Never one to hold his tongue, MidSouth Bank President and CEO Rusty Cloutier wrote a recent column in American Banker urging community banks to speak out during the presidential primary season.

And though the column is recent, Cloutier’s speaking on a topic that’s been echoed heavily by his industry colleagues over the past year: Community banks, according to Cloutier and other small bankers, are suffering from a regulatory recession while big banks that led to a financial crisis are continuing to roam free:

Over the next decade the community banking industry as a whole may be a much smaller force than it is today.

The community banking industry has the upper hand in the presidential race over the next few months as the caucuses and the primaries in the Main Street states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina determine the front runners on the Republican side. In these states, we can make a plight of community banking and our Main Street problems one of the focuses of the debate.

Remember what Tip O’Neill said about national politics, “all politics is local.”

If you live in one of the states that has an early vote in the election of the new president you need to be present at the town hall meetings or small group discussions and vocalize how the small banks in this country are being hog tied by regulations and not able to do business the way we used to help build this great country.

At the same time the people who should have been brought down by what they did to cause the great recession of 2008-present are still doing what they do.

Read more of Cloutier’s column here.

For more on banking regulations that threaten community banks, check out our ABiz cover story, Regulatory Recession.

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