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Security
Fine: Banks Focused on Protecting Customers Following Retailer Breaches
Banks are all about protecting customer information in the wake of the recent retailer data breaches, ICBA President and CEO Cam Fine said in a televised interview. Appearing on the Fox Business Network, Fine said retailers seem to be more intent on pointing fingers following the massive data breaches.

ICBA has been working to advance the dialogue on cybersecurity following the data breaches. ICBA and a coalition of trade associations representing the financial services and retail industries last week announced a cybersecurity partnership to discuss areas of agreement and disagreement and to seek solutions. The partnership will explore how to increase information sharing, improve card security technology and maintain the trust of customers.

ICBA also recently welcomed the release of a cybersecurity framework by the National Institute of Standards and Technology at the direction of President Barack Obama. The NIST worked with the banking and financial sectors to establish a voluntary framework to help organizations align their cybersecurity activities with their business requirements, risk tolerances and resources.

Meanwhile, ICBA has been communicating frequently with Congress on the impact of recent retailer data breaches on community banks and the need for a stronger payments system. More information on ICBA’s efforts and data-security resources for community banks and their customers are available on ICBA’s online security breach toolkit.



Flood Insurance
House Expected To Take Up Flood Insurance Upon Return to Washington
While the House and Senate are adjourned this week for the Presidents Day recess, congressional activity on flood insurance is expected to pick up next week when lawmakers return to Washington.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said the House next week will consider legislation to prevent significant increases in National Flood Insurance Program premiums. ICBA has expressed support for the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (H.R. 3370); however, the bill the House will consider has not yet been released.

H.R. 3370 would provide a four-year delay for most rate increases. It also would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency to complete an affordability study and propose an affordability framework to help homeowners cope with dramatically higher premiums.

The House debate follows a recent Senate vote approving S. 1926, similar legislation to delay steep NFIP rate increases. The severe rate hikes would negatively affect home values and destabilize the still-recovering housing market in affected areas.

ICBA has repeatedly called on policymakers to address significant NFIP premium increases and will continue working with lawmakers to address the issue. The association worked closely with the Senate and continues working with the House to mitigate these dramatic rate increases and implement a comprehensive fix.



Regulation
Regulators Issue Guidance on Serving Marijuana Businesses
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and U.S. Department of Justice issued guidance that clarifies customer due diligence expectations and reporting requirements for financial institutions seeking to provide services to marijuana businesses. The guidance provides that financial institutions can provide services to marijuana-related businesses in a manner consistent with their obligations to know their customers and to report possible criminal activity.

Regulators said providing clarity should enhance the availability of financial services for marijuana businesses, which would promote greater financial transparency in the marijuana industry and mitigate the dangers associated with conducting an all-cash business. The guidance also helps financial institutions file reports that contain information important to law enforcement, they said.

FinCEN said it expects financial institutions to perform thorough customer due diligence on marijuana businesses and file reports that highlight information that is particularly valuable to law enforcement. Read the Guidance.



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Advocacy
ICBA Continues Campaign Against Costly Accounting Proposal
ICBA continues urging community bankers to send in custom comment letters opposing accounting standards proposed by the Financial Accounting Standards Board. The proposal would require all community banks to revise how they account for their loan-loss reserves (ALLL), loans and securities.

The FASB proposal would require complex modeling and compel banks to recognize losses much earlier than necessary in the credit-loss cycle, penalizing community banks for investing in loans and securities. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency estimates that loan-loss reserves on average will increase by 30 percent to 50 percent with adoption of the proposal.

ICBA’s customizable letter urges FASB to re-propose a simpler and more straightforward proposal that would not harm the nation’s community banks. Send in Your Letter Today! Read More on the Issue.



Economy
Industrial Production Declines 0.3 Percent
Industrial production decreased 0.3 percent in January following a 0.3 percent increase in December, the Federal Reserve reported. Manufacturing output was down 0.8 percent in January, partly because of the severe weather that curtailed production in some regions of the country, the agency said. The capacity utilization rate for total industry decreased in January to 78.5 percent, a rate that is 1.6 percentage points below its long-run average.


Poll
Take This Week’s Quick Poll
Take this week’s Quick Poll on recovering defaulted debts, and view results from the previous poll on a proposal that the U.S. Postal Service enter the financial services industry. View the Archive.


Education
ICBA Hosting Upcoming Community Bank IT Institute
Information technology solutions continue to evolve, creating opportunities for community banks to increase efficiency, improve service capabilities and better safeguard customers. The Community Bank IT Institute, scheduled for May 12-16 in Kansas City, will better position IT managers and officers for managing their banks' IT environment and risks. Your ability to understand how these solutions can be applied to your bank’s current technology platform can mean all the difference in today’s highly competitive environment. Learn More and Register.


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
Free Webinar To Introduce New PSP for Compliance Management
Continuity Control, a new ICBA Preferred Service Provider, is hosting a free webinar to demonstrate its Compliance Management Platform. ICBA members will learn how Continuity Control provides a single solution engineered to automate the entire regulatory lifecycle, including regulatory update management, policy management, risk assessment, vendor management, custom controls, audit management and regulatory diagnostics and reporting.  Register to attend Introducing NEW Compliance Management System PSP at 3 p.m. (Eastern time) tomorrow or 1 p.m. (Eastern time) Thursday, March 20.


Products and Services
Latest ICBA Compliance Newsletter Now Available
ICBA Compliance and Risk Management released the latest edition of its compliance newsletter in conjunction with strategic ally Chartwell Compliance. The latest Chartwell Compass publication features articles on elder financial abuse, stress-testing deposits, compliance risk assessments and more. Read More.











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