BB&T CEO Says Politicians Trying to ‘Ruin’ the Country

BB&T chief executive Kelly King urged his fellow bankers Monday to vote against politicians who favor more regulation of the private sector and replace them with leaders who have more faith in the free markets.

Speaking at the North Carolina Bankers Association convention in Hilton Head, S.C., King said that the Dodd-Frank Act, passed in 2010 in response to the financial crisis, is "gumming up" the banking system and, in turn, hindering an economic recovery. The sweeping law includes hundreds of new rules and regulations, and King argues that banks are spending so much of their time and resources complying with them that they have little choice but to scale back their lending.

Among mortgage originators, BB&T ranked 11th nationwide, according to figures compiled by National Mortgage News and the Quarterly Data Report.

"We have a lot of people in Washington trying to ruin our country," he said, according to a report in the Charlotte Business Journal. "We have to stand up against that. We have to return to the policies this country was founded on."

King's comments echo those of many bankers who argue that the government has unfairly punished community and regional banks in its attempt to reel in complex financial institutions that were most responsible for causing the financial crisis.

Nonbank mortgage firms and loan brokers feel similarly.

But in his speech Monday, King acknowledged that many banks faltered because they loaded up on construction loans, but said that the activities of so-called shadow banking industry were most responsible for financial crisis. With minimal government oversight, these entities teamed up with large financial firms and ratings agencies to package risky subprime assets into securities that largely became worthless when the real estate market crashed.

"There was no understanding of the risk across the entire system," King said.