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Plan for Prosperity
House Passes ICBA-Advocated Regulatory Relief Bills
The House passed two ICBA-advocated bills that would reduce regulatory burdens on community banks to help them raise capital and lend in their communities. The bills—H.R. 3329 and H.R. 2672—are inspired by ICBA’s Plan for Prosperity regulatory relief platform.

The votes come one week after ICBA’s Washington Policy Summit, a grassroots event that drew more than 1,000 community bankers and industry advocates to the nation’s capital for meetings with policymakers on regulatory relief and other priorities.

H.R. 3329 would increase the qualifying asset threshold of the Small Bank Holding Company Policy Statement from $500 million to $1 billion and allow small savings and loan holding companies to be covered by its provisions. The legislation would make it easier for community bank and thrift holding companies to raise capital.

H.R. 2672 would create a process in which individuals could petition the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to have the rural status of a county reassessed. This would allow a broader range of evaluation criteria, more accurately identify rural counties and help ensure continued access to mortgage credit in those communities.

ICBA strongly supports the measures and urged the Senate to take up and quickly pass both bills. Read ICBA Release.

Merchants Do Not File for Rehearing of Interchange Ruling
Merchants this week did not file for a rehearing in federal court of their challenge to Federal Reserve Board rules on debit card interchange price controls.

Monday’s deadline passed without a filing from the merchants, whose legal challenge against the Fed to increase their $6 billion annual windfall from the Durbin debit interchange price caps was rejected under a March appeals court ruling. As a result, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is slated to issue on May 12 official documentation for its March ruling.

The merchants can still file a petition for certiorari by June 19, which is the only option left to initiate a review of the appeals court ruling.

The merchants, which had initiated a multi-year lobbying effort to impose price controls, sued the Federal Reserve Board in an effort to lower the board’s caps even further. The March ruling overturned a lower court decision that would have required lower debit interchange price caps than those required under the Fed’s interchange rule.

ICBA opposes government price fixing of interchange fees and will continue to monitor the NACS v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System case.

CFPB Proposes Online Privacy Disclosures
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed a rule that would allow certain financial firms to provide annual privacy notices online. The proposed rule would allow companies that limit their consumer data-sharing and meet other requirements to post the notices online rather than delivering them individually. 

The proposal would apply to banks and nonbanks that are within the CFPB’s jurisdiction under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. Institutions that choose to rely on this new method of delivering privacy notices would be required to use the model disclosure form developed by federal regulatory agencies in 2009.

Under the proposal, institutions that qualify and choose to use online disclosures would have to inform consumers annually about the availability of the disclosures. Read the Proposed Rule.

ICBA NewsWatch Today is sponsored by QR Lending:
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Student Lending
Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Allow Student Loan Refinancing
Senate and House Democrats introduced companion bills that would allow individuals with outstanding private student loan debt to refinance at lower interest rates offered to new borrowers under a federal loan program.

Lawmakers said outstanding student loans have interest rates of nearly 7 percent or higher for undergraduate loans, while students taking out new loans pay 3.86 percent under legislation passed last year. According to a congressional fact sheet, outstanding student loans now total more than $1.2 trillion.

Regional News
FDIC Announces Relief Following Alabama Storms
The FDIC announced steps to provide regulatory relief to financial institutions and to facilitate recovery in areas of Alabama affected by severe weather. The agency is encouraging banks to work constructively with borrowers experiencing difficulties beyond their control because of damage caused by the severe weather. The FDIC said that banks may receive favorable Community Reinvestment Act credit for supporting disaster recovery and that it will consider relief from certain filing and publishing requirements.

Federal Reserve
Yellen Testifying on Economic Outlook Today, Tomorrow
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is scheduled to testify before Congress today and tomorrow. Yellen is slated to appear at 10 a.m. (Eastern time) today before the Joint Economic Committee and again tomorrow before the Senate Budget Committee. She is scheduled to discuss the U.S. economic and fiscal outlook.

Senate Ag Committee Meeting on High-Frequency Trading
The Senate Agriculture Committee is scheduled to meet next week on high-frequency and automated trading in futures markets. The hearing, scheduled for 10 a.m. (Eastern time) Tuesday, May 13, will cover Commodity Futures Trading Commission oversight and how to help ensure market integrity.

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

ICBA Compliance Institute Slated for June
ICBA next month is hosting its Compliance Institute to help both seasoned professionals seeking the latest regulatory education and newer compliance officer seeking to gain a clear understanding of the fundamental concepts of each regulation. The comprehensive seminar, scheduled for June. 6-13 in Kansas City, Mo., will examine the CFPB’s new mortgage-servicing rules and the latest guidance on comprehensive compliance reforms in areas such as Regulations Z, X, B and O. Learn More and Register.

Products and Services
Webinar Tomorrow Covers Merchant Risk Detection and Avoidance Strategies
Today's merchant servicing environment is becoming increasingly complicated to navigate and a serious risk for community banks. ICBA Bancard and FIS are hosting a webinar at 3 p.m. (Eastern time) tomorrow to explore mitigation strategies and detail FIS’s low-risk merchant program option, which allows community banks to maintain crucial deposit relationships while avoiding potential losses. Register Online.

Products and Services
Webinar: Watching Your Watch List
WebEquity Solutions, an ICBA Preferred Service Provider, is hosting a webinar on May 15 titled “How to Effectively Watch Your Watch List.” Proactive and standard processes for problem loan detection and management need to be a mainstay for commercial and ag lenders of any size. Are your “watch list” loans being monitored and managed as effectively as possible? This presentation will explore best practices to employ in the process of handling watch-list loans from assignment to watch status and monitoring through the identification of opportunities to improve the relationship. Register Online.

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