Massachusetts Bankers Association names Adams Community Bank’s Charles O’Brien president

Loosening recession-era federal financial regulations and making state law tougher on bank robbers and thieves who deploy “skimming” devices are on the agenda for the Massachusetts Bankers Association.

Charles P. O’Brien, president of Adams Community Bank, outlined those priorities recently in an interview after being named the first executive from Berkshire County to head the statewide association in its 112-year-history.

O’Brien will serve a one-year term.

President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act into law in 2010. Republicans in Washington have said they plan to repeal or significantly change much of its reforms designed to help prevent the types of meltdowns like the one that paralyzed the economy in 2008.

O’Brien said the Massachusetts Bankers Association embraces much of what is in Dodd-Frank.

“But we thought some of it was a little far-reaching,” he said.

That includes the Durbin Amendment that limits the fees banks can charge retailers for debit card processing. The limits have not saved consumers money, only helping the merchants, he said.

The Volker rule prohibiting banks from certain risky investments is also hurting community banks, he said,  by restricting what they can do.

O’Brien said the thresholds in the law that say when a bank is big enough to need stiffer regulations are arbitrary.

On a state level, O’Brien said the Bankers Association would like to see stiffer penalties for bank robbery and for the use of skimmers on credit and debit card terminals that illegally collect financial information.

“When there is a data breech, it is the banks that are hurt because we have to reissue all the cards,” he said.

The Massachusetts Bankers Association represents 155 banks.

Steven E. Lowell, president of Monson Savings Bank, and Donna L. Boulanger, president of North Brookfield Saving

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