Westmoreland MIA to save community banks
We continue to be in the toughest economic time since the Great Depression. Has our federal government, and more particularly Congress, been part of the solution or part of the problem?
The answer is unquestionably that they have been part of the problem. Let’s take a look this week at the financial institutions in America.
The big boys — you know, the large banks and the large, mostly Wall Street, financial institutions — received a bailout from you and me. President Bush and Congress lent the big boys billions of our taxpayer dollars in an ill-advised and unfair policy.
Some of that money has been paid back; some of it is lost forever. Our government proved once again that it should never inject itself into private industry with taxpayer funds.
Washington completely ignored the financial problems also happening in the smaller community banks and would not lift a finger to help them. You know the banks I am talking about, the friendly neighborhood banks that know you by name, will take a risk on you because they know your family, and are deeply rooted in our communities.
Did the federal government “bail” these banks out? Not on your life. I have spoken to several highly placed community bank officials and they have told me Congress’ inaction has directly affected the 3rd Congressional District.
Did you know 12 community banks have failed here in the 3rd District? Did you know Georgia leads the nation in bank failures? Unfortunately it does, and our congressman was AWOL when the banks needed him the most.
Even after their help was requested, Mr. Westmoreland and the Financial Services Committee he sits on could not be bothered to help.
Help is exactly what should have been given, and I don’t mean monetary help. The solution was simple and could have been easily applied without costing the taxpayers a single cent.
Congress could have passed a one-page bill that told the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to relax the closure standards during these unusual economic times.
In other words they could have given our community banks more time and leverage to recover bad real estate and other loans. Instead of closing these banks, more intensive supervision could have been given.
If that course of action had been followed, millions of dollars in bank stock would have been saved for the residents of this district. Also, if that had been implemented, our community banks that we loved and cherished would still be open today.
Instead, they are being replaced by the mega banks where you are only an account number and not friend and neighbor. This could have been done without adding to our debt if Congress could have just thought a little outside of the box.
Thinking outside of the box to retain jobs and dollars right here in our community seems to be asking too much from Congress. Banks closed in Henry County, Fayette County, Carroll County, Coweta County, Lamar County and Heard County. These closures could have been prevented; these banks could still be open.
Future community banks that are on the edge of closure today could still be saved. Community banks, not disinterested mega banks, are the financial backbone, as well as the investors in real estate, community projects, businesses, and jobs that are so crucial to the success of our communities.
Common sense, a little bit of intelligence, and a desire to serve and save the assets in our communities are all that is needed.
It is time to tell Congress and those on the Financial Service Committee that with a little bit of common sense and not mounds of cash we can solve the problems that still plague our community banks.
Community banks are made up of our friends and neighbors; if our congressman is unwilling to save them, it is time for a new congressman.
[Kent Kingsley is a Republican candidate for Congress in the Third Congressional District which includes Fayette and Coweta counties. He is a retired U.S. Army Infantry lieutenant colonel, owns a small real estate company in Lamar County and lives in Milner, between Griffin and Barnesville. He is an advocate for the Fair Tax, balanced budgets and federal term limits. His website is kingsleyforcongress.com.]