ABA report: Farm banks' ag lending ticks up in 2021

Agricultural lending by U.S. farm banks increased 5.5% in 2021 to $99.6 billion, according to the American Bankers Association’s Farm Bank Performance Report. The change is based on a 7.5% increase in outstanding loans secured by farmland and a 2.9% increase in agricultural production loans.

The annual report examines the performance of the 1,553 banks specializing in agricultural lending. In 2021, farm banks provided access to Paycheck Protection Program funds, originating 538,154 PPP loans worth $14.6 billion, distributed by more than 7,500 branches in rural America. Farm banks continue to be a major source of credit to small farmers, holding more than $43.8 billion in small farm loans ($500,000 or less), including $9.9 billion in micro farm loans ($100,000 or less) at the end of 2021.

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Cyber-Safe Travel

Summer is a popular time to travel whether it be for a relaxing overnight trip or a week away exploring a new destination. You are likely taking along that smartphone or other device to assist with getting directions, locating or identifying points of interest, and capturing that special photo. Practicing good cyber hygiene before, during, and after your trip will help secure your devices and allow you to connect with confidence when you’re away from home.

Quick note if you are traveling with business equipment: It’s best that you leave your work devices behind; however, if you can’t leave home without them, ensure that you are following your organization’s policies and procedures for protecting the devices and the information they contain while traveling.

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Memorandum for Remote Work Staff of South Dakota Banks

The Division is providing this guidance to assist bank management with defining remote work conditions and corresponding security protocols. South Dakota bank staff may conduct banking activities provided the remote work location is physically located in South Dakota and adequate security protocols are implemented. With respect to remote work in other states, it is permitted to the extent it follows this guidance and allowed by the host state regulatory authority. Banks that allow remote work by their employees must draft and implement comprehensive policies and procedures to ensure remote work is conducted in a secure and professional manner. A comprehensive remote work program should implement, at minimum, the following requirements and limitations:

1. Ensure in-person interactions with customers and consumers are not conducted at the
remote work location and the remote location is not represented as a business location,
branch, or Loan Production Office (LPO);
2. Maintain secure virtual private networks or similar system and other appropriate
safeguards for customer data, information, and records;
3. Ensure employees have secure internet connections and all security updates and patches
are up to date on all remote devices;
4. Employ appropriate risk-based monitoring and oversight processes of work performed
from a remote location and maintain records of the oversight process;
5. Ensure customer information and bank records are not maintained at the remote location;
6. Ensure customer information and bank records remain accessible and available for
regulatory oversight and examination;
7. Provide appropriate employee training to keep all conversations about and with
customers conducted from the remote location confidential, as if conducted from a bank
branch or LPO, and to ensure remote employees work in an environment that maintains

confidentiality.

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How Banks Can Effectively Use Two-Way Texting

As banks look to earn the business, trust and loyalty of more people, bank executives should consider ways to differentiate from the increasingly crowded market of banks, financial institutions and fintech providers. Enhancing customer service options are important ways to stand out from competitors while truly serving clients.

According to a previous Microsoft State of Global Customer Service Report, nearly 70 percent of respondents favorably view brands that engage in proactive customer service. Customer service, which can be hard to come by for other financial entities, can be a cornerstone of bankers’ sales and marketing plans.

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CISA News Tip of the Week: Top 11 Security Dont's

How many of these are present in your organization?  

1.No cybersecurity training for employees

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ABA’s Nichols: Despite economic headwinds, banks are healthy and prepared

While uncertainty surrounds the U.S. economy at present, America’s banks remain healthy and prepared to support the communities they serve, said American Bankers Association President and CEO Rob Nichols today during an online forum discussing recent economic conditions and longer-term outcomes.

“It’s a challenging moment for the U.S. economy, with inflation running at its highest level in a generation, hitting every American in their wallet. We continue to suffer supply disruptions due to the lingering effects of the pandemic and the Russian aggression in Ukraine,” Nichols said, adding that the Federal Reserve has been working to slow demand by raising interest rates and plans to do so until inflation is under control.

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CSBS urges lawmakers to include SAFE Banking Act in Competes Act

As lawmakers attempt to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the America Competes Act, the Conference for State Bank Supervisors today advocated for the SAFE Banking Act to be included in the final version of the bill. The ABA-backed provision—which would enable banks to serve legitimate cannabis businesses in states where it is legal—was included in the House version of the Competes Act.

CSBS noted that allowing cannabis businesses to access banking services would help reduce risk, increase public safety and facilitate tax collection, among other things. “By granting a safe harbor for financial institutions, Congress can bring regulatory clarity to the financial services industry, address public safety concerns and ensure access to financial services for state-compliant marijuana and marijuana-related businesses,” said CSBS Acting President and CEO James Cooper.

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CSBS Announces Passing of John W. Ryan

It is with great sadness that we announce that John W. Ryan, President and Chief Executive Officer of CSBS, died unexpectedly late Monday in Washington, D.C.

“On behalf of the CSBS Board of Directors, executive team, staff and membership, we extend our deepest sympathies to John’s family and everyone who knew and worked with John over his more than 30-year career. John was an inspirational and humble leader who brought incredible dedication, intellect and passion to CSBS, the state regulatory system and financial services more broadly,” said Melanie Hall, Chair of the CSBS Board of Directors.

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Treasury releases 2022 plan for combating terrorist funding

Last Friday, the Treasury Department issued its 2022 strategy for combating terrorist financing and other illicit funding.

Recent risk assessments highlighted threats posed by the abuse of legal entities, the complicity of professionals that misuse their positions or businesses, small-sum funding of domestic violent extremism networks, the effective use of front and shell companies in proliferation finance, and the exploitation of the digital economy. To combat these issues, the Treasury’s strategy identifies four priorities to address the most significant illicit finance threats to the U.S. financial system.

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Meet Haley Juhnke, SDBA's New Communications Coordinator!

Haley JuhnkeHaley joined the SDBA on Monday, May 9. She grew up in Vivian, S.D., on a 4th generation farming and ranching operation. She always felt as though she was missing out on what the “town kids” got to do. But looking back now, she wouldn’t have it any other way because of the appreciation she gained over the years for the beautiful wide-open spaces and lessons learned on the family farm. “I found a love for all animals, but especially horses and had the typical love/hate relationship with my only comrades in the country, my brother and sister,” Haley said. “My grandparents only lived two miles down the road, so the closeness allowed for a special bond to be formed with them.”

Outside of work, Haley enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and her rescue dog, Dax, and enjoys travelling and exploring new places. She likes to be out in God’s creation and one of her favorite places to go is the Black Hills. In her free time, Haley also reads or listens to audiobooks and podcasts.

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Banking groups call for changes to SEC cyber incident reporting proposal

On Monday, American Bankers Association and a coalition of financial services groups called for extensive changes to a proposal by the Securities and Exchange Commission that would create new requirements for public companies regarding the disclosure of cybersecurity incidents. Among other things, the SEC would amend Form 8-K to require that registrants “disclose information about a material cybersecurity incident within four business days after the registrant determines that it has experienced a material cybersecurity incident.”

Among other things, the groups called for changes to the timing of disclosure to “four business days after the registrant has reasonably determined that the cybersecurity incident is no longer ongoing, and that public disclosure of the incident will not seriously jeopardize the security of the registrant,” emphasizing that the current proposal’s requirements lack “sufficient regard for the security risks and harms that such disclosures may pose in certain circumstances.”

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Survey: Banking outpaces other industries in preparing to combat fraud and corruption

The banking sector is among the most prepared industries to combat fraud, corruption and illicit activity, according to a recent report. According to the results of a recent survey of more than 1,330 senior risk-strategy decision-makers across multiple industries, 84% of respondents in the banking sector reported they had conducted an internal investigation in the last three years—more than any other sector surveyed. In addition, 89% of respondents in the banking sector reported their organization had been significantly affected by serious misconduct—the second highest behind travel and tourism.

The report, conducted by risk and compliance technology firm Kroll, noted that the costs associated with investigating fraud and illicit activity have increased, particularly for organizations with revenue of more than $15 billion. The survey also indicated that risk professionals believe that some investigative services firms fail to deliver value, suggesting that many external providers may not employ the most up-to-date technology to find relevant information in massive volumes of structured and unstructured data.

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Keeping Your SDBA Member Profile Current

One of the best ways to stay current with the SDBA is to make sure your member profile is current and accurate. You can easily review this information by clicking here and logging into your profile. Forgot your password and/or username? No problem--you can request a password reset from the SDBA so you can quickly access your account. Key items to check up on are: Title, Job Function, Bank, and Contact Information (phone, address and email.) Additionally, you can subscribe to correspondence with the SDBA that you may not already be subscribed to. What about Protective Alerts, Legislative Updates, and Education Updates? If you're not already receiving these and would like to start, please email [email protected] to request being added to the distribution lists. The best way for you to engage with the SDBA, and therefore advocate for our industry, starts with a current member profile!

Fed Announces 50 Basis Point Rate Hike

In a significant move yesterday, the Federal Reserve announced that it will increase the target range for the federal funds rate to 0.75 to 1%, and signaled that “ongoing increases in the target range will be appropriate.”

“Assuming that economic and financial conditions evolve in line with expectations, there is a broad sense on the committee that additional 50 basis point increases should be on the table at the next couple of meetings,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said in a press conference following the announcement, though he noted that 75 basis point hikes were not currently being contemplated by the Fed. “We will make our decisions meeting by meeting, as we learn from incoming data and the evolving outlook for the economy.”

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Binance backing for Musk bid emboldens crypto visionaries' dreams of a 'decentralized' Twitter

Bitcoin exchange Binance's move to participate in Elon Musk's $44 billion takeover of Twitter could boost digital currency evangelists' hopes for the development of a more "decentralized," crypto-friendly social media platform. 

Binance plans to invest $500 million in equity funding as part of a $7 billion financing pledge to support the Tesla CEO's bid to buy Twitter. Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and venture capital firm Sequoia are among the other investors involved.

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Last Call: Service and Memorial Awards for Annual Convention, Deadline Friday, May 13

The SDBA will honor and recognize those bankers with 40 or 50 years of service in banking during its Annual Business Meeting on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, at the Annual Convention in Bismarck, ND. Years of service awards can also be awarded at the bank. To request an award for someone who has been in banking for 40 or 50 years, please complete the form. The deadline is submit an award to be presented at the 2022 Annual Convention is May 13, 2022. Bankers who have passed away since the last Annual Convention (June 2021) will be remembered during the SDBA's Annual Business Meeting on June 15, as well. The deadline to submit a name for the memorial service is also May 13. Questions, contact the SDBA Office at 605.224.1653 or [email protected].

Bankers: Tell Congress to Pass Safe Banking Act

As more states allow some form of cannabis legalization, small businesses, banks and the communities they serve continue to be stuck in the middle of the divide between state and federal cannabis law. Congress has an opportunity to do something about it by passing the SAFE Banking Act, which would provide state-licensed cannabis businesses with a transition into the regulated banking system. The SAFE Banking Act has passed the U.S. House six times with strong bipartisan support and it’s now being considered for inclusion as part of the broader COMPETES Act.

The House and Senate are actively working out differences in the COMPETES Act and are expected to vote on it in the coming weeks. Write to your members of Congress today and ask them to weigh-in in favor of including the SAFE Banking Act in the final COMPETES bill. Learn more here.

CISA News: Scammers Scammed!

The following is from Jim Edman, CISA Cybersecurity Advisor for South Dakota

From the desk of long-time listener, first time submitter Andrew J. Ogan,  a call recorded with a group of scammers in India. The investigator does a great job of identifying and frustrating the scammers over the phone.  It’s a 14-minute video but he does a good job of explaining each step along the way on his call. The initial scam is in regards to an expired Norton anti-virus subscription with the ultimate goal of the scammers to empty his bank account. Unfortunately, far too many Americans fall for these types of scams. https://youtu.be/j0c_I7MWB1U 

Register Today for the NDBA/SDBA Annual Convention in Bismarck, ND - June 14-15

Join North and South Dakota bankers, June 14-15, for an incredible convention in Bismarck, as the community celebrates 150 years. We will be reminded in all of the best ways why we do what we do, why we do it together, and why we are grateful to make a difference in our hometowns throughout the Dakotas. A dynamic convention program awaits with many top-of-mind topics: leadership, employee retention, the economy, cryptocurrency and cybersecurity. The challenges of today create opportunities for tomorrow. As generations before us blazed trails, let’s gather together and continue to shape the future. Onward!

The full schedule and registration information can be found here.

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Bank Robbery Deterrent Stickers Available from the FBI

Sara Gould, Intelligence Analyst with the FBI Minneapolis Field Office, reached out to the SDBA re: the availability of Bank Robbery Deterrent Stickers. Gould says these stickers are available to member banks to utilize in lobbies and/or ATMs. If you're interested in receiving stickers, please contact the SDBA at [email protected] by Friday, April 29, 2022, with your contact information and the quantity needed, and we'll forward your request on to Sara.