Mu Turn

Opinion: Taos’ own daughter goes to Washington


I am thrilled to see The Taos News cover the appointment of Ms. Rebeca Romero Rainey to be the new head of the ICBA in Washington D.C. and I am sure they will want to follow up with a more extensive article on the full impact this will have. For now I would like to let Taos know what a treasure they have in Ms. Rainey, as well as stress the honor of this appointment and illuminate some of the important ways this can have an influence on our community.

The ICBA stands for the Independent Community Bankers Of America. This organization is a collective voice for more than 5,800 community banks of all sizes and charter types. With 52,000 locations nationwide, community banks employ 760,000 Americans, hold $4.7 trillion in assets, $3.7 trillion in deposits, and $3.2 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses, and the agricultural community.

The current CEO and President, Camden Fine, is retiring after serving for 15 years. With careful deliberation, the ICBA Executive Committee named our very own Rebeca as Fine’s successor. This august body of top executives from over 5,000 banks in the U.S. had the opportunity to work directly with Ms. Rainey and see her in action over many years because she has already been serving as ICBA immediate past chairman. Knowing what a great resource they had in her, they chose her to lead them for years into the future. Her experience meeting with and advising our past President, Mr. Obama, will serve her well as we go forward in the current administration.

This honor is an inspiration for all Taoseños, especially our youth. Ms. Rainey is a third generation Taoseña and a graduate of our local schools thru high school. She is an example of how far a graduate of Taos High can go, and works tirelessly thru the Bridges program at Centinel Bank to assist all of our youth in reaching their dream of attending college. It is also an honor for all of New Mexico, our little state is being truly respected by this national appointment.

Community banks represent an unparalleled resource for their communities. Unlike the “‘too big to fail” institutions that caused such financial disruptions in the past recession, community banks truly do serve their communities. Some examples quoted from the ICBA website:

“Washington, D.C. (April 28, 2017)—The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) today expressed support for legislation to support farmers, ranchers and rural homeowners by providing tax relief for agricultural and rural residential lending. The Enhancing Credit Opportunities in Rural America Act (H.R. 2205), introduced by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), would promote access to credit and reduce borrowing costs amid the current environment of weak commodities prices.

“Washington, D.C. (May 4, 2017)— ICBA-supported legislation includes many provisions in ICBA’s pro-growth Plan for Prosperity regulatory relief platform, such as common-sense reforms to burdensome and costly mortgage-lending requirements, relief from excessive and unnecessary call report and data-collection mandates, and a repeal of Durbin Amendment price controls on debit card interchange. “Community bank regulatory relief is needed to improve lending and strengthen economic growth at the local level.

“Washington, D.C. (May 1, 2017)—More than 100 community bankers and staff from the Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) today met with President Donald Trump and other top administration officials at the White House as part of the 2017 ICBA Capital Summit. (Including) Vice President Mike Pence, NEC Director Gary Cohn and Small Business Administration chief Linda McMahon. ... More than 1,000 community bankers are in Washington this week for ICBA’s Capital Summit to discuss critical issues facing community banks and the communities they serve, such as excessive regulatory burdens that affect their ability to serve their customers, make loans and create jobs. The industry’s solution to the regulatory burden problem—ICBA’s Plan for Prosperity—is a pro-growth platform to eliminate onerous and unnecessary regulatory burdens that inhibit lending and innovation. The summit features meetings this week with policymakers, remarks from speakers such as Secretary Mnuchin and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), and today’s first-ever ICBA Future of Banking Symposium. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at”

Beck is the founder/director of the Taos Art School, founder/director of Left Bank of the Rio Grande and coordinator of Taos Cultural Farm Visits. She is a strong supporter of independent art schools and independent banks.