Chesapeake Bank Chairman, President and CEO Jeffrey M. Szyperski was one of nine community bankers — and the only one from Virginia — invited to the White House on Thursday to speak with President Donald Trump about issues facing the community banking industry across the country.

The meeting included CEOs and leaders of the American Bankers Association and the Independent Community Bankers Association, two trade groups for the industry.

Szyperski is a vice chairman at the American Bankers Association. He also is past chairman and current board member of the Virginia Bankers Association.

Chesapeake Bank, based in Kilmarnock, operates 14 branches in the Northern Neck, Middle Peninsula, Williamsburg and Richmond regions. Chesapeake’s Richmond branch, which opened in 2015, is located in the Westhampton neighborhood off Patterson Avenue.

Szyperski responded Friday to questions about his impressions of the meeting and what was discussed.

QUESTION: What was the point of the meeting?

ANSWER: The American Bankers Association and the Independent Community Bankers of America were invited to meet with the president to discuss the impact that the current regulations are having on community banks across the country.

QUESTION: What were some of the main talking points?

ANSWER: Everyone in the group was given an opportunity to address President Trump, and I made the point that small community banks, like Chesapeake Bank with just 14 branches, should not be held to the same regulatory standards as our much larger counterparts.

I proposed to the president that banking regulations be customized to fit the size and complexity of each financial institution. Regulations should not take on a one-size-fits-all approach.

QUESTION: What was your biggest takeaway from the meeting?

ANSWER: I left the meeting feeling good about the future of community banks. The banking associations raised valid points about the impact that community banks have on our nation’s economy, and President Trump and his team were responsive to our positions. There was broad understanding in the room of the value of community banks, particularly in our capacity to create jobs by providing small business loans.

Community banks make 43 percent of all small-business loans nationally. I think that there was consensus over the fact that inflexible regulations designed to address the workings of big banks can impede our ability to make the kind of loans that are so important on a local level.

QUESTION: What was your impression of President Trump?

ANSWER: I found the president to be understanding and interested in the discussion, and I believe that he is open to finding a resolution on this matter for community banks. I left the meeting with confidence that he will advance our positions to ensure that community banks are not unduly burdened by regulations that are not practical. We were honored to be invited to the White House and, for me, it will endure as a very memorable day in my career in community banking.

QUESTION: Do you think any changes will be made as a result of the meeting?

ANSWER: We made important strides at the meeting — strides that I think will lead toward policy changes that will allow community banks to better serve their communities. When community banks thrive, small businesses can grow, mortgages are made and jobs are created. It was a positive meeting that I think will lead to legislation that benefits communities across the country.

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— Carol Hazard

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