IBAT News

Banking Industry Differences


IBAT for years has been espousing the absolute necessity of recognizing the stark differences that have evolved in the banking industry.  Tiered regulation, recognizing that the risk profiles, activities and cultures of community banks and the too-big-to-fail conglomerates are dramatically different, is critical to ensure a future for our successful and important business model.  

Two community bankers have weighed in on this issue over the past weeks.  First, Tom Frost, Chairman Emeritus of Frost Bank, appeared before a Subcommittee of the Senate Banking Committee in Washington, DC on May 9.  Mr. Frost made an eloquent and impassioned plea for separation of “traditional” banking from the more risky investment banking and other activities of the largest banks, much of which contributed to the recent meltdown.  The hearing video is available online, and we believe you will appreciate Mr. Frost’s comments.  His testimony starts at the 99:30 mark, and questions from the Senators commence at the 127:00 mark.  
A blog by an attorney for a pharmaceutical company, Lee Cusenbary, in the San Antonio Express News not only recaps Mr. Frost’s testimony, but provides some interesting and relevant observations.

Additionally, former IBAT Chairman and President and CEO of HomeTown Bank, N.A. in Galveston, Jimmy Rasmussen, provided a thoughtful guest column to the Galveston Daily News that appeared on May 17.  Jimmy, in a very understandable fashion, uses the recent JP Morgan Chase trading blunder to point out yet again the differences in the Main Street vs. Wall Street business models.

IBAT Weighs In


Responding to a recent endorsement of expanded credit union business lending thresholds by the Texas Association of Business, IBAT President and CEO Chris Williston submitted a letter (scheduled to appear in today's edition) to the Houston Chronicle expressing our concerns. 

"There is so much more to this story than what is presented by the credit union industry," said Williston.  "We find their entire argument full of holes, and consider the claims of additional job creation and new loans available to small businesses highly suspect at best.  Some credit unions seem to want the best of all worlds, and we strongly believe that those wishing to be banks should convert."

IBAT contacted the Texas Association of Business in May, 2010 when they first indicated support for expanded credit union member business lending, and offered to meet with them to present our counter arguments.  The association rejected our offer.  And while we are obviously disappointed in their position on this issue, IBAT will continue to work vigorously to oppose any efforts of credit unions to expand their commercial lending activities so long as they remain tax exempt institutions.

Due Diligence Comment Letter


IBAT issued a comment letter on FinCEN's proposal to develop a customer due diligence ("CDD") regulation. This new proposed CDD regulation is an attempt to bring "uniformity and consistency" in already established mandates such as "know your customer" and "customer identification program." It includes an expanded focus that also addresses two significant issues - customers acting as agents, and obtaining information on a beneficial owner. There is some serious doubt if the information that would be required would prove valuable in a bank's BSA/AML efforts or would assist in any legitimate law enforcement needs. IBAT feels the proposal is very problematic and will have serious unforeseen consequences for overly-burdened community banks.

Vote!


The primary elections are underway . . . early voting started May 14, and runs through May 25.  Election Day is Tuesday, May 29.  You can easily access early voting and Election Day polling locations  by going to your County Clerk’s website.
 
As you have read previously, we have endorsed and contributed to David Dewhurst in his campaign for United States Senate.
 
Additionally, the IBAT PAC has contributed in a number of open seat races in Texas Senate and House contests.  In the Texas Senate, we have made contributions to Ken Paxton (SD 8), Charles Schwertner (SD 5) and Larry Taylor (SD 11).  Open seat House candidates who have received PAC contributions from IBAT include Greg Bonnen (HD 24), Tony Dale (HD 136), James Frank (HD 69), John Raney (HD 14), Justin Rodriguez (HD 125) and Ed Thompson (HD 29).  All of these contributions were made after surveys were sent to IBAT members in these districts.  Several additional contributions are in process, and will be made prior to the May 29 primary elections.
 
Please feel free to call or email Steve Scurlock if you have any questions or comments, and please vote and encourage those in your circle of influence to do the same.
 

Mother's Day


This weekend we honor Mothers everywhere.  Thanks to your attention to family and for all you do.  Happy Mother's Day!

2012 PAC Drawing


Congratulations to Wade Easley, his board of directors and staff at First National Bank of Hereford on being the lucky winners in this year's IBAT PAC Drive drawing. IBAT looks forward to cookin' up some great barbecue for you! FNB Hereford was one of seventy member banks to hold a PAC drive in at least one of their branch locations.

Thanks to all the banks that held a PAC drive.  Your support will keep IBAT working as the only association dedicated to advocating for the interests of community banks exclusively.

Comptroller Susan Combs Meeting


It is going to be an interesting State legislative session to say the least.  That was the conclusion reached by members of IBAT's Executive Committee following an hour-long meeting with State Comptroller Susan Combs in her office late last week.

Combs requested the meeting to better understand challenges faced by community banks and their customers, and to get insights "from the front lines" on economic conditions across the State.  IBAT bankers generally reported that qualified borrowers were still "hunkered down" with so much economic uncertainty.  Combs reported that although State sales tax revenues and oil and gas tax revenues were on the rise, Texas faces significant challenges as state Medicaid funding is expected to increase dramatically as a percentage of state spending (from 20% today to over 37% in 2023) as a result of the Obama health care law.  Combs also expressed concern for local school district debt service which has risen a whopping 152% over the past decade and cited a need for more creative solutions and administrative resource sharing.

Combs is currently conducting town hall meetings across the State in an effort to inform Texans about the very real financial issues that will challenge legislators when they convene in Austin in January of 2013.  IBAT has agreed to help publicize the meetings for the Comptroller in an effort to increase local participation and collaboration.

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.

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