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Main St. not Wall St.

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Letter to the Editor
Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 8:53 p.m.

They're a long way from Wall Street, but communities such as Monroeville, Murrysville and Greensburg may face complex capital regulations imposed on the monumental financial institutions in New York.

Pending regulations would unnecessarily subject community banks to the same requirements as Wall Street megabanks. This will make a tangible difference and hurt our local communities.

The recent financial crisis took down some larger financial firms and contributed to the ongoing economic downturn, but what you might not know is that in response, a body of regulators based in Switzerland established new requirements on how much capital reserves large institutions must hold.

It's not an unreasonable response to a crisis borne by Wall Street. Here's the catch. U.S. financial regulators' plans for implementing these standards propose imposing them universally — even on community banks.

This plan is unreasonable and dangerous for community banks, which already maintain the industry's highest capital levels and operate a relationship-based model that recognizes the unique needs of their customers.

Imposing complex regulations on them will limit the resources they can use to lend and reinvest in their communities, threatening the economy's recovery.

To prevent another Wall Street fiasco, we should not force community banks out of business and leave their customers in the hands of the megabanks.

Without a thriving community banking industry, our financial options will not be that far from Wall Street.

Tim Zimmerman


The writer is president and CEO of Standard Bank.

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