SDBA eNews: June 4, 2015

In This Issue

Free Webinar on June 18 To Look at Interest Rates and What's To Come

Many industry observers expect interest rates to rise in 2015. Yet as we approach the fourth of eight meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and economic conditions remain mixed, it’s unclear what kind of movement to expect on rates—or when.

The webinar "Interest Rates in 2015: Assessing at the Halfway Point" on June 18 will look at the Federal Reserve's action on interest rates and what's to come.

In this free webinar, Alan Blinder – former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, acclaimed Princeton economist and cofounder Promontory Interfinancial Network – provides his perspective on the health of the U.S. economy and offers his thoughts on how the Federal Reserve is likely to move forward in 2015 and beyond.

The webinar is hosted by Promontory Interfinancial Network and Bank Assetpoint. Learn more and register.

New Tool to Protect Elderly from Financial Exploitation 

Awareness of elder financial abuse is growing rapidly, and bankers are often relied upon as the front line of defense in the protection of their customers.

The Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation has produced the “Preventing Elder Financial Abuse Video Toolkit” which gives banks the ability to educate on how to look for signs of elder financial abuse and how to prevent it.

The video information was adapted from the FDIC/CFPB Money Smart for Older Adults, so bankers can rely on the information to be accurate and timely.

The toolkit includes a 30-minute video, customizable companion handouts filled with important information, and customizable press release for banks to let their communities know the information they have to offer. Order the toolkit online or call 877-232-0859 for more information.

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


Bankers to Hit the Trenches at SDBA/NDBA Annual Convention

The 2015 SDBA/NDBA Annual Convention "Banker Boot Camp: SDBA/NDBA Officer Training " kicks off on Sunday at the Sioux Falls Convention Center/Sheraton Hotel in Sioux Falls.

Attendees are encouraged to bring a costume for the Monday night USO Party in the Exhibit Hall. Dress as a member of the military or a USO entertainer and be entered to win cash prizes for the best costumes.

Monday night will also feature an 85-foot-long Boot Camp Challenge. Those who want to to test their skills on the course should come prepared in their boot camp attire.

Tuesday evening is the formal closing banquet. Attendees who are past or present members of the military are encouraged to wear their military dress attire, if they so choose.

If anyone has questions on the events at this year's convention, contact the SDBA Office at 605.224.1653. If you plan to attend and haven't yet registered, please do so as soon as possible.

FHLB Des Moines Completes Merger with FHLB Seattle

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines (FHLB Des Moines) announced Monday that it has successfully completed its merger with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle (FHLB Seattle). Additional details will be included in a related Form 8-K that FHLB Des Moines will file with the Securities and Exchange  Commission.

This is the first voluntary merger in the more than 80-year history of the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLBank) System.
Serving nearly 1,500 financial institutions in 13 states and three U.S. Pacific territories, FHLB Des Moines is now the largest bank in the FHLBank System in terms of membership and geography. The headquarters remains in Des Moines with a western regional office in Seattle.

The completion of the merger concludes a lengthy process of merging the two banks. On July 31, 2014, FHLB Des Moines and FHLB Seattle announced that they had entered into an exclusivity arrangement to potentially merge the two banks.

In September 2014, the boards of both banks approved the merger agreement followed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) approval of the banks’ merger application in December 2014. In February 2015, members of both banks ratified the merger agreement as approved by their boards. Read more.

Deadline Extended for GSB-Wisconsin Scholarship

The deadline to apply for a scholarship to the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has been extended to June 15.

The Prochnow Educational Foundation/SDBA Scholarship is $1,300 for each year of the student's attendance (approximately one-third of the annual tuition fees) for a total value of $3,900. The scholarship is for students entering their first year of GSB. Questions, contact Deb Gates with the SDBA. View the scholarship application.

With just days remaining before a June 15 enrollment deadline, the GSB-Wisconsin is filling very quickly. In fact, based on strong enrollment it’s possible the 2015 session – to be held Aug. 2-14, in Madison, Wis. – will reach capacity ahead of the published deadline.

Bankers who are interested in starting GSB in 2015 are urged to apply immediately. Applications will be accepted in the order they are received; GSB will close enrollment on June 15, or when the program reaches capacity, whichever is sooner. Learn more and apply for the school.

CFPB Offers Limited Assurances on TRID Enforcement

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray told members of Congress yesterday that when enforcing the TILA-RESPA integrated mortgage disclosures starting on Aug. 1, the bureau would be “sensitive” to good-faith efforts by lenders to comply.

“I have spoken with our fellow regulators to clarify that our oversight of the implementation of the rule will be sensitive to the progress made by those entities that have been squarely focused on making good-faith efforts to come into compliance with the rule on time,” Cordray wrote.

ABA President and CEO Frank Keating expressed his disappointment with the bureau’s statement, which “falls well short of a ‘hold harmless’ period, which ABA and nearly 300 members of Congress asked for,” he said. “While the bureau acknowledged the implementation challenges of this rule, its decision will only provide limited assurances to bankers in their efforts to comply.”

ABA has engaged in a months-long advocacy effort to persuade the CFPB to provide a hold-harmless period, including grassroots advocacy that generated legislation on Capitol Hill and letters signed by hundreds of members of Congress. ABA also shared a detailed TRID readiness survey with the bureau, and ABA member Cindy Lowman, president of United Bank Mortgage Corp., Grand Rapids, Mich., called for a hold-harmless period when she was the only banking industry witness at a House hearing on TRID last month.

“ABA believes it is critical to establish a formal transition period for banks,” Keating added, noting that it would smooth the transition to TRID as the busy fall homebuying season kicks off and give lenders time to work out any kinks in new software and systems without delaying closings. Read Cordray’s letter. For more information, contact ABA’s Rod Alba.

ABA: CFPB Information-Gathering Powers Must Be Reformed

ABA yesterday said that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s expansive authority to gather information under Section 1022 of the Dodd-Frank Act must be changed. To inform its rulemaking process on overdraft protection services, the CFPB ordered three large core processing providers -- Fiserv, FIS and Jack Henry -- to turn over anonymized information about the overdraft services they provide for depository institutions.

In a memo to state associations, ABA said it is important that the CFPB conduct a full study of the market for overdraft services that includes the overdraft programs of community financial institutions, in contrast with the programs of a few large banks the bureau first began studying several years ago.

However, ABA emphasized that the bureau should fully cover the cost of its information-gathering activities. Fiserv has estimated that complying with the bureau’s order will consume “thousands” of staff hours and has alerted its depository institution clients that it may have to pass the costs of responding on to these institutions.

ABA added that it would seek a legislative solution to the bureau’s expansive powers under Section 1022, which allows the CFPB “to demand whatever information it wants, from any industry participant, with little or no consideration for the cost of producing that information or for the impact the demand will have on other entities.” The CFPB should have to fund its information-gathering activities and provide due process protections, ABA said. Read ABA’s memo. For more information, contact ABA’s Ginny O’Neill.

ABA: .bank Domain Can Strengthen Payments System

The new .bank and .insurance domains coming online this year will provide an “incredible opportunity” to provide a more secure payments infrastructure, ABA and the Financial Services Roundtable said in a letter to the Federal Reserve officials leading the Fed’s faster payments initiative.

Because .bank has enhanced mandatory security requirements, it offers “a more secure place on the Internet with more protections and a tight-knight community of financial institutions than is possible in the .com world, ABA and FSR said. The groups invited participants in the Fed’s faster payments process to “learn about the potential benefits of the .bank top level domain as a way of mitigating security concerns of using public IP infrastructure for payments.”

ABA and FSR founded and together operate fTLD Registry Services, the financial services consortium that has been approved to operate .bank and .insurance. General registration for new .bank domains opens on June 23 at 8 p.m. EDT. This week, more than 500 bankers participated in an ABA webinar answering questions about the launch and providing advice about how to prepare for registration.