Baker Market Update: August 7, 2017

While the arrival of August may herald the dog days of summer, this morning’s Jobs Report was no dog. No offense to our canine friends, but without the viewing lens of the “new normal”, a report like this ten years ago would have had four legs and a tail.  But that was then. Now, the 209k addition to Non- Farm Payrolls looks like a barn burner, especially in light of the 180k expectation. And, our already fully-employed economy became even more fully-employed as the Unemployment Rate fell by a tenth to 4.3%. Yet, Average Hourly Earnings growth remains unchanged at 2.5% year-over-year. The biggest job gainers (+53k) were food services and drinking places as the nation readies itself for football season.Go team!

Read More in the Baker Market Update

Call to Action

The CFPB (Bureau) issued a Request for Information Regarding the Small Business Lending Market that was published in the Federal Register on May 15, 2017. Based upon comments received, the Bureau extended the comment period to September 14, 2017.

At issue is Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) that amends the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) to require financial institutions to compile, maintain, and report information concerning credit applications made by women-owned, minority-owned, and small businesses.

There are nine specific “data points” that financial institutions must compile and maintain, submit annually to the Bureau, and make available to members of the public upon request.

IBAT believes that this reporting requirement is the epitome of regulatory burden and has the potential to signficantly harm Texas community banks.  With this concern in mind, there are three actions we're asking of IBAT member banks on this issue:

  1. IBAT has prepared a draft version of its comment letter on this issue. We ask that you review our comments and provide any additional feedback on how the proposed rule will affect your customers and/or your willingness to make small business loans.  If you would like to include some non-attributable quotes for us to include in our comment letter, please feel free to do so.  Please send all comments to Kelly Goulart at kgoulart@ibat.org.
  2. We encourage all IBAT members to file a comment letter of their own before the September 14, 2017 deadline. You can now file your comment letter online, via IBAT's Grassroots Action Center.  Instructions can be found on the Grassroots Action Center page.
  3. IBAT is also encouraging the passage of legislation that would address this issue. Click here to contact your Congressional representatives and register your support for the House version of the CLEAR Relief Act, H.R. 2133. You'll also have the option of submitting a letter of support for the Senate version of the CLEAR Relief Act, S. 1002 which does not currently address this issue.

If you have any question or concerns, please contact Chris Williston at cwilliston@ibat.org or 512-474-6889.

The Texas Independent Banker

The July/August issue of IBAT’s magazine, The Texas Independent Banker, is available online. Read about IBAT’s grassroots efforts, the impact of underfunded public pensions, CRE lending best practices, a convention preview and much more.

2017 Salary Survey

Are your bank's salaries competitive in the marketplace? Are your bank directors over paid for their service? There's only one way to really know.

Data collection is now open for IBAT’s 2017 Community Bank Salary and Compensation Survey. Before the data collection deadline on August 7, I hope you'll take time or designate someone in your bank to complete the salary survey data form.

As a participant in the survey, you’ll receive a complimentary copy of the comprehensive PDF report and custom reporting tool (an $875 value), due out in mid-September.  

We make this process as simple as possible with two easy ways to participate:

  • Enter data online by clicking here. In just a few moments, you can create an account, then click "participate" to provide salary and compensation data for the survey.
  • Print this form and return it by mail or fax to the contact listed at the bottom.

The more banks that participate, the more valuable the report becomes. 

If you have any questions about IBAT's Salary Survey, please contact Christopher Williston at clwilliston@ibat.org or 512-275-2208.

Baker Market Update: July 31, 207

Janet Yellen and her minions came to a unanimous decision [last] week. Mitch McConnell and his minions did not. As a result, monetary policy and the Affordable Care Act both remain unchanged. The former was universally expected while the latter symbolizes the growing challenges to the Administration’s agenda for fiscal stimulation. The Senate’s making the Fed look pretty good.

Read More in the Baker Market Update

Baker Market Update: July 24, 2017

“Downside risks primarily relating to global factors continue to exist.”  When Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank (ECB) uttered this phrase, he wasn’t talking about O.J. Well, he probably wasn’t talking about O.J.  He was trying to explain why the ECB wasn’t planning on any changes to its version of Quantitative Easing.  Prior and somewhat hawkish comments had hinted, not so subtly, that some kind of diminution of those purchases was in store.  This week’s remarks, and subsequent inaction, bespoke a dovish intent. Pick a side Mario!

Read More in the Baker Market Update

Baker Market Update: July 17, 2017

At the risk of oversimplification, a risk too often avoided, Janet Yellen’s two-day Congressional testimony could be succinctly paraphrased by a single statement; “I’m not sure.” Not sure when inflation will kick in, but sure that it will. Not sure when wages will rise, but sure that they will, too. Not sure when the next rate hike will happen, but it will happen. Well, pretty sure it will happen, just not sure when. Her uncertainty is certainly understandable. Traditional relationships among interest rates, growth, unemployment, inflation, and incomes are all out of whack. Some might say downright wacky, not unlike the nation’s fiscal policy. But that’s another story for another day.

Read More in the Baker Market Update

IBAT Webinars

Did you know? IBAT, in conjunction with Financial Education, Inc., hosts close to 150 webinars a year. Webinars are a very economical way to train your staff for one low price. Everyone can sit in on the program with the use of a speakerphone and a computer, or access archived webinars on-demand.

Topics are broken up by category or by date and include:

  • Auditing & Accounting
  • Collection
  • Compliance
  • Directors
  • Frontline and New Accounts
  • Human Resources
  • IT
  • IRA
  • Lending
  • Operations
  • Security & Fraud
  • Senior Management

You can access a complete listing of upcoming webinars and archived webinars here.

Legislative and Regulatory

In Case You Missed It (ICYMI)
IBAT recently held its webinar to discuss the outcomes of the 85th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature and what it all means for Texas community banks. Click here to view the webinar. Click here to download the legislative whitepaper.

Texas Lege Returns to Austin Next Week
The special session of the Texas Legislature gets underway one week from today. While no issues effecting Texas community banks are on the call from Governor Abbot, we’ll closely monitor the goings on at the Capitol.

Get Involved
IBAT is current running two grassroots action campaigns for bankers to speak out against further regulatory burden. Click on the following links to contact your Congressional Representatives about:

  • Exemption of community banks from expanding HMDA reporting requirements
    (click here)

Support for the CLEAR Relief Act, a comprehensive regulatory relief package (click here)


Research from the Federal Reserve has revealed the most common themes for instances in which banks experience issues with third parties. The top three are:

  • Over-reliance – It remains the responsibility of the bank to stay in compliance with all laws and regulations.
  • Failure to understand or retain knowledgeable staff – Someone at the bank must understand and oversee vendor activities.
  • Failure to monitor vendors – How is the vendor performing? Who is overseeing customer complaints?

Shameless Plug
Vendor management will be just one of the topics covered during the operations portion of the IBAT Compliance Conference. Click here to learn more about the three-day event covering lending and operations compliance, as well as other areas of common concern for Texas community banks.

Best of Community Banking

Time is flying and as such, we’re extending the Best of Community Banking (BOCB) Award deadline to Wednesday, July 12. We know it takes a good amount of time and effort to create each BOCB entry, and we don’t want to rush you or miss out on your entry because time ran out.

Simply by doing what you do every day to help your customers and your community, you have a community service, financial education, marketing or architectural design achievement to highlight with a BOCB Award submission. And what better way to honor those who worked hard to make it happen? As always, entries will be displayed at the IBAT Annual Convention, Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2017, at the Hilton Downtown Austin. Additionally, gold award winners will be recognized during the BOCB Awards luncheon Monday, October 2.

The BOCB brochure and entry form can be found here. Tell us about the extraordinary programs your bank has undertaken throughout the past year! Please contact Lindsey Gehrig if you have any questions or want to discuss a potential submission topic. 

Staff contact: Lindsey Gehrig, lgehrig@ibat.org, 512-275-2215

4th of July Office Hours

The 4th of July is a time for donning red, white and blue, backyard cookouts, community parades and fireworks.

But it is also a time to stop and reflect on this wonderful country of ours from “sea to shining sea.” A time to remember the foundation that our country was built on. A time to remember the courage our founding fathers displayed. And a time to appreciate the wonderful gift of freedom that we all enjoy and should never take for granted.

In observance of the July 4th holiday, the IBAT office will close on Monday, July 3, 2017 and July 4, 2017. Business hours will resume to normal on Wednesday, July 5.

From the IBAT family to yours, Happy Independence Day!

Legal Ease: June 29, 2017

We are making a $500,000 loan secured by three properties. One property is estimated at nearly $400,000, and the other two properties are estimated at $150,000 each. Because the loan is over $250,000 and no other exemption applies, do we need an appraisal on each property?

Learn the answer here.

Staff contact: Kelly Goulart, kgoulart@ibat.org, 512-275-2231

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. The Legal Ease archives are also available on IBAT2GO, the official IBAT mobile app.


It’s hard to believe that we’re only a few weeks from the August congressional recess, during which members of Congress head back to their districts to meet face to face with constituents. ICBA is encouraging community bankers to invite members of Congress and staff to visit their banks during the recess period. In preparation, ICBA has created the comprehensive new “Meeting on Main Street” guide.

For those new to this process, or those who have done this many times before but would like a refresher, the guide includes tips that will help with both planning and the logistics of conducting a bank visit or in-district meeting.

Your one-on-one discussions with lawmakers and their staff about the challenges community bankers experience in the current regulatory environment can help frame their understanding of the urgent need to find solutions to the regulatory overreach that hinders your ability to serve customers. This is an important next step in the process towards meaningful regulatory relief for community banks.

Staff contact: Chris Williston, cwilliston@ibat.org, 512-474-6889

IBAT Honored

IBAT honored the three winners of the 2017 Five*Star Award—Kennedy Sutherland, LLP (Tier 1, 10 or fewer employees), CalTech (Tier 2, 11-199 employees) and PULSE, A Discover Company (Tier 3, 200 or more employees)—at last week’s Leadership Conference.

“We are honored to recognize this year’s Five*Star Award winners as they have shown dedication, commitment and passion for our industry, all while delivering exceptional service to their clients,” IBAT President and CEO Chris Williston said. “These companies not only provide value to Texas community banks, but they also advocate for and actively participate in important activities supporting our industry.”

Since 2002, IBAT has recognized associate members that routinely provide excellent service and innovative solutions that help community banks grow, enhance profits and gain efficiency with the Five*Star Award.

Staff contact: Darlene Revers, drevers@ibat.org, 512-275-2217

New Bottom Line

The IBAT office will be closed on Tuesday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day. There will be no regular edition of IBAT’s Bottom Line e-newsletter next week. 

Beginning Tuesday, July 11, we’ll try out a new format for the Bottom Line, which will continue throughout the month of July.  

We look forward to receiving your feedback on the experimental format, which will contain quick bullet point encapsulations of the news and information you’ve come to rely on from IBAT, as well as links to additional articles and information of interest to Texas community bankers.

Staff contact: Christopher Williston, clwilliston@ibat.org, 512-275-2208