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Plan for Prosperity
House Panel Approves Three Community Bank Regulatory Relief Bills
ICBA thanked the House Financial Services Committee for advancing three ICBA-advocated bills to relieve community banks from excessive regulatory burdens. The bills are inspired by ICBA’s Plan for Prosperity regulatory relief platform.

The committee voted to advance:
  • H.R. 4521, which would exempt community bank portfolio loans from new escrow requirements and raise the small-servicer exemption threshold from 5,000 to 20,000 loans,
  • H.R. 4466, which would require federal financial regulators to consider whether proposed regulations are duplicative or inconsistent with existing regulations before issuing them, and
  • H.R. 2673, which would provide that any residential mortgage held in portfolio by the originator is a qualified mortgage.
The committee votes follow yesterday’s full House votes approving separate ICBA-advocated bills designed to help community banks raise capital and lend in their communities.

Additionally, this week’s House activity comes 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. Read ICBA Release.

Plan for Prosperity
ICBA Congratulates Community Bankers on House Votes
In related news, ICBA leaders congratulated and thanked community bankers for encouraging lawmakers to advance regulatory relief legislation. “You spoke, and Washington listened,” ICBA Chairman John Buhrmaster and ICBA President and CEO Cam Fine wrote in a message to community bankers.

Following the advancement of five ICBA-advocated bills this week in the House, Buhrmaster and Fine wrote that the votes show the strength and reputation community bankers enjoy on Capitol Hill.

“Your voice made the difference—these significant votes in the House are due to the grassroots outreach of ICBA Washington Policy Summit attendees and community bankers back home,” they wrote. “The voice of ICBA and community bankers is ringing loud and clear in the nation’s capital, so let’s keep pushing to see these relief bills all the way through the legislative process.” Read the Joint Message.

Federal Reserve
ICBA Urges Congress to Advance Bill Requiring Community Bank Presence on Fed
ICBA called on Congress to advance legislation that would require a community bank presence on the Federal Reserve Board. In a letter to the Senate Banking Committee and a national news release, ICBA called on lawmakers to pass the Community Bank Preservation Act of 2014 (S. 2252).

The legislation would require at least one member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors to have experience as a community banker or community bank supervisor. ICBA noted that community banks and the communities they serve have vital interests at stake in the economic, banking and payment issues that routinely come before the board.

S. 2252 was introduced by Senate Banking Committee member David Vitter (R-La.). The bill’s bipartisan cosponsors include Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Daniel Coats (R-Ind.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). Read ICBA Letter. Read ICBA Release.

Small Business
ICBA Offers Custom Small Business Week Release
ICBA is offering a customizable news release that community bankers can use to celebrate National Small Business Week in their communities.

Scheduled for May 12-16, National Small Business Week recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small-business owners.

ICBA’s custom news release, which community bankers can use to reach out to local news meda, emphasizes the critical role community banks play in supporting small businesses. Download the Custom Release.

ICBA NewsWatch Today is sponsored by QR Lending:
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Hoenig: Regulators Must Work Through Living Will Challenges
For the market to serve as disciplinarian and for bankruptcy to be a viable means for resolving the largest financial firms, these firms must be eligible for bankruptcy, FDIC Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig said. He said said regulators must vigorously implement living will processes authorized in the Dodd-Frank Act.

Hoenig said there are various challenges to applying living wills, but it is better to work through such difficulties than to endure another severe crisis and bailout.

He noted that while megabanks remain too large, leveraged, complicated and connected to be placed into bankruptcy when they fail, regional and community banks are smothering under layers of new regulations even though they are not too big to fail.

CFPB Issues Advisory about Managing Mortgage Debt in Retirement
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a report on the mortgage debt challenges faced by a growing number of older Americans. These challenges include more mortgage debt, less affordable housing, and greater risk of foreclosure. The CFPB also issued a consumer advisory reminding older consumers approaching retirement to think about their mortgage pay-off date and to consider their retirement income and expenses.

Regional News
FDIC Announces Relief Following Florida Storms
The FDIC announced steps to provide regulatory relief to financial institutions and to facilitate recovery in areas of Florida 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.

Consumer Credit Up 5.7 Percent in Q1
Consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.7 percent in the first quarter and 6.7 percent in March, the Federal Reserve said. Revolving credit, which includes credit card spending, decreased at an annual rate of 0.4 percent in the first quarter and rose 1.6 percent in March. Non-revolving credit, such as auto and student loans, rose by 8 percent in the first quarter and 8.7 percent in March.

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.

Leadership Development Conference Education Topics Announced
Now is the time to make the best decision of your career and attend the 2014 ICBA Leadership Development Conference. Join hundreds of emerging leaders in the community banking industry and strengthen your leadership skills and influence at this one-of-a-kind national conference. Education sessions with CPE credits have just been announced!

The second annual Leadership Development Conference converges on the “Blues City” of Memphis, Tenn., on Sept. 21-24. Register now and receive a $200 early bird discount. Build a personal growth strategy, sharpen your leadership skills and learn more about the community bank of the future.

Audio Conference: Auditing for Resilience
Is your community bank prepared for a disaster? An ICBA audio conference scheduled for 11 a.m. (Eastern time) Thursday, May 15, will explain how to develop and perform an audit to test your community bank’s readiness to respond to a variety of disasters. This 60-minute session will address a range of natural disasters and how to audit your community bank’s succession plan, emergency liquidity plan and business continuity plan. Register Online.

Products and Services
Upcoming Webinar Features Security Benefits of the Cloud
ICBA Strategic Technology Solutions knows what keeps your IT management up at night and has solutions to banks top security challenges. Join Compushare Principal Technology Strategist Kevin Prince at 1 p.m. (Eastern time) Thursday, May 21, to learn why this cloud solution is more secure and compliant than your current IT environment in all areas, including information security, business continuity, vendor management and IT risk management. Register Today.

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