WASHINGTON - The Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit held a hearing on Wednesday focused on legislation introduced by Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) that would provide rural areas like Bath County, Kentucky, the right to petition to be properly reclassified as “rural” and relieve them from burdensome regulations that limit their ability to lend and help create jobs in their communities.

Kentucky’s Sixth District resident and fifth generation banker, Mr. Thomas Richards from Owingsville Banking Company, testified on behalf of the bill, which is titled H.R. 2672, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Rural Designation Petition and Correction Act. Mr. Richards shared 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.

“Despite the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s bizarre claims to the contrary, it is clear to any of us who have ever been to Bath County that it is certainly rural. In fact, when Charles Vice, the top-banking regulator in Kentucky, testified in front of this Committee, he accurately characterized Bath County as one of the most rural places in Kentucky,” said Barr.

?“Obviously, government bureaucrats don’t always know best. And they certainly don’t know our local communities better than we do. That’s why I introduced H.R. 2672, the CFPB Rural Designation Petition and Correction Act, which would remedy this situation by simply creating a way for citizens to provide government with better information about our own communities.

“H.R. 2672 is a simple, pragmatic, and bipartisan solution. It’s about inviting individuals to participate in their government and provide input on matters of local knowledge. It’s about making the federal government more accessible, more accountable, and more responsive to the people who know their communities best, so we can help create jobs in our local communities.”

Click here for Congressman Barr’s full opening statement.

Click here for Mr. Thomas Richards' opening statement.

Click here to watch Congressman Barr question Mr. Richards.