Appraisal Qualifications Board Issues New Proposal to Combat Appraiser Shortage

As lenders continue to raise concerns about a lack of certified appraisers, particularly in rural areas, the Appraisal Qualifications Board last week released a fourth exposure draft of a proposal to change the qualification criteria for real property appraisers.

Importantly, the AQB proposed to remove college degree requirements for licensed residential appraisers and provide alternatives to the bachelor’s degree requirement for certified residential appraisals. The proposal also outlines an alternative track for licensed residential appraisers to become certified without obtaining a bachelor’s degree. In addition, it would reduce the number of field hours needed from 2,000 to 1,000 for licensed appraisers and 2,500 to 1,500 for certified appraisers.

ABA has previously called for changes to the appraiser qualifications as part of its ongoing effort to address the appraiser shortage in rural areas and welcomed the proposal. Comments on the proposal are due Jan. 12. View the proposal. For more information, contact ABA's Sharon Whitaker.

Farm Profitability Remains Down but Fewer Lenders Report Declines

Farm profitability continued to decline in the first half of 2017, according to the latest agricultural lenders survey conducted by ABA and Farmer Mac. While the overwhelming majority of ag lenders--82 percent--reported declines in profitability, that figure was down seven points from six months before. The approval rate for ag loans was 84 percent.

“We were encouraged to see that lenders remain ready to assist farmers and fulfill their credit needs despite the drag in the agricultural economy,” said Brittany Kleinpaste, director of economic policy and research at ABA. “Overall, the data showed that agricultural lenders are a little more optimistic about what’s ahead for their customers than they were in December of 2016.”

Just over half of the lenders surveyed reported an increase in demand for agricultural operating loans, and 53 percent said they expect that trend to continue over the next six months. Lenders were also more confident in stable land values than in the previous survey.

Commodity prices continued to be a top concern among 93 percent of ag lenders, particularly grain and dairy, the survey found. In addition, 87 percent said they were concerned about liquidity, 85 percent were concerned about farm income and 77 percent were concerned about farm leverage. View the survey results.

Trump Makes Arbitration Rule Repeal Official

President Trump yesterday signed the Congressional Review Act resolution invalidating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s final rule that had effectively banned the use of mandatory arbitration for consumer financial products. ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols attended the signing at the White House along with other leaders from financial and business groups.

The signing marks a hard-fought victory for the banking industry and for ABA, which has been vocally opposed to the rule since it was proposed in 2015. In comments to the CFPB and lawmakers, ABA repeatedly pointed out that the arbitration rule would have imposed significant costs on consumers and banks of all sizes while enriching plaintiffs’ lawyers.

In an op-ed for The Hill newspaper this morning, Nichols and U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donohue wrote that the repeal is a victory for consumers. "Arbitration provides vastly better outcomes for consumers," they wrote. "The CFPB’s study of the topic showed that in cases where arbitrators found for consumers and granted an award, the average award was $5,389. Meanwhile, in 87 percent of class action settlements the bureau studied, consumers received nothing. The 13 percent of those that resulted in settlements only got money to an estimated 4 percent of class members--and the average amount was just $32.35." Read the op-ed.

SDBA Encourages Bankers to Share Video Showcasing Bank Responses to Hurricanes

The ABA unveiled a new video spotlighting how bankers pitched in and responded to the wave of devastating hurricanes that hit Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico this fall.

In Texas, the six-minute video spotlights the efforts of one community Bank in Rockport, where Hurricane Harvey made landfall. It also showcases a commercial lender working as a first responder in the Houston area, bank support for small business recovery and food relief and even a Pennsylvania bank whose employees personally delivered a truckload of supplies.

Meanwhile, in Florida, the video shows how a community bank helped business customers flooded by Hurricane Irma run payroll over the bank’s systems, how a regional bank deployed a mobile branch to open right away and how a community bank provided much-needed supplies to a local nonprofit.

ABA continues to urge bankers to join the association and its employees in supporting the ongoing recovery from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Watch the video and donate.

CFPB Outlines Principles for Third-Party Data Access

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau yesterday issued nine guiding principles for protecting consumers that choose to share their financial data with third parties and data aggregators. The principles were released after the CFPB last year conducted a formal investigation into “screen scraping,” a process in which consumers provide their online banking credentials to a third-party app or tool. The principles do not reflect new or alter any existing guidance.

While the CFPB affirmed that consumers should generally have the ability to share their financial data, it noted that consumers should not be required to give up their banking credentials to do so. The principles establish that third parties that are granted access to customer data should use it only to the extent necessary to provide the products and services selected by the customer, and that the data should be accessed, stored and used safely and securely. In addition, the CFPB emphasized that consumers should have the ability to quickly review who has access to their data and have disputes over unauthorized access resolved in a timely manner.

ABA welcomed the CFPB’s commitment to protecting consumer financial data as new technologies continue to emerge and noted that the principles incorporate several recommendations the association made in previous comments to the bureau. “Customers deserve bank-level security wherever they share their financial information, and the CFPB principles pay particular attention to protecting this sensitive data,” said ABA VP Rob Morgan. “ABA believes customers should understand and control how third parties use their information.”

Morgan added that per ABA’s recommendation, “CFPB recognized that customers should not be required to share their online banking username and password to facilitate data sharing. There are technologies that can facilitate more secure access, and the banking industry will continue to work closely with technology companies to give customers the ability to share their financial data securely.” View the principles. For more information, contact Morgan.

SDBA Encourages Banks to Take Part in National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Photo of a HackerNational Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), now in its 14th year, dedicates October to reminding all digital citizens and businesses that protecting our computers and networks is “Our Shared Responsibility” and that everyone plays a critical role in promoting safe computing.The NCSAM is led by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The month’s primary goal is to provide Internet users and businesses with the information and tools they need to be safer and more secure online, including education about how to protect personal information in today’s highly-connected world. Everyone can join in and be a part of the something big by becoming a NCSAM 2017 Champion. Hundreds of organizations and individuals have officially signed on as champions to support the month. NCSAM Champions strengthen and boost the greater effort by spreading the word and host NCSAM partner events about online safety at home, at work and in the community.

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Sen. Thune to Host Cybersecurity Roundtable at Dakota State University

Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, will host a roundtable with cybersecurity experts on Friday at 11:30 a.m. CDT in the Straatmeyer Auditorium of Dakota State University (DSU) in Madison.

The roundtable will serve as an opportunity to highlight the cybersecurity challenges facing U.S. companies, as well as relevant academic and research initiatives at DSU. DSU has a nationally-recognized cybersecurity education program and is in the midst of an effort to construct a state-of-the-art-facility designed to foster economic development and expertise in addition to classified cybersecurity research and cybersecurity operations.

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Sen. Rounds Introduces Bill to Raise Funding for FSA Programs

The ABA last week expressed support for legislation introduced by Sen. Mike Rounds that would increase the lending limit and overall funding for the Farm Service Agency’s guaranteed farm ownership and operating loan programs. The bill calls for the programs’ total funding to be increased to $8 billion and for the lending limit to be increased from $1.4 million to $3 million. 

ABA noted that these programs are vital for providing credit to agricultural borrowers--particularly young, beginning and small farmers--and that the proposed increases would help reduce the likelihood of a funding lapse in the future.

“With this additional funding, lenders would be able to help many more borrowers through potentially tough times in the agricultural economy,” the Association said. Read the letter.

SDSU Extension to Hold Ag Lenders Conferences in October

Agriculture lenders are invited to attend one of three Ag Lender Conferences hosted by SDSU Extension throughout the month of October in Sioux Falls, Watertown and Rapid City.

“SDSU Extension understands the relationship agriculture producers have with their lender and its impact on the success of their operations,” said Jack Davis, SDSU Extension crops business management field specialist. “By providing lenders timely market, financial and production information, they are better able to assist agriculture producers.”

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ABA Urges Bankers to Support Puerto Rico Recovery, Emergency Response

With Puerto Rico facing a daunting recovery from the massive destruction of Hurricane Maria, ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols has announced that the association will contribute $100,000 for Hurricane Maria relief, as it did after both Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. ABA is also encouraging bankers across the country and ABA staff to support Puerto Rico’s recovery.

Consulting with the Puerto Rico Bankers Association, ABA is contributing to United for Puerto Rico, a fund established by Puerto Rican First Lady Beatriz Rossello in collaboration with the private sector to provide post-hurricane relief. ABA will match employee contributions to relief efforts as it did after Harvey and Irma. ABA staff members have contributed a total of $25,000 to the overall relief effort, bringing the total relief contribution this year from ABA and its employees to $350,000.

ABA staff, working with federal agencies and the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, are in close contact with local banking personnel and assisting with Puerto Rican banks’ efforts to recover and restore full access to the banking system. Contribute to United for Puerto Rico. View ABA resources on hurricane response and recovery.

SBS Offers Hot Topic Hacker Hour Webinar on Equifax Data Breach

With 143 million consumers affected and more than 200,000 credit cards compromised, the latest Equifax breach is a hot topic for all consumers and businesses.


Join SBS on Friday, Sept. 15, for a special Hot Topic Hacker Hour webinar: Equifax Data Breach: Lesson Learned. SBS will discuss the current facts of the breach, what lead up to it and what you should think about in response. To ensure you get all the information you need, time will be provided for you to ask any questions you may have.

The free webinar will begin at 11 a.m. CDT. Learn more and register.

Emerging Bankers Don't Miss Opportunity

Are you an emerging leader at your bank? Would you like to become more engaged with the banking industry in South Dakota? Don't miss your opportunity to connect with other bank leaders of today and tomorrow.

The SDBA will hold the first of four Emerging Leaders Networking Meetings in Sturgis next Thursday, Sept. 28. The SDBA will follow up with meetings in Aberdeen on Oct. 2, Humboldt on Oct. 4, and Pierre/Fort Pierre on Oct. 11.

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ABA Urges Support for Hurricane Irma Relief Effort

ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols last Friday announced that the Association will contribute $100,000 for Hurricane Irma relief, as it did a few weeks ago after Hurricane Harvey. “Hurricane Irma has devastated communities in Florida and beyond in much the same way Harvey affected Texas,” said Nichols. “Knowing the need for relief is just as great, and even more dispersed, ABA has pledged to donate $100,000 to assist those harmed by Irma.”


The Association will also match all ABA employee contributions to Irma relief efforts. ABA consulted with the Florida Bankers Association in directing its donation to the Florida Disaster Fund. However, ABA is matching employee contributions to hurricane relief in any area affected by Irma, including Georgia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In the wake of Harvey, ABA employees contributed $21,000 for relief, which ABA will match--bringing the total contribution from ABA and its employees to more than $142,000. Learn more about and donate to the Florida Disaster Fund.

CCS Offers Services to Western South Dakotans Affected by Drought

Professional counselors with Catholic Social Services (CCS) are reaching out to drought-impacted families in western South Dakota by offering a listening ear. Services can be accessed either through offices or via telehealth. 

Jim Kinyon, CSS executive director, has been hearing from pastors, families and local businesses seeking support. “Families are stressed, and we would encourage families needing a listening ear or a place to talk to contact our office," he said.

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Emerging Banking Leaders Don't Miss Out on SDBA Networking Meetings

Education, Skills, Lead, Learn, IdeasThe SDBA is looking to attract, develop and engage the next generation of banking leaders in the state. The SDBA is hosting four Emerging Leaders Networking Meetings across the state this fall.

Sturgis, Buffalo Chip Shooting Complex: Sept. 28
Aberdeen, Aberdeen Gun Club: Oct. 2
Humboldt, Hunters Pointe Shooting Complex: Oct: 4
Pierre/Fort Pierre, View 34 and Willow Creek Wildlife Inc.: Oct. 11


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2018 South Dakota Bank Directory Advertising Available

The SDBA is currently selling advertising in its 2018 South Dakota Bank Directory. The South Dakota Bank Directory is an indispensable reference tool for financial executives and those conducting business with financial decision makers in South Dakota.

A limited number of full-color ads are available on the directory's tabbed divider pages, as well as the inside back cover. Full-page and half-page black and white ads are also available in the front section of the directory. The deadline to place an ad is Friday, Sept. 29. Ads are then due Oct. 13. More information and the advertising form.

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Two South Dakota Banks Named 'Best Banks to Work For'

American Banker Magazine on Monday published its fifth annual list of the 75 best banks to work for. South Dakota's First Bank & Trust in Brookings and Sioux Falls was named number 20, and First PREMIER Bank in Sioux Falls was named number 61. SDBA associate member Bell Bank in Fargo was named number five.

First Bank & Trust each year hosts a 5K for employees and their families that raises money for charity, and the bank's Community Brigade program authorizes employees to provide up to $150 to a person in need, reimbursed by the company. The bank's "Be the 1" program provides cash rewards for employees who think on their feet and make decisions. 

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Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund Initiated

ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols on Tuesday called on bankers to join ABA in supporting the response to Hurricane Harvey on the Gulf Coast and invited them to contribute to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund set up by the Texas Bankers Association (TBA) and the Independent Bankers Association of Texas (IBAT).

ABA and its subsidiaries will contribute $100,000 to the fund, which will provide relief for people displaced by the storm, including bank employees and their families. Contributions to the fund are tax-exempt, and TBA and IBAT are absorbing all credit card processing fees to ensure 100 percent of funds reach those in need. ABA will also match its own employees’ contributions to Harvey relief efforts.

“It will come as no surprise to you that the industry’s response to date has been caring, generous and committed,” wrote Nichols in an email to bank CEOs nationwide. “I have no doubt all banks whose customers have been harmed by Hurricane Harvey will make a priority of helping them through this difficult time.” He cited a wide range of responses, from community banks that have opened mobile branches to institutions waiving service fees to million-dollar relief pledges from large nationwide banks.

"Like Rob, I too have received inquires from bankers wondering what they here in South Dakota might do to help bankers who lives have been turned upside down by Hurricane Harvey," said SDBA President Curt Everson. "To the extent that any bank or banker would like to make a contribution to help in relief efforts, the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund set up by the TBA and IBAT is one way to facilitate a financial contribution."

Nichols also pointed to several ABA resources for banks dealing with the storm, including constant coordination with federal, state and local authorities through the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center to ensure the banking system continues to function, as well as communications resources for banks on the front lines of disaster.





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Farmer Mac To Hold Road Show this Fall

Farmer Mac is hosting a series of free, credit-focused workshops throughout the country this September and October. Farmer Mac will be in Bismarck on Sept. 18, Sioux Falls on Sept. 19 and Rapid City on Oct. 13.

Attendees can prepare for the upcoming lending season and hear about the latest secondary market tools available through Farmer Mac's programs. The sessions are designed for new as well as existing program participants.

The meetings will begin at 9:30 a.m., and lunch will be provided. A bonus session will be held from 1-2 p.m., where attendees will receive additional insight on winning strategies successful Farmer Mac lenders use to structure and price their loans.

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SDBA To Host Emerging Leaders Networking Meetings this Fall

Education, Skills, Lead, Learn, IdeasAttract, Develop, Engage. The SDBA will host a series of regional meetings across the state this fall to build and deepen the connection of the next generation of banking leaders to the Association. The SDBA invites member bank leaders to bring at least one of their bank’s young, emerging leaders to the meetings.

The general business session will be a chance for bankers to learn more about the SDBA, current issues of concern to the industry, how they can engage in public policy debate, and a discussion on ideas for further engagement with emerging industry leaders. The meetings will also provide an opportunity for networking and social interaction with peers during lunch, an afternoon of optional sporting clays/trap shooting and refreshments to follow. 

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