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Leadership
ICBA Chairman, CEO: Make Your Voice Heard
ICBA Chairman John Buhrmaster and ICBA President and CEO Cam Fine called on community bankers to make their voices heard by participating in Community Banking Month and the ICBA Washington Policy Summit this month.

In a joint message to the nation’s community bankers, Buhrmaster and Fine noted that ICBA continues to offer Community Banking Month marketing and communications resources that community bankers can customize for their communities.

Buhrmaster and Fine also noted that ICBA is running ads on Washington, D.C.-area buses, trains and a key Capitol Hill Metro station through the ICBA Washington Policy Summit, slated for April 29-May 2 in the nation’s capital.

Community bankers joining their colleagues in Washington can see the ads for themselves and even enter a social media contest by tweeting photos of themselves with the ads.

Read the Joint Message.


Go Local
ICBA: Community Banks Support Small Businesses
Community banks help America build more economically sustainable communities by lending to local small businesses, ICBA said in a national Community Banking Month news release that community bankers can customize for their communities.

The customizable news release is part of ICBA’s Marketing and Communications Toolkit, which offers a variety of resources to help community bankers celebrate Community Banking Month throughout April.

Community bankers also can celebrate Community Banking Month by tweeting with the #BankLocally hashtag and sharing their photos with ICBA on Facebook.

Read ICBA Release. Access Customizable Release.


Regulation
ICBA Community Banker Sworn In as SBA Administrator
Former ICBA community banker Maria Contreras-Sweet was sworn as head of the Small Business Administration. ICBA has publicly endorsed Contreras-Sweet’s nomination and congratulated her on her swearing in.

ICBA Senior Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff Terry Jorde (pictured with Contreras-Sweet) and ICBA Vice President of Congressional Relations John Hand attended the swearing in at the SBA.

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.

Read ICBA Release. Read More from SBA.



ICBA NewsWatch Today is sponsored by FIS:
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Patents
ICBA Urges Congressional Action on Patent Abuse in Hearing Statement
ICBA urged Congress to advance measures to protect community banks from patent-assertion entities, which assert infringement of business-method patents of dubious quality by legitimate businesses, including community banks. In a statement for the record for a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing, ICBA called for initiatives to address demand letters and indemnify end users.

In its statement, ICBA noted that community bankers have increasingly received demand letters stating that they are violating patents and should settle with PAEs. To address this issue, ICBA urged Congress to pursue legislation that would strengthen demand letter transparency by requiring PAEs to provide minimum disclosures to better identify themselves, the patent in question and the specific nature of the infringement they allege.

ICBA also wrote that community banks that white-label products from vendors are end users, not creators of these products and services, and should not be on the hook for PAE infringement claims. Congress should amend current law to ensure that vendors that sell products or services to community banks provide the appropriate warranties and indemnification to protect the end users from patent-infringement claims, ICBA said. Read ICBA’s Statement.


Regulation
Fed Announces Volcker Rule Extensions for CLOs
The Federal Reserve Board announced that it intends to give banking entities two additional one-year extensions to conform their ownership interests in and sponsorship of certain collateralized loan obligations covered by the Volcker rule.

The rule generally prohibits insured depository institutions from engaging in proprietary trading and from acquiring or retaining ownership interests in, sponsoring, or having certain relationships with a hedge fund or private equity fund.

The Fed previously extended the conformance period for all activities and investments by one year to July 21, 2015. The board said it intends to grant banking entities two additional one-year extensions, which together would extend until July 21, 2017, to conform their ownership interests in and sponsorship of CLOs to the statute.

CLOs in place as of Dec. 31, 2013, that do not qualify for the exclusion in the final rule for loan securitizations would be eligible for the extension. The board said it intends to act on these extensions in August of this year and next year.

ICBA recently called on federal regulators to broaden Volcker Rule accommodations for community banks. In a comment letter, ICBA said the agencies’ interim final rule should exempt all TruPS CDOs and CLOs. The association also supports legislation (H.R. 4167) that would allow community banks to retain debt securities of collateralized loan obligations issued before Jan. 31, 2014.


Regulation
Feds Voting Today on New Megabank Leverage Ratio Capital Rules
The Federal Reserve Board and FDIC board of directors are scheduled to meet today to vote on a final rule to implement enhanced supplementary leverage ratio standards on the nation’s largest financial institutions and to make revisions to the denominator measure for the supplementary leverage ratio.

Under the standards proposed in July, regulators would apply a 6 percent supplementary leverage ratio to the eight largest U.S. insured banking organizations and a 5 percent standard on their bank holding companies. The higher capital levels would apply to bank holding companies with $700 billion or more in total consolidated assets or more than $10 trillion in assets under custody.

The proposal requires a 2 percent leverage buffer on top of the current 3 percent supplementary leverage ratio for certain institutions. Additionally, the proposal would require subsidiary banks to maintain a 6 percent supplementary leverage ratio to be considered “well capitalized.”

In an October comment letter to federal financial regulators, ICBA wrote that the proposal would help rein in the nation’s too-big-to-fail problem and account for the kinds of derivatives exposures that affected many financial institutions and exacerbated the last economic crisis. Approval of the proposal without significant changes would be a key victory for community banks.

The FDIC said its board meeting will include a briefing on updated Deposit Insurance Fund projections.



Regulation
FDIC Reissues Tech Outsourcing Documents for Community Banks
The FDIC reissued three FDIC Technology Outsourcing documents as an informational resource to community banks. The documents cover how to select service providers, draft contract terms, and oversee multiple service providers when outsourcing for technology products and services. The documents, first issued in June 2001, contain practical ideas for banks to consider when they engage in technology outsourcing.


Economy
Consumer Credit Up 6.4 Percent in February
Consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.4 percent in February, according to the Federal Reserve. Revolving credit, which includes credit card spending, decreased at an annual rate of 3.4 percent. Non-revolving credit, such as auto and student loans, increased at an annual rate of 10.1 percent.



Poll
Take This Week’s Quick Poll
Take this week’s Quick Poll on the end of Microsoft support for Windows XP, and view results from the previous poll on celebrating Community Banking Month. View the Archive.


Education
ICBA Webinar Next Week Covers FFIEC Guidance on Social Media
Following the recent issuance of final guidance from the FFIEC on the risks of social media, ICBA is hosting a webinar next week on how financial institutions and their employees are using social media and how to mitigate the risks involved. “New FFIEC Guidance on Social Media” is scheduled for 11 a.m. (Eastern time) Tuesday, April 15. Register Online.


Products and Services
Webinar: Social Media and Disaster Recovery
Join ICBA
Preferred Service Provider Agility Recovery at 2 p.m. (Eastern time) tomorrow to learn the steps and best practices for developing your organization’s strategy for crisis communications using social media. The session will address the value of social media and its use in situations related to both isolated incidents and regional disasters. The discussion will focus on best practices and simple steps organizations can take to build their presence in these online channels and bolster their crisis communications plans by integrating social media as a central element. Register Now.


Products and Services
Webinar: Quarterly Briefing on Addressing Regulatory Changes
Continuity Control, ICBA’s new Preferred Service Provider, is hosting a free webinar at 1 p.m. (Eastern time) this Thursday titled “RegAdvisor Quarterly Regulatory Compliance Briefing.” The briefing will explain the details of first-quarter 2014 regulatory changes. This session is intended to clarify the compliance requirements, deadlines and estimated workload needed to comply. Register Now.









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