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Volcker Rule
Fine: ICBA Push to Correct Volcker Rule Making Important Progress
ICBA has taken the lead in working to overturn language in the Volcker Rule that could have dramatic unintended consequences for hundreds of community bank, ICBA President and CEO Cam Fine wrote in a message to community bankers. “We understand the impact this rule could have on community banks across the nation, and fortunately our efforts are making important headway in Washington,” he wrote.

Fine noted that thanks to ICBA’s steadfast advocacy, Congress and the regulators are already moving to change the rule and limit the impact on community banks. Members of the House and Senate have introduced legislation to enact ICBA-advocated changes to the Volcker Rule, which in certain circumstances would require banks to divest their holdings of CDO TruPS and write down the investments. Meanwhile, the federal banking regulators are expected to release an interim final rule early next week to make changes to the Volcker Rule provisions affecting CDO TruPS, as urged by ICBA.

As Fine wrote in a new American Banker op-ed, while many Americans spent the holidays unwrapping presents with loved ones, their local economies were jeopardized by the Volcker Rule, which poses a threat to banks large and small. ICBA has met face-to-face with regulators and members of Congress to overturn a provision of the rule that could force hundreds of community banks to write down their holdings of collateralized debt obligations backed by trust-preferred securities, he noted in his message to community bankers.

“ICBA will continue working with regulators and Congress on behalf of a permanent solution,” Fine wrote. “And we will continue providing regular updates to community bankers nationwide to ensure you have the very latest on this important and fast-moving issue.” Read the Message from Fine.

ICBA to Congress: Too-Big-To-Fail Causes Community Bank Reg Burdens
ICBA this week told Congress that government subsidies for a small number of too-big-to-fail firms increase systemic risk and pose a direct threat to the U.S. economy and taxpayers. In a statement for the record for yesterday’s Senate Banking Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection hearing, ICBA noted that too-big-to-fail subsidies have also contributed to greater regulatory burdens on community banks.

ICBA wrote that the Volcker Rule is an example of how rules designed to mitigate risk on Wall Street can sweep in community banks. The association noted that a provision of the final Volcker Rule requires all banks to divest their holdings of collateralized debt obligations backed by trust-preferred securities, which could result in community bank write-downs based on fire sale prices. ICBA urged the committee to promptly take up legislation to exempt community banks from this provision.

At the hearing, which focused on a Government Accountability Office report on government support for bank holding companies, ICBA noted that government-subsidized industry concentration continues unabated. The association cited an SNL Financial report that found that the five largest U.S. banks control 44.2 percent of the industry’s assets, up from 9.7 percent in 1990.

ICBA expressed its support for the Terminating Bailouts for Taxpayer Fairness (TBTF) Act (S. 798), introduced by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and David Vitter (R-La.), which would require the largest and riskiest banks to hold more leverage equity capital. The association also called on Congress to consider how ICBA’s Plan for Prosperity and the CLEAR Relief Act (S. 1349) would help offset community banks’ growing regulatory burden. Read ICBA Statement. Read ICBA Release.

Today is Compliance Deadline for CFPB Mortgage Rules
Today is the compliance deadline for several Consumer Financial Protection Bureau mortgage rules, including regulations requiring banks to determine consumers’ ability to repay their loans. ICBA recently posted new reference charts on the ability-to-repay and qualified mortgage rules and offers additional resources on its Mortgage Rules Resource Page.

Additional information and compliance resources on the new mortgage rules can be found on the CFPB’s Regulatory Implementation webpage. Additionally, community bankers can submit questions to the CFPB at CFPB_reginquiries@cfpb.gov or 202-435-7700.

ICBA NewsWatch Today is sponsored by CNA:
ICBA Member Milestones, brought to you by CNA, recognizes community bank anniversaries and milestones in the January issue of ICBA Independent Banker magazine. CNA understands it takes more than a strong balance sheet to run a successful bank. It takes commitment to the community, dedication to service and flexibility to meet the needs of clients. For more than 100 years, CNA's professionals have worked to build strong relationships and solid business insurance solutions that meet the needs of their clients. For more information on CNA’s programs, visit www.cna.com/communitybanks.

Early-Bird Convention Registration Deadline is Jan. 20
Are you still thinking about escaping the cold to a tropical paradise? Want to get that New Year’s resolution of bettering yourself personally and professionally on the calendar? Now is the time to do both and receive a significant discount in the process.

ICBA Community Banking Live 2014 hits the shores of Honolulu, Hawaii, March 2-6. Register before Monday, Jan. 20, and receive a $300 convention discount to attend the most comprehensive educational and networking event in the community banking industry.

To learn more about all the activities and events that are planned, and to join more than 1,000 other bankers from throughout the country, watch your mailbox for the latest convention brochure, or go to the convention website. Learn More and Register Today.

Social Media
ICBA’s Social Media Minute Video Debuts
New in 2014, ICBA debuts a web mini-series, “Social Media Minute,” hosted by ICBA Senior Social Media Specialist Ann Chen. The videos will highlight the latest news and happenings in the world of social media and community banking. In this edition, community bankers can learn about new Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council final guidance on social media, how to find out what's being said about them online, social media ideas of the Go Local for the Holidays campaign, and a New Year's Resolution charge for 2014. View the Video.

Uptick in ATM Cash-Out Attacks Prompt Data Security Alert
Visa issued a data security alert following a number of reported attempts to conduct ATM Cash-out attacks. The peak in ATM cash-out attacks is being attributed to a recent increase in malicious activity directed at web-based administrator or control panels, used by small- to medium-sized financial institutions to manage prepaid or debit account platforms via the Internet, according to the report. Typically these attacks have involved a small number of accounts that are counterfeited onto a large number of cards and then used simultaneously at ATMs across multiple locations, the alert explains.

The alert also outlines 12 tips or best practices financial institutions should consider implementing or reinforcing to help prevent and mitigate losses associated with these attacks, including limiting access to the front-facing web management platform, establishing protocols for the regular review of access logs associated with web management portals, and establishing a dual-alert notification protocol to at least two people empowered to investigate potential security breaches. Read the Security Alert.

Employers Add 74K Jobs in December
The U.S. economy added 74,000 jobs in December, the Labor Department reported this morning. The unemployment rate declined to 6.7 percent from 7.0 percent. The civilian labor force participation rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 62.8 percent in December. Employment rose in retail trade and wholesale trade but was down in information.

Take This Week’s Quick Poll
Take this week’s Quick Poll on the Target payment-card breach, and view results from the previous poll on arbitration clauses. View the Archive.

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