Senate approves Tester measures to support community banks, credit unions

Senator’s provisions to reduce red tape on rural lenders head to President’s desk

(U.S. Senate) – Senator Jon Tester this week secured a victory in the Senate by passing two bipartisan measures to support Montana community banks and credit unions. The President is expected to sign the bills into law.

Tester’s measures, which are part of his RELIEVE Act, will reduce restrictions and red tape on these small financial institutions that serve businesses and customers in rural America.

One measure reduces the regulatory burden on community banks that hold up to $1 billion in assets. The bill, which would affect several lending institutions in Montana, also simplifies reporting requirements for community banks.

The other measure provides credit unions with deposit insurance on Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts, which lawyers use to hold money for their clients. This will put credit unions on the same playing field as FDIC-backed institutions when providing customers’ accounts with this type of insurance.

“Rural Americans rely on their community banks and credit unions to support their families and start or grow their small businesses,” Tester said. “We need to make sure rural lenders have the flexibility to strengthen our economy and compete with larger financial institutions.”

Tester’s measures are supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Montana Bankers Association, and the Montana Credit Union Association.

“This is a big victory for Montanans and Montana’s banks,” said Steve Turkiewicz, President and CEO of the Montana Bankers Association. “The rule changes will help our economy continue to grow and will enhance our mid-size, hometown banks’ ability to meet the changing needs in their communities. We appreciate Senator Tester’s hard work to support Montanans, their communities and their banks.”

Tester has long been a supporter of community banks and credit unions and their role in Montana.