In rural Oklahoma, mom-and-pop shops and family-run businesses are the norm. By and large, Oklahomans stop in to see their friends at their store down the street because many of us are hundreds of miles from the nearest shopping mall, or simply because we trust the people just down the road.
We keep our business local and prefer to keep our dollars in our own community, especially when it comes to which banks and credit unions we choose. When people in Okmulgee need a mortgage or a car loan, they go to Mabrey Bank, not Bank of America. When farmers in Miami need a small loan to fix a broken tractor or just to hold them over until the next harvest, they go to Arvest Bank, not Wells Fargo.
In 2010, under then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s leadership, Congress passed Dodd-Frank. Unfortunately for community banks across the country, Dodd-Frank created an onslaught of regulations that mandated one-size-fits-all rules and effectively prevented community banks from serving their customers. Dodd-Frank was supposed to make the financial system safer, but instead we saw big banks – like Bank of America – get even bigger and we saw the loss of one community bank or credit union every day on average after its passage.
Dodd-Frank burdened banks and credit unions across our state. For instance, one community banker in Oklahoma had to stop offering mortgages all together because of the heavy-handed regulations that were forced on her business. When Dodd-Frank went into effect, the banker couldn’t justify the new software, training, and costs needed to support such a low volume of loans. Now, the bank refers all of their loans to a third party lender.
The Financial CHOICE Act would get rid of those overbearing regulations keeping community banks from serving their longtime customers and hindering their ability to be successful. By passing the Financial CHOICE Act, Congress will no longer force bankers to fit a square peg into a round hole. It will give community bankers flexibility to serve their customers freely and will get regulations created by Washington bureaucrats out of the way.
Our small businesses and mom-and-pop stores are important to us in Oklahoma. Not only are they our way of life, but they are also the livelihood for our friends, neighbors, and maybe even our own family. With the passage of the Financial CHOICE Act, rural Oklahomans will once again be able to access the financial products they need to earn success and farmers and small businesses will be able to access the kind of capital they need to create and grow their own businesses right here in Oklahoma.