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ICBA Community Banker Confirmed to Head SBA
The Senate voted to confirm ICBA-member community banker Maria Contreras-Sweet as head of the Small Business Administration. ICBA has publicly endorsed Contreras-Sweet’s nomination and congratulated her on her confirmation.

Contreras-Sweet founded Latino-owned ProAmérica Bank in 2006. The community bank offers bilingual services and specializes in lending to small and medium-sized businesses. She previously served as secretary of the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.

“ICBA congratulates Maria Contreras-Sweet on her confirmation as SBA administrator,” ICBA President and CEO Cam Fine said. “Like thousands of other community bankers, Ms. Contreras-Sweet has dedicated her career to supporting small businesses, consumers and local economies.”

Waters Releases Housing-Finance-Reform Proposal
House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) released a legislative proposal to reform the housing-finance system. The Housing Opportunities Move the Economy (HOME) Forward Act of 2014 follows separate proposals released by Senate Banking Committee and House Financial Services Committee leaders.

Among its provisions, the Waters plan would establish a new entity to provide an explicit government guaranty on eligible mortgage-backed securities and would provide a cash window for community banks to sell individual mortgages. In a statement, ICBA President and CEO Cam Fine said ICBA is encouraged by provisions of the proposal that support continued community bank access to the housing-finance system.

Separately, ICBA this week released a summary of a housing-finance-reform proposal recently issued by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho). ICBA’s summary covers provisions of the proposal to establish a new Federal Mortgage Insurance Corp. regulator, form a mutual cooperative jointly owned by small lenders, and wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, among others.

Read More on Waters Proposal. Read ICBA Summary of Johnson-Crapo Plan.

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Go Local
ICBA Releases Custom Community Banking Month Toolkit
To help community bankers celebrate April as Community Banking Month, ICBA this week released customizable resources on the association’s website.

ICBA offers members a Community Banking Month Marketing and Communications Toolkit, which includes four customizable news releases, an op-ed, sample social media posts and marketing ideas that community banks can use to spread the community bank message.

ICBA encourages members to use these turnkey custom resources throughout the month of April. The marketing and communications resources reinforce the message that community banks put local deposits back to work in their communities, are expert small-business and agricultural lenders, and support economic sustainability.

Community bankers also can tweet with the #BankLocally hashtag and share their photos with ICBA on Facebook. ICBA will share community bank posts and showcase their celebrations across the nation. Access ICBA Community Banking Month Toolkit.

Yellen, Corker Slated to Speak at ICBA Washington Policy Summit
ICBA this week announced that Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and Senate Banking Committee member Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) are scheduled to speak at the upcoming ICBA Washington Policy Summit.

Slated for April 29-May 2 in the nation’s capital, the summit will feature face-to-face meetings with members of Congress and regulators. Also slated to speak are FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg  and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).

Registration for the summit is free for community bankers and a spouse or guest. Visit ICBA’s Washington Policy Summit webpage to register today and make sure your voice is being heard in Washington. Register Today.

ICBA: New York Fed Research Shows Too-Big-To-Fail Funding Advantage
ICBA said that new Federal Reserve Bank of New York reports released this week show that the nation’s largest banks enjoy a cost advantage over community banks because these systemically risky firms are considered too big to fail.

The New York Fed released a series of 11 research papers that found that the too-big-to-fail problem is associated with funding advantages, increased levels of risk and moral hazard. In a statement, ICBA called for greater protections against future systemic crises and a more diverse financial system to mitigate financial risk while promoting competition, innovation and the availability of credit.

Take This Week’s Quick Poll
Take this week’s Quick Poll on Community Banking Month, and view results from the previous poll on the 2014 ICBA Washington Policy Summit. View the Archive.

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