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Research
ICBA: Study Shows Resiliency, Adaptability of Community Banks
A new FDIC study on banking consolidation demonstrates that the community banking industry remains resilient and has a bright future ahead, ICBA said in a statement. The study, which found that most community bank combinations have been with other community banks, shows that community banks continue to grow, adapt and evolve, the association said.

According to the study, the number of banks with assets between $100 million and $1 billion rose by 7 percent between 1985 and 2013. Meanwhile, community banks with assets between $1 billion and $10 billion increased by 5 percent. Their total assets grew by 27 percent and 4 percent, respectively.

The study also found that the number of community banks with less than $100 million in assets declined by 85 percent over the same time period. Banks with assets less than $25 million declined from nearly 6,000 to just 205. Meanwhile, the 10 largest banks increased their share of industry assets from 19 percent in 1990 to 56 percent last year.

ICBA said that the study sheds needed light on the problem of regulatory burdens on community banks and further concentration in the nation’s largest financial institutions. The association again expressed its support for the CLEAR Relief Act (H.R. 1750) and the TBTF Act (S. 798) to address excessive banking regulation and concentration. Read FDIC Study. Read ICBA Release.


Call Report
Revised Call Reports Due April 30
Call reports for the March 31, 2014, report date must be received by Wednesday, April 30, the FDIC announced in a Financial Institution Letter. Call report changes that take effect for this cycle include questions about international remittance transfers, trade names and deposit account products.

ICBA recently repeated its call for regulators to exempt financial institutions with total consolidated assets of $10 billion or less from the expanded call report requirements. In a comment letter to the agencies, ICBA raised questions about the validity and usefulness of the information requested through the changes.


ICBA NewsWatch Today is sponsored by FIS:
Developing Your EMV Strategy?  Looking to attract and retain customers?  When it comes to serving community banks, FIS is right in your neighborhood and we understand that you’re more than a bank. You’re a vital resource to your community.  That’s why we offer a wide range of integrated solutions that can be tailored to the unique needs of your valued customers.  To stay competitive in an ever-changing banking landscape, you need to be more connected with your customers than ever before and  FIS is focused on connecting the best people, processes and technology to your business to help you succeed.  Learn more about FIS’ Card Personalization Solutions and our complete suite of EMV migration support tools by visiting www.fisglobal.com/cardperso.


Security
FS-ISAC Encourages Banks to Monitor Following “Heartbleed” Vulnerability
Following the recently identified “Heartbleed” OpenSSL vulnerability, the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center encouraged financial institutions to monitor their accounts regularly for any suspicious activity.

FS-ISAC noted that individual financial institutions are examining their systems and applying security patches and updating encryption keys where needed.  The center noted that many financial websites do not use OpenSSL or already have protections in place to ensure this vulnerability is not exploited.

FS-ISAC noted that for consumer transactions against checking or savings accounts, consumers are protected by Regulation E from unauthorized activity and will have no liability if unauthorized transactions debit their accounts.



Lending
OCC Issues Booklet on Oil and Gas Lending
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued an “Oil and Gas Production Lending” booklet that is new to the Comptroller’s Handbook. This booklet provides guidance on oil and gas production lending, including an overview of oil and gas markets, lending structures, types of reserves, associated risks and supervisory expectations for risk management.


Regulation
Ag Panel Approves Commodity Futures Trading Commission Reauthorization
The House Agriculture Committee approved bipartisan legislation to reauthorize and reform the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The Customer Protection and End-User Relief Act (H.R. 4413) also is designed to help protect customers from failures such as those of MF Global and Peregrine Financial.


Agriculture
USDA: Farm Businesses Well-Positioned Despite Rising Debt
Economists writing in USDA’s Amber Waves magazine noted that farm businesses’ borrowing decisions can affect their growth and survival and the economic vitality of farm-dependent rural communities.

According to the article, farm income plummeted and interest rates rose rapidly in the early 1980s, leaving many farm businesses relying on debt to finance their operations in an over-extended position. This led to farm bankruptcies and rural bank failures that had widespread detrimental effects on rural communities.

Today’s farm sector is in a strong financial position after several years of rising income and low interest rates, but the potential for lower income and higher interest rates raises concerns about recent increase in farm business debt, the article found.



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
Audio Call Next Week on Key Principles of Vendor Management
Banks share a tremendous amount of sensitive customer data with third-party vendors, so they should establish trust with those vendors to ensure that this data is not compromised, lost or stolen. An audio conference scheduled for 11 a.m. (Eastern time) Thursday, April 17, will review key regulations that affect vendor management, identify an organized vendor-management program, and provide useful tips and strategies to make the program more effective. Register Today.


Products and Services
Webinar Covers 2013 Proven Performers Analysis
Bank Intelligence Solutions from Fiserv, an ICBA Preferred Service Provider, offers a webinar on April 17 titled “2013 Proven Performers—Keys to Their Sustained Success.” This webinar reviews the top-performing banks over the past five years and identifies the trends, best practices and strategies they employ. Register Online.











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