Comment Letter

Last week, IBAT filed a comment on the Texas Department of Banking’s proposal to limit the time for providing required information in corporate filings. As proposed, the rule would eliminate the automatic extension of time to submit additional information and the further extension for good cause, replacing these with an extension at the sole discretion of the commissioner.

The letter cited many circumstances in which greater flexibility might be required for both the applicant and the Department of Banking and suggested several changes to the rule that would reduce costs and shift the timeframe of expected response by corporations. Finally, IBAT proposed that an extension be granted “on a showing of ‘good and sufficient cause,’” rather than being reserved to the discretion of the commissioner.

Staff contact: Shannon Phillips, sphillips@ibat.org, 512-275-2221

Teaching Excellence Award

Last week IBAT presented the Teaching Excellence in Financial Literacy Award to the second of three recipients for 2014. The presentation, honoring Dr. Rebecca Larson of Temple High School, took place at a meeting of the Temple ISD Board of Directors.

The Teaching Excellence in Financial Literacy Award program recognizes educators from local schools who teach financial education in innovative, fun and engaging ways. Larson’s curriculum includes basic life skills such as creating a monthly budget, balancing a checkbook, saving money, obtaining different types of insurance and buying a car in addition to credit and debit card safety, financial aid sources, bank accounts, loans, income tax returns and identity theft.

Her goal is for each student to have a sense of confidence about personal financial literacy as well as a working knowledge of real world financial responsibility. Students do projects like creating and promoting a business and buying stocks and mutual funds and tracking their progress.

Dr. Larson was nominated by her daughter, Beckie Johnston of Extraco Banks, N.A. in Temple.

Photo: Mary Lange, Dr. Rebecca Larson, Michael Thompson with Dr. Larson's granddaughter, Mykenna Johnston

Staff contact: Mary Lange, mlange@ibat.org, 512-275-2224

Reg Relief Update

At the urging of IBAT and many Texas community banker constituents, Senior Texas Senator John Cornyn has added his name to the list of co-sponsors to S. 1349, The CLEAR Relief Act of 2014.

“This is a significant development to advance our efforts in obtaining comprehensive regulatory relief for community banks,” said IBAT President and CEO Chris Williston. “This bill will provide much needed relief in restoring consumer access to credit, particularly in the mortgage markets. Senator Cornyn, as a member of the Minority Leadership, can be instrumental in helping us get the bill to the Senate floor,” Williston added.

Nineteen members of the Texas Congressional Delegation are currently co-sponsors (171 co-sponsors overall) of the companion house bill, H.R. 1750. IBAT thanks the following members of the Texas delegation for their sponsorship of this important legislation: Carter, Cuellar, Farenthold, Flores, Gallego, Gohmert, Granger, Hall, Johnson (Sam), Marchant, Neugebauer, Olson, Poe, Sessions, Smith, Stockton, Thornberry, Veasey and Williams.

The future of the bipartisan bills is uncertain as there are limited days remaining in the current Congressional year. IBAT will be in D.C. this week to push for floor time before or immediately after the August recess.

All community bankers are encouraged to meet with their elected officials during the August district work period and encourage members of the delegation to advance the measures.

Staff contact: Chris Williston, cwilliston@ibat.org, 512-474-6889

Compliance Notice

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the section of the Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. Recently, the CFPB issued a memorandum describing its policy with respect to the Supreme Court's decision.

Under the CFPB's new policy, the agency will use and interpret the terms "spouse," "marriage," "married," "husband," "wife" and any other similar terms related to family or marital status in statute, regulations, and policies administered, enforced, or interpreted by the Bureau to include same-sex spouses. Except as otherwise noted below, the Bureau applies this policy to ECOA and Reg B, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), TILA and Reg. Z, RESPA and Reg. X, Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act and Reg. J, Bureau Ethics Regulations and Procedures for Bureau Debt Collection.

The memorandum stated that a person married under the laws of any jurisdiction will be considered married nationwide. A person in a domestic partnership or civil union is not considered married.

Staff contact: Shannon Phillips, sphillips@ibat.org, 512-275-2221

Baker Market Update: July 21, 2014

Risk has a habit of coming at us from unforeseen sources at unexpected times in unpredictable ways. Thus the name. Financial markets were hit [Friday] with a double dose of capriciousness as events in both Europe and the Middle East sent jitters around the globe. Market observers watched as scared money did what it usually does; buy U.S. Treasuries. It was this edginess that drove the yield on the Benchmark Ten Year Treasury Note down to 2.44%, its lowest level since May 29. As recently as July 3, that issue was yielding 2.65%. Perceptions of risk can also be fleeting, as reports of easing Ukrainian tensions have already reversed some of yesterday’s price action. Hang on, though, it’s early.

Read more in the Baker Market Update.

2014 Five*Star Award Winners

John M. Floyd and Associates (JMFA), Granville Financial Group and BKD, LLP  have been honored with the coveted Five Star Award presented by the Independent Bankers Association of Texas (IBAT). The announcement was made at the 29th Annual IBAT Leadership Conference on June 27 in San Antonio.

Since 2002, IBAT has recognized its associate members that routinely provide not only excellent service but also innovative solutions that help community banks grow faster, enhance profits and gain efficiency with the Five Star Award. Criteria used to determine this year’s winners included service excellence, human relationships, integrity, commitment to the community banking industry and exceptional value to the banks they serve.

Click on each company name above to read each individual press release.

2014 Financial Literacy Summit

If anyone in your bank is interested in learning, seeing and experiencing what other banks across Texas are doing in their markets to promote financial literacy, then attending the IBAT & TBA-cosponsored Financial Literacy Summit is a must! The summit runs July 24-25 at the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank. Lodging is within walking distance at the Hotel ZaZa. 

 The speakers have all been finalized, an A-list headed by:

  • Charles G. Cooper,
  • Mack Neff,  
  • Jimmy Campbell,
  • Jeff Wilkinson,
  • Tieman Dippel,
  • Alfreda Norman, and
  • Bert Marshall. 

They will be addressing WHY financial literacy has been important to their bank strategy and HOW they incorporate it in their region.

FSA Training Announced

The USDA Farm Service Agency has announced a series of training events around the state, and we are pleased to pass along this information to the IBAT membership.  Information regarding dates, locations and the programs can be accessed in this press release.

“We appreciate our relationship with FSA, and the opportunities they provide for both agricultural lenders and producers,” said Steve Scurlock, IBAT Executive Vice President.  “We encourage you to consider exploring the options this agency provides.”

Happy 40th!

IBAT President and CEO Chris Williston and IBAT Services President Curt Nelson were on hand last week in Dallas at a reception to celebrate the Southwest Automated Clearing House Association for 40 years of service to the financial industry.

“SWACHA has been an integral part of our payments system and invaluable resource to the financial industry throughout the Southwest and the nation, said Williston.  “They have been a tremendous supporter and partner to IBAT throughout our mutual 40-year existence,” he added.

IBAT and the Clearing House Association have worked together to bring many cutting edge offerings to their membership including the creation of Techmecca, the Southwest’s largest technology conference, and the Loss Account Alert System (LAAS).

Williston and Nelson presented a congratulatory resolution from the IBAT Board of Directors to outgoing CEO Dennis Simmons and Laura Steele, SWACHA’s new CEO.

Ongoing Mortgage Rule Relief Efforts

Last week, IBAT joined community banking associations across the country in signing a letter calling upon the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to revise the current ability-to-repay/qualified mortgage (QM) rules and escrow requirements for higher-priced mortgage loans to allow community bank loans held in portfolio for the life of the loan to receive automatic QM safe harbor status and an exemption from the escrow requirements if the loans are higher priced.

“Community banks make it a priority to help various types of consumers, including those in rural communities where non-traditional mortgage loans are prevalent due to the distinctive nature of rural properties,” the letter read.  “These loans are not sold into the secondary market but are kept in portfolio…therefore, additional underwriting and escrow requirements only function as unnecessary regulatory burdens that stifle community banks’ ability to provide solid loan products to consumers.”

The letter also implored the bureau to revisit the threshold under which a bank receives a small creditor exemption for the purposes of CFPB escrow requirements. 

“We continue to hear from IBAT members that new mortgage rules are unnecessarily burdensome and add undue costs to the mortgage making process,” said IBAT President and CEO Chris Williston.  “While the CFPB has taken some positive steps in recent months, we believe there is further work to do to bring the rules into alignment with the common sense business practices of community banks.”

Community Reinvestment

This Thursday, July 17, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) will host its next banker teleconference. This webinar will focus on recently revised interagency questions and answers regarding Community Reinvestment.  The teleconference is free, but advance registration is required.  The call will last approximately 90 minutes, running from 1:00p.m. to 2:30p.m. CDT.

To submit a question in advance of the webinar, click here to do so via email.  To register for the call, please click here.

Silver Alert: July 14, 2014


Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Lee, Travis, and Williamson Counties


The Travis County Sheriff’s Office is searching for Antonio Barboa Perea, diagnosed with a Cognitive Impairment, Hispanic, Male, 86 years old, DOB 01/17/1927, HEIGHT 5’ 6”, WEIGHT 160 lbs, Grey Hair, Brown Eyes, Blue Pajama Shirt and Maroon Pajama Pants.

The senior citizen was last seen at 0500, 07/13/2014 at Evelyn Road

Law enforcement officials believe this senior citizen’s disappearance poses a credible threat to his own health and safety.

If you have any information regarding this missing senior citizen, contact the Travis County Sheriff’s Office at 512-974-0820.

News Media Point of Contact is Travis County Sheriff’s Office at 512-974-0845.

Baker Market Update: July 14, 2014

The minutes of the FOMC’s June meeting were released this week, and they gave us no hint as to where LeBron will be playing basketball next year. We do know, however, that the Fed’s asset purchase program known as QE 3 will be coming to an end come October. While Janet Yellen has been publicly maintaining that there is no pre-set course for the tapering of bond purchases, the minutes reflect that the committee plans to continue its monthly reductions of purchases at a pace that will make October’s planned $15B investment the final act of quantitative easing. That can’t happen soon enough for St. Louis Fed President James Bullard who, in a telephone interview this week, continued to express his long-held view that current estimates of inflationary expectations are too low, and that continued pursuit of an ultra-low rate policy will lead to artificially high price bubbles. Like that could ever happen.

Read more in the Baker Market Update.

Minimum Wage

On February 12, President Obama issued an Executive Order establishing a minimum wage of $10.10 for federal contractors. 

At the time that the order was issued, it was unclear how the Department of Labor (DOL) would define “new contracts” and whether banks may be included due to the fact that DOL has routinely considered them to be federal contractors. 

IBAT has been monitoring the proposed minimum wage rule and is pleased with the current draft, which excludes independent agencies. At this time, no IBAT member action is required. We will continue to monitor the rulemaking and advise members of the outcome when it is finalized.