Baker Market Update: 6.25.18

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell was in Portugal yesterday speaking at a conference hosted by the European Central Bank. One assumes he was there to share his wisdom and experience with his counterpart, Mario Draghi. “As is often the case,” said Mr. Powell, “in the current environment, significant uncertainty attends the process of making monetary policy.” There’s a reason that Jerome sits at the head of our big, shiny table. His impressive and comprehensive grasp of the obvious isn’t something taught in business schools; one either has it, or they don’t

Read More in the Baker Market Update

Your New LD Board

The conclusion of IBAT’s 33rd Annual Leadership Conference marks the beginning of a new year for the Division, and with that comes a new board of directors. Congratulations to our new executive committee and board! We look forward to an amazing year ahead. The Leadership Division is divided into 13 regions, each with its own president, who also serves as the region’s board member.  

Executive Committee:

  • Chairman - Christy Hester, Texas Bank and Trust (Longview)
  • Chair Elect - Marty Rivers, First State Bank (Gainesville)
  • NEW: Secretary-Treasurer - Peter Smith, Happy State Bank (Lubbock)
  • Immediate Past Chairman - Hazem Ahmed, Independent Bank, ssb (Pasadena)

Board Members:

  • Region 1 President - Geoffrey W. Phemister, Happy State Bank (Amarillo)
  • Region 2 President - Brett McDowell, Centennial Bank (Lubbock)
  • Region 3 President - Barry Gober, First State Bank (Graham)
  • Region 4 President - Chad Golden, TIB-The Independent BankersBank, NA (Dallas)
  • Region 5 President - Justin D. Steinbach, Frost Bank (Dallas)
  • NEW: Region 6 President - Rob Barton, JD, MBA, Bank Compensation Consulting (Plano)
  • NEW: Region 7 President - Abbey Carnes, Ozona National Bank (Ozona)
  • Region 8 President - Audie Wienecke, TransFund (Hico)
  • Region 9 President - Matthew A. Crable, Texas First Bank (Pearland)
  • Region 10 President - Cory R. Flencher, Citizens State Bank (Brenham)
  • Region 11 President
  • Region 12 President - Melissa Nance, PHR, Advantage Health Plans Trust (Oklahoma City)
  • Region 13 President - Robert Priestley, Centennial Bank (Austin)
  • At Large Banker - Brian May, Vista Bank (Ralls)
  • NEW: At Large Banker - Sam Nunn, Citizens Bank (Amarillo)
  • At Large Associate Member - Kevin Moore, American National Insurance Company (League City)

Each region hosts a myriad of events throughout the year. Click here to view upcoming events or be on the lookout for an email later this week.

33rd Annual LD Conference

The 33rd Annual Leadership Conference is in the books! Last week, more than 200 Texas community bankers and industry advocates, along with their families, attended the big event in San Antonio. Present and future community bank leaders were able to connect and take advantage of educational sessions, leadership development activities, networking opportunities and entertainment. “Connecting Leaders” was a very appropriate theme for this year’s gathering. From golf, to Kids Camp, to Family Fun Night, there was something for everyone.

Several awards were also given during the conference, including the Excellence in Leadership Award, which was presented to not one, but two incredibly outstanding individuals – Rogers Pope, Jr. (Texas Bank and Trust, Longview) and Darla Rooke (Junctional National Bank, Junction). Both recipients have served IBAT and the community banking industry in more ways than can be counted.

Additionally, three of IBAT’s associate members were given the Five*Star Award for routinely providing not only excellent service but also innovative solutions that help community banks grow faster, enhance profits and gain efficiency. This year’s winners are BKD, LLP, Bank Compensation Consulting and Kennedy Sutherland LLP.

Congratulations to all! If you were unable to attend this year’s conference, we hope you make plans to join us next year, June 20-22, 2019, at the Omni Frisco Hotel at the Star. Check out next week’s edition of Bottom Line for photos of this year’s conference.


We know the beginning of summer is a busy time for many so we’ve decided to push the deadline for the 2018 Best of Community Banking (BOCB) Awards to next Friday, June 29. Please be sure your entry is delivered to the IBAT office by 5 p.m.

A few reminders if you’re just starting your entry:

  • Entries are now free (max two per bank);
  • We added a ‘bank culture’ category this year to recognize our banks’ efforts to develop and train, engage, recognize and incentivize your employees;
  • The five entry categories are community service, financial literacy, marketing, architectural and bank culture;
  • All gold, silver and bronze award entries will be on display during IBAT’s 44th Annual Convention, with gold award winners recognized at the BOCB Awards Luncheon on Sunday, September 23.

We can’t wait to see the many ways IBAT member banks have bettered the quality of life for those around them through your BOCB entries. Additional information can be found in the BOCB brochure and entry form, and please don’t hesitate to contact Lindsey Gehrig with questions or entry ideas.

Mark Your Calendar

IBAT’s lending summits are coming to Austin this fall. Additional information will be provided in the coming weeks.

  • Advanced Credit Analysis (September 12-13): Examine current trends in banking, credit analysis challenges and software applications; perform in-depth financial statement analysis; and participate in peer-to-peer case studies to help take your credit analysis knowledge, skills and abilities to the next level
  • Appraisals (September 14): This summit will cover the critical regulatory “hot buttons” causing concern for bankers, as well as the most common appraisal and collateral evaluation deficiencies. Attendees will learn sound real estate lending policy, an overview of the appraisal process, compliance with applicable real estate regulations and minimum requirements of an “evaluation” vs. an appraisal.

Baker Market Update: 6.18.18

In a thinly veiled response to ABC’s recent cancellation of “Roseanne”, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell announced this week that he will be holding a press conference after each of the FOMC’s meetings rather than the traditional every-other-one schedule. Ratings will soar. The telegenic Mr. Powell indicated that interest rates, while perhaps not soaring, will still be gaining altitude. To the surprise of no one, the Federal Open Market Committee effected its seventh, quarter-point increase of this cycle in the target rate for Fed Funds and strongly indicated that two more hikes could well be coming before the year is out. “The decision you see today is another sign that the U.S. economy is in great shape,” said Jerome. “Real (inflation adjusted) Average Hourly Earnings have a year-over-year growth rate of 0.0%,” said the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Read More in the Baker Market Update


The Independent Bankers Association of Texas (IBAT) is pleased to announce the selection of Christopher L. Williston, VI to serve as the organization’s next president and chief executive officer. Williston has been a member of the IBAT staff since 2009 and currently serves as the association’s chief operations officer. He will succeed his father, who has served as IBAT’s president and chief executive officer for the past 30 years, effective January 1, 2019.

Williston was selected to lead IBAT—the largest community banking association in the nation—following a nationwide search, which led to him being named as the sole finalist for the position recommended by the IBAT Search Committee. That recommendation was approved by the IBAT board of directors late last week. 

“I cannot overstate how proud I am of the work performed by our dedicated committee volunteers who worked tirelessly and with great integrity to recommend IBAT’s next president and CEO,” said Rogers Pope, Jr., search committee chairman. “Suffice it to say our vetting process was rigorous, including interviews with many qualified and impressive candidates. Throughout the process, it became clear that Christopher’s knowledge, experience, passion and vision made him the right choice to lead IBAT into the future.”

In addition to his work with IBAT, Williston is a well-respected member of the Texas association community, having recently completed his term as chairman of the Texas Society of Association Executives (TSAE). He is also a past winner of TSAE’s Young Professional Leadership Award and a finalist for the AU40 (Austin Under 40) Award. 

Christopher and his wife, Michelle, live in the suburbs of North Austin with their six children. They are active in their children’s schools and in their church home of the last 12 years, St. Thomas More Catholic Church in North Austin. 

The Willistons further serve the Austin and greater Texas community through the Mary Claire Project, a nonprofit they founded in 2015, to provide free or low-cost burial options to families who experience the loss of a child through miscarriage or stillbirth. 

“Michelle and I have a shared understanding of our family’s mission to dedicate our lives to service of others,” Williston said. “We are honored to have the support and confidence of the IBAT board to serve the Texas community banking industry and the vital role it plays in the lives of men and women who make up the places we call home.”

Williston is a graduate of Texas Christian University (TCU) and holds a master’s degree from Brite Divinity School at TCU. He is also recognized as a Certified Association Executive by the American Society of Association Executives, the sole mark of distinction for those serving in the Association industry.   

Compliance Overview

We pushed for regulatory relief for many years and celebrated the passage of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155). Now it’s time to figure out what the new law really means for community banks. IBAT General Counsel Karen Neeley offers her thoughts in a Compliance Overview. The changes—and how they affect community banks—include:

  • Improving consumer access to mortgage credit;
  • Regulatory relief and protecting consumer access to credit;
  • Protections for veterans, consumers and homeowners;
  • Tailoring regulations for certain bank holding companies;
  • Encouraging capital formation; and
  • Protections for student borrowers.

For a detailed explanation of each bullet above, download the overview. Also included in the PDF is an action plan for your bank.



During an IBAT Legislative Committee meeting last week in Austin, members voted to approve a proactive agenda for the 86th Texas Legislative Session (details will be forthcoming) and voted unanimously to oppose H.R. 4058, the Securing All Livestock Equitably (SALE) Act of 2017. This bill creates a dealer statutory trust when cattle are sold and potentially impedes the lien position on those cattle held by a bank lender. Members of the committee who are active in cattle financing expressed concerns this would significantly impact the granting of credit, and was not in the best interests of either the lender or the borrower.


President Issues Proclamation

Please note, President Donald J. Trump issued the following proclamation concerning Flag Day and National Flag Week, 2018. 


Office of the Press Secretary


June 8, 2018


- - - - - - -



More than two centuries ago, on June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress formally adopted the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of our new Republic.  Through the many triumphs and trials of our Nation, our flag has reflected our heritage of liberty and embodied the American virtues of bravery, justice, and loyalty.  Each year, we celebrate Flag Day and National Flag Week to honor our timeless national emblem.

Our flag symbolizes our solemn pride and eternal gratitude to our service members, who willingly raise their hand in front of our Nation's colors and take an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.  Our flag also serves as a final acknowledgement of our country's gratitude to the families of those soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coastguardsmen who have given their last full measure of devotion to our country.  After the echo of the last rifle volley and the final notes of "Taps" fade away, the flag is carefully folded and presented to the grieving families of our fallen heroes to serve as a source of comfort and strength in times of immense sorrow.

Our majestic flag flies during our country's most memorable occasions.  In the early morning of May 10 of this year, a large American flag undulated in the breeze over the homecoming of three Americans released from captivity in North Korea.  It also presided during our astronauts' many missions exploring the moon's surface, the heroic triumph of the Marines at the battle of Iwo Jima, and the recovery operations at New York City's ground zero and the Pentagon immediately following the attacks of September 11, 2001.  Our country's colors -- bold and brilliant -- symbolize to the world those values we hold sacred, freedom and liberty, and our hope for a better world.

Today, we celebrate the ideals of our country's founding, which are represented so proudly by the broad stripes and bright stars -- that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  May we never forget the tremendous sacrifices required to secure and maintain our freedom.  Let us proudly stand and remember our founding principles and our country's ever continuing march to achieve a more perfect Union.  As we raise our flag, let us resolve always to cherish it with reverence and eternal gratitude so that the red, white, and blue may forever wave from sea to shining sea.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim June 14, 2018, as Flag Day, and the week starting June 10, 2018, as National Flag Week.  I direct the appropriate officials to display the flag on all Federal Government buildings during this week, and I urge all Americans to observe Flag Day and National Flag Week by displaying the flag.  I also encourage the people of the United States to observe with pride and all due ceremony those days from Flag Day through Independence Day, set aside by the Congress (89 Stat. 211), as a time to honor America, to celebrate our heritage in public gatherings and activities, and to publicly recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.



Baker Market Update: 6.11.18

Betting on sports is no longer against the rules, but swimsuits at the Miss America Pageant are. Things have a way of changing. It’s not much different with investors’ appetite for risk; that has a way of changing, too. Not much more than a week ago, the unpalatable Italian situation along with trade war concerns drove Ten-Year yields below 2.80%. Those fears proved to be short-lived as, in recent days, renewed risk consumption pushed that yield back to the 3% threshold. As the G-7 Summit gets stirred up today, so does the queasiness surrounding the imposition of tariffs and who might, or might not, be receiving a Trump waiver. So far this morning, market behavior seems to reflect uncertainty over, well, uncertainty. Sometimes it’s hard to know just what to be upset about.

Read More in the Baker Market Update

Volcker Rule

The Federal Reserve Board voted last week to advance proposed Volcker Rule changes that would streamline compliance requirements for banks. The 2013 rule was finalized by five different federal agencies and has created much uncertainty and complexity in the compliance arena. The proposed changes, which are intended to simplify compliance requirements, include:

  • Tailoring compliance requirements based on asset size and liabilities;
  • Redefining the term “trading account” to provide more clarity;
  • Streamlining the criteria applied to the hedging exemption; and
  • Simplifying trading activity information required to be reported.

The 60-day comment period for the proposed changes is now open. Click here to learn more and file a comment.

Changes to Small Banks

Last week, American Banker published a slideshow detailing the important changes the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155) brings to small banks. The bill, which was signed into law by President Trump on May 24, is aimed at banks with less than $10 billion in assets. This important and long-awaited legislation will allow community banks to do what they do best—support local communities and help them prosper. Click here to view S. 2155 in pictures.

All IBAT members are eligible to receive a complimentary subscription to American Banker. To take advantage of this offer, please email Jessenia Villarreal with your request.

Security Report

A report released last week from the Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security offers guidance to help reduce the threat of cyberattacks, including botnets and similar attacks. It was created in response to a 2017 Executive Order on Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure. The five goals listed in the report include:

  • Identifying a pathway for a secure technology marketplace;
  • Promoting innovation to adapt to evolving threats;
  • Promoting innovation to prevent, detect and mitigate attacks;
  • Promoting and supporting industry collaboration; and
  • Increasing awareness and education.

Also on the security front, this week’s Financial Services Information Sharing Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) community institution risk summary report highlights a call for citizens to reboot their home and office network routers and storage devices to help mitigate a new VPNFilter malware. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Computer Emergency Readiness Team and various other government and private sector organizations advise citizens to reboot their home and office network routers and storage devices, update the firmware and reset the administrative password. The alert comes in response to reports of a possible widespread malware attack affecting nearly half a million routers in 54 countries.

Baker Market Update: 6.04.18

One thing we’ve learned in recent days is that holiday-shortened weeks can be just as fun as the five-day variety. Tuesday morning (a substitute for Monday morning) brought angst and excitement in the form of a 500-point meltdown in stocks matched by a six-week low on the 10yr T-Note yield as it hit 2.78%. That’s what a little Italian constitutional crisis can do for ya. The ugliness in share prices reversed and recouped on Wednesday (Italians calmed down), only to be reconstituted on Thursday as the US tax increase on imports put the rest of the world in a bit of a tizzy. By Friday morning (which feels like Thursday), market watchers were relieved to know that we would finally see a calm day in the form of a simple monthly jobs report.

Read More in the Baker Market Update

S.2155 Signed into Law

Late last week, President Trump signed into law the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155), the industry’s operative bill for comprehensive regulatory relief for community banks.

“This is a true victory for community banks,” said IBAT President and CEO Chris Williston. “The gains made in S. 2155 lay at the feet of the thousands of community bankers who have told the story of the damaging impact of Dodd-Frank on community bank customers.”

Hundreds of IBAT members engaged in outreach to the Texas Congressional delegation last week in anticipation of the House of Representatives’ action on S. 2155. We are pleased to report that all Republicans in the delegation voted for this bill and were even joined by four Democrats—Reps. Cuellar, Gonzalez, Veasey and Vela.

We now encourage IBAT members to call or send a note of thanks to those who supported this important piece of legislation. If you prefer, feel free to use our Grassroots Action Center to communicate your appreciation to those who voted for S. 2155.

Although some of the finer points of S. 2155 will be subject to regulatory rulemaking yet to come, ICBA has prepared a document entitled “S. 2155 – What it Means for Your Bank,” which is now available for download.


Unfortunately, we all seem to have experienced a drastic increase in phishing emails in recent months with a sharp increase in the past few weeks. If a colleague or business partner has a security incident in which their email account becomes compromised, the perpetrator can hijack that account and send hundreds of emails to anyone in that person’s address book, inbox or sent folder. This means you could get an email from a malicious actor that appears to come from someone you know.

CalTech has issued the following guidance about how to approach these emails as they have become harder to detect:

  • Ask yourself if it could be fake. Were you expecting this email from this person (especially if there is a link or attachment)?
  • Are you asked to take action on something?
  • Call to verify the email you received is legitimate. If you email back, the perpetrator will respond as if they’re your colleague and continue to encourage you to click the link, open the attachment, provide credentials, etc.

Never provide your credentials or personal information on links in an email without verifying the authenticity of the source.

Happy Memorial Day!

Displaying the state and national flags is an important duty in carrying out our mission for the state of Texas. In addition to creating an identity for the people of Texas, the proper display of the flag leads the people in times of joy and mourning, and in times of somber reflection and celebration.

Please take note of the laws concerning the following official state observance:

Memorial Day: On the morning of Monday, May 28, both State of Texas and U.S. flags should be raised briskly to full-staff and then slowly lowered to half-staff until noon.  At noon, both the State of Texas and U.S. flags should be raised briskly to full-staff for the remainder of the day.  Flags should be at full-staff on Tuesday, May 29. 

You are not required to schedule employees for duty on holiday or weekend hours only to comply with flag-flying issues. These requirements only apply to days that your agency normally displays the flag. 

To avoid confusion, flags should be flown according to statutory standards and proper procedures of protocol. I have added a “best practices” attachment below to help you distill the statutory information. 

IBAT will close at noon on Friday, May 25, 2018 and will remain closed thru Monday, May 28 in observance of Memorial Day. We will resume to regular office hours on Tuesday, May 29.

Texas Flag at Half-Staff

The devastating act sustained by the Santa Fe High School community today has deeply touched the core of who we are as caring people. As such, it is fitting that flags should be lowered to half-staff in memory of those who lost their lives.

Therefore, pursuant to Chapter 3100 of the Texas Government Code, I direct the Texas flag be immediately lowered to half-staff statewide on Friday, May 18, 2018, in memory of those who lost their lives. Flags should remain at half-staff through sunset on Tuesday, May 22, 2018. Flags should be returned to full-staff on the following day.

Individuals, businesses, municipalities, counties and other political subdivisions and entities are encouraged to fly their flags at half-staff for the same length of time as a sign of honor and respect.

The First Lady and I extend our prayers of comfort to the survivors and the families of the victims and we will continue to keep them in our thoughts and prayers.


Greg Abbott



ICBA released its list of the 75 top-performing community banks across the country, and several Texas banks secured a spot. The rankings were compiled using FDIC data and taking a three-year (2015-2017) weighted average return-on-assets figure with 2017 carrying the most weight. The winners were segmented into three groups based on asset size. Congratulations to the following:


Less Than $300 Million in Assets

#11 Brazos National Bank (Richmond)

#24 The National Bank of Andrews (Andrews)


$300 Million to $1 Billion in Assets

#5 First Bank (Burkburnett)

#6 Crockett National Bank (San Antonio)

#7 Wallis State Bank (Wallis)

#10 Texas Bank (Brownwood)


More Than $1 Billion in Assets

#8 NexBank SSB (Dallas)

#16 Woodforest National Bank (The Woodlands)

#18 Amarillo National Bank (Amarillo)

CFPB Update

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released updates to its Small Entity Compliance Guides on the 2018 TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule. Issued last month, the final rule removes a provision restricting when creditors may use a closing disclosure to communicate closing cost increases to the consumer, which could prevent creditors from charging for valid cost increases. Read more from the CFPB here.

Registration Open

Registration is now open for IBAT’s annual Texas Financial Literacy Summit, which will be held at TIB in Dallas on July 24-25, 2018. IBAT has once again teamed up with TBA, plus new cosponsor Texas JumpStart Coalition, to teach effective ways to connect banks with students, teachers, parents and vulnerable seniors to make a positive impact on the community.

The summit will include a banker spotlight on award-winning financial literacy programs across the state, breakout sessions on building programs with various age groups, a focus on effectively marketing your financial education outreach, and speakers from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. If your bank wants to be seen as a community leader in the area of financial literacy, this is a must-attend summit!


Baker Market Update: 5.21.18

So, what do you think Jerome Powell hears; “yanni” or “laurel”? More importantly, to whom will he listen; James Bullard or Loretta Mester? The reason that might be important is because Mr. Bullard, President of the St. Louis Fed, and Mrs. Mester, President of the Cleveland Fed, are both on the Federal Open Market Committee and, as such, will both have Chairman Powell’s ear when the FOMC meets next month. The thing is, Jim and Loretta are not on the same page. In fact, their outlooks are so disparate, Mr. Powell might wonder if these two central bankers are even looking at the same economy. 

Read More in the Baker Market Update