IBAT News

The 86th Legislative Session Has Adjourned, Sine Die!

The 86th Texas Legislature finally adjourned, Sine Die, yesterday on May 27. At this juncture, it appears the session produced several very positive outcomes for community banking, with virtually all of our proactive legislative initiatives passed. While there are always a few “end-of-session surprises,” the bills we opposed were either adequately neutered or did not pass. 

As reported previously, the governor has signed several pieces of legislation on the IBAT proactive agenda including: SB 614 (Nichols/Lambert), the Banking and Savings and Mortgage Lending Sunset bill; HB 1254 (Murphy/Hancock), which clarifies a home equity loan can indeed be valid on ag exempt property; and SB 726 (Zaffirini/Lambert), which creates parity between state banks and national banks for community development investments. Awaiting the governor’s signature is HB 2624 (Perez/Zaffirini), which would allow debit or credit card abuse to be prosecuted in any county where the offense was committed or in the county of residence of any person whose debit or credit card was unlawfully possessed or used without consent.

The remaining two pieces of card skimmer legislation finally passed and are on their way to the governor’s desk. HB 2945 and HB 2625 (Perez/Zaffirini) address various ongoing issues with both gas pump skimmers and card fraud in general. Some last minute drama surrounding HB 2625 threatened to derail the legislation along with a number of other bills, but we and other interested parties were able to keep it on track for passage.

We are working on an end-of-session Legislative Insider with more detail on bills of importance to community banking, as well as our more thorough Legislative White Paper. Please register now for our customary end-of-session legislative recap webinar on June 26 from noon until 1:30 p.m. We encourage you to gather your staff for this important and free “lunch and learn” opportunity.

The Last Week Until Sine Die

The Last Week Until Sine Die

The 86th Texas Legislature is less than a week from final adjournment, known as ‘Sine Die,’ on May 27. Each day of the last week of session comes with a deadline for legislation. Plenty of games can be played during the last week to either kill a bill or amend it onto another bill but with deadlines looming, those still trying to get legislation passed are quickly running out of time. We are keeping a close eye on legislation still moving through the process to ensure no unfavorable provisions are added to legislation that is harmful to our members.

Governor Abbott has already signed several pieces of legislation on the IBAT proactive agenda, including:  SB 614 (Nichols/Lambert), the Banking and SML sunset bill; HB 1254 (Murphy/Hancock), which clarifies a home equity loan can indeed be valid on ag exempt property; and SB 726 (Zaffirini/Lambert), which creates parity for community banks and national banks for community development investments. Another piece of legislation is headed to the governor this week—HB 2624 (Perez/Zaffirini), which would allow debit or credit card abuse to be prosecuted in any county where the offense was committed or in the county of residence of any person whose debit or credit card was unlawfully possessed or used without consent. The governor normally has 10 days to sign legislation, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature. However, if legislation is sent to the governor in the last 10 days of the session, the governor has 20 days to sign, veto or allow it to become law without his signature.

The remaining two pieces of card skimmer legislation are on their way to final passage. HB 2945 (Perez/Zaffirini) has been passed by the House and Senate and will be sent back to the House for final approval in the next few days and then to the governor’s desk. We spent quite a bit of time working the Senate Criminal Justice Committee to get a hearing on HB 2625, which finally happened last Friday. The legislation was heard and voted out to the Local and Consent Calendar, which is where agreed-to legislation is sent and is normally easily passed. We anticipate this legislation to pass with no issues in the next few days, be sent to the House for final approval and then to the governor’s desk. As previously indicated, HB 2945 and HB 2625 will address various ongoing issues with both gas pump skimmers and card fraud in general.

IBAT's May/June Magazine


The May/June issue of IBAT’s magazine, The Texas Independent Banker, is now available online. Read about the open banking model, ATM audit concerns, how to fix problem loans and a preview of IBAT's upcoming Connecting Leaders Conference, among other topics of interest in this issue.

In addition, you don't want to miss our regular columns from IBAT Compliance, IBAT Services and The Baker Group.

2019 BOCB Awards


Are you working on your bank’s 2019 Best of Community Banking (BOCB) Award submission? This year marks the 28th year of IBAT’s signature bank awards program that recognizes our members’ efforts to better the quality of life for those around them. Community banks play a vital role and make a powerful impact, both in their communities and in their banks. The BOCB Award is IBAT’s way of honoring your hard work and commitment to improving the lives of your customers, neighbors and friends. Below is what you need to know about 2019 BOCB Awards:

  • Gold, silver and bronze eagle awards will be given in five categories: community service, financial education, marketing, bank culture and architectural design.
  • Entries are free with a maximum of two per bank; member banks must be in good standing to participate.
  • All entries must be received at IBAT headquarters by 5 p.m. on Friday, June 21.

Click here for the brochure and entry form. If you have questions or submission ideas, please contact Lindsey Gehrig by email or phone at 512/275-2215.

My IBAT Update


Thank you for downloading our mobile app! We hope you’ve been enjoying all of its features. To continue enhancing the app and increasing its value, we have recently made some significant changes that will require you to re-download the app onto your devices. To ensure you are on the most current version of the app and have access to all of its new updates, you will need to:

  • Delete the app from your phone and re-download from the App Store.
  • You can do this by simply searching, “My IBAT“ in the App Store. 
  • Once downloaded, log back into your account with your previous credentials. (Email agreavu@ibat.org if you have trouble logging in.)
  • After logging in, you may resume your app usage!

Again, this change only affects iOS users, not Android users. Going forward, you will not have to repeat this process again. Please contact us with any questions.

Texas Legislature in High Gear


It’s that time of session when legislators and lobbyists are rushing to meet deadlines. House and Senate Committees are hearing hundreds of bills this week, members are spending more time on the floor and things are generally moving along as expected. Below are a few highlights on issues of interest that are occupying our time and energy:

  • Skimmers - HB 2945 (Perez), the bill to hold station owners to security and reporting standards was heard in House Pensions, Investments and Financial Services (PIFS) last Thursday. This bill, and related penal code revisions to enhance prosecutorial powers and penalties, has morphed into one of the key proactive issues for IBAT this session. We testified in favor last week and will do so again this morning as the Senate companion, SB 1648 (Zaffirini), is up in the Business and Commerce Committee. A committee substitute has been finalized that will clarify and expand several issues. We anticipate this bill will be voted out of committee early this week and are especially pleased that two key Republicans—Calendars Committee Chairman Four Price and Representative Craig Goldman—signed on as joint authors, joining Democratic leaders Oscar Longoria and Senfronia Thompson. We also very much appreciate the 78 co-authors of this bill and the outstanding work of Representative Mary Ann Perez on this issue. 
  • Central Filing - HB 4519  (King) will be heard in PIFS on Thursday morning. An issue that has been worked on periodically for more than 30 years appears to finally be moving forward. A variety of stakeholders from the agriculture and finance sectors continue to work on a viable, fair and workable solution to the cumbersome issue of agriculture liens. IBAT’s Karen Neeley has played a key role in negotiating and drafting, and she will testify on Thursday on this issue. A committee substitute has been prepared and while support from all parties is not unanimous, a number of the ag groups are on board. 
  • Data Match for Delinquent Taxes - HB 3872 (Longoria) is a bill from the Comptroller of Public Accounts (CPA) and it has a committee substitute that will be heard on Thursday in PIFS. IBAT worked with the CPA staff to ensure that additional burdens and expenses would not be placed on community banks. By utilizing the data already submitted under the AG’s child support program, we believe this protocol will actually save time and financial resources by obviating the “blanket account freeze” process currently utilized.
  • Financial Literacy -  SB 686 (Alvarado) requires a course in financial literacy for high school students. We are very supportive of this initiative and have pushed for financial literacy courses in all grade levels for more than a decade. The companion, HB 1182 (Goodwin), is up on the House floor today. We are encouraged by the progress of this bill and the positive results it will have on Texas citizens.

There will be more to come, and we are happy to provide additional information on these or any other issues percolating at the Texas Capitol. Contact us: sscurlock@ibat.org | mfowler@ibat.org

Big Week at the Texas Capitol

Several of IBAT’s key initiatives will be heard in the Pensions, Investments and Financial Services Committee on Thursday.  We have been highly engaged in a variety of bills to limit the ongoing damaging effects of skimmers on gas pumps, and we are pleased to see these bills moving forward.

HB 2945 creates “merchant duties” to take steps to prevent the installation of skimmers on gas pumps, and sets up security and reporting protocols.  The Attorney General will have rulemaking authority to mandate “best practices”, and civil and criminal penalties are established for non-compliance.  While there are ongoing battles over jurisdiction and authority, we believe a Committee Substitute will address those issues, along with providing language to address enhancements in payment technologies and flexibility in law enforcement duties.  This bill has some 70 cosponsors, and two impressive Joint Authors, Representatives Senfronia Thompson and Oscar Longoria.  If passed, this would be the first law in the nation addressing the responsibilities of station operators in this ongoing problem for both banks and consumers.

HB 2624 allows for the prosecution of card abuse in a variety of counties, and makes prosecution of these offenses a lower hurdle than now exists.

HB 2625 makes possession of five or more fraudulent cards or digital data stored on those cards with intent to harm or defraud another person a crime.  The penalties increase proportionately based upon the number of cards or digital data in one’s possession, and penalties are enhanced if the victim is an elderly individual.  There is protection for businesses and government agencies with cards or data in their possession for legitimate purposes.

HB 2626 defines counterfeit debit and credit cards, and creates an offense if one knowingly possesses, uses, transfers or receives a counterfeit card.  This bill will not be heard separately, but the language will be incorporated into HB 2625 in a Committee Substitute.

All of these bills are authored by Representative Mary Ann Perez of Houston, who along with her Chief of Staff Ryan Perales, have been tremendously engaged and passionate about this issue.  Community bankers and the citizens of Texas should be very grateful for their commitment and dogged persistence on this issue. 

 

Big Week at the Texas Capitol

Several of IBAT’s key initiatives will be heard in the Pensions, Investments and Financial Services Committee on Thursday.  We have been highly engaged in a variety of bills to limit the ongoing damaging effects of skimmers on gas pumps, and we are pleased to see these bills moving forward.

HB 2945 creates “merchant duties” to take steps to prevent the installation of skimmers on gas pumps, and sets up security and reporting protocols.  The Attorney General will have rulemaking authority to mandate “best practices”, and civil and criminal penalties are established for non-compliance.  While there are ongoing battles over jurisdiction and authority, we believe a Committee Substitute will address those issues, along with providing language to address enhancements in payment technologies and flexibility in law enforcement duties.  This bill has some 70 cosponsors, and two impressive Joint Authors, Representatives Senfronia Thompson and Oscar Longoria.  If passed, this would be the first law in the nation addressing the responsibilities of station operators in this ongoing problem for both banks and consumers.

HB 2624 allows for the prosecution of card abuse in a variety of counties, and makes prosecution of these offenses a lower hurdle than now exists.

HB 2625 makes possession of five or more fraudulent cards or digital data stored on those cards with intent to harm or defraud another person a crime.  The penalties increase proportionately based upon the number of cards or digital data in one’s possession, and penalties are enhanced if the victim is an elderly individual.  There is protection for businesses and government agencies with cards or data in their possession for legitimate purposes.

HB 2626 defines counterfeit debit and credit cards, and creates an offense if one knowingly possesses, uses, transfers or receives a counterfeit card.  This bill will not be heard separately, but the language will be incorporated into HB 2625 in a Committee Substitute.

All of these bills are authored by Representative Mary Ann Perez of Houston, who along with her Chief of Staff Ryan Perales, have been tremendously engaged and passionate about this issue.  Community bankers and the citizens of Texas should be very grateful for their commitment and dogged persistence on this issue. 

 

Call to Action


IBAT has filed a comment letter on the proposed Community Bank Leverage Ratio (“CBLR”) framework developed by the federal agencies in accordance with Section 201 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. We encourage you to review our letter - and more importantly - to file your own letter either through our Grassroots Action Center or through the methods indicated on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The comment period closes April 9, so please consider taking prompt action.

Please note that our Grassroots Action Center is the most streamlined way to submit your letter to all of the Federal agencies, as there are separate instructions for filing with all three agencies otherwise. When filing through our Grassroots Action Center, you will only need to add some personal information and/or delete a few lines in italics, then hit “send” to submit a comment letter on this critically important issue.

We appreciate you taking the time to submit the emails as presented in the templates, your personal observations, bank characteristics and opinions are very helpful and appreciated by each agency and have much more impact on the final outcome of this important issue. We do ask that you delete those sections/sentences in italics prior to submitting your emails, and feel free to edit as you wish. As always, thank you for your engagement on this and other issues critically important to community banking.

SWGSB Scholarships


SWGSB Scholarships

To complement the IBAT Education Foundation’s mission of ‘building better bankers,’ we are proud to announce the creation of the “Building Better Bankers Scholarship” to the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking (SWGSB) at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. This scholarship is open to first-year students and will cover full tuition for all three years of the banking school. Read more and access the application here.

Additionally, the SWGSB Foundation generously gives the “SWGSB Millennium Scholarship” to an IBAT member bank employee each year. This $1,500 scholarship is applied to the recipient’s first-year tuition. Read more and access the application here.

The deadline for both scholarship applications is March 31, 2019 and recipients will be notified by April 30, 2019. The banking school’s 62nd Annual Session will be held May 27-June 6, 2019. Read more about SWGSB.

What Now?

Thoughts from Karen Neeley
IBAT General Counsel and Senior Attorney with Kennedy Sutherland, LLP.

Unless you have been in a coma, you are aware that the federal government ran out of funding and now significant agencies are shut down.  However, the federal banking regulators are funded outside of the budget process and should be operating as normal.  On the other hand, SBA is shuttered as is USDA.  This impacts lending activities through them.  The SEC will have to furlough employees.  IRS and FinCEN are affected, although the OCC (another part of Treasury) is not.  Tax transcripts will not be available from IRS.  Here is a link to a helpful letter for Sellers from Fannie Mae. The Social Security Administration is affected, but social security and disability checks will still go out and Medicare will be paid.

Bank customers who are furloughed federal employees will not be paid.  Essential personnel will continue to work (to protect our borders and as prison guards as well as other critical functions), but they aren’t being paid.  In past shutdowns, Congress has authorized back pay.  However, there is no guarantee that this will be the case this time.  Meanwhile, banks have customers with loan payments and living expenses that won’t wait.  Consider setting up a small loan program to assist during this period as well as a loan modification procedure.

Flood Insurance Update - "As of this evening, all NFIP insurers have been directed to resume normal operations immediately and advised that the program will be considered operational since December 21, 2018, without interruption," FEMA said in a statement posted to the agency's website.

Thankful for You


We’re counting our blessings this Thanksgiving – for family, friends, freedom and the opportunity to work for an industry that makes such a positive impact throughout Texas. Your IBAT family is proud of the work you do and grateful for your support and friendship.

In today’s busy world, we want to take a moment to stop and reflect on the many blessing we enjoy each day. We wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving! May your week be filled with quality time with the people closest to you and a little bit of rest from the incredible work you do.

The IBAT office will close at noon on Wednesday, November 21 and will remain closed through Friday, November 23. Normal business hours will resume on Monday, November 26.

Vote!


One of the most well-worn phrases every two years is, “This election cycle is unique.” For a variety of reasons, this particular election cycle is indeed one of the more interesting ones in quite some time. Your vote matters, and much is at stake.

Early voting for the November 6 general election begins on Monday, October 22 and runs through Friday, November 2. Polling place and other important information can be found on your respective County Clerks’ websites. The Texas Secretary of State’s website is also a great source for information regarding the upcoming elections.

As is customary, we have listed those candidates to whom the IBAT PAC or IBAT FedPAC have contributed in this cycle. Please note that we have excluded those who opted not to run for whatever reason or were defeated in the primary.

Additionally, questions regarding judicial elections around the state are asked frequently. The Texas Civil Justice League's (TCJL) endorsements for a variety of judicial races can be found here. IBAT is a member of, and works closely with, TCJL.

Finally, IBAT is a corporate sponsor of the Texas Tribune (The Trib). One of the more interesting election coverage offerings from The Trib is the “Hotlist,” which lists some of the more competitive races to watch. The list will be updated on a weekly basis between now and election day. If you are so inclined, feel free to take a look.

Thank you for your engagement in this important process, and your ongoing support of IBAT and our Political Action Committees.

Merger News


Fourth Quarter 2018 is expected to bring about the merger of ABA Insurance Services by the holding company of Great American Insurance Group. No reductions in coverage are expected and personnel will remain and operate as usual.

The ABA endorsement will continue and dividends for ABA Members are to continue when they’re declared. For more information click here or feel free to call Carol, Connie or Valarie with the IBAT Financial Services team at 512-474-6889.

Cybersecurity


October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), a collaborative effort between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its public and private partners, including the National Cyber Security Alliance, to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and individual cyber hygiene.

Community bankers are certainly aware of the risks posed by cybersecurity and can take an active role in educating consumers about those risks. To assist you in this effort, DHS has prepared the following resources:

To learn more about NCSAM and access more resources, you can also view the Department of Homeland Security’s homepage and download the NCSAM General Toolkit.

Farewell


At this year’s annual convention, IBAT President and CEO Chris Williston addressed IBAT members, friends and family for the final time. If you were not present at IBAT’s convention, you’re in luck – Chris’s speech is available to view online. Get the tissues out!

Additionally, general session speaker Inquoris “Inky” Johnson spoke to a jam-packed room and no doubt motivated IBAT members with his message of determination, leadership, teamwork and perseverance. Hear his inspiring message here.

Salary Survey


The IBAT 2018 Texas Community Bank Salary and Compensation Survey report is now available. If you participated in the survey, log in to the IBAT Salary Survey homepage and click the “access reports” tab at the top to download the comprehensive results report. Participants can also access the custom reporting tool that sorts by asset size, geographic region and more—at no charge. Thanks to the nearly 100 banks that participated in this year’s survey, ensuring the data is comprised of a robust set of banks of various sizes and geographic disparity.

If you didn’t participate in the survey but want to know if your employees’ salaries and benefits are competitive with similar banks, the report can be purchased by IBAT members for $450. Contact Lindsey Gehrig if you have any questions or to purchase.

Legislative


The Senate Banking Committee met last week to hear from the heads of the federal regulatory agencies on their progress in implementing the provisions of The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155). This exhaustive process is clearly a priority for the agencies and progress continues, according to the witnesses at the hearing and corroborated by our discussions with the various regulators.

Progress to date has been made in the mortgage area, 18-month exam cycle and other provisions of S. 2155. Proposed rules implementing an important capital provision, allowing for a minimum leverage ratio in lieu of compliance with complex Basel risk-based capital requirements, are expected prior to yearend. Further, the short-form call report proposal is anticipated over the next several weeks.

IBAT will continue to provide input on the implementation of these – and other – provisions of the regulatory burden relief legislation and will encourage your comments when appropriate and necessary.

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