Capitol Hill Testimony

Texas Banking Commissioner Charles Cooper appeared before the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit last Thursday to discuss an issue he is passionate about - the ongoing crush of regulatory burden on community banks. Cooper also serves as Vice Chairman of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) and was representing them at the hearing alongside senior officials from the federal regulatory agencies.

The Commissioner’s testimony included commentary on “regulatory rightsizing,” the overly aggressive manner in which some regulators interpret existing laws and regulations and the importance of appropriate regulatory response.

“Commissioner Cooper has been an outspoken advocate for bringing some semblance of order to an out-of-control regulatory environment,” said IBAT President and CEO Chris Williston. “His position and expertise in the industry have garnered the respect of his colleagues and lawmakers, and allow him to be a powerful force as we attempt to effect meaningful changes to enable community banks to do what they do without undue - and in some cases absurd - interference from some in the federal government. The Commissioner’s ‘tough but fair’ approach to bank regulation works in the community banking space and should be a model for others to follow.”

Following on the heels of this powerful testimony is IBAT’s 23rd Annual Congressional Visit - in conjunction with ICBA’s 2015 Washington Policy Summit - this week. IBAT members will meet with key decision makers and regulatory agencies to advocate for reasonable changes to statutes that have resulted in significant burden on community banks and their customers. We’ll report back about this important event in next week’s Bottom Line.

For One Week Only...

Dell is offering an exclusive triple discount offer for IBAT member banks, bank employees and customers for one week only! Save an extra 15% on Optiplex and Latitude computers priced $799 and up. Starting today these deals will be available on Dell's website. Use coupon code RB2H35JN$NDXTW. Shop now!

Each of these special discounts is available until May 2, 2015, 7 a.m. CT, but IBAT member savings are available from Dell all year long. On average, IBAT members enjoy savings of approximately 30% on each order. Visit Dell's website for details.

Ordering is easy: visit Dell's website or contact Bryan Horten, IBAT’s Strategic Account Manager, at 512-942-9120 to order. As a reminder, whenever ordering Dell equipment please be sure to include the unique Dell/IBAT link number GS126658178.

Urgent Call to Action!

Several of our priority bills are being considered on the House floor this week.  We sent an “Action Alert” last Wednesday regarding several bills scheduled for floor action on Thursday.  We are hopeful that you and your colleagues responded to this important request.  Both bills were postponed . . . HB 3522 (ID on gift card purchases) due to the bill author being out of the country, and HB 3442 (debit card surcharge enforcement) to hopefully “swap” out for the Senate bill and “skip a step”.  Both bills will be debated on the House floor this week, and your State Representative needs to hear from you by Tuesday afternoon!

Additionally, we are advised that Chairman Oliveira’s property tax lender bill (HB 1936) to require 10 days advance notice to prior lienholders will likely be on the House floor this week.  Your State Representative needs to hear from you on this bill as well!

Please know that all three of these bills are subject to considerable “hostile fire” . . . there is plenty of fervent opposition, and more is coming out of the shadows.  Community bankers need to rally around these issues to have a chance to get these bills passed.  You can make the difference!

The message is simple . . . please let your State Representative or the staff person handling banking issues know that you strongly support HB 1936, HB 3442, and HB 3522, and urge their support as these bills come to the House floor. 

Here are the specifics from the most recent “Action Alert” -

You can find your House member's contact information here.  If you need to find out who your House member is, you can use this link to do so.  You are encouraged to share the one pagers with your respective members or their staffs

Finally, it would be most helpful if you could let us know who you’ve contacted, any commitments they’ve made to support these bills and if we need to follow up.  The best contact is Steve Scurlock,sscurlock@ibat.org or 512.275.2226.

It is imperative that the members of the Texas House hear from “their community bankers” on these bills.  If you’ve already made your contacts . . . sincere thanks!  If not, please do so today!

Week in Review: April 27, 2015

Don’t break out the tissues just yet! Our esteemed colleague, Lester Murray, is on a temporary hiatus…vacationing in the tropical scenery of Dallas for our annual Texas seminar. If you were not able to experience Lester’s live performance at the Gaylord Texan this afternoon, be sure to tune in when his tour makes a stop in a state near you over the coming months! For now, please excuse the lack of witty idioms and insightful allegories for today’s Baker Market Update…Lunch without Lester.
This week’s economic data was mixed, with most of the focus on a more dovish tone from FOMC officials, a divergent path of new and existing home sales and the Nasdaq Index clearing an all-time high.

Read more in the Baker Market Update.

Upcoming HOTCO Meeting

The Heart of Texas Compliance Officers (HOTCO) is a newly created association for compliance officers at banks and credit unions in Travis County and surrounding areas. For HOTCO’s second of four meetings in 2015, the topic will be ‘Integrated Disclosures: Tools for Compliance ’ presented by Michael H. Patterson and Zack Boonjue of Peirson Patterson, L.L.P. 

We highly encourage all compliance officers to attend this informative meeting on May 28, 2015 at 6 p.m. at Morelia Mexican Restaurant in Pflugerville. Additional information can be found here. We hope to see you there!

And the Winners Are...

IBAT appreciates the efforts of the 18 associate members who submitted entries as well as the independent committee for the time, effort and care that went into the selection of the 2015 IBAT Five*Star Award winners.

Congratulations to:

  • Bank Compensation Consulting, Inc. (Tier 1)
  • CalTech (Tier 2)
  • First American Payment Systems, LLC (Tier 3)

The awards will be presented during the General Session at IBAT's 30th Annual Leadership Conference on Friday, June 12 at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort and Spa in San Antonio. We hope to see you there!

2015 CEO, Senior Bank Executive and Director Forum

The Independent Community Bankers Association of New Mexico is hosting its 2015 CEO, Senior Bank Executive and Director Forum in Sante Fe, NM on May 21-22. The event is co-hosted by the Independent Bankers Association of Texas, Independent Bankers of Colorado and Community Bankers Association of Oklahoma. It is intended for bank CEOs, senior management and directors.

The Forum will cover a variety of topics such as regional economy overviews, mergers and acquisitions, and an ICBA Washington update. Speakers will include New Mexico Governor John Sanchez, the Hon. Randy Neugebauer and the Hon. Steve Pearce. Additional information and event registration can be found here

Critical Call to Action

There is plenty of activity at the Texas Capitol these days, and your IBAT staff is busy on a number of fronts. First and foremost, Chairman Rene Oliveira’s HB 1936 is facing some unfriendly fire in the Calendars Committee. Please refer to the most recent Legislative Insider for a critical call to action. If you are concerned about the property tax lien issue, the time to contact your state representative is now.

We are pleased to report that our proactive agenda is moving through the process, and we will provide a more thorough update after the events of the week unfold. Especially noteworthy is the quick movement of SB 1457 (Nichols) that will free “end users” from frivolous patent troll lawsuits. This bill is on the Senate Intent Calendar this week.

Among the bills being heard in committee this week are three initiatives addressing the ongoing problem of data breaches. We are pleased that Scott Sharp of Sharp BancSystems will provide testimony on this important issue on Wednesday.

As more of the activity turns toward floor action, you will have opportunities to weigh in with your elected officials. Please watch for additional action alerts in the coming weeks. Your engagement in the process is appreciated and critical to success for community banking.

Weekly Update

As IBAT members prepare to take the community banking message to the halls of Congress during next week’s 23rd Annual Congressional Visit, a number of pressing regulatory relief issues are making progress. In last week’s edition of the Bottom Line newsletter, we reported on the passage of two measures passed by the full House. These two bills were part of a package of eleven bills reported out of House Financial Services Committee.

Further action on the other nine bills up for consideration in the House is not anticipated until the Senate begins the heavy lifting on its own regulatory relief bill. Last week, Senate Banking Committee Chair Richard Shelby announced plans to mark up yet-unseen legislation on May 14. The markup comes a month later than initially planned, as Shelby has been working with committee democrats to find common ground for community bank relief. 

“IBAT has worked directly with Senate Banking Committee staff to prioritize meaningful regulatory relief measures in the Senate bill,” said IBAT President and CEO Chris Williston. “We are confident that the committee will bring forward a bill that will loosen up some of the restrictions that current rules have placed on community banks’ ability to meet the needs of their customers.”

Regulatory relief, particularly in the mortgage arena, is at the top of IBAT’s agenda in the short term. However, IBAT supports the sentiment of FDIC Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig, who advocated for a shift from asset-based thresholds in the applicability of statutes in favor of a model based upon the business activities of a financial institution.

May/June Magazine

The May/June 2015 digital edition of IBAT’s magazine, The Texas Independent Banker, is now available online. Click here to view the full table of contents or link directly to specific content below:

As always, if you have suggestions for future content to be featured in The Texas Independent Banker magazine, please contact Bonnie Kankel.

Week in Review: April 20, 2014

The “road to normalcy” is not a real road; you won’t find it on Google Maps. It’s more of a concept, and at present, a concept that looks like an aspiration in need of affirmation. If it were a real road, you would probably want four-wheel drive. Things have gotten a little bumpy. The macro-economic thoroughfare that, by now, should be smoothly paved with growth and prosperity has developed a few potholes that have generated renewed speculation about just how much longer construction will need to continue. This week’s news provided very little help to those trying to gauge exactly when Janet Yellen’s road crew will allow travel to normalcy; that place where interest rates are above zero.

Read more in the Baker Market Update.