2012 Leadership Conference

The 2012 Leadership Conference is quickly approaching! Mark your calendars – June 14-16, at The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center.

The Leadership Conference is designed to inspire and involve leaders of community banks. Whether you are a President/ CEO or an up and coming employee, you are encouraged to attend and be inspired to become a more enthusiastic leader with the Leadership approach to opportunity, attitude and quality service.

If you are interested in sponsoring, advertising or exhibiting at the event there is still time!

Registration is now open.

Congressional Visit

More than 130 bankers and industry partners will be in DC next week for visits with members of the Texas Congressional delegation.  The visits will coincide with a nationwide fly-in (April 24-26) of community bankers across the country attending the Independent Community Bankers of America Washington Policy Summit.  In addition, meetings are planned with senior officials of each of the prudential regulatory agencies and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

"We are gratified with the excellent response from the membership. Grassroots contact is key if we are going to continue the momentum and increase the understanding that community banks represent Main Street and not Wall Street among our elected members of Congress," said Chris Williston, President and CEO of IBAT.  

Bankers will be discussing a multitude of policy issues important to community banks including advocating for meaningful regulatory relief, discouraging legislation to expand credit union business lending and encouraging lawmakers to extend the Transaction Account Guarantee (TAG) program due to expire at the end of 2012.  A complete summary of the issues to be discussed can be found here.

IBAT encourages bankers who are unable to make the trip to familiarize themselves with these issues and to reinforce their importance with Congressional representatives in district meetings back home.

IBAT Embarks on Main Street Tour

IBAT's Steve Scurlock and Mae Beth Palone recently accompanied Texas First Lady Anita Perry and members of the Texas Historical Commission on the annual Main Street Tour.  This was the 18th consecutive year that IBAT has sponsored this tour which recognizes Texas’ cities and towns for their downtown revitalization efforts.  Local community banks participate in these restoration efforts by providing low interest loans to help in revitalization efforts.  The group began its tour in San Angelo which has been designated as a Texas Treasures City.  The group later visited Victoria where Mrs. Perry applauded the city for its designation as a 2012 Texas Main Street City.

Photo: Several local San Angelo area banks participated in the festivities. Pictured with IBAT Executive Vice President Steve Scurlock are l-r John Childers, Bank of San Angelo; Gary Cox, Texas State Bank; and Dean McIntyre, First State Bank.  Other participating bankers not pictured in photo include Don Johnston, American State Bank; Todd Huckabee and Debbie Long, Crockett National Bank; Joey Davis, Bank & Trust, ssb; and Jay Freitag, First National Bank in Sonora.  Also on hand for the celebration was IBAT Associate Member Will Welch of CalTech. 

Coloring Pages for April Campaigns

As we continue to celebrate Community Banking Month and Financial Literacy Month throughout the month of April, IBAT has teamed up with The Genesis Group to provide free coloring pages for you to share with your customers. 

In addition to the coloring pages, The Genesis Group has developed a number of customizable resources (sample counter card) for you to use in your promotion of the two April campaigns. Click here for information on purchasing additional resources.

Nonresident Alien Deposits

Over the longtime staunch opposition of IBAT and other banking trade groups, the IRS, as anticipated, issued a final rule last week to require reporting of interest earned on nonresident alien deposits.  You may wish to review IBAT’s comment letter on the rule for background and a recap of our concerns.  While not an issue for most of our banks, this is a blow to those community banks with this category of deposits as a significant part of their funding mix.  

We are hopeful that pending legislation to prohibit the IRS from collecting this information will be successful, and negate what we believe to be misguided policy from the Treasury Department.  

Guidance on the final rule is available here.

The rules are applicable to nonresident alien accounts beginning January 1, 2013.  We will provide additional information as it becomes available.

IBAT Comment Letter

Last week, IBAT filed a comment letter in response to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) proposed rule regarding treatment of privileged information.  

Under section 1026 of the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFPB can require community and regional banks to provide reports to it and the CFPB may participate in regulatory examinations on a "ride along" basis. Through these reports and examinations, CFPB employees could inspect documents that are subject to the attorney/client privilege. Current federal law allows federal banking agencies to view documents without affecting any privilege; however, the CFPB is not included in the definition of federal banking agency.  A bank faced with an examination or a request for documents from the CFPB could find itself between a rock and a hard place:  provide privileged documents and risk waiving a privilege or defy the CFPB's request for privileged documents and risk administrative action.  IBAT urged the CFPB to suspend implementation of the rule to give Congress time to address the issue.  Pending legislation would fix this problem.

Credit Union MBL Vote Expected

After months of intense pressure by credit union activists, the United States Senate is expected to take up S. 2231, The Small Business Lending Enhancement Act (AKA, "Member Business Loans," or "MBL"), as early as this week.  The measure, which would increase the cap on credit unions' small business lending authority from 12.5 to 27.5% of total assets, bypassed the Senate Banking Committee thanks to a procedural gimmick employed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  

As late as last week, some lines of division became clear in the CU camp, as the effort came under fire by Stuart Perlitsh, CEO of a California-based credit union for teachers.  "There is a silent majority of credit unions that neither wants nor needs this legislation," Mr. Perlitsh said in a letter to Congressional leaders, quoted in American Banker.

Perlitsh went on to tell American Banker that, "he is not certain that the credit union industry as a whole has the expertise to properly judge risk on commercial lending."

We are advised by our two Senators that they've heard the message from Texas community bankers loud and clear, and that additional contacts are not necessary at this time.  IBAT will be sending yet another letter to reinforce our strong opposition to this unnecessary and unfair initiative. 

IBAT Teach the Teacher Program

The Education Foundation of the Independent Bankers Association of Texas officially launched its 2012 IBAT Teach the Teacher series on Saturday, April 14, 2012, at West Texas A&M University in Amarillo. A pilot program, which was an overwhelming success, was held in October at Baylor University, and three additional IBAT Teach the Teacher programs are planned by the end of 2012 in Houston, San Antonio and East Texas.

The goal of this one-day program, for which participants earned six hours of Texas Education Agency-approved continuing education credit and an incentive stipend, is to provide educators with engaging and practical approaches to teaching money management to high school students. Sixty teachers—impacting more than 8,500 students—from 20 school districts across West Texas registered to attend. Program sponsors include IBAT, Amarillo National Bank, FirstBank Southwest, First National Bank Spearman, Happy State Bank, Herring Bank, PULSE Network and West Texas A&M University.  

“The IBAT Foundation chose to focus on financial literacy because statistics show that Texas trails most of the nation in this important area,” Mary Lange, IBAT Foundation president, said. “Not only do Texans have low credit scores but we also rank 48th in household net worth and 44th in home-ownership rates. Texas community bankers see these trends and set out to do something about them through their Foundation. By learning relevant financial habits in the classroom, high school students can begin the path to financial success that will help break these startling statistics.”

Concepts taught during the program align with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) tests as well as C-SCOPE standards. Additionally, the Texas Legislature has mandated financial education as a requirement for graduation from a public high school, and beginning in 2013, the TEKS test will include a financial literacy component.

The opening session of the program included a keynote presentation, “Understanding the New World of Credit and How Credit Scores Are Constructed” by Eddie Johansson, the nation’s top expert on consumer credit scores. Johansson, founding president of Credit Security Group, has analyzed more than 6,000 credit reports and educated thousands of lenders and consumers alike about the credit scoring system. Additional sessions focused on specific class-level lesson plans, activities, worksheets and tests, and other evaluation tools. Participating teachers received a local community banker mentor for the school year to serve as an advisor.


Following President Obama signing the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission is accepting public comments on the implementation of the law. The SEC has up to one year to promulgate rules on the act, which includes a provision to raise the SEC registration threshold for banks and bank holding companies from 500 shareholders to 2,000 and also adjusts the deregistration threshold from 300 to 1,200.

The SEC also issued frequently asked questions on the act. In the FAQs, the SEC clarified that changes to the registration and deregistration thresholds under the Exchange Act are effective immediately. However, it also noted that until the SEC amends Exchange Act Rule 12g-4, which provides for the immediate suspension of the duty to file periodic reports filed under Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act (e.g. 10-Ks and 10-Qs, but not proxy statements) for companies with fewer than 300 (not 1,200) stockholders of record, the registrant’s obligation to file periodic reports under Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act remains in effect for the 90-day period following the filing of the Form 15 unless such registrant currently has fewer than 300 stockholders of record.

Earlier this week, ICBA also issued FAQs on the JOBS Act.

Guiltless Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the IBAT Education Foundation’s Guiltless Giveaway Raffle.

Grand Prize - $5,000 Discover Gift Card
Dusty Sheffield – City National Bank

 Apple iPad 2 Winners
George Richardson – Security State Bank
Tommy Brooks – CAMAC International Corporation
Chelsey Hagin – Bank of the West

Nikon Digital Camera Winners
Tammy Harper – Bank of the West
Anita Minor – Bank of the West

Tiffany Jewelry Winners
Joy Smith – TIB – The Independent BankersBank
Melissa Risinger –Bank of the West
Robert Weinzapfel – Muenster State Bank

The Guiltless Giveaway was made possible by the generosity of Dennis Schwartz, founder of McKinney, Texas-based Schwartz & Associates real estate law. Since 1989, Schwartz & Associates has specialized in residential loan document preparation for mortgage lenders of all sizes.

Salary Survey Winner Announced

During the month of March, IBAT urged banks across the state to sign up and begin using our new online and dynamic salary and compensation survey, which collects and aggregates data to assist members in forming their compensation strategies.  

With your participation, we expanded the number of banks in the survey by almost twenty percent. Congratulations to First State Bank in Odem, TX who won one year of free access to the survey data!  

Different from past years, the IBAT Salary and Compensation Survey is not limited to just a moment in time.  Banks can log-in anytime, set up an account, add their own data and access the aggregated data of other participants.  

IBAT members can access survey data for $395 by participating in the survey.  Or, they can purchase the survey data without participating for $875.  To learn more or begin using the survey, logon to the IBAT Salary & Compensation Survey webpage.  

Honor Texas’s Vietnam Veterans

The Texas Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that half a million Vietnam War veterans call Texas home.  One in every twenty soldiers who died in Vietnam were from Texas.  
Despite these staggering statistics, the Texas Capitol currently lacks a monument saluting the service and remembering the sacrifice of these Texans in the Vietnam War.  In 2005, the Texas Legislature authorized the State Historical Commission to match private donations for the building of a monument, up to $500,000.  Since that time, the effort the necessary raise funds has been underway.  
IBAT asks that member banks consider supporting the cause by making a donation to help meet the $1.5 million goal to bring a Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans memorial to fruition.  Information on the monument can be found online at the homepage of the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Memorial.   If you are interested in donating to this cause, a pledge form is also available.

Tax Lien Lender Request

Representative Burt Solomons recently submitted a request for an Attorney General’s Opinion seeking clarification on two issues related to the expanding tax lien lender presence in our state.

The first question deals with the authority of the tax assessor-collector to effect a valid transfer of lien.  The request also covers the question of whether fees and interest, post-transfer, should be treated as a “priority lien.” You may recall that IBAT pushed for clarifying legislation on this issue at the last legislative session.

We continue to receive calls from banks that are dealing with customers – both commercial and residential – who have entered into third party contracts to pay ad valorem taxes, thus negatively impacting the bank’s collateral position. IBAT created a “best practices one pager” that has been distributed numerous times over the past several years to assist you in avoiding this unpleasant experience.

We appreciate the efforts of Representative Solomons to bring some clarity to a growing source of frustration for our member banks.


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President Signs JOBS Act

Late last week, President Obama signed the JOBS Act (H.R. 3606) which overwhelmingly passed Congress. IBAT and ICBA enthusiastically supported the measure as it contained an IBAT/ICBA-supported provision to raise the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registration threshold for financial institutions from 500 shareholders to 2,000, and a provision to raise the de-registration threshold from 300 to 1200. These provisions are effective immediately.

ICBA has prepared an excellent Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sheet that can be accessed here.

The SEC registration and de-registration provision is just one of the many community bank friendly provisions contained in the Communities First Act (H.R. 1697, S. 1600) that is being supported by IBAT and ICBA.