South Dakota Woman Sentenced for Elderly Exploitation

Jennifer Ahrendt, 46, of Trent, S.D., has been sentenced following a guilty plea entered on May 21 for the crime of theft by exploitation of an elder or adult with a disability, a Class 4 Felony, according to a press release from South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg's Office.

Ahrendt was entrusted under a power of attorney to handle the financial affairs of her elderly, now deceased, grandmother. Between Dec. 29, 2016, to May 11, 2018, Ahrendt took money from the accounts she was managing on behalf of her grandmother and used the funds for herself, including gambling away a large portion of the funds. 

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FDIC, OCC Finalize Volcker Overhaul Proposal

The FDIC and the OCC on Tuesday approved a long-awaited set of changes to the Volcker Rule simplifying the rule’s compliance burden and better targeting its effects toward indended activities. The final rule streamlines and tailors the Volcker Rule by focusing its restriction on proprietary trading and investments in covered funds on banks with “significant” and “moderate” trading activities. Banks with limited trading assets and liabilities of less than $1 billion will have a rebuttable presumption of compliance with the Volcker Rule. Once approved by the Federal Reserve, SEC and CFTC, the changes will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020, with mandatory compliance not required until Jan. 1, 2021.

“We appreciate the actions taken today by the FDIC and OCC, which have started the agencies’ process of finalizing sensible reforms to the Volcker Rule that will help banks better serve their customers and the broader economy,” said ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols. “These improvements will allow bank supervisors to focus on systemic risk, while providing the tailored and precise oversight that was the Volcker Rule’s original purpose.”

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South Dakota Businesses Alerted of Credit Card Scam

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg along with the South Dakota Retailers Association are alerting businesses to be on the lookout for a credit card scam which is impacting the state. 

Multiple South Dakota businesses have been contacted by out-of-state entities looking to purchase goods. The orders initially appear to be legitimate, but scammers are attempting to pay with fraudulent or stolen credit cards. 

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SDBA Holds Ag Credit Conference this Week

Picture from 2019 Ag Credit ConferenceMore than 150 ag bankers from across South Dakota are attending the SDBA's Agricultural Credit Conference today and tomorrow in Pierre. The annual conference was originally scheduled for April but postponed due to a snow storm. 

Following a pre-conference workshop by Farmer Mac yesterday afternoon and an opening reception last night, the conference kicked off this morning with an update from Washington, D.C., by Dan Martini, vice president of congressional relations and political affairs with the ABA. 

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Senators Call for Faster Pace on Reg Reforms

A group of 13 Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee, including South Dakota's Sen. Mike Rounds, on Tuesday urged the federal banking agencies to accelerate implementation of regulatory reforms made by the S. 2155 reform law, as well as other reforms that they said would enhance economic growth. “More can still be done to support the economic expansion,” they wrote.

Among outstanding S. 2155 action items, the senators called for the agencies to use the discretion provided by Congress to finalize the community bank leverage ratio at 8%, rather than 9% as proposed; to make the short-form Call Report more streamlined; to simplify their proposal to revise the Volcker Rule; and to “significantly simplify” stress testing for banks with assets of $100-250 billion.

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State Associations Call for Increased Credit Union Oversight

A group of 51 state bankers associations, including the SDBA, wrote to congressional leaders on Tuesday calling for a review of the credit union industry to determine whether it is living up to its statutory mission of serving people of “small means.” The groups also called for a thorough examination of the National Credit Union Administration and its oversight of the credit union industry.

Citing research from a recent Federal Financial Analytics report commissioned by ABA, the groups raised concerns that modern credit unions are actually contributing to greater economic inequality and endangering taxpayers by increasingly providing services to high-income customers rather than low- to moderate-income ones, making high-risk loans and even buying up taxpaying banks. Even more alarming, the report found that the NCUA has enabled the credit union industry to creep far beyond its statutory authority, while allowing regulatory capital requirements and other safety and soundness rules to become substandard.

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Bankers: Ask Lawmakers to Support CECL Stop and Study Bills

As a result of ongoing advocacy by the industry to communicate the significant operational challenges and potential economic consequences arising from the current expected credit loss standard, the Financial Accounting Standards Board voted last week to delay the implementation of CECL for some—but not all—companies.

The ABA is calling on FASB to expand the extension to include banks of all sizes and continues to urge bankers to contact their lawmakers to support legislative efforts that would delay CECL’s implementation. Congress is currently considering two bills—S. 1564 and H.R. 3182—that would delay the standard so that a quantitative impact study can be conducted to determine the full implications CECL will have on the availability of credit in communities nationwide. Contact your lawmakers now.

Registration Open for SDBA 2019 Compliance Workshop

compliance photoWith so much up in the air in this regulatory environment, one thing that remains constant is the need for a commitment to compliance. Therefore, a strong understanding of the continually shifting landscape is essential. More regulations? Less regulations? You and your compliance staff can handle it by using knowledge learned from attending the SDBA 2019 Compliance Workshop. The training is geared toward compliance professionals including those who may run their compliance program alone and/or wear many hats at the bank. 

This comprehensive day-and-a-half workshop, which will be held Oct. 15-16, 2019, at the Hilton Garden Sioux Fall South in Sioux Falls, will be led by Compliance Alliance. The workshop will cover deposits and operations topics to give a well-rounded view of the compliance landscape. Sessions will include 2019 hot topics, a regulatory panel, an SDBA compliance law update, fair lending top issues, S. 2155, ADA compliance, CRA/reasonable expected market area and a flood update. 

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FASB to Delay CECL Implementation for Some Institutions

In a significant move, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) yesterday voted to propose a delay for the implementation of the current expected credit loss standard until January 2023 for certain companies. The delay would apply to small reporting companies (as defined by the SEC), non-SEC public companies and private companies.

'FASB’s vote to delay CECL for certain smaller banks offers further proof that the required efforts to implement this costly standard are far greater than the board has previously led bankers to believe,” said ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols after the vote. He noted with concern, however, that the delay would not apply to all banks; for larger public companies, the standard would still take effect in January 2020.

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Registration Open for LEAD STRONG: Women in Banking Conference

Image of WomenRegistration is now open for the SDBA's second annual LEAD STRONG: Women in Banking Conference. The event is set for Oct. 10, 2019, at the Sioux Falls Convention Center in Sioux Falls.  An optional networking reception will be held the night prior.

The conference is designed to encourage, support and inspire women to succeed in the workplace. This event will benefit all levels of staff interested in the enhancement and career growth of women in South Dakota banking.

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Podcast: How Diversity and Inclusion Create a 'Sense of Belonging'

For Monica Sylvain, chief diversity officer at Louisiana-based IberiaBank, a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (or DE&I, as it's increasingly widely known) starts with building community. “It’s important to lead with the ‘I,’ or ‘inclusion,’” she says on the latest ABA Banking Journal Podcast, “having a sense of fairness, and [having] your employees feeling like they have a sense of belonging.” On the podcast, Sylvain discusses IberiaBank's approach to DE&I, including:

  • Having a DE&I council comprising a broad cross-section of employees at all levels of the organization. “That group is really helping us to think through the things that are top of mind for our associates when they think about inclusion, when they think about equity, when they think about diversity.”
  • Educating the bank’s leadership team—and its employees—on recognizing and understanding unconscious bias. “All of us as human beings have unconscious or implicit bias. [We] make snap judgment decisions,” she explains. “If you look at the neuroscience, we do it in nanoseconds.”
  • The importance of including supplier diversity, as well as employee diversity, in the bank's DE&I framework.

Listen to the episode.

Registration Now Open for SDBA 2019 Bank Technology Conference

Technology PhotoThe role of an IT professional is ever-changing, especially in today’s environment. The SDBA Bank Technology Conference is designed to provide support as you keep on top of technology trends and scams, navigate the business of banking, and build and sustain your bank’s technology strategy. 

The SDBA will hold the 2019 Bank Technology Conference on Sept. 11 in Sioux Falls, with a reception the evening of Sept. 10. The conference will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn Sioux Falls South. This conference will provide attendees with an opportunity to learn from industry experts, network with other IT colleagues, and visit with exhibitors to see and experience the latest in products and services. 

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Podcast: Bankers and the Founding of the United States

To mark Independence Day this week, this bonus episode of the ABA Banking Journal explores the role of banking and finance in the American Revolution and the founding era. This week’s guest, John Steele Gordon, is an acclaimed economic historian whose books include Hamilton’s Blessing, The Great Game and An Empire of Wealth; he is also the ABA Banking Journal’s “From the Vault” columnist. In this episode, Gordon discusses:

  • How not having any chartered banks prior to 1782 put the United States at a disadvantage during the Revolution.
  • Conversely, how the Bank of England was a “secret weapon” for Britain during the war.
  • The role of patriotic financiers like Robert Morris in achieving U.S. victory.
  • The debates over a central bank in the post-revolutionary period and how they contributed to the development of the Constitution.
Listen to the episode.

Private Flood Insurance Rule Takes Effect

The financial regulatory agencies’ joint rule on private flood insurance acceptance took effect on Monday, July 1. The rule is the long-awaited implementation of the 2012 Biggert Waters Act provision that requires federally-regulated lending institutions to accept private flood insurance policies that meet certain statutory criteria, in satisfaction of the mandatory purchase requirement.

ABA has prepared a staff analysis of the private flood insurance regulations. The six-page paper summarizes and analyzes the provisions of the final rule, including the definition of private flood insurance, the compliance aid, mandatory and discretionary acceptance and cceptance of policies issued by mutual aid societies. A previously recorded webinar on the private flood rule is also available for purchase.

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ABA Seeks Greater Clarity on Banks' Ability to Serve Industrial Hemp Businesses

In a letter to the heads of the financial regulatory agencies last Friday, ABA called for greater clarification on how banks may serve businesses dealing with hemp—a low-THC strain of marijuana that was removed from the Controlled Substances Act by Congress as part of the 2018 Farm Bill.

Despite this legislative action, regulators have yet to issue a clear directive on distinguishing legal hemp and illegal marijuana, leaving many banks uncertain about whether they can legally serve these businesses, ABA noted. “Banks want to serve their communities and support their local economies but need clear, unequivocal assurance from their regulators that hemp is distinguishable from cannabis and that serving the industry will not expose them to criminal and civil liability, or regulatory censure.”

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New Report Finds Credit Unions Operate with 'Scant Regard' for Statutory Mission

In advance of Wednesday's 85th anniversary of the Federal Credit Union Act’s enactment, new research released on Tuesday found that credit unions are falling short of their mission to serve households of “small means.” In fact, according to the research by respected analyst Karen Shaw Petrou, credit union members are disproportionately from middle- and upper-income households, and credit unions’ lack of “mission compliance” deepens U.S. economic inequality.

The report from Petrou’s firm, Federal Financial Analytics, found that the National Credit Union Administration maintains no data on credit unions’ effectiveness at providing financial services to people of “small means,” and that its definition of “low-income” is far more expansive than that used by other federal agencies. As a result, she found, designated low-income credit unions simply replace community bank credit instead of providing new credit.

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Minneapolis Fed to Hold Town Hall in Aberdeen

Do you have a question about how the Federal Reserve System affects you? Wondering about economic disparities, regulating big banks or the Fed's recent interest rate decisions? Curious about how the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis gathers data and informs its work within the Federal Reserve System?

Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari will speak on these topics and more during a town hall meeting in Aberdeen on July 11 at 4 p.m. CDT. Kashkari is a member of the Federal Open Market Committee, the body of the Federal Reserve System that sets national monetary policy. Since taking over as president of the Minneapolis Fed in January 2016, he has spearheaded several initiatives including releasing a plan to end the too big to fail problem and launching the Federal Reserve's Opportunity & Inclusive Growth Institute, housed at the Minneapolis Fed.

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Credit Card Skimmers Discovered in Vermillion

On June 16, the Vermillion Police Department (VPD) investigated the discovery of two fraudulent credit card “skimmers” at Pump & Pak, located at 629 Stanford St. in Vermillion, according to a report by the VPD. Staff at the business noted customers’ comments about how the countertop card readers did not feel quite right and ultimately found that a “second face” had been installed over the top of the readers. The VPD has retrieved those items as evidence and has determined that their intended purpose was to record and/or transmit credit card information fraudulently. Investigation into the incident is continuing, including an attempt to determine exactly when the skimmers were installed. The readers at Pump & Pak are no longer believed to be compromised since the removal of the devices.

The VPD is asking area businesses to inspect their credit card readers for any evidence of additions or modifications. If evidence of tampering is discovered, secure the reader(s) and contact police. Additionally, customers who have recently used the indoor credit card readers at Pump & Pak should monitor accounts for fraudulent activity and should contact their card’s issuing bank for instructions related to those account(s). Persons who believe they are a victim of a crime or who have noticed suspicious persons or activity potentially related to this investigation should contact the Vermillion Police Department at 605.677.7070.

SDBA Seeking Photo Submissions for 2020 Scenes of South Dakota Calendar

If you are an amateur photographer and would like the opportunity to have your creativity displayed in homes and businesses across South Dakota, this is your chance.

Send the SDBA your photos of farms, barns, agricultural activities, historical South Dakota locations, county fairs, carnivals, parades or festivals, fall colors, winter snowfalls, spring flowers, summer fun, etc.. Any photo that shows the history and beauty of the great state of South Dakota qualifies. All photos submitted will be judged and the top photos will be featured throughout the 2020 Scenes of South Dakota calendar. The deadline to submit a photo is July 29, 2019. Photo submission form

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Promote Elder Abuse Awareness on June 15

June 15 is Elder Abuse Awareness Day in South Dakota, which provides an opportunity for communities to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of the older population throughout the state.

“Our elders, along with all people, have the right to live their lives with dignity and respect, free from abuse of any kind," said  Yvette Thomas, director of the South Dakota Department of Human Services Division of Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS). "The best way to protect elders from abusive situations is to focus on prevention--providing information, education and support.

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