IBAT News

Taking a Different App-ti-tude


By Jennifer Geis

The following article
originally ran as a feature in the July/August
edition
of The
Texas Independent Banker Magazine
.  

With each passing day, it seems that there is a gizmo, gadget, or app
for virtually everything, from grocery shopping or finding the cheapest gas in
town, to organizing photos or finding a long lost relative.

The most recent consumer craze is the tablet device.  Ownership of
this technology is growing exponentially with tablet users in the U.S.
estimated to grow 51 percent from 2010 to 2015.  At last count, Apple has
sold more than 44 million iPads with several other vendors following
suit.  Amazon has now introduced its own set of tablets, and Forrester
Research estimates that it could sell anywhere from three to five million
tablets in its first quarter on the market.

It's tough to keep up with all of these newly released gadgets, and
tougher still if you're a first-generation iPad or tablet user.  With the
myriad of applications available on the market today, it can be difficult to
determine which apps you need, which ones are worth paying for, or perhaps more
importantly, which ones you will actually use.

Many iPad and tablet users are flocking to a new application called
Flipboard.  Flipboard packages images, videos, articles, Facebook updates,
and tweets in a consolidated format.  It organizes personal preferences
and offers them up in a one-page block format that is optimized for easy
browsing.  Flipboard even collects information published by friends on
Facebook and Twitter, turning disparate links to photos, videos, and articles
into an accessible potpourri of your favorite things.

This is the new expectation of the online experience - a place for
everything and everything in its place.  With all of the online options at
our fingertips, consumers are gravitating more and more to the online channel
to simplify and solve the challenge of organizing their lives.

This methodology not only applies to the way we interact online in
general, but it also applies to the way we bank online.  Just as apps come
and go, our attitude toward banking is evolving.  Consumers are expecting
easy and immediate access to organized and consolidated financial information.

So how can your bank meet this consumer demand and consolidate
transactions into a pretty package of financial services in the same way that
Flipboard does for the iPad?  Three small initials - OFM (online financial
management).

OFM (also known as PFM, or personal financial management) is growing in
popularity as more and more banking functions move online and consumer demand
grows for all-in-one financial control.  OFM sites are marketed as
"dashboards" where users can view multiple accounts, categorize financial
transactions, manage alerts, create and manage budgets, accurately analyze
spending, and even establish savings goals and track net worth - all in one
place.

According to a recent Celent report, online banking is no longer about
using personal computers and logging into an online banking website.  It
is about an integrated, fully functional online banking and bill pay user
experience.

Celent reports that in the future of electronic banking, an ideal scenario
for banks would be to house all of its electronic banking components in one
place.  Interchangeable modules such as bill pay, money movement, and PFM
widgets would be served up to the device, and modality would be selected by the
consumer, along with a properly skinned front end.  This shift clearly has
implications for OFM and will contribute to it becoming the cornerstone of
online banking.

Although OFM has come a long way in recent years, it still has a way to
go in some respects.  Many OFM solutions on the market today are bolt-on
solutions that create a disconnected user experience; their solutions open up
in new browser windows, have different interfaces and menu structures, varied
navigation, and an inconsistent look and feel.

Progressive technology vendors, however, anticipated the demand for a
seamless consumer experience, and developed OFM services that encompass the
comprehensive and cohesive features that consumers crave.  Smart OFM
solutions allow consumers to easily monitor account balances, transfer funds,
create attractive graph-like pictures of their overall financial status, and
even pay bills through one simple and secure connection to their online banking
website.  They offer individualized homepages that integrate online banking,
OFM, and bill pay, along with bank-specific marketing to create a consistent,
comfortable, and targeted user experience.  Progressive technology
providers are also introducing online banking iPad apps, which will allow users
to be even more mobile and flexible with their financial management.

So, while banking online and paying bills probably isn't on the top-10
list of fun things to do on the weekend for most consumers, seamless features
like OFM and mobile features like the iPad app certainly make financial
management much easier and possibly more entertaining for today's tech savvy,
convenience-driven consumer.  And perhaps more importantly, OFM aligns
their online banking experience with the "everything in its place" methodology
that is so common among other new technologies available on the market today.

Your customers are gravitating toward the online channel to simplify
their financial management experience.  If you aren't offering the
premiere technology, online features, and simplified user experience they
expect, there's likely a bank just down the street that can.  Talk to your
technology vendor about these high-demand features today and develop a plan to
adopt them at your bank right away.  Your convenience-driven customers,
and ultimately your bank's bottom line, will benefit from your progressive
thinking and organizational shift in app-ti-tude!

Jennifer Geis is a
Strategic Business Development Manager for Jack Henry & Associates,
Inc.  She can be reached at 727-525-2107 or
jgeis@jackhenry.com.

IBAT in D.C.


IBAT
President and CEO Chris Williston and EVP Steve Scurlock spent several days in
our nation's capital last week "telling the community banking story,"
and voicing concerns about proposed regulations, including Basel III and the
CFPB QM rules.  Productive meetings with senior level regulators at the
banking agencies, as well as the CFPB, were mixed with visits on the Hill with
key lawmakers and staff.  IBAT also reaffirmed its strong support for
Congress to extend the Transaction Account Guarantee (TAG) program before the
December 31, 2012 deadline.  Community banks have benefited from TAG as a
stable source of funding in these times of financial instability.  

"The challenges continue for community banking, and decision-makers
need to hear our message," said Williston.  "Everyone seems to
be saying the right things - community banks are 'the good guys' - we didn't
cause the problems and we're getting crushed by an avalanche of regulatory
burden.  What we don't see is this being translated into meaningful action
or results, and that was one of our main objectives this trip.  The recent
issuance of a complex and burdensome capital proposal is a clear case in point.
 We believe that this is unnecessary and clearly overkill for the
community bank sector, and we had the opportunity to convey our thoughts - face
to face - on this and other important issues to key players."

Baker Market Update


In what has become something like a game of
"rock, paper, scissors" for global bond markets, conditions in Europe
trumped all other variables in driving the direction of bond prices [last]
week. While last week saw the bulls in Pamplona chasing daring Spaniards
through the streets of that city, other daring Spaniards took to the streets of
Barcelona in violent protests over the newly announced austerity measures being
planned by that nation's government. And while bicycle racers continued their
festive tour through the verdant countryside of France, little else from the
Continent could be seen as cause for celebration. Deepening concerns over the
fiscal crisis in the EU along with that region's worsening recession has ramped
up investors' fears of globally negative economic consequences.

Despite [last Thursday's] announcement that Initial Jobless Claims for the
prior week came in at the lowest level seen in over four years (350m), the U.S.
Treasury's auction of 30yr bonds produced a record low yield of 2.58%... Read more in the Baker Market Update.

Leadership in Action


When there was still a frontier, Americans were
pioneers. In the 21st century, they need to be "visioneers" -
especially when it comes to growing and maintaining successful businesses. What
does "visioneering" mean? It is nothing less than the embrace of
constant change. The change needs to be accepted and capitalized on because it
is happening... Read more.

Corporate Account Takeover


In light of the July 6 decision
by the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals for the First Circuit regarding a bank's
liability when cyber fraud occurs, IBAT, with endorsed service provider Dell
Secureworks, has prepared five tips for banks to share with their business
customers to prevent corporate account takeover (CATO) and other types of cyber
fraud.

  1. Use
    a computer that is dedicated only to handling online banking and bill pay.
      
    That computer or virtualized desktop would not have any other capabilities,
    such as sending and receiving emails or surfing the Web, since Web exploits and
    malicious email are two of the key malware infection vectors. 
  2. Online
    computer users should avoid using weak or default passwords for any online site
    and should refrain from using the same password for multiple sites.
     
    Use a "password manager" to put all your passwords in one database and avoid
    using the same password for more than one website
  3. Institute
    and enforce a centralized plan for keeping computer applications, operating
    systems and security software updated.
    Make sure servers and workstations
    are fully patched promptly and regularly.
  4. Implement
    a robust Intrusion Prevention Solution (IPS) to defend against cyber threats.

    An IPS provides policies and rules to block suspicious network traffic such as
    Web exploit kit attacks, SQL injection attacks, and banking Trojans that infect
    computers and steal data that allow intruders access to your banking accounts.
  5. Before
    clicking on links or attachments in emails, always verify that the
    correspondent sent you the email with the link or attachment.
    Hackers are
    known for breaking into email accounts and sending malicious links and
    attachments. Verify with the sender to confirm the links or attachments are
    safe to click or open.

Also, please refer to the earlier guidance by
the FFIEC
, a webinar
conducted by the Texas Department of Banking and the Texas
Bankers Electronic Crimes Task Force - Best Practices Reducing the Risks of
Corporate Account Takeovers
as resources to help protect your customers
from fraud. CATO is just one of the many IT security topics that will be
discussed at IBAT's IT
Security Summit
on August 9.

Basel III

 


The
recently proposed capital rules have resulted in numerous inquiries from our
membership.  We are obviously concerned, and will be meeting with senior
level regulators to discuss these complex rules and the potential impact on
community banking.  Further, we will have a comment letter finalized in
sufficient time for you to review our thoughts prior to the September 7
deadline for comments.

Our
primary concerns at this juncture include:  the complexity, expense and
burden of compliance appears to be "overkill" for a relatively basic
community banking business model; treatment of TRUPS appears to be in conflict
with a hard-fought victory in Dodd-Frank; Tier 1 capital treatment of market
valuation in the AFS portfolio is problematic; and new risk allocations,
especially in mortgage and other real estate categories, could increase the
cost of credit to consumers and small business borrowers.

Each
of the federal regulators have programs planned to discuss these proposals, and
you should have been notified of the applicable event/teleconference.  

IBAT
will remain vigilant as this process moves forward, and will, as always, be
focused on how these new capital proposals will impact you as a community bank.

Abound Resources


On July 10, Abound Resources, an IBAT endorsed service provider, announced
their acquisition of Sheshunoff Consulting + Solutions' suite of Risk
Management Software products
.

In a joint statement, President and CEO Brad Smith stated, "We are
extremely pleased to be able to acquire the leading online Enterprise
Risk Management
system (ERM) designed specifically
for the community bank and credit union market. The bRisk suite combines
compliance best practices for BSA, Fact Act, SOX, FDICIA, vendor management,
business continuity planning and internal audit with automated risk
assessments, controls and reporting to provide a comprehensive solution
for bank and credit union compliance - all at a price point that fits a
community institution compliance budget." 

Ms. Sheshunoff noted that, "Based on the fit of
our services with theirs and their track record of outstanding client service,
we felt that Abound was our best choice to ensure continued high levels of
service and the best path to a seamless transition for our bank and credit
union clients."

Congressman Hinojosa's Visit


Congressman Ruben
Hinojosa visited with veterans at The First National Bank of Hebbronville.
During the recent ICBA/IBAT visit to Washington D.C., Congressman Hinojosa
expressed an interest in meeting with the veterans in Hebbronville. Bank
President Hinojosa offered the Bank's Community Room and his staff coordinated
the luncheon. Congressman Hinojosa replaces Congressman Henry Cuellar as House
Representative for Jim Hogg County (Hebbronville) as a result of
re-districting.

Pictured with the Congressman are President/CEO Israel Hinojosa
and employees of the bank.

HCSB Merger


[Plainview, TX] Recently, the Boards of Directors of HaleCo Bancshares, Inc. and LubCo Bancshares, Inc. – the two holding companies of HCSB, a state banking association, and Citizens Bank, respectively – approved a definitive agreement to merge the two banks into one, with HCSB being the resulting bank.

Affiliated for years and sharing common ownership and directors, the two entities have entered into a ‘merger of equals’ transaction through a stock exchange as a means to expand services to customers, manage costs and operate more efficiently.

Subject to customary conditions and approval from bank regulatory authorities, the merger brings together two of the oldest and strongest community banks in the Panhandle, both very well respected and sharing a common cause and guiding principles.


The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2012, with HCSB doing business as a wholly-owned subsidiary of HaleCo Bancshares, Inc., which also will change its name to Commerce BancShares, Inc. as a part of the proposed transaction. The resulting bank will operate under HCSB’s 1934 bank charter. Upon closing, HCSB will officially operate a total of 12 full-service banking centers and one loan production office across four key regions of Texas: the Panhandle, South Plains, Lubbock and the Hill Country.

Because of strong brand positions in the market regions the two banks currently serve independently, HCSB will continue to operate and market itself as such in the Panhandle and Hill Country, with Citizens operating and marketing itself as “Citizens Bank, a division of HCSB” in Lubbock and the South Plains. “There is no better time than the present to bring Citizens and HCSB together. Both are true community banks that believe in the power of meaningful relationships with customers and, ultimately, when merged, can remain the bank generations can count on,” comments HCSB Chairman J. David Williams.

“The coming together is truly a positive move that will allow us to bring the best to market in all our shared communities – including the expansion of trust and wealth management services and mortgage lending in Lubbock and the South Plains,” comments Citizens Bank Chairman E.W. Williams, Jr.

Executive management, corporate and bank operations, compliance, finance and credit administration for the merged organization will work out of a new facility in Lubbock, which HCSB is in the process of acquiring.

HCSB was chartered in June 1934 in Plainview, Texas and operates seven banking centers – four in West Texas (two in Plainview and one each in Hart and Tulia) and three in the Hill Country (two in Kerrville and one in Fredericksburg) – and a loan production office in Boerne. Assets as of June 30, 2012 were $397 million.

Citizens Bank was chartered in October 1932 in Slaton, Texas and operates five banking centers – one in Slaton, one in Post, one in Shamrock and two in Lubbock. Assets as of June 30, 2012 were $275 million.

Upon completion and close, it is anticipated that the combined bank will have over $700 million in assets. Characterized by consistent, conservative growth throughout their histories, HCSB and Citizens have grown into two of Texas’ most respected independent banks.

Grand Opening


American Bank, a Texas-based bank serving Austin
since 2001 and IBAT member, kicked off the July 4th holiday a day early with an
all-American celebration at their third local location, which opened early June
in the historic Sampson Building downtown.  

Banking
veteran and Austin Region President Robert Greenwood and his staff gave a warm
welcome to the community and are geared up for the ever-growing business
market. The branch offers full depository and commercial loan services, with
three commercial lending officers located there offering convenience and
commitment to Greater Austin.

PHOTO:
Left to right, Emily Ballenger, Chris Bourne, Nick Vetsch, Robert Greenwood,
Trim Traister, Melody Garrett and Richard Scanio.

IR/Liquidity Risk Disclosures


The
Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is calling for comments on its
proposal to expand liquidity and interest rate risk disclosures.  

Under
the proposed rules, a financial institution would have to:

  • Disclose
    the carrying amounts of classes of financial assets and financial
    liabilities in a table, segregated by their expected maturities, including
    off-balance-sheet financial commitments and obligations;
  • Disclose
    information about its time deposit liabilities, including the cost of
    funding in a table or list during the previous four fiscal quarters;
  • Disclose
    its expected cash flow obligations in a table, segregated by their
    expected maturities, without being required to include the reporting
    organization's financial assets in that table;
  • Provide
    its available liquid funds in a table, which includes unencumbered cash,
    high-quality liquid assets, and borrowing availability;
  • Provide
    additional quantitative or narrative disclosure of the organization's
    exposure to liquidity risk, including discussion about significant changes
    in the amounts and timing in the quantitative tables and how the reporting
    organization managed those changes during the current period.

Additionally,
the rule would require disclosure of:

  • The
    carrying amounts of classes of financial assets and financial liabilities
    according to time intervals based on the contractual repricing of the
    financial instruments;
  • An
    interest rate sensitivity table that presents the effects on net income
    and shareholders' equity of hypothetical, instantaneous shifts of interest
    rate curves; and
  • Quantitative
    or narrative disclosures of the organization's exposure to interest rate
    risk, including discussion about significant changes in the amounts and
    timing in the quantitative tables and how the reporting organization
    managed those changes during the current period.

FASB has set a comment deadline of September 25, 2012.  This proposal epitomizes unnecessary
and costly regulatory burden and IBAT will be commenting accordingly.
 It
is our hope that you will do the same.  To file a comment, please follow
the instructions found here.

Cyber Fraud


If
a financial institution uses reasonable security precautions to protect
customers from cyber fraud, is the bank released from liability when fraud
occurs?  According to a decision issued by the U.S. Federal Court of
Appeals for the First Circuit, the answer is no.  

The
question originates from an August 2011 case which held that Ocean Bank was not
responsible for a $588,000 cyber crime in 2009 because it complied with
security standards issued by federal regulators.  The decision, reversed
last week by the First Circuit, effectively opens the door for business owners
victimized by online fraud to recover stolen funds by suing their bank.  

A
full breakdown of the case and copy of the decision can be found here.

To
make sure that your bank is up to speed on IT security and protection from
cyber fraud, please consider attending IBAT's IT Security Summit on August 9 in Dallas, TX.

Baker Market Update


While
the globe's top physicists have been sidetracked by the discovery of a
sub-atomic particle that will help them explain the mysteries of life, they've
missed something else that's been happening right under their Newtonian noses.
The world is slowing down. Just ask the scientists at the Bureau of Labor
Statistics. In a report released [Friday] morning, they announced that Non-Farm
Payrolls rose just 80m last month against an expectation of a 100m increase.
The Unemployment Rate remains unchanged at 8.2%, but the Underemployment Rate
(U6) rose by a .1 to 14.9%... Read more in the Baker Market Update.

Your Bank's Identity


Like most companies, banks and financial
institutions invest enormous amounts of time and money crafting what they think
is a unique identity. That identity is meant to appeal in an emotionally
engaging manner, build deeper customer relationships and positively affect
market share and profitability. It's a good idea - so good that every bank does
it... More in the Gallup Business Journal

Silver Alert: Luis Martinez


AFFECTED TEXAS
COUNTIES AND/OR NWS REGIONS:

REGIONS
DALLAS, DENTON, ELLIS, HOOD, JOHNSON, PARKER, ROCKWALL, TARRANT AND WISE
COUNTIES

THIS
IS A MISSING SENIOR ALERT ISSUED BY THE TEXAS SILVER ALERT NETWORK

The FORT WORTH POLICE DEPARTMENT is searching for LUIS
MARTINEZ, diagnosed with Alzheimer's, HISPANIC, MALE,
78 years old, DOB 02/21/1934, HEIGHT 5 FEET 4 INCHES, WEIGHT 170
lbs, BROWN Hair,
BROWN Eyes, LAST SEEN WEARING A BASEBALL HAT,
GREY SHIRT, GREY PANTS AND BLACK SHOES. REQUIRES A CANE FOR WALKING.                                                                

The senior
citizen was last seen at 2:30 AM, 07/08/2012 at ESTATES
HEALTHCARE & REHABILITATION AT 201 SYCAMORE SCHOOL ROAD, FORT WORTH,
TARRANT COUNTY, TEXAS.

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 FORT WORTH PD at 817-335-4222.

News Media
Point of Contact is
FORT WORTH PD at
817-335-4222.

Summer Politics


With the delays in the primaries subsequent to hurdles with
the new redistricted election maps, we have the odd opportunity to vote in
runoffs at the end of this month.  The last round of elections prior to
November are set for July 31.  Early voting starts on the 23rd,
and will run only until the 27th  rather than the customary two
week period. 

Many of you have received emails from us seeking input on
your local races.  We did not poll every district in which there is a
runoff, but rather those where we heard from you requesting support or have had
direct communication with one or more of the candidates.  The majority of
the surveys reflected a "split" in support among our membership, which results
in neutrality for us.  We very much appreciate all of the input on these
races as we determine which, if any, of the candidates to support. 
Further, we are tremendously grateful to all of you who have supported the IBAT
PACs financially over the years.  It makes a difference!

We have engaged and made PAC contributions in several "open
seat" races based upon the overwhelming support of the members polled:
 Randy Weber (Congressional District 14); Roger Williams (Congressional
District 25);  Filemon Vela (Congressional District 34);  Greg Bonnen
(TX House 24);  and,  Bennett Ratliff (TX House 115).

Additionally, we have supported a number of incumbents who
are engaged in runoff elections:  Jeff Wentworth (TX Senate 25); Chuck
Hopson (TX House 11);  J.M. Lozano (TX House 43);  Sid Miller (TX
House 59);  and, Jim Landtroop (TX House 88).   Supreme Court
Justice David Medina also has the support of the IBAT PAC in his runoff for
Place 4. 

IBAT has endorsed and the IBAT FedPAC has contributed to Lt.
Governor David Dewhurst in his campaign for U.S. Senate.  The IBAT PAC
Committee at its meeting last week voted to provide additional financial
support for Governor Dewhurst.  We have enjoyed an excellent working
relationship with Mr. Dewhurst and his staff over the years. 

We strongly encourage you to vote in these
important elections, and encourage your circle of influence to do the
same.  Turnout will no doubt be low in this unique election cycle, which
makes your vote even more important.

NorthStar Bank of Texas


NORTHSTAR BANK OF TEXAS
Habitat for Humanity Project

July 6, 2012 - In mid-March, NORTHSTAR BANK OF TEXAS and Denton Bible Church partnered in a Habitat for Humanity Project in Denton, TX.  The three month construction project brought both organizations together with the intent of giving back to their community.

A house dedication took place on June 19th for the Nunez Family where volunteers, friends and families came together to see the finished project and to celebrate the completion.

Throughout the course of the project, NORTHSTAR BANK OF TEXAS and Denton Bible Church had close to 100 volunteers from each entity come together on Saturdays to swing hammers, sheetrock walls, paint, do landscaping, and all that goes into building a home.  Breakfast and lunch was provided on each Saturday's work schedule and much of it was donated by local businesses.

In addition, there were many construction professionals who donated their services as well.  Denton Bible found resources from Taylor Trim, Jeter 3 Company, Master Electrician Paul Strickland, Work Environmental, Elite Door and Trim, and Atlas Construction.  NORTHSTAR brought in professional help from Kent Key Construction, Quickset Concrete, CBS Mechanical, Dan's Painting and Gateway Concrete.  Habitat for Humanity has been blessed with the help of many businesses throughout the year; Woods & Floors, Whirlpool, Valspar Paint, Schneider Electric, Whitworth Engineering, K&K Landscape Services, Adam's Pest Control, Essex Woodworking, United Copper Industries, Sherwin Williams Paint, and Trinity Roofing.

Tony Clark stated at the house dedication that "this was such an awesome experience to participate in as we watched an empty lot become a family's dream home; working on this project was not only good for the community, it was a rewarding and fun experience for our employees."

As the largest community bank in Denton, and one of the largest in the Dallas / Ft. Worth area, NORTHSTAR continues to lead in the banking and mortgage industries.   Their professional staff and personalized style of banking have been the key ingredients to their success. 

Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender

For more information please contact Michele Barber at 940-383-6211 or mbarber@nstarbank.com

Consumer Tips July 2012


"Pay
it off every month!"  That is what your
parents always told you when you first started using credit cards.  "Pay it off every month and you won't get bad
credit."  If your goal is to save money
on paying interest then this might be the ideal approach.  However, this won't keep you from getting bad
credit.  If your goal is to improve your
credit score then you may actually be hurting your credit rating by paying it
all off every month... Read more.

Fun Fact Friday


If you think you've been asked some bizarre questions at work, read on... Your IT department might win this one.

From the
category "the strangest or most unusual requests ever received":

  • "Can
    you come over and plug this cord in for me?"
  • "How
    do I remove a sesame seed from a keyboard?"
  • "How
    do I pirate software?"
  • "Can
    I turn on the coffee pot with my computer?"
  • "How
    do I clean cat hair out of my computer fan?"
  • "I
    dropped my phone in the toilet. What should I do?"

From the
category "lending a hand well outside one's job description":

  • "Can
    you recommend a good dry cleaner?"
  • "I
    can't find my packages online. Can you help me?"
  • "Can
    you help me repair a washing machine?"
  • "We
    need you to fix the microwave in the lunchroom."
  • "Can
    you help me fix my toilet?"
  • "Where
    can I find a video of Elvis Pressley online?"
  • "Can
    you help me fix my chair?"
  • "My
    car's cup holder is broken. Can you help me fix it?"
  • "Can
    you help us get money out of the vending machine?"

And lastly, from
the category of "Computer 101 questions":

  • "Will
    you show me how to use the mouse?"
  • "How
    do I send an email?"
  • "How
    do I start the Internet?"
  • "My
    computer won't turn on or off." (The computer wasn't plugged in.)
  • "How
    do I click on different files?"
  • "I'd
    like to download the entire Internet so I can take it with me."

Read the entire article on the CFO Daily News website.

CFPB Proposed Rule


On
June 28, 2012 IBAT filed a comment letter with the CFPB on the proposed rule
to Implement Ability to Repay Mortgage Standards. The letter reiterates points
made in similar comment letters filed in 2011 with the Federal Reserve. IBAT
continues to stress that the availability of credit in numerous communities is
adversely affected by the escrow requirements imposed on "higher-priced
mortgage loans" and any ambiguous "presumption of compliance"
with the ability to repay requirements will continue to erode the availability
of credit in those communities.

Innovation


As branches of the federal government wrestle with the
future of healthcare in America, others in the private sector are looking for
actual solutions to tackle burgeoning costs.  Yesterday, The Kempton Group
Administrators Inc., sister company of The Kempton Company (administrator of
the IBAT-endorsed Advantage
Health Plans Trust
), was
recognized
for doing just that.

The praise came for the company's Premier Provider
program, which identifies healthcare providers that offer transparent,
greatly-reduced, all-inclusive cash prices, often resulting in up to 70% cost
reduction for certain procedures.  Providers
allow Kempton's participants to access this pricing, because the benefit plans
are self-funded.   Reduced pricing, however, is not just a
benefit enjoyed by the self-funded benefit Plan, as
participants using a Premier Provider incur no out-of-pocket cost for
procedures.   As a result, claims are
paid at 100% and quickly.

"Most people don't realize that for many
procedures and treatments, there can be up to a 400% variance in cost between
providers of healthcare, regardless of the quality of that care," said Jay
Kempton, President & CEO of The Kempton Group Administrators. "Being
aware of these differences and consciously making better healthcare purchasing
decisions is one of the most important steps towards bending the cost
curve."

The Kempton Company's innovative solution was
recognized by the HCC
Life Insurance Company
, which highlights new trends and approaches employed
by insurance administrators to contain costs. 

Amber Alert

THIS IS A CHILD
ABDUCTION ALERT ISSUED BY THE TEXAS AMBER ALERT NETWORK

 

The SAN ANTONIO POLICE DEPARTMENT is searching for GABRIEL RIVERA, HISPANIC, MALE, 3 YEARS old, DOB 12/13/08, 3’0”, 34 LBS, BROWN HAIR, BROWN EYES. 

Police are
looking for ROBERT MEDRANO JR. AND MONICA SOTO IN HIS
abduction.

The suspects
are driving a GOLD, 2000, FORD, EXPLORER with a TX License Plate Number of 57R8454
The suspect was last heard from in SAN ANTONIO, TX

Law
enforcement officials believe this child to be in grave or immediate danger.

If you have
any information regarding this abduction, call the SAN
ANTONIO POLICE DEPARTMENT AT 210-207-7660.
  

Planning the Future


IBAT
leadership bankers from across the state gathered last week for two days of
Committee and Board meetings.  In addition to the normal reports and
discussions of IBAT activities, the Board approved the Convention Policy
Resolutions and recommendations for Bylaws amendments submitted by the Bylaws
and Nominating Committee.  These will be reviewed and voted on at the
Annual Meeting of the Membership at the IBAT Convention in October.

Rogers
Pope, Jr., President and Chief Operating Officer of Texas Bank & Trust,
Longview, was nominated as Secretary-Treasurer.  The remainder of the
proposed leadership of IBAT, to be voted on at the Annual Convention, includes
John W. Jay (Roscoe State Bank) as Vice Chairman;  Jay Gober (First State
Bank, Graham) as Chairman-Elect;  and Troy Robinson (Bank Texas, Quitman)
as Chairman.  Scott Heitkamp, the current Chairman of IBAT, will remain in
a leadership position as Immediate Past Chairman. Several new directors were
nominated as well, and will be announced when all have accepted.

The
Board also reviewed and approved the recommendations of the IBAT Legislative
Committee regarding our proactive agenda for the upcoming 83rd Texas
Legislature.  Additional information will be forthcoming, and we encourage
you to "save the date" - February 5 - for the IBAT Legislative Day in
Austin.

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