Around the Industry 2017

Five-irons at the ready—American Bank of the North, which has 12 branches in northeastern Minnesota, will hold its third annual American Bank Golf Tournament on June 10. It’s in aid of the Angel Fund, a nonprofit organization that offers financial assistance to people facing and surviving cancer. So far, the event has raised more than $45,000 and helped more than 500 people. Rob Marwick, the bank’s CEO, says, “Our employees felt that everyone, at some point in their lifetime, is touched by cancer, either by a family member, friend, coworker or customer, and they wanted to reach out and help our communities.”

ICBA Bancard forges new payments partnerships

Community banks can stay in the game with payments products from ICBA Bancard and its partners.

“We have traditionally focused on debit and credit cards, but we are branching out to offer other payments solutions for our member banks,” said Tina Giorgio, ICBA Bancard president and CEO.

Community banks have a vested interest in their small-business customers’ success. ICBA now offers Bank Centric Payments, a payments and invoicing solution, in partnership with linked2Pay.

“Cost is one of the primary barriers for small businesses to enter into digital payments,” says Giorgio. “With the pricing and cost structure we have negotiated for our community bank members, they are able to provide an out-of-the-box, affordable solution to their small business if its volume does not justify a full-blown cash-management solution. With this partnership, we have opened up digital payments to a whole new customer base for our banks.”

Bank Centric Payments’ single-platform approach allows small businesses to better manage their cash flow and receivables. The cloud-based platform includes remote-deposit capture and debit and credit card payment functionality. ACH payments are also available, including real-time payments, which NACHA began phasing in last fall.

“This is a one-of-a-kind solution in the marketplace today, and we are thrilled to be able to make it available to our member banks,” says Giorgio.

A reloadable prepaid card from ICBA Bancard in partnership with Digiliti Money and the Central Bank of Kansas City benefits both individuals and businesses. There are two versions of the card, both with a variety of funding options.

The business version allows companies to distribute funds such as payroll or travel reimbursement in a more cost-effective way. For example, a seasonal employer could use the cards to pay its employees instead of setting up direct deposit and payroll functions or issuing and tracking costly checks.

The individual option is aimed at the underbanked, unbanked and others, like millennials, who don’t want to use credit or debit cards but like the ease of paying with plastic. It can also help parents teach their college-age kids how to manage a budget.

The card is equipped with p2p (peer-to-peer) payment capabilities, account transfer, bill payments and international wire payments, with a flat fee to transfer money.
Learn more at

Blues and barbecue— Field & Main Bank in Henderson, Ky., sponsors June’s W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival, a four-day event celebrating the life and legacy of Henderson resident and “Father of the Blues” William Christopher Handy. It’s one of the largest free music festivals in the US, featuring crowd favorites like the Bayou Swamp Band (far left). Scott P. Davis, chairman and CEO of Field & Main Bank, said, “The Handy Festival, which has deep roots in this community, really speaks to our values at Field & Main. We’re incredibly proud to be associated with this exceptional music event.” Each year, bank employees volunteer about 200 hours to the festival.

Member poll

Have you signed the petition supporting ICBA’s Plan for Prosperity?

>> If you’re one of the 36%, please visit and sign today.

.BANK picks up speed

The banking industry is moving to a trusted, verified and more secure home on the internet: the .BANK domain. Created by banks and leading trade associations, including ICBA, .BANK domains mitigate exposure to cyberthreats; create new marketing and branding opportunities with shorter, more relevant and memorable website names; and enhance brand differentiation in a competitive market. Community bankers across the country are sharing their success stories, which are available on domain registry service fTLD’s website.

fTLD offers many resources for community bankers, including a video, “Introducing the .BANK Domain.” The fTLD Guides include an implementation planning checklist, which provides details on moving your bank’s website and email to the .BANK domain.

fTLD’s new Third-Party Provider Program helps community banks identify vendors that can help them transition to .BANK. This information and more is available at, as well as on ICBA’s Data and Cyber Security webpage at

ICBA asks Congress to investigate Farm Credit System
ICBA called on Congress to conduct a series of hearings on Farm Credit System abuses and the Farm Credit Administration’s complicity. In a statement for a House Agriculture Committee hearing on March 29, ICBA said the tax-advantaged enterprise had drifted from its historical mission of serving agriculture to expand into nonfarm- lending activities and large corporate loans.

ICBA said, “Not only do we believe further hearings on the FCS are warranted, particularly in advance of a farm bill, but they should involve the full participation of the community banking industry.”

Lend us your lunch hour

The August issue of Independent Banker will celebrate community bankers’ favorite things—and we need your help to make it happen. Take our quick and easy online survey by May 12 and tell us about:

  • Community banks that are ahead of the curve
  • Innovative community outreach programs
  • Brilliant financial bloggers or columnists
  • Ingenious apps
  • Your dream retirement spot
  • Your favorite charity
  • Your least-favorite regulation
  • And a few other fun questions

Don’t be shy: You can even nominate your own bank. We promise we won’t tell!

>> Take our survey at by May 12 or, if you prefer, you can email with your nominations.

Snapshot: iCBA Community Banking LIVE 2017

Banks represented

States represented

Gallons of coffee and tea consumed

Expo exhibitors

Donations to San Antonio Humane Society

Total attendance at workshops

Event mobile app downloads (that’s 25 percent up from 2015)

Thanks to all who attended!
We’ll see you at 2018’s extravaganza, March 12–16 in Las Vegas.

New partnerships bring more mobile payment options

ICBA Bancard announced two new partnerships at ICBA Community Banking LIVE in March. In the first, it’s teamed up with Digiliti Money and Central Bank of Kansas City to offer the Select Mobile Money-Express (SMM-X) platform to community banks. The platform features a reloadable prepaid card and is easily accessed with a companion mobile app. The cloud-based mobile services include account management and features such as fingerprint authentication. Tina Giorgio, president and CEO of ICBA Bancard, says, “We’re offering this prepaid card program … to help community banks increase customer engagement, grow revenues and gain competitive advantages.”

The second partnership is with linked2pay, the California-based creator of Bank Centric Payments. This payment platform allows community banks to help their small-business customers manage cash flow. ICBA members will be able to use this platform without having to worry about the additional operational costs that come with building their own platform. Giorgio says, “We look forward to empowering community banks through the delivery of payments innovation and automation, and doing so in a manner that enables them to compete and win in the payments solutions marketplace.”

Time Machine : ICBA puts down roots on the shores of Lake Minnewaska

On May 9, 1930, six months after Wall Street collapsed, 28 bankers gathered at the Sunset Beach Resort, a rustic golf getaway on the shores of Lake Minnewaska, Minn. They were concerned about the effects of a panicked financial market on their small banks. Minnesota’s large banks, scenting blood, were buying out locally owned institutions and folding them into a statewide holding company.

The community bankers feared that soon there wouldn’t be any independent banks left in the region. And they knew that many of their peers, reeling from the crash, were ready to sell.

They hatched a plan, and the result of that meeting was what eventually became today’s Independent Community Bankers of America. One of the founders, Ben DuBois, who was in ICBA leadership for close to 30 years, said it best: “We saw two alternatives for independent bankers: either sell out to the groups or organize ourselves to combat the holding company with collective strength.”

The values those bankers believed in—advocacy, collective strength and protecting the nation’s community banks—are steadfast more than 85 years later. And while much of the action may now take place in the nation’s capital, the organization’s roots in Minnesota remain: ICBA’s Sauk Centre office is just a 30-minute drive from the lake resort where it all began.

—Sara Schlueter

Decades of leadership— ICBA has relied upon the volunteer leadership of community bankers since its founding. Here, ICBA’s board of directors meet in St. Louis, Mo., for a meeting in the 1940s.

Promise to the community—In April 2012, Busey, based in Champaign, Ill., established its annual Community Promise Month to celebrate National Volunteer Month. Last April, Busey associates joined community members to work more than 2,100 hours for 300 charitable organizations in central Illinois, Indianapolis and southwest Florida. Busey associates’ annual volunteer hours have tripled since 2013. Pictured here is the Busey Illinois Youth Run, for children 10 and under, which celebrates the importance of healthy living.

Entries for NextGen Scholarships now open

Ambitious and forward-thinking mid-level community bankers are invited to enter the NextGen Scholarship contest. Provided by ICBA and FIS, each of the four national scholarships offers tomorrow’s leaders a chance to accelerate their career development and push past the traditional boundaries of community banking.

One person will receive a scholarship to the three-year program at Barret School of Banking in Memphis, Tenn., including tuition and room and board, worth almost $14,000. Two will receive the registration fee and $500 travel reimbursement to ICBA’s annual LeadFWD Summit, Nov. 5–7, 2017, in St. Louis, Mo. And one will receive free registration to any Community Banker University institute or certification program in 2017, a value of $2,295.

Each entrant will be required to complete a few short essay questions and supply a letter of recommendation from an executive-level officer at the applicant’s bank.

Only 100 applications per scholarship will be accepted, so act now. The deadline is April 21, 2017.

Visit for more information on the available scholarships.

Time Machine: The catalyst for the Great Recession?

On April 28, 2004, a brief meeting took place in a basement hearing room that resulted in dire consequences for the American economy. The Securities and Exchange Commission met with leaders from Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch to discuss “an urgent plea.” The five big investment banks were asking for an exemption from an old piece of regulation that limited the amount of debt their brokerage units could take on. The SEC chose to listen and loosened the net capital rules. The big banks ended up taking on damaging levels of debt, and the effects on the wider economy would be catastrophic. Lee Pickard, a former SEC director, wrote in a 2008 essay, “The losses incurred by Bear Stearns and other large broker-dealers [were caused by] inadequate net capital and the lack of constraints on the incurring of debt.”

—Sara Schlueter

Community Banker University launches CFO Forum

The evolution of the CFO role at a community bank has transformed from traditional tax and accounting responsibilities to that of a critical business partner. Such transformation has opened a new world of big data, technology systems and efficiency transformation at many community banks. 

To meet the demands of today’s CFO, Community Banker University will host, in partnership with national CPA and advisory firm BKD, a new two-day Community Bank CFO Forum on May 16–17, 2017, in St. Louis, Mo. The event will sharpen strategies and ensure a steady hand for CFOs of community banks on issues including core deposit management, big data, enterprise risk, purchase accounting, CECL impact, and regulatory compliance.

Plus, CFO’s will be able to build their CFO contacts at the networking opportunities throughout the event. Visit to learn more and to register for 2017’s CFO Forum.


ICBA and Wolters Kluwer strengthen their relationship

ICBA has expanded its relationship with Wolters Kluwer, a global provider of information services and solutions. It now includes CASH Suite and HMDA Wiz, Wolters Kluwer’s commercial lending software solution and Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) compliance tool, respectively.

Wolters Kluwer E-Sign is also now the preferred e-signature solution for ICBA members. Steve Meirink, executive vice president at Wolters Kluwer, said, “Our e-signature platform helps community bankers [to] easily send financial documents securely to customers and to capture their digital signatures.” Wolters Kluwer has been an ICBA Preferred Service Provider since 2004.

Almost $5 million for ICBA members

ICBA split a policyholder dividend of $4.6 million for 2015 among the 1,300 member banks that participate in the ICBA/Travelers insurance program. It’s the 15th consecutive dividend and the largest amount in a single program year. Dan Clancy, ICBA executive vice president of services, said, “The record-breaking dividend for the 2015 program year rewards bankers for managing their risk and facilitates reinvestment in their local communities.”

Snapshot: home sales in January 2017

Rise in total existing-home sales from December 2016

Median existing-home price (up 7.1% on January 2016)

The number of days a property typically stayed on the market (down from 64 in January 2016)

First-time buyers’ share of sales

Average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage

Source: National Association of Realtors

Have you signed yet?

ICBA is asking community bankers, employees and customers to sign a petition calling for meaningful regulatory relief. Add your name now at

Good work—Every year, Golden Valley Bank employees choose a local nonprofit to fundraise for, and the bank’s Community Foundation will match up to $5,000. This past year, the Chico, Calif.-based community bank chose to donate to the Torres Community Shelter. After all its fundraising efforts were complete, Golden Valley Bank donated a total of $11,608 to the community shelter.

How e-learning can benefit your bank

Training is a necessity in the ever-changing world of community banking. It creates smarter employees, makes operations more efficient, potentially decreases compliance risk, and satisfies examiner expectations.

Many banks design, create and deliver their own training schedules and courses. However, this approach requires considerable resources and time: According to a study by the Brandon Hall School in Atlanta, learning in an online setting requires 40% to 60% less employee time than learning the same material in a classroom setting. Many community banks therefore supplement their in-house training programs with e-learning.

E-learning takes 40–60% less employee time as learning the same topic in a traditional classroom setting

Earlier this year, Community Banker University (CBU) launched four new levels of its e-learning product. Each level has access to CBU’s full library of more than 300 courses, which cover topics including:

  • Compliance
  • Human resources
  • Teller training
  • Customer service and sales
  • Information technology and security

Recognizing that each community bank has its own learning and technology needs, the four e-learning levels also offer differing customization options, as well as new cloud-based integration for community banks that have their own learning platforms.

The rapid pace of digital transformation has affected every aspect of our industry. If you want to keep momentum high and employee performance at its peak, tap into the power of e-learning for your bank.

CBU’s e-learning offering starts at $499. To learn more, contact us at (800) 422-7285 or communitybanker

Get a glimpse into policymaking at the ICBA Capital Summit

Advocating for community bankers is part and parcel of what ICBA does. But it’s also crucial for members to understand how policymaking works and how they can best help the association push for meaningful change in Washington.

The ICBA Capital Summit, held from April 30 to May 3 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C., is a chance for community bankers to meet congressional representatives and members of regulatory agencies to discuss pertinent issues and influence the policymaking process.

Attendees will hear from ICBA policy specialists about the latest legislation and regulation news, learn how to hone their lobbying skills, and listen to talks by, among others, Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas).

There will also be plenty of networking and socializing activities available, including an after-dark tour of the monuments, visits to Capitol Hill and an evening event at the Newseum on May 2.

There’s opportunity for further discussion at the Future of Banking Symposium, held on May 1 as part of the Capital Summit. It will address the changing regulatory environment, new retail payment methods, and collaborative lending opportunities, among other hot topics. It will close with a speech on community banking in 2020 by Kevin Blair, president and CEO of NewGround, who works with banks and corporations to develop and deliver strategic retail distribution and corporate facilities.

To learn more about the Capital Summit and the Future of Banking Symposium and to register, visit

NCUA case dismissed, but ICBA’s efforts will continue

In late January, a federal court dismissed ICBA’s lawsuit against the National Credit Union Administration’s commercial lending rule.

ICBA president and CEO Cam Fine said the association was “deeply disappointed” in the decision by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern Division of Virginia. The suit charged that credit unions are exercising powers beyond their statutory limits.

“If the decision stands, tax-exempt credit unions will be permitted to exceed congressional limitations on commercial lending activity under relaxed regulatory oversight, thereby posing a tangible threat to community banks, consumers and the financial system at large,” Fine said.

ICBA is assessing the opinion and its next steps. In the meantime, it will continue its efforts to level the tax and regulatory playing fields between community banks and credit unions through all appropriate avenues.

ICBA thanks the nation’s community bankers for their support.

Verdict in Peoples Bank of the South v. Fiserv

When Peoples Bank of the South brought a breach-of-contract action against Fiserv, the plaintiff bank was hoping to create a more transparent environment for all community banks. According to David Reynolds, president and CEO of the $150 million-asset community bank in LaFollette, Tenn., “It’s a problem for our industry that most [core-processing] contracts with small banks don’t describe how much a de-conversion would cost.”

The case arose after core-processing firm Fi-Data filed for Chapter 11 relief in 2011. The bankruptcy arrangement allowed Fiserv, also a core-processing firm, to purchase a number of Fi-Data contracts, including the 2007 agreement with Peoples Bank. The Fi-Data contract provided for specific de-conversion fees if the agreement were not renewed. In December 2012, Peoples Bank advised Fiserv of its intent to convert to a new processor and learned that it would have to pay a de-conversion fee of $158,700, which was considerably more than the fee specified in the original Fi-Data contract.

Peoples Bank paid the de-conversion fee under protest and ultimately sued Fiserv. On December 7, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee ruled in favor of Peoples Bank, basing its findings on the simple breach-of-contract principle. The judge ordered Fiserv to refund $148,700 to the community bank, with Fiserv retaining $10,000 in fees.
—Vanessa Drucker

Community matters—The Bangor Savings Bank Foundation grants more than $100,000 to 68 Maine-based nonprofit organizations each year through its Community Matters More program. The nonprofits reaping the benefits of Bangor Savings Bank’s generosity include local food shelves, humane societies and senior centers.

HFSC Leadership Announced

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) announced the committee’s leadership team for the 115th Congress, which convened on Jan. 3. Representatives Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and French Hill (R-Ark.) serve as the committee’s vice chairman and Republican whip, respectively.

Hensarling said: “I look forward to working alongside my colleagues to pass laws that promote a dynamic economy with more jobs, higher wages and greater economic freedom for all Americans. Our committee will continue to develop bold, forward-looking plans that hold Washington and Wall Street accountable, end taxpayer-funded bailouts and protect consumer choice.”

Member Poll

What do you think will be the most important policy development for community banks this year?

The subcommittees chairs were also announced. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) leads Capital Markets, while Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) chairs Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) heads Housing and Insurance, Andy Barr (R-Ky.) chairs Monetary Policy and Trade, and Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) leads Oversight and Investigations. Hensarling also announced a new Terrorism and Illicit Finance Committee, chaired by Steve Pearce (R-N.M.).

Separately, House Ways and Means Committee ranking member Richard Neal (D-Mass.) announced the Democratic members of that committee: Representatives Brian Higgins (N.Y.), Terri Sewell (Ala.) and Suzan DelBene (Wash.).

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) announced the committee’s leadership team for the 115th Congress, which convened on Jan. 3. Representatives Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and French Hill (R-Ark.) serve as the committee’s vice chairman and Republican whip, respectively.

Hensarling said: “I look forward to working alongside my colleagues to pass laws that promote a dynamic economy with more jobs, higher wages and greater economic freedom for all Americans. Our committee will continue to develop bold, forward-looking plans that hold Washington and Wall Street accountable, end taxpayer-funded bailouts and protect consumer choice.”

The subcommittees chairs were also announced. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) leads Capital Markets, while Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) chairs Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) heads Housing and Insurance, Andy Barr (R-Ky.) chairs Monetary Policy and Trade, and Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) leads Oversight and Investigations. Hensarling also announced a new Terrorism and Illicit Finance Committee, chaired by Steve Pearce (R-N.M.).

Separately, House Ways and Means Committee ranking member Richard Neal (D-Mass.) announced the Democratic members of that committee: Representatives Brian Higgins (N.Y.), Terri Sewell (Ala.) and Suzan DelBene (Wash.).

Super superheroes—First National Bank in Wynne, Ark., hosted a local blood drive with a “Be a superhero” theme as part of its #differencemaker community service campaign. To support an American Red Cross mobile unit collecting blood donations in the bank’s parking lot, First National’s employees distributed homemade snacks and drinks to participants. To promote the event, the employees also dressed in either superhero or #differencemaker T-shirts. The campaign collected enough blood to potentially save more than 80 lives.

ICBA-backed app aims to speed payments

ICBA and the North American Banking Company have submitted a proposal to the Federal Reserve’s Faster Payments Task Force that includes a mobile P2P payments app.

The smartphone app, AllPayments, aims to help community banks stay relevant to their customers at a time when more payments are being made on mobile devices. AllPayments provides direct access to the U.S. payments system from any mobile device, making P2P (person-to-person) payments fast and easy, irrespective of where each person banks. Instead of writing a check or exchanging cash, users can transfer money at the touch of a screen.

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Michael Bilski, CEO of the North American Banking Company in Roseville, Minn., which built the app, says it’s important for community banks to have inexpensive access to mobile and faster-payment services for their customers. He says his company plans to offer the AllPayments app as a white-label product for other community banks in the future.

The Faster Payments Task Force, established in 2015, is working to overhaul the U.S. payments system in order to make payments between banks faster, safer and more efficient.


Increase in community banks’ net income between Q3 2015 and Q3 2016

$31.1 billion

Rise in community banks’ total loan and lease balances during Q3 2016


Increase in community banks’ net operating revenue between Q3 2015 and Q3 2016

Source: Quarterly Banking Profile, FDIC

Financial technology firms could become special-purpose banks

The OCC believes applying a bank regulatory framework to FinTech companies will help ensure they operate in a responsible manner.

Cam Fine, ICBA president and CEO, says, “ICBA has been deeply concerned that nonbank online lenders’ lack of oversight has provided them with regulatory advantages over other institutions—such as highly regulated community banks—while putting consumers and the financial system at risk.

“Any limited FinTech charter must hold these companies to the same standards of safety, soundness and fairness as other federally chartered institutions.”

Bonuses: Proceed with caution

Following last year’s Wells Fargo account-opening scandal, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has warned that creating incentives for employees and service providers to meet sales and other business goals can lead to consumer harm if they’re not properly managed.

In its November 28 compliance bulletin, the CFPB wrote that linking bonuses or employment status to unrealistic sales goals or to the terms of transactions may encourage illegal practices. These could include unauthorized account openings, unauthorized opt-ins to overdraft services, deceptive sales tactics and steering consumers toward less-suitable products.

The bulletin offers steps that institutions can and should take to detect, prevent and correct such
risky incentives. Read the bulletin at


Coming soon to the Lone Star State
Community bankers from all corners of the country will converge on historic San Antonio, Texas, for ICBA Community Banking LIVE from March 15–19, 2017. It’s your chance to take part in networking sessions, roundtable discussions and educational workshops run by respected industry leaders.

There will be plenty of time for entertainment, too. Notable events this year include the annual ICBPAC Silent Auction Fundraiser, which is in its 28th year, and the Late Show, a showcase of singer-songwriters including Victoria Shaw, who wrote Garth Brooks’s hit song The River.”
For more information and to register, visit

Larger community banks gather in Washington
ICBA represents community banks of all sizes, a fact underlined by its recent Breaking Barriers Symposium in Washington, D.C.

The event, held on December 1, was a chance for community banks with assets of $1 billion or more to take part in educational and networking sessions. These sessions covered strategic growth, online marketplace lending, cybersecurity and crossing the $10 billion-asset threshold.

The day kicked off with a welcome by Don Queenin, chairman of the ICBA Large Community Bank Council, which facilitated the symposium. Session leaders were drawn from organizations including Vining Sparks, Sandler O’Neill & Partners, KPMG and Promontory Interfinancial Network.