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Federal Reserve
ICBA Support for Fed Nominee with Community Bank Experience Making Headway
ICBA’s campaign to ensure the next nominee for the Federal Reserve Board has a community banking background is making headway, according to news reports. The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News reported that the White House is considering two community bankers for the Fed.

The Journal reported that the White House is considering Rebeca Romero-Rainey, chief executive of Centinel Bank of Taos, N.M., and ICBA Executive Committee member, as well as Ann Marie Mehlum, former chief executive of Summit Bank in Eugene, Ore., and current associate administrator of the Small Business Administration’s Office of Capital Access.

ICBA for months has advocated that the next Fed nominee should have a background in community banking or community bank supervision. Because community banks serve a vital role in the nation’s economy, there should be someone on the board who understands the community bank perspective, ICBA has repeatedly said.

ICBA has advocated nominees with community banking experience in recent letters to President Barack Obama and members of the Senate and in interviews with national news media. Numerous lawmakers have followed suit, including a letter delivered Thursday from a bipartisan group of senators urging the president to ensure the next Fed nominee has community banking experience.

ICBA: FDIC Study Shows Community Bank Resiliency
ICBA this week said a new FDIC study on banking consolidation demonstrates that the community banking industry remains resilient and has a bright future ahead.

The association’s comments on the study, which found that most community bank combinations have been with other community banks, made headlines in The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur and the Washington Business Journal.

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.

In a national news release, 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.

In the News
ICBA Antidote to M&A Pressure Makes Headlines
ICBA efforts to confront consultants and bank analysts who are pressuring community banks to consolidate made news this week. American Banker reported on ICBA’s message that community banks shouldn’t be pressured into mergers and acquisitions.

“Consolidation might be in your best interest in some cases and you should consider that,” ICBA Senior Vice President and Senior Regulatory Counsel Chris Cole told the newspaper. “Just don't feel pressured into doing it because at some conference someone got up and said that if in five years you're not at $1 billion in assets you won't survive.”

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Financial Regulators Expect Firms to Address OpenSSL “Heartbleed” Vulnerability
Federal financial regulators said they expect financial institutions to incorporate patches on systems and services, applications, and appliances using OpenSSL and upgrade systems as soon as possible to address the vulnerability.

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council members said financial institutions should consider replacing private keys and X.509 encryption certificates after applying the patch for each service that uses OpenSSL and consider requiring users and administrators to change passwords after applying the patch.

Financial institutions relying upon third-party service providers should ensure those providers are aware of the vulnerability and are taking appropriate mitigation action, the FFIEC said.

OpenSSL is a cryptographic software library used to authenticate services and encrypt sensitive information. A significant vulnerability known as “Heartbleed” has been found in OpenSSL that could allow attackers to decrypt, spoof or perform attacks on network communications that would otherwise be protected by encryption. Read FFIEC Alert.

FDIC Urges Financial Institutions to Use Available Cyber-Resources
The FDIC urged financial institutions to use available government-sponsored resources to identify and mitigate potential cyber-related risks.

The agency pointed to available resources from the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), U.S. Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force (ECTF), FBI InfraGard, several regional coalitions, and Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs).

ICBA, a premier member of the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (FS-ISAC), strongly encourages community banks to use all available cyber-security resources, including ICBA’s online security breach toolkit.

Feds: Proper Cyber-Threat Info Sharing Not Antitrust Concern
In related news, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice issued a policy statement that says properly designed cyber-threat information sharing is not likely to raise antitrust concerns and can help secure the nation’s networks of information and resources. The agencies said sharing cyber-threat information has the potential to improve the security, availability, integrity and efficiency of the nation’s information systems.

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.

ICBA Community Banker Sworn In as SBA Administrator
Former ICBA community banker Maria Contreras-Sweet this week 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 and ICBA Vice President of Congressional Relations John Hand attended the swearing in at the SBA.

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.

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