HOTCO November 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. HOTCO is hosting its final meeting of 2015 on Tuesday, November 17, 2015, presented by IBAT's Legal and Regulatory Compliance team. Shannon Phillips will make a presentation on the seven pillars of a successful compliance management system in a financial institution. Additionally, Kelly Goulart will give an update on the latest issues and developments relating to TRID implementation.

We highly encourage all compliance officers to attend this informative meeting on November 17, 2015 at 6 p.m. at Morelia Mexican Restaurant in Pflugerville. Additional information can be found here.

Kevin Brady

Congressman Kevin Brady (R - The Woodlands) was named Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee last week, filling the vacancy created by the election of Paul Ryan to Speaker of the House.

“We are delighted that Kevin’s hard work and leadership skills have led to this great honor…and tremendous challenge,” said IBAT President and CEO Chris Williston. “IBAT has had the privilege of working with this committed public servant since his days in the Texas House beginning in 1991, and we appreciate his longstanding support of community banking. We extend our hearty congratulations and know he is up to this important task.”

Brady joins six other members of the Texas delegation (Conaway, Hensarling, McCaul, Sessions, Smith and Thornberry) as chairmen of one of the 21 standing House committees.


The  IBAT Education Foundation’s 10-day Fall Member Drive has officially kicked off, and we've set an ambitious goal of raising $100,000 from November 10-20.


The Education Foundation is a member-supported 501c3 philanthropic entity that focuses on financial education in Texas. Our mission is Building Financially Literate Communities Across Texas. We can only uphold this with your support. Will you help us reach our goal by becoming a corporate member today? Click here for the online pledge form.

Our non-profit IBAT Foundation relies on member support to deliver:

  • IBAT Teach the Teacher Program™ - Financial education instructional methods for teachers, with recognition opportunities for community banks;
  • IBAT Teach the Lender Program™ - Credit report tools for community bank lenders;
  • IBAT Teaching Excellence in Financial Literacy Award - Awards for innovative teachers, with recognition for nominating community banks;
  • IBAT Career Day Tool Kit - Presentations for IBAT members to use when visiting schools and civic groups; and
  • IBAT Foundation Footprints - Quarterly e-newsletter subscription with ideas and data that can be used in your bank or community.

Contribute now with a one-time year-end gift or consider a multi-year legacy gift pledge in honor or memory of an individual/group to join the IBAT Wall of Heroes and Legends of Community Banking. Help us make a difference in the communities we serve across this great state.



Last week, members of IBAT and TBA were hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas for the first annual Banking on the Leaders of Tomorrow (BOLT) program. BOLT, a professional development opportunity for emerging financial industry leaders, was held on November 3 at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ San Antonio Branch.

Future leaders of Texas community banks met with executives from the Federal Reserve during this one-day conference for an insider's view of the Federal Reserve to discuss the tenets of leadership in banking. Dallas Fed experts explained the workings of the Federal Reserve, payments technology and its impact on community banks, the role of supervision in a healthy economy, regional and national economic issues facing Eleventh District banks and their communities, and factors affecting the current state of monetary policy.

Attendees also had the opportunity to hear from seasoned industry professionals (pictured l. to r.), including moderator Tee Dippel (Brenham National Bank), Julie Mayrant (Woodforest National Bank), Jimmy Rasmussen (HomeTown Bank), Pat Hickman (Happy State Bank) and Al Jones (American Bank), on a panel focused on leadership, industry mentors and living through the ups and downs of the industry.

“Good bankers are formed in the tough times,” said Frost Bank Chief Executive Officer Dick Evans. This sentiment was captured throughout the day.

Reg Relief

IBAT was encouraged last week with reports from the 202 area code that Senate Republicans and Democrats were close to a bipartisan bill that would provide much-needed relief to community banks.

Politico, in a story that appeared on Thursday, reported that talks have taken place on and off over the last several months. Kansas Republican Senator Jerry Moran said in an interview that "there is the potential for an agreed-upon bill that would be satisfactory to Republicans and Democrats."

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby passed his comprehensive regulatory relief bill out of the committee on a straight line partisan vote in early spring and recently attached the measure to an appropriations bill, which passed the committee. However, the best chance for ultimate passage would be to have a bipartisan bill that passes the Senate, escaping a potential veto by the President.

“It’s far past time that Congress acts to relieve our community banks from the shackles of regulatory overkill and restores a playing field that fosters community development and job growth,” said IBAT President and CEO Chris Williston. “We will do everything we know to do to finally push this legislation over the finish line,” he added.


In the ongoing saga about funding for federal spending for highway improvements, the House approved an amendment that would replace the much-maligned raid of Federal Reserve dividends for member banks with a one-time drawdown of the central bank’s capital surplus account.

The amendment, sponsored by Chairman Randy Neugebauer and Congressman Bill Huizenga, must survive a conference committee between members of the House and the Senate. However, since the amendment provides a larger financial offset than the proposed dividend cut, the bill is expected to reach the President as amended.

"This is not perfect policy, but it is much better than the alternative,” said Chairman Neugebauer. “This preserves the budget neutrality of the transportation bill and counters irresponsible proposals sent over by the Senate."

IBAT is appreciative of Chairman Neugebauer’s leadership on this issue.

Baker Market Update: Nov. 9, 2015

The latest tile in the Fed’s game of data-dominoes is now on the table. The Bureau of Labor Statistics smacked down the Unemployment bone this morning and it was a good one. The 271k increase in Non-Farm Payrolls reported for October was well above the previous month’s 137k (revised from 142k) as well as the market’s consensus expectation of 185k. Last month’s job growth in conjunction with the unchanged 62.4% Labor Force Participation Rate allowed the Unemployment Rate to drop a bit to 5% from 5.1%. The Employment/Population Ratio edged up to 59.3 from 59.2.

Read more in the Baker Market Update

Participate in TechMecca 2016

TechMecca is no longer your average trade show! Make plans to participate in the 14th TechMecca Technology Conference at the Renaissance Hotel in Austin, Texas, February 11-12, 2016. 

If you’ve participated in IBAT’s TechMecca over the last several years, you’ve been on the forefront of an evolving event. 

Three years ago, TechMecca was the first IBAT event to introduce seven-minute stage demonstrations as an opportunity for exhibiting companies to better acquaint the audience with one of their new products or services. 

“Vendors and bankers alike responded to the stage demonstrations positively,” said IBAT President and CEO Chris Williston.  “The vendors like the focused opportunity to tell the story of their companies’ innovation, and bankers very much like the opportunity to get more information on a company before committing to a one-on-one conversation with months of potential follow up from a booth visit.”

This feedback from bankers underscores what IBAT has been hearing over the last several years: when bankers take time to be out of the bank, they’re looking for the most bang for their buck.

“Seeing demonstrations from seven or eight companies in an hour is a much more efficient use of my time than stopping by booth after booth on a tradeshow floor,” said Mark Few, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of Centennial Bank in Lubbock. 

You all asked, and we’re delivering.  We’re limiting the demonstration companies to 40 for the event.  You no longer need to be concerned about booth traffic; we are essentially giving you the floor by allowing you demo time on stage in front of the community bankers in the audience.

Becoming a demo company will allow you to immediately impact the community bankers in the audience who:

1.     Believe they already know everything about your company, so they don’t need to visit your booth.

2.     Already have established relationships with you, so they aren’t paying attention to any new products and services you have to offer.

3.     Do not know you or your company, giving you a brand new audience of community bankers.

As a demonstrating company, sponsor and/or advertiser, you are able to reach members of Independent Bankers Association of Texas (IBAT) and financial institutions throughout Texas in one convenient location. 

Why TechMecca Should be #1 on Your List of Industry Events:

  • Limiting the number of demonstrating companies makes your participation more meaningful.
  • TechMecca’s technology focus provides more qualified leads than the traditional expos.
  • Our team works for you to attract media coverage and banker awareness by offering various demo company/attendee networking opportunities.

TechMecca 2016 is designed for suppliers ready to assist forward-thinking community bank executives who are committed to maintaining an edge on the issues, products and services confronting our industry.

Surrounded by financial industry leaders and decision makers in an innovative atmosphere, this exciting Technology Conference is vital to your business plan.  Check out the following demonstration company information for complete details.  Gain greater presence and recognition by selecting from a number of advertising and sponsorship opportunities. 

You are also invited to submit ideas to be developed into a possible workshop at TechMecca 2016.  As a TechMecca workshop presenter, you and your firm or company will gain visibility and generate contacts among community bank executives for relationship building and sales.


The National Cotton Council (NCC) and cotton producers of Texas are seeking the support of community bankers in an effort to classify cottonseed as an “other oilseed” by the Secretary of Agriculture. If implemented, this would provide much-needed farm program support for Texas cotton farmers as part of the 2014 Farm Bill in the form of Price Loss Coverage (PLC) or Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) for cottonseed (more information in this Cottonseed Fact Sheet).

IBAT supports this effort and, along with the NCC and Texas cotton producers, we request your bank be added to a joint Texas ag lender letterto the Secretary of Agriculture if this is important to you and your community.

If you wish to support this effort, email the name and title of a bank official, name of your bank and location to Julie Wheeler at Plains Cotton Growers (PCG) by November 16. This letter, and similar letters from around the country, will be hand delivered to the Secretary’s office. If you have questions, email or call NCC’s VP of Public Affairs Craig Brown (901-274-9030) or PCG’s EVP Steve Verett (806-792-4904). 

Thank you for supporting the Texas cotton industry.

Are You Covered?

As a reminder, standard property insurance coverage does not provide flood insurance protection. A homeowner’s policy doesn’t provide any flood insurance nor does a standard commercial property policy. As a rule, you need to purchase flood insurance from the Federal Flood Program. Some commercial insurance policies may provide a small sublimit of flood coverage, if your location is not in a high-hazard flood plain. However, it may not be enough even if that is provided. 

With the 2015 floods of Memorial Day and Halloween, we encourage you to review your property insurance and make a conscience decision about whether you should pursue an option for flood insurance. IBAT Financial Services would be happy to assist you in understanding your bank’s current coverage as well as look at options to increase your flood insurance protection.

Helpful resources for you and members of your community include this brochure and toolkit from floodsmart.gov, part of the National Flood Insurance Program.

Patent Trolls Are Back

On October 28, 2015, TribTalk – a publication of The Texas Tribune – featured a short article by Lee Chang, Chief Legal Officer of Newegg.com, entitled Patent troll venue abuse must stop in the Eastern District of Texas:

Imagine you are a patent troll who asserts bad-quality patents or ones that don't cover what you claim. You count on defendants paying you off to avoid high legal defense costs. All you need is to avoid being dismissed quickly. Unfortunately for you, the Supreme Court has now made it easier to dismiss frivolous patent lawsuits. What do you do?

For too many trolls, the answer has been to file suit in the Eastern District of Texas. This district has been the top venue for patent litigation. From April through June of 2015, more patent cases were filed in the Eastern District than in all other federal courts combined.

Read the entire story here

Compliance Meetings Recap

IBAT recently hosted two Compliance Officer Information Sharing Events (COISE), attended by nearly 50 compliance officers from across the state. COISE is a five-hour networking and information sharing event facilitated by IBAT’s compliance and regulatory team. It is designed to provide Texas community bank compliance officers with ideas from other compliance officers and IBAT staff about surviving today’s heavily regulated landscape.  

Throughout the two meetings, attendees identified, discussed and shared information on more than 30 compliance topics, including TRID, cybersecurity, vendor management, Limited English Proficiency, compliance exams, compliance management systems, social media and SCRA.

COISE attendees had this to say about why the event was time well spent:

  • “You will definitely leave with information that will benefit your organization.”
  • “…eye opening and would highly recommend to anyone, seasoned or just starting out.”
  • “It’s a very valuable asset to utilize.”
  • “…highly recommend…great use of our limited time away from the office.” 

Based on the success of the three COISE meetings held in 2015, we’ll offer additional opportunities next year. Be on the lookout for specific dates in theBottom Line newsletter in early 2016. If you have COISE questions in the meantime, please contact Shannon Phillips.

Busy Week in D.C.

In addition to a culmination of the high drama that led to the election of Congressman Paul Ryan as the new Speaker of the House, several issues percolating in Washington, D.C. were addressed by your IBAT staff last week.

IBAT forcefully weighed in on two issues, both of which appear to be making progress. The “budget deal” included $3 billion in crop insurance cuts to fund additional spending. It should be noted that the 2014 farm bill contributed some $23 billion in budget deficit offsets, and the agriculture community continues to face significant issues across the country. Various agriculture advocacy groups, banking associations (including IBAT) and others weighed in quickly and loudly, and Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway and Ranking Member Collin Peterson entered the fray with a strongly worded letter to their colleagues. Bottom line is leadership has pledged to “fix” this issue going forward and restore funding to this critical program. 

Additionally, you are aware that the transportation bill passed out of the Senate several weeks ago and set for debate this week on the House floor included a decrease in Fed dividends from 6% to 1.5% for banks over $1 billion in assets. We have expressed our strong displeasure with raiding bank revenue sources to fund totally unrelated government spending. While it appears that key players in the House are in full agreement on this issue, the bill is expected to reach the floor with this proposed cut included. We are grateful for Chairman Randy Neugebauer’s amendment that would delay the cut until the Government Accountability Office can study its full impact. However, we will continue to urge lawmakers to exclude the provision altogether. 

IBAT's New Legislative Counsel

IBAT is pleased to announce our newest staff member, Legislative Counsel Meredyth Fowler. A longtime Capitol staffer, Meredyth brings extensive legislative experience to IBAT. In her new role, she will focus on legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts at both the state and federal levels.

Meredyth most recently served as Speaker Joe Straus’ Counsel to the Speaker on General Government and is one of the original staff hired by the Speaker when he was elected to that office in 2009. In her 12 years at the Texas Capitol, she worked in both the House and Senate in a variety of positions.

Please help us welcome Meredyth, and say hello when you see her out and about at IBAT and other industry events.

Baker Market Update: Nov. 2, 2015

What might have been this week’s biggest news event, wasn’t. Once again, members of the FOMC left the Marriner S. Eccles Building on Wednesday without changing the target range for Fed Funds. If that surprised anyone, they’ve kept quiet about it. The Bureau of Economic Analysis wasn’t able to keep quiet about what has to be a pretty disappointing estimate of third quarter GDP. The inventory-driven 3.9% Q2 GDP did not carry over to Q3 as the initial growth estimate retrenched itself to a paltry 1.5%. The paltriness of the report is a reprise of the paltriness of the FOMC statement that followed this week’s meeting. With adjectives like “moderate, modest, and steady”, a paltry description is an appropriate fit. So, does that mean the December meeting will usher in the long awaited rate bump? Of course it does; unless it doesn’t. One wonders if the Fed has confused its self-proclaimed transparency with a self-obscured lack of clarity.

Read more in the Baker Market Update.