.

Community banks support local citizens, local charities, small business and more. Without some significant overhaul of Dodd-Frank, every person in Kentucky will have to fear that their hometown bank will not be able to thrive and options will become limited and less personalized.

Barr has made every effort to include bank size or complexity limits on regulatory relief legislation to help boost economic recovery, and we hope he continues that effort for each citizen of Kentucky. He represents Kentuckians well, regardless of their address, their political affiliation or their occupation.

Kentucky needs vibrant community banks and thriving communities and the CHOICE Act provides one step toward that goal.

Ballard Cassady Jr. is president and CEO of the Kentucky Bankers Association.