The Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2) passed the House Agriculture Committee by a 26-20 bipartisan vote. While the bill is still in draft form and expected to change significantly as it moves through Congress, Chairman Mike Conaway is committed to delivering a new bill before the current one expires on September 30.

One of the many benefits of this bill is that improving the current crop insurance program allows farmers and ranchers to obtain and repay bank loans.

Baker Market Update: 4.23.18

The Federal Reserve released the latest edition of its Beige Book this week and the good news is, it still goes with everything. Beige is the new black. The near-universal sentiment from all twelve Fed districts was that import tariffs do not go well with much of anything, and never will. Concerns about input prices and skilled labor shortages are becoming an oftrepeated refrain from all corners of the nation. Good news if you’re rooting for inflation, like the Fed. Not so good if yours is a business that lacks pricing power, like almost everybody’s. And if your business is a Starbucks, well, you’ve got other problems.

Read More in the Baker Market Update

In Remembrance

The community banking family is mourning the loss of Gayle Earls, who passed away early Friday morning after a valiant battle with cancer. Gayle profoundly touched the lives—personally and professionally—of many of us across Texas and the nation, and he will be missed. One of the many ways he served our industry was through his time on the IBAT board.

“Gayle was larger than life,” said Chris Williston, IBAT President and CEO. “He was not only an integral part of IBAT for decades, but was also a mentor and a friend to me and so many in this industry. He was indeed a legend, and I’m grateful to have had Gayle as part of my life.”

His obituary details a life well lived and provides information on the services this week celebrating Gayle’s life. The IBAT family extends our sincere condolences to Gayle’s family and many friends, and shares in grieving for a true friend of community banking.



The House passed legislation to exempt community banks with less than $10 billion in assets and less than five percent of their assets tied to trading from the Volcker Rule. The Volcker Rule Regulatory Harmonization Act (H.R. 4790) passed on a 300-104 vote with 78 Democrats joining the Republican majority to revise the ban enacted by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act and originally proposed by former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker.

This legislation passed as the House prepares to take up community bank regulatory relief following Senate passage of S. 2155, which also contains the Volcker Rule provision.

Community Banking Month

To show that Friday the 13th isn’t a scary day and to recognize Community Banking Month, Texas First Bank came up with a fun way to celebrate. All client service professionals surprised their 13th customer of the day with $13, plus they had a little party. See photos of their Friday the 13th fun on IBAT’s Facebook page.

We love highlighting the many ways our banks celebrate Community Banking Month and show their customer appreciation. Please email Lindsey Gehrig with information (and photos, if you have them) or tag IBAT on your Facebook posts!


Mark Your Calendar

IBAT and ePayResources are pleased to once again offer ACH Boot Camp – Fundamentals Basic Training, June 5-6, 2018 at IBAT headquarters in Austin. If you’re ready to get “whipped into ACH shape,” this two-day program is for you. Whether you’re new to the ACH world or a seasoned veteran, you will walk away with a fundamentally sound understanding of how to win the battle for compliant, efficient ACH operations.

Register today for this interactive course and you will:

  • Learn how to identify ACH network participants;
  • Discover how an understanding of ACH terms and payment formats can expedite the resolution of customer inquiries;
  • Navigate the maze of the ACH Rules Book to find the information you need;
  • Decode an ACH entry to understand the message being received;
  • Chart the course of an ACH return entry;
  • Dig through the technical specifications of an ACH file; and

Identify and quickly troubleshoot errors. 

Baker Market Update: 4.16.18

Markets- Treasuries yields and equities alike drifted up this week volatility continued to decline from the mid-February run-up. Yields across the curve are up modestly (2Yr 2.36%, 10Yr 2.82%) and the 10s-2s spread remains tight around 50bps. This is the tightest spread this cycle, and to place in historical context- 50bps occurred only a few months away from the beginnings of the Great Recession in 2007. Given the current levels of rates, two more hikes of Fed Funds would invert the yield curve, which typically portends a recession. Of course, correlation does not imply causation but since 1950 given the Fed’s 13 hiking cycles, 10 landed ended in recession. June’s Fed meeting holds an 87% likelihood we’ll see a hike of 25 basis points and prospects for a third hike in 2018 (perhaps September) are hovering around 67%. On top of the two, more likely three rate hikes, the Fed also needs to unwind their balance sheet to the tune of about $600 billion a year. Analysts have indicated that this volume would translate to approximately 100bps tightening in short term rates.

Read More in the Baker Market Update

Help Pass S. 2155

It’s an important week for our industry as community bankers gather in Washington, D.C. for both ICBA’s Capital Summit and IBAT’s Annual Congressional Visit. This year’s visits are especially important as we await the House vote on the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155). President Trump is ready to sign the bill into law, making a statement last week that passing S. 2155 “should be done fairly quickly.”

While the bill’s supporters include the President, it’s up to House members to keep the momentum going. Whether you’re in Washington or at home, we encourage you to take action by signing ICBA’s petition urging the House to provide community bankers with much-needed regulatory relief.



The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued new frequently asked questions to assist covered financial institutions understand the scope of the Customer Due Diligence Requirements for Financial Institutions final rule published in May 2016. The rule requires banks to implement a formal customer due diligence program and identify the beneficial owners of legal entity customers by May 11, 2018. Access the FAQ here.


Register Now!

Succeeding in a highly competitive marketplace is top of mind for every community banker in our state. While there are plenty of training resources available for HR and operations professionals, most are not specific to community banking. IBAT recognized this need, as well as the unique role HR and operations staff play at community banks, and created the Human Resources and Operations Summit.

Join us April 24-25, 2018 at the Omni Mandalay in Irving for an overview of recent regulatory changes, litigation of interest and practical recommendations for implementation at community banks. Topics that will be addressed in depth include employment compliance priorities, HR audit, employee engagement strategies, hiring and nurturing generations, vendor management and more. Click here for additional information and to register.

Call for Entries

The call for entries is officially open for the 2018 Best of Community Banking (BOCB) awards program. Be on the lookout for the BOCB brochure and entry form to hit mailboxes this week. 2018 marks the 27th year of celebrating the outstanding accomplishments of IBAT members through this award.

If you haven’t heard the exciting news, we’ve made two big changes this year. First, entry is now free! While we always have good turnout, we hope this will encourage new banks to participate. We know budgets get tighter every year and want to showcase the work our members do in their banks and in their communities without it having to be a budget line item.

Second, we've added a category—bank culture. This will include employee recognition, training and development, and incentives, as well as internal marketing and anything focused on employees and developing bank culture. We know many member banks have employee-centric programs that fit this category and can’t wait to learn about them.

Mark your calendar for June 22, 2018, this year’s entry deadline. Please contact Lindsey Gehrig with any questions.


Last week was not a good one for security. Under Armour announced that an estimated 150 million MyFitnessPal accounts were compromised in February. Affected information includes usernames, email addresses and passwords. According to reports, no credit card data was stolen.

The bad news continued for Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord &Taylor. More than five million credit card numbers were stolen with information from 125,000-plus cards already released on the dark web. According to cybersecurity experts, the breach began in May of last year and continued until the present. As the investigation is still in the early stages, it is unsure what other information may have been stolen.

IBAT is among a handful of witnesses invited to testify at an interim hearing tomorrow before the House Committee on Business and Industry. We have long advocated for consistent treatment (Gramm Leach Bliley standards) for all entities keeping sensitive customer data, prompt notification of both the affected customer and their financial institution, as well as restitution of costs resultant from a data breach, including card reissue and fraud loss reimbursement to any impacted financial institution.

Baker Market Update: 4.02.17

Who doesn’t remember The China Syndrome, that classic thriller from 1979? Some readers of a certain age may recall that the film’s star, Jack Lemmon, played the role of a nuclear power plant supervisor who narrowly avoids causing a radioactive catastrophe when a faulty gauge induces him to do exactly the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time. Has anyone else noticed that the late Mr. Lemmon looks a lot like the redoubtable Jerome Powell? 

Read More in the Baker Market Update


Mark your calendars for a celebration that is 30 years in the making. As previously announced, IBAT’s President and CEO Chris Williston will step down from his position at the end of 2018, following 30 years of leadership at IBAT. The association has scheduled a retirement celebration in Williston’s honor to be held at Austin Country Club on Thursday, December 6, 2018.

Rooms have been secured at Hotel Granduca near Austin Country Club. Reservations are not open at this time, but we will let you know as soon as hotel accommodations can be secured!

In response to several requests from bank and associate members, IBAT is looking for hosts to help underwrite the event and celebrate Williston’s many achievements throughout the years. The cost to host is $1,000, and each host will be recognized at the event and in the IBAT magazine. Click here to download the host form. Help us celebrate and send off our fearless leader in true Williston style!

Accepting Applications

The CFPB is currently accepting applications for its Community Bank Advisory Council. The group provides relevant information about trends and practices, and ensures the Bureau hears directly from community bankers. Fifteen positions are currently available. If you or someone at your bank is interested, you can learn more and apply here.

IBAT member Ricky Leal has served a three-year term and had this to say about it: “It’s been a very good experience interacting with the Bureau and meeting awesome community bankers from across the country.”

Legal Ease

What specific information are we required to obtain for ‘beneficial owners’? Are we required to obtain copies of identification documents? Do we have to keep copies of identifying documents?

Learn the answer here. For this week's Legal Ease in a printable PDF, click here.

Contact Kelly Goulart (512-275-2231) or Janie Daniel (512-275-2221) if you have further questions or need clarification on the topic above.

Legal Ease is chosen from questions received through the IBAT Compliance Adviser Helpline, available to IBAT members free of charge at 1-800-749-4228 or kgoulart@ibat.org. IBAT members can also read and/or initiate discussions with other community bankers in the IBAT Compliance Forum.

Baker Market Update: 3.26.18

When FDR once told the nation that the only thing to fear was fear itself, he left out the part about “fear itself” being plenty scary all on its own. And, “fear itself” is non-denominational. Doesn’t matter if it’s fear of a trade war, fear of a real war, or fear of the Fed; fear is scary. When investors become frightened, they sell the things that scare them, like stocks, and they buy the things that don’t scare them as much, like bonds. And that’s what happened yesterday after China announced plans to retaliate against U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum with some tariffs of its own on things it imports from America; like pork, soybeans, and ginseng. Yes, China buys ginseng from the United States. Who knew? 

Read More in the Baker Market Update

IBAT's Magazine

Have you had a chance to open your print issue of the latest The Texas Independent Banker magazine? If not, good news – the March/April issue is now available online. If you missed the magazine’s new look, be sure to check it out. It will not disappoint.

This month’s cover feature delves into tax relief and what it means for community banks. Other articles include:

If you have article suggestions for future issues, please email Neil Ferguson to let him know.


The 2018 ICBA Convention is in the books, and it was historic for several reasons. A comprehensive regulatory relief bill (S. 2155) was passed as the convention gaveled in its opening session. And a new president and CEO, Rebeca Romero Rainey, was welcomed by the more than 3,000 bankers and industry partners in attendance.

“We are thrilled to work alongside Rebeca and the ICBA agenda,” said IBAT President and CEO Chris Williston. “She will be an outstanding advocate and ambassador for community banking.”

IBAT also congratulates retiring ICBA president and CEO Camden Fine on an extremely successful 15-year tenure at the helm of ICBA.

Regulatory Relief Passes

The most significant move toward meaningful regulatory burden relief for community banks—the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155)—passed last Wednesday by a resounding bipartisan vote of 67-31.

“Community bankers in Texas and across the nation, and those in the diverse communities we serve, are delighted and enthusiastically grateful to Chairman Crapo and the thoughtful Democratic members of the Senate Banking Committee, including Senators Heitkamp, Donnelly, Tester and Warner, for their remarkable leadership in crafting a consensus bill to ‘right the inadvertent wrongs’ created by Dodd-Frank,” said IBAT President and CEO Chris Williston. “So many other senators played key roles with a special thanks to our own Senator Cornyn for his leadership on this issue, Senator Cruz for his support of community banking and this important bill, and Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas for his steadfast resolve in crafting a bipartisan, community bank-focused regulatory burden relief bill. There were only “aye” votes from the Republican delegation, and we very much appreciate the overwhelming support. Our supporters from the minority party withstood personal attacks and misinformation from others in their party and stood strong to do the right thing. We tip our hat to you and appreciate your efforts to bring some common sense to a process frequently devoid of that quality.”

Williston added that “The House of Representatives has passed numerous bills that make up the bulk of S. 2155. We extend our sincere thanks to Chairman Hensarling, the members of the Financial Services Committee, and those members who supported these important community bank relief initiatives.”

As this legislation moves to the House of Representatives, IBAT’s position continues to be getting this bill to the President’s desk on an expedited basis. “This important legislation is critical and long overdue,” Williston added. “IBAT and community bankers across the nation have been working on these issues and begging for help for the past eight years. It’s beyond time to get this important reform enacted for community banking, and we urge prompt and priority movement through the House of Representatives.”

Stay tuned for specific action alerts as this bill is considered by the House.


As mentioned in an email to membership last week, Dell discounts are continuing in 2018. However, the format has changed. Instead of the traditional quarterly deals, Dell is now offering IBAT member banks, bank employees and customers, and IBAT associate members “evergreen” offers all year long. This means that whenever you visit www.dell.com/ibat in 2018, you will see discounts for the following products:

  • Optiplex Desktops,
  • Latitude Laptops,
  • PowerEdge Servers,
  • Precision Workstations,
  • XPS Desktops and Laptops,
  • Inspiron Desktops and Laptops, and
  • Other Dell Electronics and Accessories.

Additional discounts will also be available throughout the year, and we will share those as they become available. As always, don’t forget to use the Dell/IBAT link number (GS126658178) when placing your order to maximize discounts.


The Senate resumed debate over the bipartisan Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155) yesterday after the chief co-sponsors introduced an amended version late last week. ICBA has put out several helpful resources regarding S. 2155, including an updated bill summary and two infographics (here and here).

As reported last week, Senators Cornyn and Cruz have expressed support for this bill. We very much appreciate their help making much-needed and long-overdue regulatory reform for community banks a reality. We’re keeping close watch of Senate activity early this week as a vote—expected to pass—should happen in the coming days.

Primary Election Results

While the primary elections are over, there are a few runoff elections of interest on May 22. As many of you are aware, IBAT has a very strict policy regarding participating/contributing in open seat races and does not do so without the overwhelming (two-thirds) support of the membership in a district. Thanks to all of you who responded to our survey emails prior to the primary. We will send out additional surveys in those open seat districts where there will be a runoff, and also welcome any insights you have about which candidate you support in your district. Feel free to contact Meredyth Fowler to let us know about your support for a candidate.  

Below is a breakdown of the primary election results for open seat elections. The retiring member is listed in parenthesis and ** indicates the candidate was supported by the IBAT PAC or IBAT FedPAC based upon receiving a two-thirds majority from district bankers responding to our survey or contacting us directly. Please note that in the event we supported a candidate from one party, we will continue that support through the runoff election even if there is also a runoff in the other party primary.  

US House of Representatives

  • District 2 (Ted Poe) – Kevin Roberts** and Dan Crenshaw in Republican runoff  
  • District 3 (Sam Johnson) – Van Taylor**
  • District 5 (Hensarling) – Lance Gooden and Bunni Pounds in Republican runoff
  • District 6 (Joe Barton) – Jake Ellzy** and Ron Wright in Republican runoff 
  • District 16 (O’Rourke) – Veronica Escobar (D) won
  • District 21 (Smith) – Matt McCall and Chip Roy in Republican runoff; Joseph Kosper and Mary Street Wilson in Democrat runoff
  • District 27 (Farenthold) – Bech Bruun** and Michael Cloud in Republican runoff 
  • District 29 (Green) – Sylvia Garcia** (D) won

Statewide Offices

All incumbents were re-elected.

Texas Senate

  • District 8 (Taylor) – Angela Paxton (R) won
  • Texas House of Representatives
  • District 4 (Gooden) – Stuart Spitzer and Keith Bell in Republican runoff
  • District 8 (Cook) – Thomas McNutt and Cody Harris in Republican runoff
  • District 13 (Schubert) – Ben Leman and Jill Wolfskill in Republican runoff
  • District 15 (Keough) – Steve Toth (R) won
  • District 45 (Isaac) – Ken Strange (R) won; Rebecca Bell-Metereau and Erin Zwiener in Democrat runoff
  • District 52 (Gonzales) – Cynthia Flores** (R) Won 
  • District 62 (Phillips) – Reggie Smith** and Brent Lawson in Republican runoff  
  • District 89 (Laubenberg) – Candy Noble (R) won (IBAT supported John Payton)
  • District 106 (Fallon) – Jared Patterson (R) won
  • District 109 (Giddings) – Carl Sherman, Sr. and Deshaundra Lockhart Jones in Democrat runoff
  • District 113 (Burkett) – Jonathan Boos (R) won
  • District 121 (Straus) – Steve Allison and Matt Beebe in Republican runoff
  • District 126 (Roberts) – Sam Harless** (R) won

As indicated above, we will send district surveys throughout the next several weeks to determine our participation in the runoff elections. As a member-driven association, your opinion and insights are critical as we determine who we wish to support in these important elections.

Baker Market Update: 3.19.18

Today falls uniquely between two contrasts in the karmatic spectrum of things. March 15, the Ides of March, was made infamous by the conspiratorial murder of Julias Caesar at the hands of trusted friends, and most certainly represents a low point in the fortunes of those not smiled upon by fate. Tomorrow, however, is St. Patrick’s Day, and for those that celebrate the eradication of serpents from the Emerald Isle, the positive karma positively flows. Often into vessels of one-pint capacity.

Read More in the Baker Market Udpate