Presidents of regional Federal Reserve banks on Thursday defended their role in supervising small banks, and said ending it would cut a link between the central bank and the national heartland.

It is a travesty, Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Thomas Hoenig told the American Bankers Association. It is absolutely disenfranchising our relationship with a very important, hugely important sector outside of Wall Street across the United States.

It makes the central bank the central bank of Wall Street and not of the United States, he said.

Hoenig appeared on a panel with Cleveland Fed President Sandra Pianalto and Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker.

(Editing by James Dalgleish)