SDBA eNews: July 3, 2014

In This Issue

Agencies Issue 2014 List of Distressed, Underserved Non-Metro Areas

The federal banking agencies on Monday released their 2014 list of distressed or underserved middle-income non-metropolitan areas where banks can receive Community Reinvestment Act credit for revitalization activities.

The designations reflect local economic conditions, including unemployment, poverty and demographic changes. View the list.

Webinar on SBS' New Certification Programs

The SBS (Secure Banking Solutions) Institute serves community banks by providing educational programs that will certify a banker has the knowledge and skills to protect against today's information security threats.

Learn about the SBS Institute during a webinar on July 16 at 10 a.m. CDT.

The certification programs offered by the institute are uniquely designed to address community banking needs, using community banking problems and solutions.

SDBA Taxation Equality Awareness Campaign


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Contact Alisa DeMers, SDBA, at 800. 726.7322 or via email.

Iowa Senators Seek Farm Credit Oversight Hearing

Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) on Tuesday urged Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) to hold an oversight hearing on the Farm Credit Administration, which regulates the tax-advantaged Farm Credit System.

“The FCA plays an important role across rural America, and yet, the committee has not held an oversight hearing on the FCA in at least ten years,” Harkin and Grassley wrote. “Such a hearing would be a good opportunity for members to better understand the FCA and learn about its recent activities.”

ABA has strongly urged the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to conduct oversight of the Farm Credit System and its regulator, and it encourages bankers to make similar appeals to their members of Congress. A Kansas banker testified on ABA’s behalf last week before a House subcommittee and emphasized that the FCS is no longer focused on the original mission it was chartered to serve. Read the letter.

Farm Credit Lender Continues Financing Big Telecom Deals

In related news, following its $750 million loan to Verizon last year as part of a European buyout financing, Farm Credit System lender CoBank has inked a $350 million credit agreement to help Frontier Communications purchase AT&T’s Connecticut wireline business, Bert Ely reported last week in ABA’s Farm Credit Watch e-bulletin.

According to the credit agreement, CoBank was the lead player in the deal and could syndicate the risk from the deal to other Farm Credit System lenders.

“What is amazing, but perhaps not surprising is that the Farm Credit Administration has not objected to either the Frontier or Verizon loans, yet clearly both of these loans lie outside the FCS’s lending authority, as specified in the Farm Credit Act, which the FCA is supposed to enforce,” Ely wrote. Read Farm Credit Watch.

ABA Reminds Bankers to Tweet Opinions about Reg Burden

ABA reminds bankers to use Twitter to ask their members of Congress to co-sponsor three House bills addressing regulatory burden for bankers. The bills are H.R. 2673, H.R. 4521 and H.R. 4466. Bankers should check the co-sponsor lists at each link and urge their representatives to co-sponsor the legislation if they haven’t already -- and thank them for their support if they have.

Bankers can visit, enter their zip codes and find their representatives’ Twitter handles via members' websites. Use ABA’s suggested tweets over the next two weeks to share perspectives on regulatory burden. Members of Congress and their staff monitor Twitter for constituent perspectives, so bankers can be sure their tweets will be seen.

CFPB Unveils Financial Education Resources for Libraries

After an initial pilot in nine communities, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Tuesday rolled out financial literacy resources for public libraries. The resources include monthly programming ideas for librarians, resources from government agencies and marketing materials.

“Tell your patrons that the library is the place to research their financial decisions, fix a money matter, or plan and track their goals,” the CFPB’s website instructs librarians.

The bureau announced that it has now partnered with more than 100 library systems -- including a statewide arrangement in Rhode Island -- with 450 branches receiving 76 million visits per year. Read more.  View the resources.

FFIEC Launches Cyber Pilot Program, New Resources

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council last week announced a cybersecurity pilot program for more than 500 community financial institutions with $1 billion or less in assets. The group of regulators also launched a new cybersecurity resource page.

Under the pilot program, which will include banks that were already scheduled for exams between June 16 and July 11, federal and state regulators will perform baseline assessments of the banks’ cyber risks and preparedness, including exposure to vendors. Regulators have advised bankers that findings in the pilot will not result in a ratings change. Regulatory agencies also will examine their own supervision practices and guidance to ensure appropriate response.

“FFIEC members will continue to assess the risks of cyber attacks to financial institutions and use the information gathered through a number of sources to determine the appropriate next steps and identify potential gaps in financial supervision,” the council said. Read moreView FFIEC’s cybersecurity resources.

Reflections on America, Freedom and the Fourth of July 

The following reflection is from Matt Williams, a banker from Gothenburg, Neb., and past ABA chairman.

July 4th gives us the opportunity to celebrate the significance of being an American. We serve as the symbol of freedom to the world. 238 years ago 56 brave Americans signed the Declaration of Independence.

Freedom was the issue. The final line reads: “We mutually pledge to each other Our Lives, Our Fortunes, and Our Sacred Honor.”

We have freedom because of those 56 men. Generations of Americans have sacrificed to preserve our freedom. It is our responsibility to see that freedom continues. We should do whatever is necessary to help our country and our world. 

As Americans we face great challenges. When I think about the challenges faced by previous generations, our obstacles are not so overwhelming. 238 years ago those 56 Americans pledged “Their Lives, their Fortunes, and their Sacred Honor.”  With God’s guidance and our commitment there is little we can’t accomplish. God Bless America. Read Williams' full article.