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Advocacy
Banking Committee Members Addressing Community Bankers in Washington
Senate Banking Committee members this morning are scheduled to address community bankers gathered in the nation’s capital for this week’s ICBA Washington Policy Summit. Committee members Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) will address the summit ahead of grassroots meetings with members of Congress and federal financial regulators.

More than 1,000 community bankers and industry advocates are gathered for the Washington Policy Summit. They have more than 300 congressional meetings scheduled to address key issues, including regulatory relief, housing-finance reform, and the credit union and Farm Credit System tax subsidies.

Additionally, community bankers in Washington for the summit can enter a social media contest. Community bankers who tweet ICBA a photo of themselves and a #BankLocally Metro ad will be entered for one of five $50 gift cards.

Stay connected to live updates and photos by following the #ICBAWPS14 hashtag on Twitter and ICBA’s Facebook page.


Congress
Senate Banking Panel Postpones Vote on Housing Reform
The Senate Banking Committee postponed a vote on legislation to reform the housing-finance system. In a statement, Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) said the committee recessed its markup to allow members to continue working to find common ground.

Johnson said the committee has enough votes to advance a version of the Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2013 (S. 1217). He said the committee will reconvene for a vote in the coming days.

ICBA has worked closely with members of Congress and the administration on the legislation and this week sent committee members a letter on some of its concerns with the bill. Additionally, hundreds of community bankers are in the nation’s capital to discuss housing-finance reform and other issues with policymakers as part of the ICBA Washington Policy Summit.

The committee did proceed with votes on several executive nominations, including for the Federal Reserve Board. The panel advanced the Fed nominations of Stanley Fischer, Jerome Powell and Lael Brainard to the Senate floor.

The banking panel also approved Nani Coloretti and Gustavo Velasquez Aguilar for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and J. Mark McWatters for the National Credit Union Administration board.

ICBA will continue working with the committee as negotiations over housing-finance reform proceed.


Advocacy
Lobby from Home with ICBA’s Virtual Policy Summit
Community bankers who can’t attend the ICBA Washington Policy Summit can participate from home with ICBA’s Virtual Policy Summit and grassroots Twitter map.

The Virtual Policy Summit makes it easy for community bankers to contact their members of Congress on the very same issues that their fellow community bankers are lobbying while in Washington. Meanwhile, the grassroots Twitter map allows community bankers to tweet their members of Congress with customizable messages.


Volcker Rule
House Approves ICBA-Backed Bill Easing Volcker Rule CLO Provision
The House passed ICBA-advocated legislation that would allow community banks to retain debt securities of collateralized loan obligations issued before Jan. 31, 2014. ICBA this week called on lawmakers to support the legislation, which passed on a voice vote.

The Restoring Proven Financing for American Employers Act (H.R. 4167) was introduced by Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.).

In a letter to the House, ICBA noted the final Volcker Rule requires banks to divest their holdings of CLOs by July 2015. This could cause a significant, immediate and permanent loss of capital for community banks that hold these securities, the association wrote.



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Emergency Response
OCC Encourages Banks to Work with Customers Following Extreme Weather
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency reminded national banks and federal savings associations of guidance on extreme weather, such as the recent tornadoes in the south central and central United States. The OCC encouraged financial institutions to consider ways to help affected customers, such as by waiving or reducing fees for ATMs and late payments, restructuring borrowers’ debt obligations, and expediting lending decisions.


Security
Microsoft Discloses Internet Explorer Vulnerability
Microsoft recently disclosed targeted attacks that attempted to exploit a vulnerability in its Internet Explorer browser. It said the vulnerability could allow attackers to host a website and steal data from visitors. Microsoft said it is working on a final software update to remedy the vulnerability.


Economy
Case-Shiller: Home Price Increases Slow in February
Home prices rose in February at a slower pace than a year ago, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home-price indexes. The 20-city index rose 12.9 percent from a year ago, though 13 cities saw lower annual rates. The index also was up a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent from the previous month.


Economy
Consumer Confidence Decreases in April
Consumer confidence declined in April on less favorable assessments of current business and labor market conditions, the Conference Board reported. The Consumer Confidence Index declined to 82.3 from 83.9 in March. The Present Situation Index decreased to 78.3 from 82.5, while the Expectations Index was virtually unchanged.



Poll
Take This Week’s Quick Poll
Take this week’s Quick Poll on meeting with Congress, and view results from the previous poll on Community Banking Month activities.
View the Archive.


Education
ICBA Loan Review Seminar Slated for Next Month
ICBA is hosting an upcoming classroom seminar on structuring the loan process to ensure timely identification of problem credits, asset quality and accuracy. “Loan Review—Implementing Best Practices,” scheduled for May 19-20 in Minneapolis, also will cover well-defined classification guidelines that ensure consistent loan ratings and accounting for the allowance for loan and lease losses to comply with generally accepted accounting principles. Register Online.









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