IBAT News

Congressional Visit Photos


With IBAT's 20th Annual Congressional Visit now in the record books, next year's event has already been scheduled.  Mark your calendars and save the date to join IBAT in Washington, D.C. on April 23-25, 2013.  As IBAT continues to advocate exclusively for community banking, showing up en masse sends a strong message to lawmakers that community bankers are committed to being a part of the process.  

A selection of photos of this year's event are now online. Thank you, once again, to those in the IBAT family who took time to attend this year's Congressional Visit.

Senior Housing Crime Prevention


Earlier this year, the IBAT Education Foundation entered into a partnership with the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation (SHCPF) to help bring Senior Crimestoppers to more senior housing facilities in Texas.  Following conversations with the SHCPF last week, IBAT has learned that more than 100 Texas senior housing facilities in 84 cities have requested the program and are waiting for bank sponsors to help bring it to reality.  

While helping out facilities in their home towns, banks also earn CRA credit through the program and regulators from each of the agencies have issued strong statements in support of the SHCPF.  

"The IBAT Foundation Board approved our sponsorship of this program to offer additional security to those using nursing homes and veteran's homes so they could eliminate the worry of protecting their valuables or their identities. We will all receive a special joy by knowing that we are helping a Senior Citizen feel more secure because this program is in place to offer the security they deserve," said Willard J. Still, Chairman of the IBAT Education Foundation.  

For information about the program, visit the official website or call Peter Gwaltney or Sue Shaffer at 877/232-0859.  For information about Texas bank experiences with the program, call Mary Lange at 800/749-4228.

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Statewide Silver Alert


AFFECTED TEXAS COUNTIES AND/OR NWS REGIONS:
REGIONS - STATEWIDE
         
THIS IS A MISSING SENIOR ALERT ISSUED BY THE TEXAS SILVER ALERT NETWORK

THE PAMPA POLICE DEPARTMENT IS SEARCHING FOR MIGUEL MARTINEZ, DIAGNOSED WITH DEMENTIA, WHITE, MALE, 82 YEARS OLD, DOB 10251929, HEIGHT 5 FT 03 INCHES, WEIGHT 140 LBS, GRAY HAIR, BROWN EYES, LAST SEEN WEARING BLUE AND GREEN BUTTON UP SHIRT WITH TAN PANTS.
                                                                                                         
THE SENIOR CITIZEN WAS LAST SEEN AT 9 PM, ON 05062012 AT 2705 SEMINOLE, PAMPA, TX, DRIVING A LIGHT BLUE, 2001 CHRYSLER TOWN AND COUNTRY VAN WITH TX LICENSE PLATE BK8Z305.

LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS BELIEVE THIS SENIOR CITIZEN’S DISAPPEARANCE POSES A CREDIBLE THREAT TO HIS/HER OWN HEALTH AND SAFETY.

IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION REGARDING THIS MISSING SENIOR CITIZEN, CONTACT THE PAMPA POLICE DEPARTMENT AT 806 669 5700.

NEWS MEDIA POINT OF CONTACT IS PAMPA POLICE DEPARTMENT AT 806 669 5700.

Compliance Guy: Get in the Game!


A compliance officer has a leadership responsibility in his or her bank and in the banking industry. This is a particularly important responsibility for compliance officers in community banks. With the recent regulatory changes already made and those being contemplated, it’s imperative for compliance officers to “get in the game” and have their voices heard. One way to do that is with comment letters.

The agencies publish a proposed rule or an interim final rule in the Federal Register for review and public comment prior to its adoption. A proposed rule or an interim final rule describes a new rule or regulation or a change to an existing rule or regulation. Commenting on these is very important as agencies do consider the comments received, and without persuasive comments nothing will change between the proposed rule or interim final rule and the final rule.

Comment letters don’t always work, but effective comment letters can influence the final rule or elicit clarification and additional guidance. They are an avenue you can use to help you become a recognized leader in your bank and an advocate for the community banking industry. Your bank’s senior management and board will be impressed that you took the time to draft an effective comment letter.

So how do you write an effective comment letter? It is much more than saying “This is so unfair and will cost my bank money and will be really hard for me!” In fact, that kind of letter will most likely be ignored as whining. Tone is very important – so the number one rule is to avoid language that is inflammatory or condescending.

Here are some additional tips to consider when writing an effective comment letter.

Click here to read the whole article in the current edition of The Texas Independent Banker.

Senior Housing Crime Prevention


When the IBAT Family looked at the option of adding the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Program to the Foundation's program of work, we were reminded that as people age and they must choose some form of assisted living; they often feel alone. Good people who have spent a lifetime being productive, being good parents and grandparents, paying taxes and being good citizens.We feel that they should not be forgotten.

The IBAT Foundation Board approved our sponsorship of this program to offer additional security to those using nursing homes and veteran's homes so they could eliminate the worry of protecting their valuables or their identities. We will all receive a special joy by knowing that we are helping a Senior Citizen feel more secure because this program is in place to offer the security they deserve.

I am proud of the supporting comments from our bank regulators and I encourage you to read them and help IBAT achieve its goal of adding more community banks by year end to protect more Senior Citizens in our great state. This is true Texas Community banking at its best.

PS: We've learned there are 100 Texas cities with nursing homes which would welcome a partnership with a local community bank. The listing of 100 towns will be posted on the IBAT Foundation website in early May. If you have an interest in being involved with this worthwhile program, take a look. You may call or email our IBAT staff at any time for further information.

by Willard J. Still, Chairman, IBAT Education Foundation

CFPB Overdraft Protection


In February, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a Notice and Request for Information (Notice) for feedback from consumers and banks on overdraft protection programs (ODP).  Following requests from several stakeholders, the CFPB agreed to extend the April 30th deadline for response to June 29th.  

IBAT urges each of its members to take advantage of this opportunity to make their voice heard in advance of the CFPB issuing rules or guidance affecting ODP. The Notice includes 12 questions regarding ODP, most of which need to be answered with information known only to banks offering ODP. Please forward this Notice to your Head Cashier, Chief Operations Officer, and/or Compliance Officer and ask them to prepare answers to these questions on or before June 29th.  Consumers will likely respond in large numbers; it is important that the CFPB receive reasoned, knowledgeable answers to the questions from community banks.

On April 30, IBAT filed a comment letter in response to the CFPB’s request for information, asserting to the CFPB that the FDIC’s statistics on ODP reflect a product that is working, not failing.  IBAT’s letter informed the CFPB of the background of overdraft payments, consumer alternatives, customer disclosures and information resources, data processing and technology challenges, the economic framework, promotion of responsible use, heavy users, and daily limits.  The letter concluded by stating that overdraft protection is working for the vast majority of customers, and requesting the CFPB to issue guidance recommending (1) customer disclosures for customers with ODP and (2) a fresh start loan approach for those ODP customers who don’t bring their accounts current.

Bank responses to the Notice will focus on the specifics of your overdraft program.  To assist you in drafting a response to this, and other comment requests, IBAT recently published helpful tips in the May/June edition of The Texas Independent Banker magazine.

IBAT Concludes Record DC Visit


Over 130 Texas community bankers and industry partners concluded two days of Hill visits and discussions with all of the federal regulatory agencies last week as part of a nationwide fly-in sponsored by IBAT and ICBA. IBAT bankers visited some 30 members of the Texas Congressional delegation in efforts to promote issues unique to community banks including a host of bills that would provide targeted regulatory relief and to work against efforts by credit unions to expand their member business lending (MBL) authority.

“It was gratifying to see the offices packed with Texas community bankers,” said IBAT President and CEO Chris Williston. “Texas can be proud that our record-breaking crowd accounted for almost 15% of the bankers attending from across the country, and we are in the debt of so many who took the time to participate in the event largely at their own expense.”

In addition to the Texas Congressional visits, participants were treated to a group session to hear addresses by Texas Representatives Pete Sessions, Randy Neugebauer, Jeb Hensarling, Ruben Hinojosa, Francisco “Quico” Canseco, along with Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee Spencer Bachus (R - AL), and senior Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. Additionally, House Financial Services member David Schweikert (R - AZ) offered his observations on community banking and the legislative process. Group meetings were held the following day with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, FDIC and Federal Reserve.

The annual Washington Policy Summit is one of IBAT’s most important legislative events and has occurred in the spring for the last 20 years, each year exceeding the previous year’s participation.  Our sincere thanks again to all of our IBAT members who participated in this important and impressive showing of commitment to our industry.

Senior Housing Crime Prevention


Recently, the IBAT Education Foundation Board voted to support the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation (SHCPF) Project, a nationally acclaimed Senior Crimestoppers program for nursing homes in your community. Banks earn CRA credit by providing the nationally acclaimed Senior Crimestoppers program to nursing homes and veterans homes in their communities. We know that this is a non-traditional way for a bank to earn CRA credit, but the success over the last ten years can be seen through the credit banks have received by all of the federal regulatory agencies and the positive public relations exposure the bank partners have received for protecting their local elderly population. See the comments below:
 

"The FDIC has been a strong supporter of the Foundation and remains committed to helping protect some of the most vulnerable members of our society, senior citizens. I am pleased that the banking industry continues its support of the Foundation’s important work. I would like to commend banks for their participation."
Martin Gruenberg, FDIC
 

"The OCC has a long history of supporting the mission of the Foundation by providing positive CRA consideration for loans and investments banks make in the Foundation. I think that one of their greatest assets is to allow banks different options to loan or invest funds and the type and amount of CRA consideration depends on the option the bank chooses, through either a community development loan or a qualified CRA investment."
Grovetta Gardineer, OCC
 

"The Foundation is making a difference in the lives of low and moderate income seniors in nursing homes and the Federal Reserve Bank continues to recognize this in the public CRA performance evaluations of financial institutions in the Foundation. I want to thank you for supporting the Foundation and in turn improving the lives of senior citizens. Thanks for all the good work you are doing in supporting the Foundation."
Timothy Burniston, Federal Reserve
 

Over the past 10 years, 20 Texas community banks have participated in the program with good results. Our hope is to expand community bank involvement to 20 more banks by December 2012. For information about the program, visit the official website or call Peter Gwaltney or Sue Shaffer at 877/232-0859.  For information about Texas bank experiences with the program, contact Mary Lange at 800/749-4228.

New Tax on S Corporations Proposed


As lawmakers scramble to find $6 billion to pay for a one-year extension of the Stafford student loan rates, they’ve turned their attention to S corporation businesses as one source of funding.  Under the tax code, S corporations are not subject to corporate taxation, and the profits and losses of the corporation are realized on the individual tax returns of the shareholders.  The new tax, proposed by Senator Harry Reid, would require S corporations with three or fewer shareholders who declare at least $250,000 a year to pay employment taxes on that income.  
Since 1998, financial institutions have been eligible to organize as S corporations.  According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), there are 272 such banks in Texas and 2,299 nationwide.  
IBAT opposes any restructuring of the tax liability of S corporation shareholders and, in particular, the subjection of S corporation earnings to payroll taxes, as has been proposed here and before.  

Fun Fact Friday


By the end of the Civil War, between one-third and one-half of all U.S. paper currency in circulation was counterfeit. On July 5, 1865, the Secret Service was created under the U.S. Treasury Department. In less than a decade, counterfeiting was sharply reduced. In the past ten years the breakdown of denominations counterfeited has changed dramatically. The total of known $50 and $100 notes counterfeited has increased by sixty percent. The total number of fifty and one hundred dollar notes passed and seized in 1980 was 777,957. The total number of fifty and one hundred dollar notes passed and seized in 1990 was 1,240,840. In 1990, thirty-six percent of the dollar value of known counterfeit currency passed in the U.S. was produced overseas, particularly in Colombia, Italy, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Bangkok. One hundred and thirty-nine domestic counterfeit operations and eighteen foreign counterfeit operations were suppressed in 1990.

Source: Federal Bank of San Francisco

CFPB Warning


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it will use all available legal avenues, including disparate impact, to pursue lenders who allegedly discriminate against consumers. The CFPB also compiled tips and warning signs to help consumers identify and avoid credit discrimination.  In a Compliance Bulletin, which applies to all institutions under the Bureau’s jurisdiction and applies to credit products including overdraft protection programs, mortgages, credit cards, student loans, and auto loans, the CFPB recognized the applicability of the disparate impact doctrine to prove discrimination under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. 

While we disagree with this conclusion relating to disparate impact, we are not surprised.  This follows closely on the heels of public statements from Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez, who heads up the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

In an op/ed in American Banker yesterday, Mark Olson, former Federal Reserve Board governor, characterized recent actions by the CFPB as a venture into “vigilante territory,” likening them to “frontier justice.”

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