Upcoming SNL Webinar

Most community bankers are keenly aware of the complex challenges and pressures that face their organizations. However, many of them lack timely and accurate insight into how to manage these challenges and the impact on bank performance. Join IBAT and SNL for a one-hour webinar presentation on Wednesday, April 1, at 9 a.m. that will help answer the following business intelligence questions:

  • What are the key challenges that business intelligence can solve and how can banks evaluate the tools available to help bankers do so? 
  • How do the solutions for community banks differ from what the larger banks are demanding? 

We know you constantly hear about the need to leverage “big data,” but how community banks leverage “little data” can have a meaningful impact on their business.

Learn more and register here.

Blankenship Featured in AB

Cynthia Blankenship, Bank of the West (Grapevine) Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer, was featured in an American Banker article last week discussing rates, regulation and oil prices. In the article, Blankenship also talks about community bankers’ renewed enthusiasm as progress is made with regulatory reform. In addition to her role as former ICBA Board Chair, she has held a variety of leadership positions at IBAT, including former IBAT Board Chair and current IBAT Director.

ICBA recently announced its 2015-2016 Executive Committee, which includes Blankenship as ICBA Services Network Chair. Additionally, Scott Heitkamp, ValueBank Texas (Corpus Christi) President and Chief Executive Officer, was elected as ICBA Board Vice Chair. IBAT once again congratulates both bankers on the well-deserved honors.

2015 Five*Star Award

Calling all IBAT associate members: the deadline for IBAT's Five*Star Award has been extended to Friday, March 13, 2015. Don't miss the opportunity to be recognized for your demonstrated commitment to the community banking industry during IBAT's 30th Annual Leadership Conference, June 11-13, 2015, in San Antonio.

Since 2002, IBAT has honored its associate members with the IBAT Five*Star Award, recognizing those companies that routinely provide not just excellent service, but innovative solutions that help community banks grow faster, enhance profits, gain efficiency and SHINE through:

  • Service excellence that provides community banks with the support they can depend upon;
  • Human relationships based upon trust, respect and strong working relationships;
  • Integrity that meets the high standards banks have a right to expect from their trusted suppliers;
  • Never-ending commitment to the success of the community banking industry; and
  • Exceptional value for the products and services provided.

Unlike past years, you do not need a banker nomination to be considered. Don't miss out on your opportunity to SHINE. Click here for full details and application.

Progress in D.C.?

The drumbeat for regulatory relief got quite a bit louder last week as a number of bills were filed in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate that would address key areas of the IBAT-endorsed Plan for Prosperity. For those keeping score at home, here is a quick rundown of bills introduced:

  • Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer introduced H.R. 1233, the CLEAR Relief Act of 2015. The Act includes provisions exempting in-portfolio mortgage loans from CFPB mortgage rules and an allowance for highly rated and well-capitalized banks to file short-form call reports in the first and third quarters, among others.
  • H.R. 1259, introduced by Rep. Andy Barr and Texas’s own Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, would create a process in which individuals could petition the CFPB to reassess the rural status of counties. Even with the CFPB’s recent changes in the rural definition, a number of banks in rural areas are still not included.
  • H.R. 1266, introduced by House Financial Services Subcommittee Chairman Randy Neugebauer, would replace the single-director governance of the CFPB with a five-member commission.

If the flurry of legislation isn’t enough to make community bankers optimistic about the prospect of regulatory relief in this Congress, one more bit of good news came in the form of a grilling of Treasury Secretary Jack Lew by members of the Senate Appropriations Financial Services Subcommittee. Lew was asked repeatedly by committee members what, if anything, the Obama administration plans to do about easing regulations stifling community banks’ ability to serve their customers.

Travelers Webinar

Travelers Insurance is presenting an hour-long webinar on Fraudulent Funds Transfers this Wednesday, March 11 at 1 p.m. CST. Registration is free and easy. The presentation is intended to analyze electronic fraud techniques targeting your community bank and suggest steps you can consider to combat these risks. We invite you to join the presentation of this very important topic.

Please contact Carol Troy at ctroy@ibat.org or 512-275-2236 with any questions.

Baker Market Update: Mar. 9, 2015

The 295k new jobs created in February [were] announced [Friday] morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in a report sent from an official, government, BLS e-mail account. Everything on the up-and-up. Not moving up was the Unemployment Rate. That measure declined by .2% to 5.5%; the lowest it’s been in almost seven years. Unfortunately, the Labor Force Participation Rate remains the lowest it’s been in over 30 years and actually declined by .1% last month to stand at 62.8%. The long awaited growth in wages remained muted in February as Average Hourly Earnings rose by .1%, making the year-over-year growth rate in that income measurement a semi- respectable, but still disappointing, 2.0%. 

Read more in the Baker Market Update.

Call for Nominations

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2015 Teaching Excellence in Financial Literacy Award. The IBAT Education Foundation-hosted program recognizes elementary, middle and high school teachers who use innovative, fun and effective methods to teach financial education in the classrooms.

Three award recipients from across the state will be selected, and each will receive $1,000. Additionally, IBAT and local community bankers will recognize the winners during ceremonies at their schools. The goal of this award program is to celebrate teachers who provide their students with the foundation necessary - understanding savings and credit, how to budget and the importance of making informed decisions - to make sound financial decisions for the rest of their lives.

Bankers can nominate teachers from their area schools by completing the nomination packet.

Deadline for submissions is March 31, 2015.

March Consumer Tips

To help plan for National Financial Literacy Month in April, IBAT’s MarchConsumer Tips publication details different activities families can do next month to learn about this important topic. Teaching fiscal responsibility to children often starts in the home and when done effectively, it can lead to a lifetime of financial success. We encourage you to share this information with your customers.

Silver Alert: 3.5.15


NWS Austin/San Antonio, Brownsville, Corpus Christi and Houston/Galveston


The Sinton Police Department is searching for Gilbert Zuniga Gonzales, diagnosed with a Cognitive Impairment, White, Male, 75 years old, DOB 08/13/1939, HEIGHT 5’ 2”, WEIGHT 180 lbs, White Hair, Brown Eyes, last seen wearing Grey business jacket, White T-shirt, Blue slacks and Black shoes.  Nickel sized mole on the left side of face cheek.

The senior citizen was last seen at 9:00 PM, 03/04/2015 at 600 East Sinton Street, in Sinton Texas, driving a Dark Gray, 2008 Toyota Sienna with TX License Plate 1WYKZ.

Law enforcement officials believe this senior citizen’s disappearance poses a credible threat to HIS own health and safety.

If you have any information regarding this missing senior citizen, contact the Sinton Police Department at 361-364-4400.

March/April Magazine

The March/April edition of IBAT's magazine, The Texas Independent Banker, is now available online. This issue includes articles such as:

Also, don't miss the second installment of the Banker Best Practices section. In this Q&A article, A Model for Community Bank Leadership, John Jay, Roscoe State Bank, discusses his bank's interesting expansion strategy.

Overregulation Warning

In an op-ed that appeared in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal recently, Congressman Randy Neugebauer from Texas’ 19th congressional district warns about the negative impact of overregulation on community banks. Congress Neugebauer, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, states that the more than 400 regulations contained in Dodd-Frank have “brought bank consolidation, trimmed product lines and created the culture of ‘too small to succeed.’”

He goes on to detail how regulatory burden has stopped some community banks from offering residential mortgages, home equity lines of credit, overdraft protection and credit cards to customers. The Congressman closes by asking for regulatory relief and an end to the unintended consequences of Dodd-Frank that are harming banks that did not cause the financial crisis.

QM Reg Relief Bill Filed

One of the key provisions of the IBAT-endorsed Plan for Prosperity was introduced by Representative Andy Barr last week in the form of The Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act (H.R. 1113). As drafted, H.R. 1113 would give qualified mortgage treatment to loans held in portfolio for all financial institutions.

What remains to be seen is how Republican leadership in the House and Senate will move regulatory relief legislation. Senator Elizabeth Warren of the Senate Banking Committee has expressed her distaste for legislation that benefits Wall Street Banks, meaning any bill ultimately passed offering QM status to loans in portfolio will likely need to be tiered to apply to banks under a certain size. Warren’s approval of any legislation altering Dodd-Frank is considered the bellwether of the Obama administration’s likelihood to sign it into law.

“All politics aside, IBAT is supportive of any efforts that improve the business climate for community banks and allow them to better serve their customers,” said IBAT President and CEO Chris Williston. “We appreciate the work of Representative Barr to keep up the momentum for meaningful relief in the mortgage arena.”

The various provisions of the ICBA Plan for Prosperity were front and center as IBAT took to the road for the second round of the Tour de Texas Regional Meetings last week. ICBA Executive Vice President and Chief Economist Paul Merski spoke to the Plan’s various points of emphasis, which address issues related to access to capital and other regulatory relief provisions as well as mortgage reform.

Thank you to the almost 2,000 IBAT members who attended the IBAT Regional Meetings around the state. We look forward to seeing you in Austin for Community Banking Day at the Capitol and in Washington D.C. for the 23rd Annual Congressional Visit.

Community Banking 101

Have you ever wondered why investors or customers prefer one type of financial institution instead of another? Or, have you wondered what the differences are between these institutions? If so, IBAT brings you Community Banking 101: The Nuts & Bolts of Banking Summit, April 21-22 in San Antonio. This two-day program is designed to educate attendees about how banking institutions are structured and regulated along with what banks do and how they do it.

Topics of interest include:

  • Types of financial institutions…what makes them different and what makes them tick?
  • Regulatory agencies…what are the differences and what institutions does each agency regulate?
  • What banks do…what are the primary functions of banks, including deposits, payments and lending?
  • Regulations…from a big-picture view, what are the regulations that banks must meet?

Click here to learn more and register.

Baker Market Update: Mar. 2, 2015

In case you missed it on Friday:

Today is the deadline. Unless the various Congressional factions can work out their differences, funding for the Department of Homeland Security will end after today. Maybe it’s time to call on the persuasive skills of Francis J. Underwood. And while he’s at it, maybe Frank can do something about 4th quarter GDP. We learned this morning that the previously reported annualized growth rate of 2.6% has been revised downward to 2.2%. Maybe the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) should have quit while they were ahead; or at least “less behind” the impressive but apparently unsustainable Q2 and Q3 performances.

Read more in the Baker Market Update.