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Security
ICBA Supports Bill Offering Safe Harbor from New Data-Security Regs
ICBA thanked senators for reintroducing ICBA-advocated legislation that recognizes the rigorous data security protocols that already apply to community banks. The Data Security Act of 2014 (S. 1927), sponsored by Sens. Thomas Carper (D-Del.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), allows Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act consumer protections to serve as a safe harbor from additional regulation.

In a letter to the senators, ICBA wrote that the legislation provides a reasonable legislative response to recent data breaches at large retailers. The association noted that the bill would avoid additional, redundant and potentially conflicting regulatory requirements on community banks and provides for an ICBA-advocated national data security standard.

ICBA also noted that it continues urging Congress to advance legislation that would ensure that the party at fault for a breach should bear responsibility for fraud losses and the cost of mitigation when consumer information is compromised.

In addition to its Capitol Hill advocacy, ICBA continues working to help community banks respond to the recent breaches at Target, Neiman Marcus, Michaels 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 audio call presentation.

ICBA also recently 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. Visit the ICBA Security Breach Toolkit.


Flood Insurance
ICBA Urging Senate to Pass Bill Delaying Flood Insurance Rate Hikes
ICBA is calling on the Senate to pass bipartisan legislation to protect homeowners from significant increases in flood insurance premiums. Senators last night advanced debate on legislation to delay the increases, which began being phased in on Oct. 1.

S. 1926, introduced by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), would delay rate increases for up to four years by giving the Federal Emergency Management Agency time to develop a plan to help property owners who cannot afford higher premiums.

Unless Congress acts, flood insurance rate increases under the  Biggert-Waters Act of 2012 would make flood insurance unaffordable for many policyholders who built to code and followed the law every step of the way. These increases would negatively affect home values and destabilize the still-recovering housing market in affected areas.

ICBA is encouraging community bankers to urge their lawmakers to approve S. 1926. The association has led the effort to advance legislation to stem the rate increases and continues to work closely with Congress on this issue. Contact Your Senators Today!


Leadership
ICBA Nominates New Officers for 2014-15
ICBA announced the nominees for its 2014-15 executive committee. ICBA’s board of directors will vote on the nominations during the 2014 ICBA National Convention, scheduled for March 2-6 in Honolulu.

During the convention, current ICBA Chairman Bill Loving will become ICBA immediate past chairman, while ICBA Chairman-Elect John H. Buhrmaster will become ICBA chairman.

Additionally, Jack Hartings has been nominated to become ICBA chairman-elect, Rebeca Romero Rainey has been nominated for ICBA vice chairman, Preston Kennedy has been nominated for treasurer and Timothy Zimmerman will continue to serve as secretary.

Rounding out the executive committee are ICBA President and CEO Cam Fine, ICBA Past Chairman Jeffrey L. Gerhart, ICBA Past Chairman Sal Marranca and ICBA Consolidated Holding Chairman Cynthia Blankenship. Read ICBA Release.


Regulators
ICBA’s Fine Joining Symposium on OCC’s 150th Anniversary
ICBA President and CEO Cam Fine is scheduled to take part in an Office of the Comptroller of the Currency symposium on the 150th anniversary of the founding of the OCC and the national banking system. The symposium, slated for March 31 in Boston, will feature discussions of the state of the dual banking system, banking reform, the Volcker Rule, too-big-to-fail and the future of banking, among other topics.

Symposium participants include former FDIC chairman Sheila Bair, Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry, FDIC Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig, Boston University professor Cornelius Hurley and former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, among others. Read More from the OCC. Learn More about the Event.



Personal Finance
ICBA Encourages Consumers to Work with Community Banks on Financial Goals
ICBA encouraged consumers to create achievable financial goals for the upcoming year. In a national news release, ICBA offered consumers several simple suggestions on how to kick-start their money-management resolutions.

ICBA is holding a personal finance Twitter chat at 2 p.m. (Eastern time) Friday, Jan. 31. 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. To participate, 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. Read ICBA Release.


ICBA NewsWatch Today is sponsored by Transamerica:
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Congress
Farm Bill Advancing Through Congress
Late Monday, lawmakers revealed a new farm bill compromise and sent it to the House Rules Committee. The Agricultural Act of 2014 is expected to be voted on by the full House on Wednesday morning and, if passed, taken up by the Senate this week or next. President Obama is expected to sign the bill once Congress passes it. 

Key components of the bill would enhance crop and revenue insurance programs, increase price support levels and enhance USDA guaranteed farm loan programs, including removing term limits on guaranteed farm operating loans, as advocated by ICBA. ICBA is reviewing the final details of the legislation.

Read Conference Report.

Read Managers’ Statements.

Read More from Congress.



Security
CFPB Issues Consumer Advisory on Retailer Data Breaches
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau published a consumer advisory designed to help consumers protect themselves following recent security breaches at larger retailers. The advisory includes steps consumers can take to protect themselves from data theft as well as information on where consumers can get help if they suspect their information has been compromised.


Congress
Committee Meets Tomorrow on Office of Financial Research
The Senate Banking Subcommittee on Economic Policy is scheduled to hold a hearing tomorrow on oversight of the Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Research. In a letter to Financial Stability Oversight Council Chairman and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) raised concerns about with an OFR study on the asset-management industry. Crapo raised questions about the veracity of the study and encouraged the FSOC to consider the views of market participants.


Economy
New-Home Sales Drop 7 Percent in December
New-home sales declined 7 percent in December but remained up 4.5 percent from a year ago, the Commerce Department reported. The median sales price of new houses sold in December 2013 was $270,200, and the average sales price was $311,400. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of December was 171,000, a five-month supply at the current sales rate.


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
ICBA BSA/AML Institute Slated for May
With the regulatory agencies committing to tougher and more inclusive BSA/AML examinations, it is as important as ever to ensure your BSA/AML program is appropriate for your institution’s risk exposure. ICBA’s BSA/AML Institute, scheduled for May 12-14 in Minneapolis, will cover the primary requirements of each segment of the regulation and provide guidance on best practice expectations in each area. Learn More and Register.


Products and Services
Read the Latest BankInsurance.com News
The latest issue of BankInsurance.com News from Michael White Associates focuses on how to keep calm and boost fee Income. While the volatile weather has vexed many businesses, community banks have remained steady by emphasizing more predictable sources of income. The publication reveals how community banks raised investment program earnings by a sizeable margin and who benefited most. It also covers Fannie and Freddie's new mortgage insurance standards and how the Federal Insurance Office wants to modernize regulation. Read the Latest Issue.











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