Free Diebold Webinar

IBAT members are invited to participate in a free webinar on Thursday, February 20, to help you prepare for the end of Microsoft's® support for Windows® XP and the ATM migration to Windows 7.  Join representatives from Diebold, an IBAT Endorsed Service Provider, for the latest on:

  • Industry trends around Windows 7;
  • Key aspects to consider as you make the decision to migrate to Windows 7; and
  • Next steps necessary to stay current.

This webinar is the latest in a series offered in Diebold's Operation 411 program.  Previous webinars in the series, which can be replayed at anytime, include information on EMV Implementation and EPP7 Upgrades and PCI 3.0 Guidelines.

Visit Diebold's Operation 411 homepage and/or join the Operation 411 group on LinkedIn for more information.

Join Us in Maui!

IBAT is pleased to offer you and your directors a pre-convention program, February 26-28, prior to ICBA's 2014 Convention in Maui. Our two morning programs, facilitated by two of community banking's top consultants, will focus on the strategic direction of your bank. Ed Krei, Senior Partner with The Baker Group in Oklahoma City, and Merrill Reynolds, Principal with Reynolds Williams Group of New Braunfels, Texas, will lead the sessions.

Accommodations have been secured at the world class Westin Maui Resort & Spa Ka'anapali. IBAT's room block is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

USPS Eyes Banking Revenue

With the United States Postal Service (USPS) racking up huge losses year after year, the USPS Inspector General, last week, put forth a proposal for the Service to begin offering non-bank financial services for the underserved as a means of generating additional revenue.

The report cited the disproportionate closure of bank branches in low-income communities and offered the Postal Service as an alternative entity, already possessing the necessary physical footprint, to provide financial services in areas of need.  It goes on to suggest offering reloadable prepaid debit cards, vehicles for saving, and small dollar credit services for customers who have direct deposit of paychecks to their Postal Service prepaid cards.

Industry representatives, including ICBA President and CEO Cam Fine called the proposal a recipe for disaster, and vowed to vehemently oppose plans to include the Inspector General’s proposals in current legislation to reform the USPS.

"We believe this 'trial balloon' is a preposterously ill-advised idea for any number of reasons, and one that should quickly fall off the radar and be forgotten," said Chris Williston, IBAT President and CEO.  IBAT will continue to monitor this situation and alert members if action becomes necessary.

Washington Update

It's been said that golf is a game of inches.  The same might be said of achieving anything in the United States Congress.  In meetings on Capitol Hill last week, IBAT President and CEO Chris Williston and Executive Vice President Steve Scurlock pressed lawmakers to inch forward several issues of importance to Texas community bankers.

Efforts last week yielded four more cosponsors for HR 1750, the Community Lending Enhancement and Regulatory Relief (CLEAR) Act, the best and most likely candidate for significant regulatory reform in the 113th Congress. Congressmen Sam Johnson, Cuellar, Hall and Culberson joined Granger, Farenthold, Neugebauer, Sessions, Carter, Smith, Poe, Thornberry, Veasey and Williams who previously agreed to cosponsor at IBAT’s urging.  Still pending and likely to sign with grassroots follow up are Barton, Flores, Conaway, Gohmert and Burgess.  Neither of Texas's Senators has signed on to support the bill at this point.

Williston and Scurlock urged members of the House Financial Services Committee to take up the CLEAR Act.  Regulatory relief provisions have previously stalled after clearing the committee because they were embedded in Chairman Hensarling's GSE reform bill, the PATH Act.   

Flood Insurance
While the Senate previously passed a four year delay on increasing flood insurance premiums, the fiscally conservative House has heartburn over the $60 billion/year price tag that accompanies such action.  A rival bill is expected in the House, which would phase in premium increases over a five year period.  These competing approaches will likely prolong resolution on this issue.

Other priorities discussed in meetings were patent reform, overdraft, credit union member business expansion and the need to hold retailers accountable for security breaches.  As IBAT and ICBA continue to work these issues please keep your eyes open for action alerts and remember to register for IBAT's 22nd Annual Congressional Visit, taking place April 29-May 2.

TechMecca 2014 Recap

Approximately two hundred community bankers and eighty solution providers convened in Austin February 3-4 for IBAT's annual technology show - TechMecca.  

TechMecca 2014 took place against the backdrop of an improving economy in which community bankers are considering significant investments in technology to meet evolving customer demands.

At the same time, however, many banker attendees expressed concerns about walking the fine line between keeping up with the latest technology while maintaining the distinctly relational business model that distinguishes community banks from others.  

Attendees chose from twelve educational sessions offering banker perspectives and presentations from thought leaders in the areas of mobile banking, payments, marketing analytics, core technology platforms, cyber security and risk management.   

The show was capped off with seven-minute presentations from exhibiting companies, highlighting a product or service for attendees to consider for their bank.  Congratulations to PULSE and Dell Secureworks, who were voted "Best in Show" by attendees during TechMecca's interactive general sessions.

A full recap of TechMecca 2014 will be included in the March/April edition of The Texas Independent Banker magazine.

Five*Star Awards

IBAT associate members are invited to apply for the Five*Star Award between now and February 28, 2014.

Since 2002, IBAT has honored our associate members with the IBAT Five*Star Award, recognizing those companies that routinely provide not just excellent service, but innovative solutions that help community banks grow faster, enhance profits, gain efficiency and SHINE through:

  • Service excellence that provides community banks with the support they can depend upon;
  • Human relationships based upon trust, respect and strong working relationships;
  • Integrity that meets the high standards banks have a right to expect from their trusted suppliers;
  • Never-ending commitment to the success of the community banking industry; and
  • Exceptional value for the products and services provided.

Unlike past years, you do not need a banker nomination to be considered. Don't miss out on your opportunity to SHINE. View the Five*Star Award page on the IBAT website for full details and complete the application.

Baker Market Update: Feb. 7, 2014

What a week of blow-outs! Seattle blows out Denver in the Super Bowl. Arctic conditions blow out school for much of the nation, and this morning’s Unemployment Report blows out any hope that last month’s dismal report was just an unpleasant aberration that would be reversed by today’s revisions. The ennui that pervades the American labor market remains unimproved as we learned this morning from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The .1% drop in the Unemployment Rate to 6.6% was cold comfort in light of the disappointing 113k increase in Non-Farm Payrolls (NFP). Market experts were expecting a jump of around 180k. Perhaps more disheartening was the absence of widely anticipated upward adjustments to the previous report. December’s dismal 74k NFP growth was recalculated to be... Read more in the Baker Market Update.

Breaking News

The Supreme Court of Texas denied the Texas Bankers Association's Motion for Rehearing (a motion IBAT supported with its amicus brief) in the case of The Finance Commission of Texas et al v. Valarie Norwood et al, in which several homeowners (backed by AARP, ACORN, and others) challenged some of the rules interpreting the Texas home equity constitutional provisions. In our opinion, without intending to do so, the Supreme Court's denial has effectively prohibited closing home equity loans using powers of attorney.  The Supreme Court's decision requires powers of attorney to be executed at the office of the lender, an attorney's office or at a title company. Because it will be difficult to prove the location where a power of attorney was executed, we believe most title companies will simply refuse to close home equity loans with powers of attorneys.

Additionally, the Court's supplemental opinion makes it clear that neither prepaid, per diem interest nor legitimate discount points are subject to the 3% cap.  

The Supreme Court issuance is entitled a Supplemental Opinion on Motion for Rehearing. It is very short. If your bank makes home equity loans, your compliance officer and residential lenders should read it. The current status of home equity lending will be discussed by Karen Neeley at IBAT's Lending Compliance Summit on April 17-18, 2014.

S. 1926 Update

A move to delay potentially catastrophic rate increases for flood insurance is finally gaining traction, clearing the United States Senate last week.  

S. 1926, introduced by Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) would delay rate increases for up to four years by giving the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) time to develop a plan to help property owners who cannot afford higher premiums.  It now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.  

Hanging over the entire proceeding are ominous statements released by the White House Office of Management and Budget last week, which expressed concerns that the bill will would “further erode the financial position” of the National Flood Insurance Program and reduce FEMA’s ability to pay future claims.  Further, it is rumored that House Republicans are also working on an alternative plan and might not progress the House companion to S. 1926.

IBAT will continue to monitor House action on this measure and will likely ask community bankers to call upon members of Congress in the near future.

Baker Market Update: Jan. 31, 2014

This sure feels like one of those weeks in which things just haven’t “felt” right. If one asked the folks in the Deep South, they would probably agree that dealing with paralyzing snow and ice hasn’t felt right. Even the taciturn members of the FOMC might admit that seeing Mr. Bernanke at the head of the big, shiny table for the last time feels a little funny (not ha-ha funny). Something else that’s funny about this week, in fact this whole month, is that bonds are up and stocks are down. Now wait a minute; with news this week that Q4 GDP was probably up by 3.2% (on the heels of Q3 4.1%) and the Central Bank feeling good enough about macro-economic prospects to cut another $10B from monthly asset purchases, shouldn’t that be the other way around? And shouldn’t it be snowing in Fargo rather than Birmingham?

Read more in the Baker Market Update.

Qualified Mortgage Rules

As Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) chief Richard Cordray appeared before the House Financial Services Committee last week, the bureau’s Qualified Mortgage rules were front and center in the conversation. In opening statements before the committee, Chairman Jeb Hensarling was quick to express concerns about the rules, citing comments made in IBAT’s recent mortgage rules survey by several bankers exiting the mortgage business .  

Congresswoman Shelly Moore Capito spoke out on the effects of the rules on low to moderate income borrowers and banks’ limited ability to determine creditworthiness of those customers.  Cordray vehemently disagreed with the characterization of the rules as limiting banker discretion, maintaining that the small creditor exemption allows community banks to continue their traditional lending practices.  

“We are an open-minded agency. We are listeners,” Cordray said when pressed on future changes to the QM rules as additional data becomes available.  

The full video of the hearing is available online.  The House FS committee also announced last week the creation of a website in which business owners can share their stories of the ways in which the CFPB has positively or negatively affected their business or customers.  That “Tell Your Story” site can be found here. IBAT members are encouraged to share their own stories and the effect that CFPB action is having on their customers.