FDIC Chairman Meets With Local Bankers

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It's an issue that community banks like River Valley Bank in Wausau are constantly dealing with. Regulation.

"We get all of the after effects of regulation that's aimed at banks too big too fail," River Valley Bank President and CEO Todd Nagel said.

Restrictions on how many people banks can lend credit to has become an issue for some local bankers. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chairman Martin Gruenberg visited River Valley Bank on Monday with 25 other local Wisconsin bankers, acknowledging the importance of the presence of community banks.

"I think one of the strengths of community banks is their closeness to their communities," he said. "They really do know their customers, and that relationship lending gives them an inside to their borrowers."

Community banks are finding it harder to lend people credit than they have in years past, whether it's a loan to a small business, or a mortgage to someone trying to purchase a home.

"I think it's unfortunate that it's this hard to buy a home today," Nagel said. "I think that if we're truly concerned about consumer harm, we should be looking at how difficult it is to apply for a home mortgage. Before it even gets to decision making."

But the issue at hand that prevents many banks from lending more money is the slow growth of the economy.

"it's been a slow recovery that I'm sure has been frustrating to a lot of people and certainly a lot of consumers as well as small businesses trying to get access to credit," Gruenberg said. "I think things have been gradually improving and if we can get some greater lift in the economy, I think that will be to the benefit of everybody."

For smaller banks like River Valley, the hope is that more economic growth will come soon, so that they can better serve the customers in their communities.

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