Rural Communities Update

The ongoing debate over how “rural” communities should be defined under CFPB mortgage rules received new attention last week as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, along with Senators Joe Manchin and Dean Heller, weighed in on the issue in a letter to Director Richard Cordray.

The letter called upon the Bureau to create an appeals process to allow communities excluded from the rural definition to petition for reconsideration of their status. As reported in an earlier edition of the Bottom Line, legislation recently filed by Rep. Andy Barr and Rep. Ruben Hinojosa would force the CFPB to create such a mechanism for appeals.

“Fine-tuning of the rural definition is a priority for us,” said IBAT President and CEO Chris Williston. “IBAT was instrumental in bringing the issue to the forefront of the CFPB’s attention and we support any measure that expands the rural definition. However, IBAT also believes that much of the consternation surrounding the rural definition could be circumvented with an outright granting of QM status to all loans held in portfolio at community banks.”

Teaching Excellence Award

The nominations deadline for the 2015 Teaching Excellence in Financial Literacy Award has been extended to April 15, 2015. 

Don't miss the chance to nominate a local teacher for a $1,000 prize. All elementary, middle, high school and community college teachers are eligible to be nominated. The goal of this award program is to reward individuals who show initiative and innovation in teaching students the importance of financial responsibility. Three teachers will be selected and will be recognized during ceremonies at their schools. Additionally, all three winners will become part of the IBAT Teach the Teacher Program™ Advisory Task Force. Bankers can nominate teachers in their area schools by completing the nominations packet.

Learn More About .BANK

The time to register your bank’s .BANK domain name is quickly approaching. ICBA has partnered with EnCirca to help community banks by offering monthly webinars about the .BANK application process. Topics that will be addressed in this webinar series include:

  • What are the benefits of .BANK domains?
  • How does the .BANK verification process work?
  • What are the launch phases for .BANK?
  • What is the pricing for .BANK?
  • How do banks ensure they get the name(s) they want?
  • How do banks activate their new .BANK domain names?

Additionally, the .BANK registration timeline and pre-screening forms are both now available. To register for a webinar (the next one is March 26), access the pre-screening sign-up form, learn about the associated costs, review the timeline and find a plethora of other information you’ll need to know, visit the ICBA/EnCirca page.

Integrated Disclosures Resources

Peirson-Patterson, L.L.P., an IBAT associate member, developed a free online Interactive Timeline Calendar Calculator to assist in determining time periods for delivery of the soon-to-be required Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosures. Bank lending staff, title companies and realtors can use this calendar calculator when trying to explain to borrowers and others how the new TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rules impact the closing date. Mike Patterson of Peirson-Patterson was gracious enough to allow IBAT toshare the link with our members.

Additionally, IBAT is offering a two-part webinar series on the new Integrated Disclosure Rules. Part one, now an archived webinar, addresses the loan estimate and you will learn how to complete the new integrated disclosures.Part two, coming up on April 21, will focus on how to complete the closing disclosure, including the similarities and differences from the HUD-1 and HUD-1A forms and final TILA disclosures used today.

Community Banking Month

The month of April marks the celebration of Community Banking Month. This presents a great opportunity to be loud and proud about the many positive attributes of community banks, and IBAT wants to help.

First, we’ve created a Community Banking Month letter to the editor that we encourage you to submit to your local newspaper. It’s simple - fill out the letter, call your local paper and ask for the best email to send a letter to the editor, then immediately email the letter with a brief note to the editor. A few tips:

  • A subject line of “For Consideration: Letter to the Editor/Community Banking Month” will help ensure your email is read.
  • Paste the letter in the email body, don’t send as an attachment.
  • If there are several banks in the same market, please all sign one letter to submit. 

If you have any questions, please call IBAT and we’ll be happy to assist.

Second, IBAT created two Pandora ads with different messages encouraging consumers to switch banks during Community Banking Month. The ads will run in select markets throughout the state. Listen to them here and here.

Last, Governor Abbott has officially proclaimed April as Community Banking Month in Texas. In his proclamation, the Governor “encourages all Texans to acknowledge the civic contributions of community banks and the role they play in strengthening local economies.”

J. David Williams Testimony

“Regulation reaches the level of overkill when it hurts the very consumer it was designed to protect.” That was but one of the many observations offered by former IBAT Chairman J. David Williams, Chairman of Centennial Bank in Lubbock, before the full U.S. House Financial Services Committee last week. Testifying on behalf of ICBA, Williams, along with representatives of the American Bankers Association and the Credit Union National Association, provided an earful to a receptive committee intent on rolling back some of Dodd-Frank’s most harmful provisions.

“I can honestly say that I am having to reject loans in my bank that we have historically made because they can no longer withstand regulatory scrutiny,” Williams said. The financial services panel provided testimony and answered questions from Members of Congress for nearly three hours on a variety of regulatory relief bills that have been introduced in the 114th Congress.

The hearing was a precursor to a full committee markup scheduled tomorrow to address a variety of regulatory burdens including CFPB governance, privacy notices, Qualified Mortgages rural designations and mortgage servicing rules.

“IBAT is hopeful that this testimony will lead to significant regulatory relief for community banks and is grateful to David for the excellent job he did in representing the views of all community banks,” said IBAT President and CEO Chris Williston. “His testimony was compelling and sobering,” he added.

A copy of Williams’ complete testimony can be found here.

To date, legislation has been introduced to address eleven provisions of the IBAT-endorsed Plan for Prosperity. Click here to view a brief memo on progress made in the current Congress.

IBAT Comments

Last week, IBAT submitted two comment letters: one to the Texas Department of Banking (TXDOB) regarding fiduciary accounts (e.g. IRA and ERISA) and another on a petition pending before the Federal Communications Commission regarding the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

In its letter to the TXDOB, IBAT supported the department’s very important proposed change to 7 TAC §3.23, which was proposed to ensure that a state bank seeking to offer trust services can provide certain services reliably and consistently without undue burden to customers and soundness of the institution. An exception in the proposed rule would permit a state bank to serve as the fiduciary under accounts like IRAs and SEPs.

In IBAT’s letter to the FCC, IBAT supported petitioner’s request that where a called party purposefully advertises a cellular number, the party has provided express consent to receive autodialed or prerecorded non-telemarketing calls to that number for purposes of the TCPA. IBAT urged the FCC to grant the petition in order to protect the First Amendment of the Constitution, follow prior FCC precedent and promote public interest.

Baker Market Update: Mar. 23, 2015

Spring has sprung, and many are wondering if interest rates will be popping up along with the daffodils and the henbit. And while we now possess greater clarity about the NCAA bracket and State Department Form O.F. 109, this week’s events haven’t really reduced the uncertainty surrounding the inceptive date of the Fed’s long awaited and long delayed journey to higher rates. We did learn that the doves still rule the roost at the FOMC and just because Chairdove Janet Yellen removed the word “patience” from the Committee’s statement, she went to great lengths, despite her diminutive stature, in assuring all interested parties that the concept remains firmly in place. So what, then, is one to glean from this week’s FOMC meeting and Ms. Yellen’s subsequent press conference? Well, subject to change, we can feel pretty sure that nothing will happen at the April meeting, with a chance that something might happen in June. A June policy shift still looks pretty iffy, even if it “might” be under consideration.

Read more in the Baker Market Update.

Heart of Texas Compliance Officers

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 first of four meetings in 2015, the topic will be ‘The Secret to a Happy Marriage with Third-Party Vendors’ presented by Karen Neeley. Neeley is well known and highly regarded in the Texas financial institution community in the areas of regulatory and compliance law.

We highly encourage all compliance officers and anyone else involved with third-party vendors in the area attend this informative meeting on March 26, 2015 at 6 p.m. at Morelia Mexican Restaurant in Pflugerville. Additional information can be found here. The cost is $40, which includes dinner, and the RSVP deadline is March 20, 2015. We hope to see you there!

IBAT Webinars

Did you know? IBAT, in conjunction with Financial Education, Inc., hosts close to 150 webinars a year. Webinars are a very economical way to train your staff for one low price. Everyone can sit in on the program with the use of a speakerphone and a computer, or access archived webinars on-demand.

Topics are broken up by category or by date and include:

  • Auditing & Accounting
  • Collection
  • Compliance
  • Directors
  • Frontline and New Accounts
  • Human Resources
  • IT
  • IRA
  • Lending
  • Operations
  • Security & Fraud
  • Senior Management

You can access a complete listing of upcoming webinars and archived webinars here.

Fisher's Final Speech

This week marks the official retirement of Richard Fisher, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, after nearly ten years of service. In his final speech as President of the Dallas Fed, Fisher took the opportunity to extol the virtues of the Texas economy and suggest an “earlier and gradual” rise in interest rates in response to the improving unemployment rate.

“Fisher has been an outspoken advocate for community banking and for ending regulatory policy that led to the classification of certain financial institutions as too big to fail,” said IBAT President and CEO Chris Williston. “For these and many other reasons, IBAT applauds Richard for a job well done. His leadership at the Dallas Fed and support of the industry has been a bright spot in the post-financial crisis era,” Williston added.

We wish him the best in all future endeavors.

Dell Double Discounts

Dell double discounts continue! Dell is doubling its discounts exclusively for IBAT member banks, bank employees and customers through the month of April. On average, IBAT members enjoy savings of approximately 30% on each order. If you'd like to take advantage of this deal, visit Dell's website.

Current offers include:

  • 10% off Latitude, Optiplex, XPS, Desktops and Laptops;
  • 20% off Precision Workstations;
  • 20% off PowerEdge Servers $1499 and above;
  • 4% off Inspiron Desktops and Laptops; and
  • 10% off Dell electronics and accessories.

Ordering is easy! Visit Dell's website or contact Bryan Horten, IBAT’s Strategic Account Manager, at 512-942-9120 to order. To ensure you are getting the maximum discounts available with your IBAT membership, please include the unique Dell/IBAT link number GS126658178 when placing your order.