The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) today expressed its strong support for the Senate introduction of the Enhancing Credit Opportunities in Rural America (ECORA) Act to support farmers, ranchers and rural homeowners.
The ECORA Act (S. 2202/H.R. 1977) would exempt from taxation interest income on farm real estate and rural mortgage loans, allowing community banks to lower loan rates and more efficiently serve these borrowers. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) introduced the bill in the Senate following House introduction earlier this year by Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa).
“With community banks making 80 percent of banking industry agricultural loans, ICBA strongly supports the Enhancing Credit Opportunities in Rural America Act to help them offer lower rates in rural communities,” ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said. “This important legislation will help sustain and revive rural economies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic while providing community bank lenders with benefits they can pass on to customers, similar to other rural credit providers.”
With rural America and the agricultural sector facing continued challenges, ECORA will:
- Exempt from taxation loans secured by agricultural real estate.
- Provide similar relief to interest on loans secured by rural single-family homes that are the borrower’s principal residence in towns with populations under 2,500.
- Assist those seeking to remain on the farm or acquire a home loan in rural communities by providing borrowers with better rates and loan terms.
- Offer community banks greater flexibility to work with farmers who may have trouble servicing their debt.
- Give lenders a strong incentive to remain in the rural farming and housing markets, thereby boosting local economic activity.
ICBA looks forward to working with Congress to advance this critical legislation.
The Independent Community Bankers of America creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. ICBA is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education, and high-quality products and services. With nearly 50,000 locations nationwide, community banks constitute 99 percent of all banks, employ more than 700,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in three U.S. counties. Holding more than $5 trillion in assets, over $4.4 trillion in deposits, and more than $3.4 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community, community banks channel local deposits into the Main Streets and neighborhoods they serve, spurring job creation, fostering innovation and fueling their customers’ dreams in communities throughout America. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org.