Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. President, I rise today to bring to the Senate an issue of critical importance.
Last night, the Senate was able to pass by unanimous consent legislation that will provide much needed transparency to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation process of examining and resolving bank failures.
Not only is this an issue that has severely impacted the wellbeing of my state of Georgia, but this Nation is suffering as a whole.
There are some communities across the country that are no longer have a bank to serve them and will continue to suffer on their economic development efforts because the sole bank in their community has failed.
Since 2008 there has been over 400 bank failures nationwide. Seventy of those failures have occurred in Georgia. This year alone 18 banks in Georgia have failed.
While that represents over 27 percent of all the banks in my State, this is not just a Georgia issue.
There are nine other States that have extraordinarily high rates of failures including: Florida, Illinois, California, Minnesota, Washington, Michigan, Nevada, Missouri, and Arizona.
Unfortunately, there will continue to be bank failures in this country and this bill will provide the Congress with information about the underlying fundamentals that cause these failures.
The bill directs the FDIC IG, in consultation with Treasury and Federal Reserve IGs to study FDIC policies and practices with regard to Loss Share Agreements; the fair application of regulatory capital standards; appraisals; FDIC procedures for loan modifications; and the FDIC's handling of Consent Orders and Cease and Desist Orders.
Further, the GAO will be directed to a study those questions the FDIC IG is unable to fully explore such as the causes of the high number of bank failures; procyclical impact of fair value accounting; analysis of the impact of failures on the community; and, the overall effectiveness of loss share agreements for resolving banks.
The swift passage of this legislation by the House of Representatives in July was a rare instance of bipartisan support and a sincere acknowledgement to the American people that bank failures on the whole need to be carefully considered by the Congress.
The FDIC does a commendable job of ensuring that depositors at banks they regulate are going to be able to access their money in the event of a bank failure.
I want the FDIC to know that their good work does not go unnoticed by this body, however it is clear that Congress needs more information about the underlying causes of these bank failures and it is imperative that the US Congress send a clear message that ``if there is a better way, then we must pursue it.''