‘Basel cliff’ looms for community banks

Community banker Jim Purcell, the head of the State National Bank of Big Spring, Texas (and co-plaintiff, along with conservative seniors group 60 Plus, in CEI’s lawsuit against the Dodd-Frank bank regulatory overhaul), has already testified that Dodd-Frank had made it impossible to offer the stable mortgages he made for decades. However they feel about Dodd-Frank, both Maryland Democrats and Louisiana Republicans seem to recognize that this dash of Basel added to the already potent regulatory mix makes for a poisonous recipe for community banks.

One of the many lessons of the 2012 elections is that while conservatives should look for ways to limit government with bipartisan support, they should never let the left dictate the main agenda or issues on the table. Since Hoyer and Van Hollen have — to their credit — expressed doubt about the Basel regime, the House majority party should give them the opportunity to put those doubts to a vote as soon as possible.

There’s no reason that Congress can’t fix both the Basel cliff and the fiscal cliff during the “lame duck” session.

John Berlau is senior fellow for finance and access to capital at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.