ICBA and Dell Form Computer Discount Program
ICBA and Dell have launched a program to provide member community banks special pricing on the company’s various computer equipment.
Hardware covered under the program includes Dell workstations, laptops, desktops, printers and accessories as well as computer services and software. Member community banks also now have access to dedicated account executives to obtain the best technical advice about computers from the Plano, Texas, company.
For additional information, visit www.dell.com/icba.
On Capitol Hill
Helping Small Businesses with EMV Shift
Community banks are uniquely positioned to help small businesses make the transition to EMV chip technology. That’s the message Paul Weston, president and CEO of TCM Bank, ICBA’s limited-purpose credit card bank for community banks, delivered to federal lawmakers while testifying before the House Small Business Committee.
Although many credit and debit card issuers and merchants have adopted EMV chip technology, such cards are not a panacea for preventing all types of payment card fraud, Weston pointed out. Multiple layers of security technologies, such as end-to-end encryption and tokenization, are needed to protect cardholder information and secure online transactions, he explained.
ICBA’s EMV/Chip Card Resource Center offers information about the liability shift and EMV adoption, including frequently asked questions, infographics and presentations. Find the resource center online at
Fine Among ‘Most Influential’ Industry Advocates
For the eighth year in a row, The Hill newspaper named ICBA President and CEO Camden Fine as one of the most influential industry advocates working in Washington, D.C.
“Looking out for the banking industry’s little guy, Fine is pushing for sweeping changes at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, including the addition of a five-member commission and an independent inspector general to increase accountability,” the Capitol Hill newspaper wrote while recognizing him.
Serving as ICBA’s chief executive since 2004, Fine has been recognized with the honor every year since 2008.
ICBA Quick Poll
On FinTech Competition
Some financial technology firms are luring consumers to bypass banks. How should community banks respond?
Innovation: Find new ways to meet customers’ changing needs.
Regulation: Press for consistent regulation of banks and nonbanks.
Payments: Prevent the disruption of bank-centric payments.
Source: ICBA NewsWatch Today poll, September 2015
On The Hill
ICBA to Congress: Excessive Regulation Is Threatening Small-Business Lending
The exponential growth of federal financial regulation is reducing the number of community banks, a key source of essential credit for small businesses, ICBA once again told members of Congress.
Testifying before a House small-business subcommittee, B. Doyle Mitchell Jr., a third-generation community banker with Industrial Bank in Washington, D.C., warned that growing regulatory burdens have significantly contributed to the loss of 1,342 community banks operating since 2010. He pointed out how community banks hold less than 20 percent of U.S. banking industry assets but provide 55 percent of the nation’s small-business loans.
“The good news is that there are readily available legislative solutions to this pending crisis,” said Mitchell, Industrial Bank’s president and CEO.
Mitchell outlined several pending bills inspired by ICBA’s Plan for Prosperity platform that would reduce community banks’ regulatory burdens—from measures that would repeal onerous small-business data collection requirements to those that would stretch out examination cycles for highly rated community banks.
For more about ICBA’s Plan for Prosperity regulatory-relief platform, visit www.icba.org/advocacy.
Deposit Competition Perks Up
Banks are facing increased competition for deposits, according a survey by the Promontory Interfinancial Network. Signaling a tighter funding environment despite level and low interest rates, the survey, conducted last spring, found that about 45 percent of banks plan to increase their deposit rates to keep pace with such funding competition.
On Communicty Bank Regulatory Relief …
“The significant improvement in the economy since [the Wall Street financial crisis] has helped communities and community banks, but I am well aware that the challenges in this sector continue, and my board colleagues understand this also.”
—Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve Board chair
On Megabank Risks and Distortions …
“The market for financial services is still broken. Too-big-to-fail is alive and well. The whole system is still fundamentally tilted towards the megabanks. And the only way to solve that problem is to make some basic structural changes. … We should cap the size of the biggest financial institutions, as Congress considered in the aftermath of the financial crisis.”
—Elizabeth Warren, U.S. senator from Massachusetts
Federal Employee Overtime Rule
ICBA expressed serious concerns with the U.S. Department of Labor’s proposal to expand the number of employees eligible for overtime pay. Joining other industry associations in a joint comment letter on the issue, ICBA said that the department’s proposal to set a salary level benchmark test at 40 percent of a national aggregate salary figure would be extremely burdensome to employers in regions with relatively low costs of living and salary rates.
Preparing for Military Lending Compliance Act
Banks should not delay in addressing the U.S. Defense Department’s final rule expanding the types of credit products that are covered by the Military Lending Act, Comptroller of the Currency officials advised. Banks should begin updating their policies and procedures ahead of the Oct. 3, 2016, compliance date, the agency said.
The rule expands coverage of the act’s 36 percent rate cap, among other provisions, to all consumer credit offered or extended to active-duty service members or their dependents that is subject to a finance charge or paid in more than four installments, including credit cards.
ICBA has released a summary of the final rule, available online at
Call Report Relief Gains a Foothold
After intense ICBA advocacy on the issue, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council released a proposed rule to simplify community bank call reports and said it is considering additional relief. The FFIEC proposed deleting certain data items and revising reporting thresholds and said it is evaluating a streamlined version of the call report.
The breakthrough comes a year after ICBA delivered FFIEC officials a petition with nearly 15,000 industry signatures urging call report relief. The petition cites an ICBA member survey that found the annual cost for community banks preparing call reports has increased for 86 percent over the past 10 years. According to the survey, 98 percent of community banks report a short-form call report would reduce their regulatory burden.
More on EGRPRA Streamlining
ICBA urged banking regulators to streamline and improve flood insurance, and Fair Credit Reporting Act and deposit insurance regulations under their Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act review. In its third comment letter for the congressionally mandated review, the association called for measures to simplify deposit insurance coverage rules without decreasing insurance coverage.
ICBA also strongly recommended increasing the Currency Transaction Report threshold under money laundering regulations to $30,000 to reflect cost of living increases.
ICBA wrote that Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulations should be part of the next round of review.
ICBA Quick Poll
On BSA Examinations
Regulators are conducting stricter Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering exams or shifting their BSA compliance expectations, some community bankers report. Has your bank experienced tougher or new BSA exam expectations?
50% – No—our recent BSA exam was mostly the same.
16% – Yes—we had more stringent exams with new expectations.
15% – Yes—we’ve experienced a more stringent BSA exam.
14% – Don’t know
5% – Yes—we’ve encountered new BSA exam expectations.
Source: ICBA NewsWatch Today polls, August 2015
FDIC Seeks Improved Large-Bank Deposit Determinations
To strengthen the overall deposit insurance system, ICBA is supporting an FDIC proposal to ensure accurate, daily deposit insurance determinations from the largest financial institutions.
In a comment letter to the agency, ICBA has recommended that the 37 largest FDIC-insured banks be required to accurately determine their insured and uninsured deposits at the end of each business day. The daily determinations will help ensure regulators can, if necessary, quickly refund depositors should those institutions fail.
The FDIC reports that it has no problems resolving community banks promptly and accurately.
Lawmakers Can’t Hide from Campaign Focusing on the Urgency of Regulatory Relief
Preparing for a legislative sprint by Congress toward the end of the year, ICBA blitzed federal lawmakers with various communications throughout the summer about the importance and urgency of enacting various bipartisan bills to provide community banks with meaningful regulatory relief. Several ICBA-inspired Plan for Prosperity regulatory relief bills are advancing through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, including a several provisions in the CLEAR Relief Act (H.R. 1233 and S. 812).
In addition to community bankers arranging home-district meetings with lawmakers during the August congressional recess, ICBA’s communications campaign included placing several creative ads in Washington newspapers and organizing an in-depth editorial section of articles and columns by ICBA leadership community bankers and staff published in the Washington Times. One colorful Politico ad associated with the campaign showed an image of a flattened soda can declaring “Over-Regulation is a CRUSHING Blow to Community Banks and Main St. America!”
Further driving the message home, ICBA also published another ad listing “True Community Bank Champions in Congress” to thank and highlight more than 120 senators and representatives from both political parties who have already cosponsored or voted for pivotal ICBA-promoted regulatory relief bills.
At the start of this month, Congress had fewer than 35 legislative days scheduled this year. For more on ICBA’s regulatory relief bills and efforts, visit www.icba.org/beheard.
On regulatory relief …
“Regulations tiered to bank size and complexity will help community banks make loans, promote economic growth and create jobs in local communities.”
—Cam Fine, ICBA president and CEO
Cybersecurity Self-Assessment Tool Issued
The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council has published a free cybersecurity self-assessment tool to help financial institutions evaluate their cyber-risks and cybersecurity preparedness.
The joint-agency assessment tool, which will be used for future bank cybersecurity exams, includes a profile of risks throughout the industry and a template for banks to assess five dimensions of cybersecurity. Designed with bank managers and boards of directors in mind, the assessment tool also incorporates voluntary cybersecurity benchmarks developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Obtain the assessment tool online at www.ffiec.gov/cyberassessmenttool.htm.
Exam Guidance for TILA-RESPA Mortgage Disclosures
The FDIC released revised interagency examination procedures for the new TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule and other amendments. The agency said the procedures are designed to guide financial institutions on what examiners will focus on in enforcing compliance for TILA-RESPA mortgage disclosure rules.
The updated procedures cover the new disclosures now scheduled to take effect on Oct. 3. They also cover an alternative “small servicer” definition under mortgage-servicing rules and an amendment to the Ability-to-Repay rule providing creditors a limited period of time to review transactions and cure excess points and fees.
Find the procedures online at www.fdic.gov.
Report Spotlights Top Risks
Interest rate, underwriting, strategic, compliance and cybersecurity risks top the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s supervisory concerns. In its latest Semiannual Risk Perspective, the OCC also noted declining revenues and profitability overall for national banks and thrifts.
Find the report at www.occ.gov.
On Staff Training Preferences
What are your bank’s preferred staff-training methods? (Multiple answers allowed.)
29% – In-person, seminars, institutes, etc.
26% – Webinars and audio conferences
24% – Online/e-Learning applications
20% – In-bank training
ICBA Opposes CFPB Overdraft Data Request
ICBA is opposing a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau order to national data processors to provide data about their client banks’ overdraft programs. The bureau reports that it’s seeking the data, which isn’t supposed to identify individual banks or their customers, for market research.
According to Fiserv Inc., the CFPB has ordered the data processor to provide approximately 60 data fields for each client bank’s system settings and overdraft activity. The company has said the request will impose significant expenses that will have to be passed to its bank clients.
ICBA Calls for Hearings on Tax Subsidies
ICBA has asked congressional tax writers to hold hearings on the generous tax subsidies granted to credit unions and the Farm Credit System. As the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees investigate ways to broaden the federal government’s tax base, these subsidies represent a major unwarranted and outmoded tax expenditure, the association pointed out.
ICBA Suggests Focus of Reg-Burden Review
ICBA is encouraging regulators to address issues community bankers have frequently identified during the federal Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act review process. These issues include streamlined call reports, a two-year exam cycle for well-rated community banks, and increasing dollar and asset thresholds under the Bank Secrecy and Community Reinvestment acts. They also include revising Regulations D, S and CC; changing the Basel III capital rules; and increasing CRA asset thresholds.
ICBA Praises Moves Toward Same-Day ACH Transactions
ICBA is applauding NACHA—The Electronic Payments Association for voting to enable same-day processing of virtually any ACH transaction and for including interbank compensation. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Board is evaluating public comments on the district Federal Reserve Banks’ proposed changes to their same-day automated clearing house service. The proposals by the regional Federal Reserve Banks would incorporate NACHA’s new ACH operating rules into Operating Circular 4, which governs the Fed’s ACH services.
In a comment letter, ICBA commended NACHA for voting to enable same-day processing of virtually any ACH transaction and for including interbank compensation. ICBA said same-day ACH supported by an interbank fee would help level the playing field between community banks and larger competitors, including nonbank providers.
View ICBA’s comment letter online at www.icba.org, under the Advocacy tab.
On Basel III regulations
Would you support a simpler set of risk-weights under Basel III in exchange for higher minimum capital ratios?
YES – 76%
Yes, my bank meets the minimum capital ratios, and the Basel III risk-weights should be made simpler
NO – 24%
No, I am more concerned with the higher minimum capital requirements
Source: ICBA NewsWatch Today poll, May 2015
Working at ICBA’s Washington Policy Summit
Georgia community bankers meet with a Senate Finance Committee member Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), at the end of the table, during ICBA’s Washington Policy Summit. Nearly 1,000 community bankers and industry advocates who attended the summit this spring participated in more than 300 meetings with lawmakers as well as discussion forums with top federal regulators. See more summit coverage in the Washington Watch column.
Newsmakers at the Policy Summit
On Grassroots Action
“It is critically important that Congress continues to hear from community bankers, and to be heard we need the collective voices of community banking leaders from every corner of the country helping us today and throughout the year.”
—Jack Hartings, ICBA chairman
On Regulatory Relief for Community Banks
“We’re going to do what’s doable. It won’t be a panacea, but it will be some progress.”
—Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Senate Banking Committee chairman
On Tiered Regulation
“A key regulatory innovation in Dodd-Frank was regulatory tiering—the creation of different classes of banking organizations, based dominantly though not exclusively on asset size, to which different regulations were to apply. Underlying this tiering was the principle that progressively more stringent regulation should apply to the different classes of banks based on their relative importance to the financial system, and thus the harm that could be expected to the system if they failed.”
—Federal Reserve Board Governor Daniel Tarullo
On Data Security Legislation
“One of the things we want to do is make sure the whole system is on alert, because quite honestly the system is only as secure as the weakest link.”
—Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), House Financial Services Committee member
On Capitol Hill
ICBA to Congress: Regulatory Overkill Threatens Consumers and Small Businesses
ICBA continues to press Congress about the urgency of reducing excessive regulations on the nation’s community banks.
Last month hundreds of community bankers attended ICBA’s Washington Policy Summit educated their representatives in Congress about ICBA’s various Plan for Prosperity legislative regulatory relief measures. Meanwhile, Texas community banker David Williams and Louisiana community banker Preston Kennedy also recently testified for ICBA before House and Senate committees on the topic.
Addressing the House Financial Services Committee, Williams, chairman of Centennial Bank in Lubbock, Texas, emphasized how excessive regulations are cutting off credit for creditworthy individual consumers and small businesses. In his testimony, he cited several examples, including:
- Mortgage rules that are pushing prospective homeowners into the rental market and driving up apartment rentals;
- Low-dollar loan regulations causing consumers to pay significantly more for credit or lose out on credit altogether; and
- A Consumer Financial Protection Bureau definition of rural markets that is inhibiting lending to rural borrowers.
Appearing before a Senate Small Business Committee field hearing in Baton Rouge, La., Kennedy, ICBA’s treasurer and the president and CEO of Bank of Zachary, in Zachary, La., noted that regulations are restricting community bank loans to small businesses. To advance small business lending, he repeated ICBA’s highlighted specific provisions of ICBA’s Plan for Prosperity, including:
- The Community Lending Enhancement and Regulatory (CLEAR) Relief Act of 2015 (S. 812), introduced by Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.);
- The Financial Institutions Examination Fairness and Reform Act (S. 774), introduced by Sens. Moran and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.); and
- The Privacy Notice Modernization Act of 2015 (S. 423), introduced by Sens. Moran and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).
“The good news is that there are readily available legislative solutions to this pending crisis,” Kennedy said.
On Capitol Hill
ICBA Addresses Bad-Faith Patent Claims
ICBA continues to work with Congress to address the serious legal problem for small businesses, including community banks, of bad-faith patent claims from so-called patent trolls.
Kathryn G. Underwood, president and CEO of Ledyard Bank in Norwich, Vt., testified before Congress on behalf of ICBA on the need to enact legislation to curb this costly form of patent abuse. She explained the economic cost of patent trolls, including Ledyard Bank’s experience as a victim of such opportunists.
While citing a Boston University study estimating the total economic costs of patent trolling at $29 billion since 2011, Underwood called on lawmakers to advance ICBA-backed legislation that would direct the court system to dismiss such patent demand letters.
“Patent trolls practice a legal form of extortion,” she pointed out. “It is especially disruptive when it is targeted at a small business with limited resources.”
On Capitol Hill
ICBA to Congress: Excessive Regulation Is Killing Economic Opportunity
ICBA continues actively promoting tailored regulatory relief for community banks, including its multi-measure legislative Plan for Prosperity. This month hundreds of community bankers will discuss the Plan for Prosperity in person with their members of Congress during ICBA’s 2015 Washington Policy Summit.
Earlier, ICBA Immediate Past Chairman John Buhrmaster appeared before the Senate Banking Committee to explain the urgency of cutting banking regulation hindering community banks. “Simply put—community banks and the communities they serve deserve tiered regulation that’s proportionate with their size and risk profile,” the president and CEO of 1st National Bank of Scotia, in Scotia, N.Y., told lawmakers. “Only then will the strangling effect of one-size-fits-all regulation be eradicated—allowing community banks and local economies they serve to prosper.”
Review the Plan for Prosperity’s provisions at www.icba.org/PFP2015.
ICBA Bancard Creates a Chip-Card Conversion Support Fund
ICBA Bancard, ICBA’s payment-services provider for community banks, has pledged nearly $600,000 to help financially support its Visa credit card issuers converting their magnetic-stripe card portfolios to smart-chip cards. Community banks are adopting the so-called EMV chip-card security technology, which is expected to gain widespread adoption before an associated fraud liability policy shift takes place in October.
For information, visit www.icbabancard.org.
ICBA Convention Coverage Online
Whether or not you attended ICBA’s convention last month in Orlando, Fla., you can check out various videos, pictures and social media posts of the event online at www.icba.org/convention2015.
Nearly 3,000 community bankers, industry leaders and financial experts attended ICBA
Community Banking LIVE®, which included the world’s largest trade expo for community bankers, more than 60 educational workshops and networking sessions, and presentations from industry and national newsmakers.
Faster Payments: Federal Reserve Releases Payments System Improvement Plan
The Federal Reserve issued a “road map” plan for collaborating with payments system stakeholders to enhance the speed, safety and efficiency of the U.S. payments system. According to its “Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System” report, the Fed plans to establish a task force on implementing safe, ubiquitous and faster payments capabilities. As part of the next steps by the Fed a separate task force will be formed to advise the Fed on reducing payments fraud and advancing the safety, security and resiliency of the payments system.
The Fed also said it will move ahead to enhance payments system efficiency through standards, directories and business-to-business payments improvements, alongside efforts to enhance Fed-provided services for same-day ACH, risk management and settlement. It also plans to conduct forums, surveys and other means for individuals and groups to participate in the ongoing process to reform the payments system, in which ICBA will be actively participating to express the views and interests of community banks.
For various resources on the Fed’s plan, including a webcast, visit https://fedpaymentsimprovement.org.
Federal Thrift Charter Expansion
ICBA voiced support for a Comptroller of the Currency legislative proposal to provide greater lending flexibility to the federal savings association charter. The OCC-backed bill would amend the Home Owners’ Loan Act to allow thrifts to increase their overall commercial and consumer lending.
Additionally, ICBA has been working with Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Pa.) on legislation to provide expanded options for mutual banks.
Agency Actions: Megabank Capital Surcharges
ICBA voiced support for a Federal Reserve Board–proposed rule that would implement a capital surcharge on the nation’s eight-largest systemically important financial institutions. ICBA said the capital surcharge would ensure those institutions maintain a capital cushion to help absorb another financial meltdown and avoid additional taxpayer bailouts. It would also discourage those institutions from growing larger and posing even greater systemic risks, the association stated.
On The Record:
On regulatory relief …
“Although we may not agree on many things, I believe that we can all agree that community banks and credit unions play a vital role in our local economies. … Unfortunately, we have heard that innovation tailored for Main Street is being smothered by unnecessary regulations originally designed for Wall Street. … It is time to reverse this trend.”
—Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Senate Banking
“I am open to solving real problems affecting community institutions. I think we can find common ground if our goal is to provide meaningful relief to the nation’s smallest institutions, while not compromising safety and soundness or consumer protection.”
—Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Senate Banking Committee ranking member
ICBA tells Congress that credit availability in rural America is plentiful
ICBA told Congress that credit is plentiful for America’s farmers and ranchers and is being provided at rates near historically low levels. However, Sean Williams, president and CEO of First National Bank of Wynne, Ark., while testifying before a House subcommittee for ICBA this summer, urged lawmakers to examine the Farm Credit System’s government-subsidized lending practices against community banks.
Williams provided lawmakers with findings from a recent ICBA member survey, which found that:
- the farm bill and crop insurance are vital to extending credit,
- reference prices are “adequate” but won’t cover production costs,
- drought and weather problems exist in many states and are a concern, and
- more farm bill details and decision-making tools are needed.
“No bankers felt credit was constrained, and nearly all members stated credit was plentiful in their marketplace,” Williams said. “All bankers stated they desired to make more agricultural loans.”
For more on ICBA’s testimony to Congress, see the Washington Watch column.
ICBA Social Media Monitor Upgraded
ICBA has enhanced its Social Media Monitor alert system, a complimentary association member benefit, to provide community banks with more management control options. Community banks that use the service continue to receive a daily email alert for up to five keywords or phrases that they select. However, with the enhancements banks can also:
- login and manage keywords and settings,
- access a dashboard for their mentions, and
- allow access to multiple team members to their dashboard.
Go to www.icba.org/webmonitor for more information.
ICBA White Paper Outlines Virtual Currency Risks
ICBA and the Clearing House Association LLC released a white paper on the risks to consumers and investors of limited regulation and oversight of virtual currencies. The white paper describes the types of virtual currencies gaining prominence in the marketplace, the roles of the players in virtual currency systems and transactions, the consumer and systemic risks associated with virtual currency systems, and potential regulatory approaches to managing those risks.
Obtain the white paper at www.icba.org/virtualcurrency.cfm.
Past ICBA Chairman Mike Menzies Dies
Past ICBA chairman R. Michael S. Menzies Sr. died in June. He was president and CEO of Easton Bank and Trust Co. in Easton, Md. He was 67.
Active in ICBA leadership for more than 25 years, Menzies helped guide the association as chairman and as an Executive Committee member during the peak of the recent Wall Street financial crisis. As chairman during the crisis in 2009, he personally testified to Congress nine times and met with numerous top administration officials, including presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
In addition to other family members, he is survived by his wife Midge and two sons.