Around the Industry – July 2017

Money Madness—Chelsea Groton Bank, based in Groton, Conn., hosts a seminar every March aimed at teaching high school students the basics of budgeting and making financial decisions. This year, the event drew 300 high school students to hear speakers talk about education financing, eating healthy on a budget and other relevant topics. One of those speakers was Matt Fiano, who had previously attended Money Madness as a teacher and is cofounder of the company Ivory Ella.

New balance sheet management tool launches

A new simulation tool from Vining Sparks helps community bank managers manage their investment portfolios and balance sheets in real time.

Performance Architect generates detailed reports that take into account a community bank’s earnings at risk, economic value of equity and liquidity metrics.

“[Performance Architect] helps our customers on a real-time basis to make investment, lending, funding and hedging decisions with a full understanding of how those decisions could impact portfolio-level performance and the overall financial performance of their institutions,” explains John Crawford, executive vice president and director of the strategic solutions group at Vining Sparks, ICBA Securities’ exclusively endorsed broker.

Snapshot: Community banks in Q1 2017

10.4%: Increase in community bank net income in Q1 2016
$44 billion: FDIC-insured institutions’ net income, up $5 billion from Q1 2016
4.1%: Proportion of unprofitable banks, down from 5.1% in Q1 2016

Source: FDIC Quarterly Banking Profile, May 2017

He adds that Vining Sparks balance sheet specialists work with bank managers to adjust portfolios and balance sheets. “It helps our customers to quickly develop strategies to improve the performance of their institutions.”

Released in January, Performance Architect is the latest addition to Vining Sparks’ suite of analytical products, which also includes the
Risk Manager and Performance Profile products.

Vining Sparks customers can access Performance Architect by contacting their sales representative or Rick Redmond, director of balance sheet strategies, at (800) 829-0321.

Heitkamp testifies before Senate banking committee

On June 8, ICBA chairman Scott Heitkamp testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs about local financial institutions’ role in fostering economic growth. In his testimony, Heitkamp, who is also president and CEO of ValueBank Texas in Corpus Christi, underscored the importance of passing provisions from ICBA’s Plan for Prosperity regulatory relief platform to unleash the economic power of community banks.

Several provisions in the Plan for Prosperity are also included in the Community Lending Enhancement and Regulatory (CLEAR) Relief Act, introduced in January by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) to promote regulations tiered according to each institution’s size and complexity.

It was Heitkamp’s second testimony on behalf of ICBA this year: In March, he spoke to the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee about the state of bank lending in the United States.

Send an Action Alert email to your legislators voicing support for the CLEAR Relief Act at

DHS releases cybersecurity tips in wake of WannaCry

The Department of Homeland Security released tips to prevent the WannaCry ransomware attack that has infected more than 400,000 computers since May 12. Its top recommendations: Use caution when clicking on links in emails or opening email attachments, and immediately update to the latest version of Server Message Block. See for more.

Time Machine: Evolution of biometrics

The concept of using unique human elements as identification has been around for thousands of years. Did you know that humans used fingerprint signatures in clay tablets as early as 500 B.C.? Here are some more recent developments:

1858 — The Civil Service of India systematically captures hand images to confirm their employees (and not imposters) receive their paychecks.

1892 — In England, Sir Francis Galton develops a fingerprint pattern classification method that is still used today.

1936 — American ophthalmologist Frank Burch proposes using iris patterns to identify individuals.

2004 — The U.S. Department of Defense implements the Automated Biometric Identification System, improving the government’s national security threat-monitoring capabilities.

2013 — Apple Inc. releases Touch ID, an iPhone and iPad fingerprint recognition feature.

2013 — Bridge Community Bank in Mount Vernon, Iowa, is one of the first banks in the nation to use a biometric security process for its consumers. It includes fingerprints, facial recognition and biographical information to link customers with their financial transactions.

2017 — Samsung’s Galaxy S8 allows users to use fingerprint or iris scanning to make payments using Samsung Pay—one of the first major mobile wallets to support this kind of technology.

Turn to page 61 to learn more about biometric technology.
—Sara Schlueter