IBAT is pleased to announce that the updated Fall/Winter edition of the GreenBook (a.k.a. The Texas Financial Institution Directory™) is now available as a FREE download from our website. The Fall/Winter edition contains contact and performance data based on the June 2013 call reports. Last year, IBAT began offering the GreenBook as a free, fully searchable, PDF which allows members to keep the book on their computer desktop or on any mobile device.
We invite you to follow this link and provide us with a bit of information about yourself. Upon submission, you'll receive the link to download the 2013/2014 GreenBook.
The 2013/2014 GreenBook is made possible through the generous support of SNL Financial. If you are interested in learning more about SNL Financial, please contact Julie Jones at email@example.com or 434-951-4419.
IBAT Chairman Jay Gober, Commissioner Charles Cooper of the Texas Department of Banking and IBAT staff are busy preparing for the upcoming Regional Meetings (Tour de Texas), beginning in two weeks. We will be traveling to 8 Texas cities in March to conduct briefings on our regulatory and legislative agenda.
Round 2 of the Tour, March 11-13, includes stops in Galveston, Schulenberg, Harlingen, Corpus Christi, Houston, Kilgore, Sulphur Springs and Dallas.
We encourage you to take a few minutes and register for one or more of the meetings. This will be an opportunity for you to learn about our efforts and help us fine-tune our legislative agenda for 2014.
Click here for additional information and to register.
Anticipated action to provide relief from catastrophic premium increases on participants in the National Flood Insurance Program was delayed last week as House Republicans balked at the prospect of rubber stamping the previously-passed Senate version of the bill.
Preceding the vote, the editorial board of the USA Today lashed out at the plan, which would gut the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 and delay premium increases for four years.
"Fixing the flood insurance program is vital for fiscal reasons. A government that is $17 trillion in debt can't simply borrow more every time a significant storm hits," said the USA Today editorial board. The piece was countered by one written by Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.
The House has rescheduled to take up the bill this week.
More than 150 community bankers joined together for a compliance update in Castroville last week, attending one of IBAT’s Cluster Programs. Bankers and Directors from Castroville State Bank, D'Hanis State Bank, First State Bank of Uvalde, Hondo National Bank and Lytle State Bank attended the training session led by expert trainer Mary White.
IBAT Cluster Programs are an educational format where all employees from numerous banks in a close geographic area are invited to participate in a live 2-hour evening workshop on a banking hot topic. Besides the excellent training they'll receive locally, the benefit for IBAT member banks is they can send an unlimited number of employees and directors for the flat rate of $890.
Upcoming Cluster programs are scheduled for Brenham, San Angelo, Fort Stockton, Marfa, Harlingen, Kerrville and Schulenberg.
A few weeks ago you received information from our IBAT Leadership Division's Board of Directors asking for your help with IBAT’s annual March PAC Drive. Many of you have already been busy helping to raise funds for the IBAT PAC and IBAT FedPAC and we thank you - especially the employees of First National Bank of Ballinger (pictured)!
We don't have to tell you that political campaigns are a fact of life and have become increasingly expensive. That is why we are asking our members to commit to raise a minimum of $1,000 per bank for the IBAT PAC or IBAT FedPAC.
You, as a community banker, are our one and only focus as we work to elect those men and women on both the state and federal levels who understand and appreciate the importance of community banks. We need and appreciate your support of the industry through your contributions to the IBAT PAC and IBAT FedPAC.
And don't forget that those member banks that raise a minimum of $1,000 will have their bank put into a drawing for a BBQ dinner prepared and served by your IBAT staff at a location of your choosing. Donate here.
For more information on ways you can help the PAC, click here.
IBAT's 2014 Sales Culture Summit is scheduled for March 25-27, in San Antonio. The program can help those who are attempting to set up a sales environment for the first time, as well as those who are satisfied with the structure of their sales environment, but want to make improvements.
The summit leader, Robert N. Erickson, President of Bank Training, Waukon, Iowa, will cover key program topics such as designing a bank sales environment, attitude, skills and teamwork, while answering tough questions like:
- What essential components of a bank’s sales structure must be in place in order to establish an effective long-term sales environment within the bank?
- What are the three core concepts regarding the use of incentives in the bank environment?
- How do we motivate all employees to be involved in sales to the best of their abilities?
Community bankers are well aware of the significant impact that the Dodd-Frank Act has had on their business since 2010. Now, thanks to researchers at the Mercatus Center of George Mason University, there is more empirical data to prove the effects of the law on community banks and their customers.
According to the report:
- 83% of responding community banks indicate a rise of more than 5% in total compliance costs since the passage of Dodd-Frank;
- Approximately 25% of banks surveyed are contemplating mergers;
- The median number of dedicated legal/compliance personnel increased from 1 to 2, with 27% of respondents indicating the intention to add more;
- Of banks below $200 million in assets, 14.3% anticipate discontinuation of residential mortgages;
- Banks that identified the Federal Reserve as their primary regulator reported the most substantial changes in compliance costs.
"The survival of small banks is important because they are particularly well-suited to serving small communities, small businesses, and borrowers with unique needs," the report concluded. "Regulatory burdens on small banks translate into limited options for consumers. Federal policy can support small financial institutions by freeing them from regulatory burdens that impose costs without corresponding benefits."
"IBAT has been forcefully asserting the disparate impact of Dodd-Frank and other legislative and regulatory initiatives on the community banking sector for years," said IBAT President and CEO Chris Williston. "This study validates our assertions, and will be valuable in our ongoing efforts to bring some relief to the present untenable environment."
If you did not cast a ballot during early voting, today is your last chance to participate in Texas's primary elections. Below are links to resources that will help you be informed and prepared when you step into the ballot box.
As one final reminder, don't forget to take your government-issued photo ID to the polling station.
*Please note that this list includes only those candidates with opposition in the March primary to whom we have contributed. Texas Senators run on staggered 4-year terms, so we opted to include only those running for office in the 2014 cycle. Additionally, if we have contributed to a candidate who later announced for a different office, we have not included those in the listing. Please also note that we have contributed to a number of other candidates this cycle, and will post an exhaustive list after the primaries for your review and reference.
Last week IBAT sent letters to Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, stating that while we appreciated the effort of S. 1916/H.R. 2672 (the HELP Rural Communities Act of 2014), mortgage rule exemptions based on rural areas determined by counties is fatally flawed and would be prejudicial to states with large counties. IBAT is concerned that creating a petition process within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for reassessing a county’s rural designation will subject the determination process to additional bureaucracy, substantial delay and unacceptable subjectivity.
You'll recall that, last year, IBAT raised red flags with the CFPB regarding its methodology for determining which areas qualify as "rural" and proposed that the CFPB abandon the use of counties in delineating rural areas and adopt a rule that delineates any area outside of defined "urbanized areas" as "rural." If all areas outside of "urbanized areas" were considered rural, similarly situated applicants and lenders throughout the U.S. would be treated alike regardless of the size and shape of any county. And mortgage credit in Western states wouldn’t be unnecessarily restricted.
While the CFPB has promised to continue fine-tuning the methodology, IBAT supports a legislative fix that would allow for more opportunities to protect mortgage credit availability. IBAT members are encouraged to write letters to Senators Cornyn and Cruz on this issue.
According to Janet Yellen, the soft patch the economy is currently experiencing is really just an icy patch. The nascent Fed Chairwoman just may know what she’s talking about since her Senate testimony this week was supposed to happen a couple weeks ago. It didn’t happen then, because of a big icy patch that hit Washington D.C. and much of the eastern seaboard. Ms. Yellen contends that events such as that storm, and others across the nation, have been major, contributing factors to the disappointing economic performance so far this year. Read more in the Baker Market Update.
Fenimore, Kay, Harrison & Ford, LLP was ranked as one of the top law firms in the United States for 2013 in SNL Financial’s league tables for bank and thrift legal advisers, based on number of transactions. SNL Financial is a leading provider of business intelligence services for the banking industry.
During 2013, the firm was the second most active legal advisor among all law firms in the United States, advising on 14 announced M&A transactions for the year. Since its formation in July 2010, the firm has also served as legal counsel in connection with more than 45 private and public capital offerings totaling more than $1 billion, including two initial public offerings by community banks in 2013.
Registration is now open for IBAT’s 22nd Annual Congressional Visit, April 29 - May 2, 2014.
IBAT visits with the Texas Congressional Delegation are, once again, being held in conjunction with the ICBA’s Washington Policy Summit (WPS), which brings together community bankers from across the country to form a concerted presence on Capitol Hill. The WPS also includes regulator meetings with representatives from the CFPB, FDIC, Federal Reserve and the OCC.
Each year Texas leads the nation in providing a strong show of force with participation in this event. As we continue the push towards regulatory reform, your involvement is more important than ever before. Please consider sending at least one representative from your bank to make the community bank voice heard in D.C.
On January 6, 2014, the CFPB updated the TILA Higher-Priced Mortgage Loans (HPML) Escrow Rule - Small Entity Compliance Guide. This is what the CFPB had to say on the recent update:
"The Bureau updated this guide on January 6, 2014 to reflect finalized changes to the rule. The revisions amend the final rule issued January 10, 2013, which took effect on June 1, 2013. Notable changes in the October 2013 Final Rule, which take effect January 1, 2014, impacting guide content include:
Exemption for Small Creditors that Operate Predominantly in Rural or Underserved Areas. The October 2013 Final Rule amends the exemption from the requirement to maintain escrows on certain higher-priced mortgage loans for certain small creditors that operate predominantly in rural or underserved areas. To prevent small creditors from losing eligibility for the exemption in 2014 due to changes in which counties are defined as rural, the revisions extend availability to small creditors that operated predominantly in rural or underserved areas in any of the previous three calendar years and also meet the other exemption criteria. (See "What are the exemptions to the TILA HPML Escrow Rule?" on page 14.)"
The updated Compliance Guides can be found and downloaded on IBAT's CFPB Residential Mortgage Rules resource page.