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Plan for Prosperity
Plan for Prosperity Gains Legislative Momentum and Extends Influence
As lawmakers enter the second half of the 113th Congress, ICBA’s Plan for Prosperity (PFP) bills have gained momentum and defined the regulatory relief legislative agenda for community banks. Last year, at the beginning of the 113th Congress, ICBA crafted and launched the PFP, a platform of viable regulatory relief priorities, with the close participation of member community banks and state community banks groups around the country.

The association’s unrelenting advocacy has shown encouraging results. As of today, 23 bills have been introduced in the House and Senate that incorporate PFP provisions. Nearly all have bipartisan support. All but one of the PFP’s 12 provisions have been introduced in legislation.

The primary PFP legislative vehicle in the House, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer’s (R-Mo.) CLEAR Relief Act (H.R. 1750), recently crossed the 100-cosponsor threshold, a milestone achieved by few House bills and an indicator of strong congressional interest. H.R. 1750 contains eight PFP provisions, including community bank exemptions from mortgage and auditing regulations and additional capital opportunities for small bank holding companies.

Additionally, three PFP bills have already passed the House:
  • the Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act (H.R. 749), also introduced by Rep. Luetkemeyer, would eliminate the annual privacy notice requirement when a bank has not changed its privacy policies;
  • the SEC Regulatory Accountability Act (H.R. 1062), introduced by Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), would apply a cost-benefit test to new Securities and Exchange Commission rules; and
  • the Holding Company Registration Threshold Equalization Act (H.R. 801), sponsored by Reps. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) and Steve Womack (R-Ark.), would allow thrift holding companies to take advantage of the new SEC registration threshold of 2,000 shareholders and deregistration threshold of 1,200 shareholders.
House passage of these bills creates momentum for Senate action. The Senate version of the CLEAR Relief Act (S. 1349), which was introduced by Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.)and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), has 23 cosponsors, nearly one in four senators. Seven additional companion PFP bills have been introduced in the Senate.

Congressional support is coalescing around a handful of PFP provisions that have been introduced in multiple bills. “Qualified mortgage” status for portfolio loans is included in five separate bills. Provisions to increase the threshold for the Federal Reserve’s Small Bank Holding Company Policy Statement, to provide privacy notice relief and to strengthen appeals for exam results have each been included in four bills. Escrow relief for portfolio loans has been included in three.

In addition to its legislative momentum, the PFP has spurred favorable regulatory actions. In particular, the CFPB revised its QM rule to include additional community bank accommodations, though the regulator did not go far enough and suspended application of the narrowly drawn “rural” definition, which it agreed to review. In addition, the SEC’s final municipal advisor registration rule, which exempts traditional banking products and services, mirrors PFP legislation.

The PFP has succeeded in delivering a strong, clear message to Congress and placing community bank regulatory relief high on their agenda. ICBA and community bankers must sustain the PFP momentum in 2014. ICBA strongly encourages all community bankers to contact their senators and representatives to urge their cosponsorship of S. 1349 or H.R. 1750. If they are already cosponsors, please thank them. Your voice, as a critical member of the community, carries real clout in Congress. Please help us advance the PFP.

Find Cosponsors for H.R. 1750 or S. 1349.

Call Your Lawmakers Today.

Send a Follow-Up Message.



Security
ICBA Offers Q&A, Audio Call Recording on Retail Security Breaches
Community bankers can access a question-and-answer document and recording of ICBA’s recent town hall audio conference on the security breaches at Target and other retailers.

The ICBA Commentary and Best Practices Guide, which is available as part of ICBA’s toolkit dedicated to helping community banks with the security breaches, answers community banker questions submitted during last week’s ICBA audio call on the breaches.

Additionally, community bankers can request a recording of ICBA’s presentation during the audio call, which offers a recap of the available facts of the case and how community banks can respond. Due to privacy considerations, the Q&A portion of the call has been removed.

ICBA has also released a one-page fact sheet on the Target REDcard, a debit and credit proprietary card issued by Target. Community bankers can continue to ask questions and share their experiences on the security breaches at Target and other retailers by emailing SecurityBreach@icba.org.

Michaels Stores Inc. said over the weekend that it is investigating a potential data security attack. The arts-and-crafts retailer said it recently learned of possible fraudulent activity involving credit or debit cards, though it hasn't determined that a breach occurred.

View the Commentary and Best Practices Guide.

Request a Recording of the Call.

View the REDcard One-Pager.

Visit the ICBA Toolkit.



Social Media
ICBA Hosts New Year’s Financial Literacy Twitter Chat
With the new year already underway, many community bank customers are setting personal finance goals and looking for resources to help achieve them. To this end, ICBA is hosting a Twitter chat on Friday, Jan. 31, that will focus on best practices to help consumers accomplish their personal finance resolutions.

Twitter chats are public forums where consumers, influencers and stakeholders can convene on Twitter to discuss certain topics. ICBA encourages community bankers to join the chat and tweet their financial literacy advice as relationship bankers. Guest tweeters include BankRate, the National JumpStart Coalition, Washington Post personal finance columnist Michelle Singletary and ICBA Senior Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff Terry Jorde.

To participate, get on Twitter at 2 p.m. (Eastern time) Friday, Jan. 31, and follow the #NewYearFinLit hashtag. More information is on ICBA’s Twitter Chat webpage and in the association’s Twitter Chats 101 and Tweeting for Community Bankers resources.



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Farm Bill
House Expected to Take Up Farm Bill This Week
The House is expected to proceed to consideration of the farm bill this week without holding a public conference committee meeting, according to reports. Farm bill conferees have been summoned to meet in Washington today, and the House and Senate Agriculture committees could file the conference report as soon as tonight.

Congress tomorrow will be focused on President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Friday that the House could take up the farm bill on Wednesday morning before the House recesses for a Republican retreat.


Bank Failures
Regulators Close Oklahoma Bank
Regulators closed the Bank of Union in El Reno, Okla., and the FDIC entered into a purchase-and-assumption agreement with BancFirst in Oklahoma City. As of Sept. 30, the Bank of Union had approximately $331.4 million in total assets and $328.8 million in total deposits. The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund will be $70 million. The Bank of Union is the second FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year. Read More from the FDIC.


Congress
Confirmation Hearing Tomorrow for Departing Senate Finance Chairman
Senate Finance Committee Max Baucus (D-Mont.) is scheduled to appear tomorrow before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for a confirmation hearing on his nomination to become U.S. ambassador to China. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is expected to replace Baucus as finance committee chairman, according to news reports.


Call Report
FDIC Bulletin Details Call Report Changes
The FDIC released a financial institution letter on recent revisions to the call report for implementation on March 31, 2014, and March 31, 2015. The proposed reporting requirements affect international remittance transfers, consumer deposit accounts and bank trade names. ICBA wrote in April comment letters to the banking agencies that the reporting requirements represent a regulatory burden on community banks. Read More from FDIC.


Poll
Take This Week’s Quick Poll
Take this week’s Quick Poll on ICBA’s mobile apps, and view results from the previous poll on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Qualified Mortgage rules. View the Archive.


Education
FDIC Hosting Webinar on Promoting Savings
The FDIC is hosting a webinar on potential strategies and approaches for institutions to consider to promote savings during America Saves Week. The webinar, scheduled for 2:30 p.m. (Eastern time) Tuesday, Feb. 4, is one in a series of webinars on promoting community development and expanding access to the banking system.


Education
ICBA Webinar Covers What’s Changed in SBA 7(a) Program
The Small Business Administration’s guaranteed loan programs are now more accessible to banks and more attractive to borrowers due to significant changes that went into effect on Jan. 1. An ICBA webinar scheduled for 11 a.m. (Eastern time) Thursday, Jan. 30, will clarify the policy changes, including new process methods, and discuss how community banks can take advantage of them to earn non-interest fee income while meeting the needs of small-business customers. Learn More and Register.











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