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ICBA Sues Equifax over Massive Data Breach

CBAI supports ICBA filing a class action lawsuit against Equifax, Inc. for “financial losses and increased data security risks that are a direct result of Equifax’s egregious failure to safeguard, and affirmative mishandling of, the financial institutions’ customers’ highly sensitive personally identifiable information”. The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Georgia (where Equifax is headquartered), seeks to require Equifax to compensate all community banks harmed by the breach and to improve its security to avoid additional harm to consumers and local communities. Read ICBA’s Complaint. Data Breach Information Center and Resources.

December 6, 2017

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President Trump Appoints Mulvaney as CFPB Acting Director

President Donald Trump has appointed Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney as acting Director of the CFPB after Richard Cordray resigned the post. The appointment has not been without controversy, however, as Cordray attempted an 11th hour appointment of his own. Cordray referenced language in Dodd Frank when he appointed his chief of staff Leandra English as acting director hours before Trump appointed Mulvaney under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act. English filed suit to block Mulvaney’s appointment, but U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly rejected the arguments in the law suit and recognized the Federal Vacancies Reform Act as the prevailing authority for the appointment. The judge’s ruling should pave the way for Mulvaney to serve as acting director until a permanent director is nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

CBAI has been critical of the CFPB in numerous meetings and comment letters for not using the authority granted to the CFPB by Congress under the Dodd-Frank Act to broadly exempt community banks from rules intended exclusively for the largest banks, financial firms, and the shadow banking industry. CBAI is encouraged by the Mulvaney appointment and looks forward to working with the acting director and his eventual successor to appropriately focus the efforts of the Bureau and give community banks needed regulatory relief. 

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Tax Reform Bill Clears the U.S. Senate

In the early hours of Saturday, December 2, 2017, the United States Senate narrowly passed tax relief and reform legislation. The vote was 51 to 49 with all of the Republicans but one voting for passage and all of the Democrats voting against. CBAI anticipates that the differences between the competing House and Senate versions of this legislation will now be negotiated over the coming weeks in a conference committee, but the Senate bill is expected to remain largely intact.

This legislation represents the most significant overhaul of the tax system in the past 30 years and addresses a number of issues including: personal income tax rates, standard deductions, personal exemptions, state and local taxes, tax credits, the home mortgage interest deduction, other deductions, the individual insurance mandate, the Alternative Minimum Tax, inheritance taxes, corporate taxes, business write-offs and multi-national corporations.

One issue that concerned CBAI and ICBA in both the House and Senate bills was the unfair treatment of Subchapter “S” corporations. Approximately one-third of all community banks are organized under Subchapter “S”. Subjecting these community banks to a higher maximum tax rate would exacerbate the tax disparity among financial service providers, would disrupt the corporate and tax structure of the community bank profession, and would harm community banks’ ability to serve their customers and communities. CBAI issued an Action Alert, in conjunction with the ICBA, urging CBAI Subchapter “S” community bankers to weigh-in with their Member of Congress to ensure meaningful relief under the tax code. More than 3,500 community bankers responded to this Action Alert nationwide, and the Senate reportedly lowered the effective tax rate for Subchapter "S" businesses by providing a 23 percent deduction for qualified income.

A second issue raised during the Senate’s consideration of their tax plan was a provision that would force community banks to pay a tax on mortgage servicing, when the servicing right is created, and not over the years the income is collected. A similar provision was not included in the House bill. The mortgage servicing industry is rapidly consolidating and increasingly dominated by the very largest banks. None-the-less, a significant number of community banks choose to service their loans regardless of whether the loans are retained in portfolio or sold on the secondary market. There are numerous examples of large bank and servicing company missteps and customer abuse and neglect in loan servicing, but that is not the case with community banks. Community banks are more responsive to their customers and more willing to work with distressed borrowers. The mortgage market needs more community banks servicing loans, not less. This tax increase would have forced some community banks to stop servicing loans, reduce profitability for those that remain in the business, and further consolidate the mortgage servicing industry.  Thankfully through the efforts of Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and others, this provision was removed from the Senate legislation.

Unfortunately, the tax disparity between community banks and credit unions and the Farm Credit System was not addressed in either the House or Senate tax reform bills. Congress is missing the perfect opportunity to level the playing field between community banks and their tax payer subsidized entities. CBAI will continue to highlight this discrimination against tax-paying community banks.

Speculation is that Congress will pass meaningful tax reform before Christmas. CBAI will also work together with the ICBA and the Illinois congressional delegation to protect our hard-won victories and improve the legislation for community banks and the customers and communities that they serve. Read ICBA Release.

December 5, 2017

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CBAI Members Attend Federal Reserve’s Community Bankers Symposium

On November 10, 2017, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago hosted its 12th Annual Community Bankers Symposium titled, "Winds of Change: Headwinds, Tailwinds and Regulation." The Symposium was a joint effort among the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of Comptroller of the Currency.

The previous evening, CBAI hosted a Welcome Dinner for its members attending the Symposium at Mastro’s Steakhouse. The Welcome Dinner was generously sponsored by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago.

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Federal Reserve Community Banker Symposium - November 2017

The day-long Symposium began with opening remarks by Charles L. Evans, President and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Mr. Evans' personal commentary on the economy is that it is on solid ground and the fundamentals are favorable going forward. He cautioned that the prolonged  low interest rates, and gradual future rate increases nearing only 2.75% (the long-term Fed Funds Rate), leaves little room for the Fed to react aggressively in the event of an economic downturn. He noted that this is particularly concerning as the current expansion crosses the 100-month mark which makes this the third-longest period of economic expansion.

Lara Lylozian, Assistant Chief Accountant for the Federal Reserve System, provided a CECL Presentation. Takeaways for community banks from this presentation include: CECL is a high priority for regulators; community banks should be proactive and not wait for the regulators to tell you what to do; the process should begin now and should include data collection and investigation of all available resources; bankers should take an “adopt and adapt” approach to implementation; and the regulators will only be setting the CECL guiderails and will not immediately be expecting perfection but will be expecting a “best faith effort”.

An informative Ombudsman Panel and Consumer Compliance Supervisory Panel bracketed lunch and an Economic Update by Richard Brown, Chief Economist & Deputy Director, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Blake Paulson, Deputy Comptroller of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, provided the View from the OCC because Acting Comptroller Noreika's last day at teh OCC was November 10th, and Josepth Otting had not yet been confirmed as the Comptroller. Paulson commented that he has worked under seven Comptrollers in his OCC career, and Otting is different in that he has significant previous bank experience (OneWest Bank, CIT Bank and U.S. Bancorp). As Paulson stated that he believes Otting’s experience will be positive for the OCC and the 1,400 banks it regulates.

CBAI encourages Chicago Fed member banks to plan on attending the 13th annual Symposium next year as the new leadership of the OCC, FDIC, and the Federal Reserve Board will likely be invited to speak to attendees.

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Joseph Otting Takes the Helm at the OCC

The Community Bankers Association of Illinois (CBAI) congratulates Joseph M. Otting on the occasion of his being sworn in as the 31st Comptroller of the Currency. President Trump nominated Otting in June and was confirmed by the United States Senate on November 16th. He was sworn into office by Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin.

Otting takes the OCC helm from Keith Noreika, who was acting Comptroller following the departure of Thomas Curry. Otting brings to the position deep executive-level banking experience with CIT Bank, OneWest Bank, U.S. Bank, and Union Bank, and is distinguished from other recent Comptrollers because he has led banks whose primary regulator was the OCC. Blake Paulson, Deputy Comptroller (Central District) of the OCC said at a recent Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Community Bankers Symposium that he believes Otting’s extensive management and banking experience will be positive for the Agency and the 1,400 national banks it regulates.

Mr. Otting holds a bachelor of arts in management from the University of Northern Iowa and is a graduate of the School of Credit and Financial Management, at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Read OCC’s News Release.

November 30, 2017