Better Business Bureau

An investigative study conducted by the Better Business Bureau found that while consumers write fewer checks today, fake check scams are on the rise. “Don’t Cash That Check: Better Business Bureau Study Shows How Fake Check Scams Bait Consumers” looks at how fake checks deceive consumers. Fake checks are used in a variety of frauds, including employment scams and prize/sweepstakes fraud. In all cases, victims deposit the check and send money back to scammers. Highlights of the study include:

  • Fake check scam complaints to regulatory agencies and consumer watchdog groups have doubled over the last three years;
  • Data suggests there may have been more than 500,000 victims of counterfeit checks in 2017;
  • Check fraud affects victims of all ages and income levels, with consumers ages 20-29 victimized more than any other age group; and

Nigerian gangs are behind most fake check frauds.

IBAT's Magazine

The September/October 2018 issue of IBAT’s magazine, The Texas Independent Banker, is now available online. This month’s cover feature takes an in-depth look at how to attract talented employees who are out there but not always easy to locate. Other articles include:

As always, we welcome your suggestions for content to be featured in future issues. Please feel free to contact Neil Ferguson with ideas.


Mark Your Calendar

IBAT Leadership Division Regions 3 and 4 have scheduled a networking event at Top Golf Fort Worth with one goal in mind – networking for community bankers. If you’re in Dallas/Fort Worth, or other nearby areas, you are invited to join us for an afternoon of golf and networking. Mark your calendar for Wednesday, October 17, 2018! Registration will begin at 1 p.m. and the event will end at 5 p.m. We hope you’ll be able to join us. Click here for pricing and registration.

Baker Market Update: 9.17.18

As observers of weather events watch Hurricane Florence make landfall on the east coast today, observers of market events are keeping an eye on their bond radars to see if the Ten-Year is going to make landfall at 3%. It’s close. But the bond market, like the weather, can be capricious, and similar to the downgrading of Flo’s intensity, this week’s downgrading of inflation can alter perceptions. 

Read More in the Baker Market Update

Final Rule

On Friday, FinCEN issued a final rule addressing certain account rollovers, renewals, modifications and extensions under the Beneficial Ownership requirements. This is not the temporary relief issued in May—and again in August—rather it grants permanent exceptive relief by removing auto rollover of CDs, renewals of loans and lines of credit, and safe deposit box lease renewals from the category of “new” accounts subject to the Beneficial Ownership requirements.

The exceptive relief does not apply to the initial opening of such accounts. Additionally, it does not apply to renewals of loans and lines of credit that require ‘underwriting review and approval,’ which is not defined. This appears to limit any ‘renewal’ to primarily setting a later payoff date or modifying terms, including the credit limit on a line, which is very limited.

Banks are reminded that despite this permanent exceptive relief under the Beneficial Ownership requirements, the bank must still comply with all other applicable AML requirements under BSA, such as maintaining an AML program and reporting suspicious activity that includes those situations.

Legislative Update

Last Friday, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer released the text of legislation that would codify federal regulators’ data breach notification standards for the financial services industry and preempt state-by-state requirements. The new bill includes language targeted at the insurance industry, mandating that state insurance officials establish data security safeguards for customer information that are the same as the guidelines drafted by federal bank regulators.

As retailers and banks have been unsuccessful at reaching a consensus on data security in the past, this bill is a step back from legislation Luetkemeyer proposed earlier this year that would have applied data security requirements beyond the financial services industry to a larger number of retailers that handle consumers’ information.

“We thought we needed to get the bill moving and get something done this session,” Luetkemeyer said last week. “We’re going to hopefully get the bill moved out of committee and we’ll raise the bar that much.”

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling and Rep. John Delaney released their discussion draft of legislation that would repeal Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s charters and replace them with Ginnie Mae. Hensarling also released a summary and section-by-section analysis.

“Housing finance reform will not get done unless it is done on a bipartisan basis and unless it has the support of the administration,” Hensarling told reporters last week. He went on to note that the discussion draft “lays the foundation for what I believe to be the grand bargain for housing finance reform.”


2018 AM Directory

A vital part of IBAT’s 44-year success has been its relationship with associate members, bound together to help provide solutions to local community banks. The 2018 Associate Member Directory is now available to assist you in hiring the best in the business, in order to help your bank thrive. The directory includes:

  • Listing of Endorsed Service Providers (ESPs);
  • Listing of associate members by product;
  • Listing of associate members by company; and
  • Letter from IBAT President and CEO Chris Williston.

Make the 2018 Associate Member Directory the first place you look for solutions. Download your copy today.

ICBA Release

The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) released a matrix that details the implementation of S. 2155—The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act—provisions to date that impact community banks.

Additionally, ICBA published a blog post that recaps recent regulatory actions on S. 2155 rulemakings, Home Mortgage Disclosure Act exemptions, Community Reinvestment Act reform and fintech. Both this Main Street Matters blog post and the S. 2155 matrix are well worth the read.

Baker Market Update: 9.10.18

“This is about as good as it gets,” is not, refreshingly, one of those unattributable quotes from an unnamed senior administration official. But then again, this is not the New York Times and we give credit where credit is due. New York Fed President John Williams gets the credit for the above-referenced quote as he explained to reporters in Buffalo yesterday that the Central Bank’s dual mandate of full employment combined with low inflation has, at long last, been achieved. Just in case his comment seemed abstruse, he went on to say that America was currently experiencing a “Goldilocks economy.” Everybody knows what that means; not too hot, not too cold. Just right. Right? 

Read More in the Baker Market Update

Last Call

September is here and that means we’re less than three weeks away from IBAT’s Annual Convention, kicking off September 22 in San Antonio. If you’re planning to donate a PAC Auction item, the time is now.

We’re moving to a strictly digital format for this year’s auction. In order for your item to be included on the mobile application that will be used for bidding, please submit your form and a picture of the item before Friday, September 14, 2018. Don’t have time to shop? Complete the bottom of the form and email to Julie Courtney or Mere Fowler, and they’ll take care of the shopping for you!


Consolidation is still a part of bankers’ daily lives and fight. Whether or not you’re thinking about buying or selling at this time, it’s always a good idea to be prepared should the opportunity arise. IBAT’s M&A or Stay Summit, offered exclusively to bankers, will arm you with the critical knowledge necessary to make informed and strategic decisions based on your bank’s future.

M&A or Stay has been designed exclusively to help bankers obtain knowledge and proficiency regarding community bank M&A issues; therefore, you will NOT receive any sales pitches. Register now for this program, February 25-26, 2019 in San Antonio.


The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has requested public comment on how to modernize Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations. The agency is seeking feedback about how to update CRA to increase lending, expand eligible activities, revisit assessment areas and more so it can ultimately develop a more specific policy proposal to revise CRA rules. Listening to public feedback will be a key part of the CRA modernization process to ensure improved consistency and transparency.

Read more from the OCC here and ICBA here.

Baker Market Update: 9.04.18

If visitors to Washington D.C. happen to wander past the Marriner S. Eccles Building this morning, they probably won’t see a “Mission Accomplished” banner draped across the Doric columns that grace the entranceway. But, with the announcement this week by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) that core inflation has reached the long-sought-after level of 2%, many feel that some kind of garish display of recognition may be in order. Others don’t. One of those others is probably the guy whose name is on the parking spot closest to the employees’ entrance. Even before the arbitrary 2% target was gained, Jerome Powell had already begun talking about the uncertainty of it remaining there. Others believe that last month’s move in the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Index is just the tip of the iceberg and that many of the “felt rather than seen” drivers of inflation will now be demonstrable to all. 

Read More in the Baker Market Update

Office Hours

In observance of Labor Day, the IBAT office will close at Noon on Friday August 31, 2018 and will remain closed through Monday, September 3. Regular business hours will resume Tuesday, September 4. 

We'd like to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday weekend!

Flag to Half-Staff

Flag Directive: Patriot Day, September 11, 2018

Governor’s Staff and State Flag Contact,

Please be advised, that the flags will be lowered to half-staff on Tuesday, September 11, 2018, in recognition of Patriot Day. By a joint resolution approved 12/18/2001, (Public Law 107-89) has designated September 11th  of each year as “Patriot Day” which also directs the flags be lowered to half-staff for the entire day on September 11th.  If you have questions, please contact our office for further assistance.

Katie Lagomarsino

Special Projects Manager White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs


It’s that time of the year! If you are planning to donate an auction item for the 2018 PAC Auction, please submit your paperwork to IBAT. PAC activities have been an important part of every IBAT convention for the last 29 years. The Annual PAC Auction and Dream Vacation have made the IBAT PAC the success it is today—and it’s all thanks to your generosity.

Don’t have time to shop? Complete the bottom of the form and email to Julie Courtney or Mere Fowler, and we’ll take care of the shopping for you!

The IBAT PAC is exclusively dedicated to promoting the community banking industry. PAC funds enable IBAT to support candidates who understand the important role that community banks play across Texas. The IBAT PAC is an essential tool in the association’s government relations efforts. We hope you will help us make the 30th anniversary of the Annual Live and Silent Auction bigger and more successful than ever.

Congratulations to ICBA

Congratulations to Jefferson Bank in San Antonio for receiving ICBA’s ‘Most Innovative Banks’ honor for its service-focused intranet. ICBA recognized 20 community banks throughout the country for the unique way they solved a problem, met a need or made their community a better place.

Jefferson Bank launched a new intranet this year that gives frontline employees the information they need to improve customer relations. The new intranet provides faster search time so customers aren’t stuck waiting; user input guided the design so frequently used documents are easy to get to; and job toolkits were created for bankers, tellers, credit analysts, lenders, etc. so all employees have easy access to the specific information they need.

2018 Graduates

Last Friday, the Texas Tech School of Banking announced its 2018 graduating class, made up of 34 individuals. IBAT would like to congratulate each and every one of the graduates – job well done!

The Texas Tech School of Banking is a two-year program that was established in 1973 to provide future leaders in the financial services industry with the skills, tools and perspective necessary to advance their careers and help their banks prosper. The program is designed to enable participants to understand the big picture of the rapidly changing financial services industry.

The 2018 graduates can take advantage of the most up-to-date knowledge in all areas of banking that will help them anticipate and effectively respond to changes in the industry.

Congratulations to the following bankers:

  • Tracie Ashlock, City Bank
  • Brad Blount, First National Bank Paducah
  • Kris Cartrite, Happy State Bank
  • Mary Chumbley, TIB The Independent Bankers Bank
  • Cesar Conde, First National Bank of Dumas
  • Roger Corral, Western Bank
  • Troy Curl, PlainsCapital Bank
  • Ashley Endres, First State Bank
  • Stacie Evans, First State Bank
  • T.K. Farris, First National Bank of Floydada
  • Spencer Flint, First State Bank
  • Clay Hale, BTH Bank
  • Thea Hernandez, First Financial Bank, N.A.
  • Justin Hess, First State Bank
  • Kristen Holcomb, Sage Capital Bank
  • Evan Hughes, Legend Bank
  • Kira Kunkel, Happy State Bank
  • Tucker Lee, Happy State Bank
  • Jessica Longoria, AimBank
  • Lisa Martinez, Happy State Bank
  • Tabor McMillan, Centennial Bank
  • Jeremy Monteith, Amarillo National Bank
  • Evy Puente, First State Bank
  • Austin Reiter, TIB The Independent Bankers Bank
  • Mark Rosenberg, PlainsCapital Bank
  • Kim Shoquist, Austin County State Bank
  • Jonathan Traves, Herring Bank
  • David Vaughn, Centennial Bank
  • Evan Venghaus, Industry State Bank
  • Brian Wallis, BTH Bank
  • Jeff Ward, State National Bank
  • Colby Whitten, American Heritage Bank
  • Michael Worley, American Bank of Commerce
  • Chris Young, First National Bank of Eagle Lake

Mark Your Calendar

The 2018 Financial Women in Texas (FWIT) Annual Conference will be held in El Paso, September 20-21. Registration is open, and we encourage you to sign up and learn how to “Keep it Simple” in an overly stressful day and age. As we think of the things that bring value to our customers, it becomes obvious that the basics of our business—no matter what our business is—are what really matter. Agenda highlights include:

  • Feng Shui Your Life with Michelle Cromer, Feng Shui healer, adjunct professor at University of Texas at El Paso
  • Keynote Luncheon, featuring Chris Williston, President and CEO at IBAT
  • FWIT Strategic Planning, led by Keith Hughey, management consultant, founder and Chief Ideator for ThinkCafe
  • Texas Economic Update with Mary Cruz de Leon, Senior Economic Analyst at Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, El Paso Branch
  • Luncheon Panel - Keeping It Simple - Strategies of Successful Women: Three women share their personal and professional stories of a time of change and growth
  • Tackle Your Stress Before It Tackles You! with Dawn Thurmond, AVP of Communications and Engagement at Goodwill San Antonio

IBAT is a proud supporter and sponsor of FWIT and their annual conference. Click here to learn more.

Baker Market Update: 8.27.18

It’s widely known that not everyone on the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee gets to vote. But, did you know this; everybody gets a trophy for participating. And according to the minutes of the August meeting, there was a lot of participation. After the obligatory nod to uncertainty, all of those new trophy-holders agreed that we are getting close to the point at which describing monetary policy as “accommodative” would no longer be appropriate. Really? After seven rate hikes, the inflation-adjusted rate for Fed Funds is still negative, and that is still pretty accommodative. That will change if the Fed stays on its path to higher rates, which it looks like it will, as long as inflation stops where it is. 

Read More in the Baker Market Update


Congratulations to Bill McCandless, chairman of Lone Star Capital Bank in San Antonio, for celebrating 50 years in the banking industry. He began his longtime career in 1968 immediately upon college graduation. In addition to his community banking leadership, which includes serving on both the IBAT and ICBA boards, he is committed to bettering his community through many local leadership roles and board positions.

IBAT’s Chris Williston was honored to attend a reception celebrating McCandless’ impressive career milestone last Friday. At the presentation, Williston recognized McCandless with an IBAT board resolution. McCandless makes IBAT and the community banking industry proud!


The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently provided a confidential alert to financial institutions warning that cyber criminals are planning a large-scale operation—called “Unlimited Operation”—aimed at emptying ATMs. This attack would use the compromise of a financial institution or payment card processor network with malware to access customer card information, make changes to card limits and account balances, and enable large-scale theft of funds from ATMs.

Generally, primary attackers make changes to the card information on the organization’s network while mules use cloned cards at ATMs all over the world to withdraw funds. A bank in India suffered a cash-out attack on August 11 when cyber criminals hacked into the bank’s network and stole $13.5 million through simultaneous withdrawals across 28 countries within a two-hour timeframe.

Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center has provided tips to help safeguard banks (pg. 3 - ICBA log-in required) from an “Unlimited Operation” attack.

2018 Annual Convention

IBAT’s Annual Convention is only a month away. We trust you have already registered for the event and are as excited as we are to see the IBAT family gathered in San Antonio, September 22-25, 2018. We have an insightful and engaging group of speakers, educational sessions, networking opportunities and PAC activities lined up to ensure it’s a memorable event, as always. Chris Williston will give his farewell address at the end of convention as he steps down as president and CEO after an impressive 30-year career at the helm of the association.

To guarantee you’re in the midst of the excitement, be sure to make your room reservations before the Friday, August 24 cut-off date.

Save the Date

Cybersecurity is ever-present in this day and age and while we think we have a plan for our business, the fact is that each threat is more sophisticated, complex and devastating than the previous. IBAT’s Cybersecurity Summit—February 7-8, 2019 in San Antonio—is designed to keep you abreast of the evolving cybersecurity landscape and equip you with a multilayered approach to IT security and fraud prevention.

Save the date, or register today, to learn how to protect your bank against advanced adversaries targeting endpoint security vulnerabilities.