"Strangling Our Recovery"

Friday, June 01, 2012

One of the things I’ve heard in traveling the district and talking to voters, especially those who work in the financial services industry, is a frustration with the knee-jerk regulatory environment that ensued following the economic collapse of so many large banks in 2008. But these knee-jerk regulations are having a particularly acute impact on the smaller, community banks that finance Colorado families and businesses, choking our economic recovery.

Arbitrary and capricious regulations of community banks are stifling the flow of capital to small business and costing jobs. This is especially true in Northern Colorado where we have had a number of bank failures. Due process for regulators, as I propose below, is not just fair (and what the Founding Fathers had in mind with the Fifth Amendment) but it will lead to more capital and more jobs. One voter I spoke with, whose business has been impacted by these excessive regulations hit the nail on the head "As is typical of bureaucrats, they are fighting the last war."

Legislation has been introduced in Congress that would aim to remedy this issue and provide lenders with 5th Amendment due process rights and, hopefully, increase the flow of capital to small businesses, the driving force in our economic recovery.

The "Financial Institutions Examination Fairness and Reform Act" is bipartisan legislation, currently being discussed in House committee hearings, which would rein in regulators’ ability to impose capricious decisions that stifle the availability of much-needed, job-creating capital.

The goal of this legislation is not to remove regulatory safeguards put in place to protect taxpayers and consumers;instead, it is to ensure responsible regulatory decision-making and provide banks, credit unions, and community lenders an opportunity to appeal regulatory decisions, thus easing the flow of available capital. The bill also creates a third party ombudsman that would hear appeals, providing the due process currently lacking in today’s regulatory environment.

We need to strike a balance between regulations that protect consumers and taxpayers but also allow banks and credit unions to do what we need them to, which is make loans and stimulate the economy. If elected, I am committed to making sure legislation like this is passed. Additionally, I have proposed that if elected, I will introduce the Easing American Regulation Now (EARN) Act as my first piece of legislation. EARN would enact common-sense solutions to the over-regulation problem, restore balance back in our economy and get Americans back to work. You can learn more about EARN here.

Having been a small business owner and entrepreneur for over 30 years, I appreciate more than most how crippling these overbearing regulations are. Responsible regulation is necessary, but if we are to get our economy moving again we must take a fresh look at how to protect consumers while incentivizing growth. A fair, predictable, open and appealable regulatory environment is crucial to restoring America’s competitiveness in the world and getting our economy moving again.

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