Washington - Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 2672, the Helping Expand Lending Practices in Rural Communities Act, or the HELP Rural Communities Act. H.R. 2672 is legislation introduced by Congressman Andy Barr that would provide individuals in rural areas like Bath County, Kentucky, the right to petition for the area to be properly reclassified as “rural” and relieve the local community banks from burdensome regulations that unfairly limit their ability to lend and help create jobs in their communities.
“I am glad that the House of Representatives came together and in a rare display of bipartisanship, passed another of my pragmatic solutions to help families and businesses access affordable credit,” said U.S. Representative Andy Barr (R-KY). “I am pleased that every Member of the House agreed with how logical this legislation is and supported its immediate passage by unanimous voice vote. I appreciate Congressman Ruben Hinojosa’s input, which was instrumental to passing this important legislation, and I am glad that we can work together to advance commonsense solutions for our local communities.”
"I want to thank Congressman Barr for his work on this very important bill, and for including the changes that I proposed," said U.S. Representative Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX). "Defining ‘rural’ on a county-level basis is too arbitrary, given the large size of counties in Texas and other Western states. They are rural by definition and should be recognized as such. We need to ensure that community banks and credit unions are not prevented from investing in such rural communities. I am very pleased that this bipartisan bill will give many U.S. citizens the opportunity to obtain loans for their businesses and their personal needs."
H.R. 2672 is supported by:
- Kentucky Bankers Association
- The Conference of State Bank Supervisors
- The Kentucky Credit Union League
- The Credit Union National Association
- The National Association of Federal Credit Unions
- The American Bankers Association
- The Independent Community Bankers of America
- The National Association of Realtors
- CSBS Chairman & Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions Commissioner Charles Vice
Background on H.R. 2672:
- H.R. 2672, the Helping Expand Lending Practices in Rural Communities Act, or the HELP Rural Communities Act, would ensure that access to credit in rural America isn’t unnecessarily restricted because of a flawed one-size-fits-all formula from Washington.
- The idea for this legislation stemmed from a hearing in May 2013 where Congressman Barr learned that Washington-based bureaucrats at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) shockingly and incorrectly claimed that Bath County, Kentucky should be considered “non-rural” for purposes of its lending rules.
- In June 2013, the Kentucky Charles Vice, the Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions and the Chairman of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, testified before the Committee accurately characterizing Bath County as one of the most rural places in Kentucky and emphasized the importance of preserving balloon loans in rural communities.
- In December 2013, Kentucky’s Sixth District resident and fifth generation banker, Mr. Thomas Richards from Owingsville Banking Company, testified on behalf of H.R. 2672, sharing his own personal, first-hand knowledge about the negative impact resulting from Washington-based bureaucrats’ decision to incorrectly consider Bath County, Kentucky ‘non-rural’ for purposes of lending rules that limit access to credit in the community.
- In March, 2014, the House Committee on Financial Services passed H.R. 2672 by a vote of 55-1.