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Ag Secretary Discusses Farming and Rural Economy During House Hearing

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack testified last Thursday before the U.S. House Agriculture Committee on the state of the rural economy. During the four-hour meeting, Vilsack discussed a wide range of topics, including supply chain issues, employment, exports, COVID-19 relief funding, demand and price increases, underserved rural communities, the needs of specific farming sectors and the reauthorization of the farm bill, which expires next year.

“Our farm income is as good as it has been in the last eight years. We’ve had record exports,” Vilsack said at the start of his testimony. As lawmakers begin their work on the farm bill, he urged them to focus on fixing a particular issue: the rural extraction economy. It is the “heart of the challenge” that rural farmers have faced for a long time, the secretary said.

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Make Your Voice Heard at SDBA State Legislative Day

Photo of Karl Adam and Brett KoeneckeSDBA President Karl Adam and SDBA Legal Counsel Brett Koenecke met with the SDBA Legislative Committee yesterday via Zoom to discuss legislation this session that could impact the banking industry and how, with a united approach, the SDBA intends to address these bills and initiatives going forward.

As part of that united approach, bankers should attend the SDBA State Legislative Day on Feb. 9 in Pierre. This daylong event is a great opportunity to stay up-to-date on state and federal legislation that could affect the banking industry, visit with state legislators and constitutional officers, and make sure our industry is heard.

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Long-Awaited Fed Paper Highlights Risks, Potential Benefits of a U.S. CBDC

The Federal Reserve last Thursday issued a highly-anticipated report assessing the potential benefits and risks of creating a U.S. central bank digital currency, or CBDC. The paper also requests public feedback on these topics and comments will be accepted until May 20. While the Fed took no official position on creating a CBDC, the agency said it “will continue to explore a wide range of design options,” adding that it “does not intend to proceed with the issuance of a CBDC without clear support from the executive branch and from Congress, ideally in the form of a specific authorizing law.”

The paper noted that a CBDC “would best serve the needs of the United States by being privacy-protected, intermediated, widely transferable and identity-verified.” Among the various CBDC structures the Fed is contemplating is an intermediated model through which the private sector would facilitate the management of CBDC holdings and payments through accounts or digital wallets. Such a model “would facilitate the use of the private sector’s existing privacy and identity-management frameworks; leverage the private sector’s ability to innovate; and reduce the prospects for destabilizing disruptions to the well-functioning U.S. financial system,” the Fed said.

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Biden Announces Three Key Fed Nominations

As expected, President Biden last Friday nominated Sarah Bloom Raskin to serve as vice chair for supervision at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Raskin—a former Maryland commissioner of financial regulation—previously served on the Fed board from 2010 to 2014, and also served as deputy secretary of the Treasury under President Obama.

President Biden also announced two additional Fed board nominees: economists Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson. Cook is currently a professor at Michigan State University who previously served on the White House Council of Economic Advisers during the Obama administration. Jefferson is a professor and administrator at Davidson College in North Carolina and previously worked as a Fed economist.

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GAO Report Highlights Federal Response to Trafficking, Money Laundering

A recent report issued by the Government Accountability Office highlights the strategies and techniques used by criminal groups to engage in trafficking and money laundering, as well as efforts by the federal government to combat these illegal activities. The report was issued as required by the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.

The report describes how criminal groups move illicit goods and launder money across borders, using bulk cash smuggling, “funnel” accounts, gold and other high-value assets, and real-estate purchases, among other techniques. The report—which reflects input from ABA and several ABA members—also discusses how detailed case studies would help financial institutions’ ability to identify or report information useful for law enforcement investigations.

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ABA Invests in NYDIG to Support Banks Offering Crypto Services

As consumers increasingly look to banks to help them safely hold cryptocurrencies and other digital assets, ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols announced in an ABA Viewpoint blog post on Tuesday that the association has invested in NYDIG, a leading provider of bitcoin solutions for banks.

Nichols noted that the investment would help support banks’ ability to meet customer demand for crypto products and services, citing NYDIG’s compliance-first approach, focus on the community bank market and focus on supporting banks rather than competing with them.

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Scholarships Available for ABA Emerging Leaders Forum During Washington Summit

The ABA is offering each state banking association $750 scholarships for two emerging leaders to attend the ABA Emerging Leaders Forum and Washington Summit on March 7-9 in Washington D.C. The ABA Emerging Leaders Forum is an opportunity to share challenges and strategies with peers as you work to cultivate a strong, dynamic and diverse banking industry for the future.

The Emerging Leaders Forum will be held on March 7 in conjunction with the ABA Washington Summit. If you are interested in applying for one of the two scholarships, contact the SDBA's Halley Lee via email or 605.224.1653 by Feb. 11. Learn more about the Emerging Leaders Forum and Washington Summit.

U.S. Banks Form Consortium to Support Bank-Minted Stablecoin

Five FDIC-insured banks yesterday announced the launch of the USDF Consortium, a group that was formed with the goal of building a network of banks to facilitate the adoption of USDF, a bank-minted stablecoin. The consortium’s founding members include New York Community Bank, Denver-based NBH Bank, Nashville-based First Bank, Montebello, N.Y.,-headquartered Sterling National Bank and Columbus, Ga.,-based Synovus Bank, and the group said it intends to “significantly grow its membership of FDIC-insured banks through 2022 and beyond.” Figure Technologies and JAM Fintop are also founding members.

‌USDF will operate on the public Provenance Blockchain, will be minted exclusively by U.S. banks and will be redeemable on a one-to-one basis for cash from a consortium member bank.

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SDBA State Legislative Day Hotel Blocks Extended

Photo of State CapitolIf you have not yet reserved your hotel room for the SDBA's State Legislative Day on Feb. 9 in Pierre, the hotel blocks have been extended. The hotel block at the Ramkota Hotel & Conference Center has been extended to Friday, Jan. 14, and the hotel block at the ClubHouse Hotel & Suites has been extended to Tuesday, Jan. 18. 

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to connect with South Dakota’s lead decision makers at the SDBA State Legislative Day. Stay up-to-date on state and federal legislation that could affect the banking industry, visit with state leaders, legislators and constitutional officers and be the voice for the banking industry. 

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SDBA Conducting Annual Banks Make a Difference Survey

South Dakota Banks Make a Difference SurveyThe SDBA is calling on member banks to participate in its annual South Dakota Banks Make a Difference Survey, which provides a glimpse into how banks work every day to help South Dakotans grow and prosper. On Monday, the SDBA sent the survey link to all SDBA member bank CEOs and the person at each bank who completed last year's survey. 

The Association requests that banks supply basic data for calendar year 2021, or for the most recent 12-month period for which the bank has data available. The SDBA will present the findings during its State Legislative Day on Feb. 9.

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SDBA Prepares for 2022 South Dakota Legislature

Photo of State CapitolThe 2022 South Dakota Legislature opens on Tuesday, Jan. 11, in Pierre and is a 38-day session. The main run of the session ends on March 10, with March 28 reserved for consideration of gubernatorial vetoes. For the full legislative schedule, listing of bills, committee schedules and legislators’ contact information, visit the South Dakota Legislative Research Council’s website.

The SDBA Board of Directors and Legislative Committee met on Dec. 2, 2021, in Fort Pierre to discuss potential legislation that could be introduced during the 2022 South Dakota Legislature. Topics discussed included potential legislation dealing with the Second Amendment and banks restricting business with the firearms industry, cannabis, COVID-19 vaccination mandates, the state’s Appraiser Experience Training Program, provisions for virtual currency, IRS bank data collection, the state’s bank franchise tax, workforce housing, priority liens, long-term bank financing of manufactured homes and property assessed clean energy financing.

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Midwest Economic Forecast Forum to be Held on Jan. 4

The Midwest Economic Forecast Forum will be presented on Tuesday, Jan. 4, virtually by the Wisconsin Bankers Association, in partnership with the Illinois Bankers Association, Michigan Bankers Association, Minnesota Bankers Association, Montana Bankers Association and South Dakota Bankers Association. The forum will be held from 10:30 a.m. to noon CST.

Prepare for 2022 by joining an economic outlook with Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari during this virtual event. Then listen to Dr. David Kohl, economist and professor emeritus with Virginia Tech, as he dives into the economic mega trends he expects in 2022 and beyond.

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Learn Succession Planning How-To's on Jan. 7

Prairie Family Business Association will hold a Succession Planning How-To's Webinar on Friday, Jan. 7, at 10 a.m. CST. Learn from three families in various stages of their succession plans: David and Jan Johnson of Reliabank, Jarod Stec of Stec's Advertising, and Darcy Christenson of Quality and Triview Communications. You'll come away with strategies that work as well as pitfalls for you to avoid. Learn more and register.

Nichols Recaps ABA's 2021 Accomplishments

In a year-end message to ABA member banks last week, ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols provided a recap of several major accomplishments made on behalf of the banking industry in 2021, including those related to the COVID-19 response, economy recovery, banking policy and financial inclusion.

Nichols highlighted bank efforts to support their customers throughout the pandemic and recovery, particularly through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. He also highlighted efforts by ABA and bankers to defeat a controversial proposal to create a new bank account-based IRS reporting regime; educate senators from both parties on the policy views of former OCC nominee Saule Omarova; advocate for the withdrawal of several controversial rules, including the 2020 Community Reinvestment Act rule; and draw attention to the unlevel playing field between banks and credit unions, through the relaunch of the Reform Credit Unions campaign.

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Happy Holidays from the SDBA

Wishing You a Happy Holiday Season from the SDBAWhatever is beautiful. Whatever is meaningful. Whatever brings you happiness. May it be yours this holiday season and throughout the coming year.

During the holiday season, the SDBA likes to thank our membership by making donations to worthy causes. This year, we made donations to Make-A-Wish South Dakota and Capital Area United Way.

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Court Reinstates Vaccine Mandate; OSHA Sets New Compliance Dates

Late last Friday, a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a two-to-one decision, lifted a judicial stay of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA immediately announced set new dates by which employers must come into compliance with the vaccine mandate.

The agency said it will not issue citations for non-compliance with any aspect of the vaccine mandate before Jan. 10 and that it will not issue any citations for non-compliance with the mandate’s testing requirements before Feb. 9 “so long as the employer is exercising reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance with the standard.” The mandate requires employers with 100 or more employees to in turn require their employees be vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19. Unvaccinated employees also would be required to wear a mask when indoors except when alone in a private office.

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Scholarships Available for Graduate Banking and HR Management Schools

Scholarships are available to South Dakota bankers planning to attend their first year of  the Graduate School of Banking in Wisconsin and the Graduate School of Banking in Colorado. 

The Prochnow Educational Foundation in conjunction with the SDBA offers a scholarship at the Graduate School of Banking in Wisconsin. The scholarships pay $1,500 (approximately one-third) of the annual tuition for each of three GSB resident sessions, for a total value of $4,500. Applicants must be entering their freshman year at GSB. The 2022 school will be held July 31 to Aug. 12 at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and the deadline to apply for the scholarship is May 2. Learn more

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Make Sure Our Industry Is Heard at 2022 SDBA State Legislative Day

Photo of State CapitolThe SDBA State Legislative Day on Feb. 9, 2022, at the Ramkota Hotel & Conference Center in Pierre is your opportunity to stay up-to-date on both state and federal legislation which could affect the banking industry, visit with state legislators and constitutional officers, and make sure our industry is heard.

The day will include an SDBA Legislative Committee meeting, lunch, SDBA update, featured speaker Dr. Chris Kuehl, Gov. Kristi Noem (invited), the chance to visit with state legislators at the State Capitol, and an evening reception with state legislators and constitutional officers. The day will also include special sessions specifically designed for emerging bank leaders.

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Registration Open for 2022 Dakota School of Lending Principles

Photo of lending. The Dakota School of Lending Principles, hosted by the South Dakota Bankers Association and co-sponsored by the North Dakota Bankers Association on March 29 - April 1, 2022, in Aberdeen is a learning event with one foot grounded in the classroom and one foot in the bank. This school allows students to learn the theory and process of basic lending and then put this knowledge to work in actual nuts and bolts sessions.

In the four modules on loan types (consumer lending, real estate lending, analyzing small business loans and agricultural lending), learn the lending process by studying elements applicable to each loan type: terminology, the application process, interviewing, investigation, credit analysis, loan structure, decision communication and selling. Case studies and exercises provide hands-on learning experience.

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OCC's Hsu Pushes Envelope with Call for 'No-Cost Overdrafts'

The OCC has identified principles for banks to implement what it calls “responsible overdraft programs that benefit financially vulnerable consumers,” while continuing to encourage banks to offer other options for short-term, small-dollar credit, Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael Hsu said in a speech yesterday. With policymakers increasingly scrutinizing bank overdraft programs—and with several banks recently announcing changes to their overdraft offerings—Hsu noted that his agency has conducted its own review of bank overdraft programs and identified “several features . . . that could be modified or recalibrated to support financial health.”

Among these features are: requiring consumers to opt-in to overdraft programs; providing a grace period before charging an overdraft fee; allowing negative balances without triggering an overdraft fee; offering consumers balance-related alerts; providing consumers with access to real-time balance information; linking a consumer’s checking account to another account for overdraft protection; collecting overdraft or non-sufficient funds fees from a consumer’s next deposit only after other items have been posted or cleared; not charging separate and multiple overdraft fees for multiple items in a single day; and not charging additional fees when an item is re-presented.

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