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CECL Update - CBAI Member Attends FASB Meeting

A Strong Congressional Response, and CBAI Staff Lobbies Issue in Washington

CBAI member Greg Ohlendorf, President and CEO of First Community Bank and Trust in Beecher, Illinois, was one of four ICBA bankers who attended the February 4, 2016 meeting with the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) to discuss community banks’ serious concerns with FASB’s proposed Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) model. Backing the community bank position was a U.S. House of Representatives’ letter to FASB (January 29, 2016) signed by 62 bi-partisan members.

This meeting was hastily convened by FASB after Chairman Russell Golden’s unbelievable comments about community banks and the financial crisis. CBAI stated in its December 21st response to Golden, “In the span of four sentences you cite community bank failure statistics followed by your conclusion that ‘Clearly community banks have been a major part of the problem [financial crisis]’ and that this is the reason why ‘all lending institutions should be included in the new [CECL] guidance.’ This flawed reasoning is comparable to citing elder financial abuse statistics and then blaming senior citizens for that abuse. Read CBAI’s Comment Letter to FASB.

The congressional letter to FASB stated in part, “FASB must proceed with utmost caution … as [CECL] has the potential to irreversibly damage community banks”. Members of Congress also noted that a “method for determining expected losses should be simple, straightforward, and easy to apply. A requirement that uses complex, theoretical forecasting models, determining each loan’s probability of failure based on a wide range of economic factors, is impractical, costly, and time consuming for community banks.” Read U.S. House Member Letter to FASB.

CBAI thanks Illinois Congressmen Mike Bost (R-12), Rodney Davis (R-13), Bill Foster (D-11), Randy Hultgren (R-14), and Mike Quigley (D-05) for signing the Member Letter urging caution, suggesting better alternatives, and requesting a response to their thoughtful questions and concerns.

CBAI’s Vice President Federal Governmental Relations, David Schroeder, supported the efforts of Ohlendorf and U.S. House members during his quarterly visit to Washington last week. He cited the harmful effects of the CECL model with the entire Illinois congressional delegation. Schroeder noted that the Illinois delegation is quickly gaining knowledge about this important issue and wants to be kept informed on progress in resolving the widely divergent positions between community banks and FASB. Read Report on CBAI Quarterly Staff Visit to D.C.

February 15, 2016
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CBAI Urges NCUA to Withdraw its Field of Membership Proposal

CBAI responded forcefully to the National Credit Union Administration’s (NCUA) proposed expansion of its field of membership rule and urged its immediate withdrawal. The proposed rule is being framed by the NCUA as regulatory relief versus what it really is -- a wholesale charter enhancement. It’s the latest in a series of industry efforts in that direction. The sweeping changes in this proposal would dramatically extend the credit union tax-advantaged status over taxpaying community banks.

NCUA stated that this proposed rule represents the most sweeping change in membership in the NCUA’s 45 years history. Its vice chairman indicated that the reason for the proposal was due to a deadlocked Congress. Apparently, quasi-legislative actions can now be justified by unelected NCUA bureaucrats. However, this proposed rule is a clear and intentional end-around Congress and disregards congressionally-imposed and established rules to assure that credit unions adhere to their original mission.

CBAI’s Vice President Federal Governmental Relations, David Schroeder, reinforced CBAI’s and the tax-paying community bank position on the proposed rule during his quarterly visit to Washington in early February. Schroeder highlighted to the entire Illinois congressional delegation this blatant end-around Congress and encouraged members to voice their concerns to the NCUA about this misguided proposal.

If credit unions want to weaken (so as to virtually eliminate) the common bond requirement and operate like banks, they should be taxed like banks and required to meet all of the same regulatory requirements as banks. They can't have it both ways.

Credit unions were never meant to be tax-exempt community banks!

Read CBAI Comment Letter.

February 16, 2016
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U.S. House Members Express CECL Concerns to FASB

Sixty-two members of the United States House of Representatives signed a Member Letter to the Chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board to express their strong concern about FASB’s proposed Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) model. The CECL model would require banks to estimate loan losses on individual loans the day they are made and adjust the estimated losses throughout the life of the loans. The concept of recording a loan loss on day-one flies in the face of the plain logic that a loan is good the day it’s made otherwise you wouldn’t make the loan. Predicting losses on loans that currently qualify, and which mature in 5, 10 or 30 years, will be pure speculation.

The House members stated “FASB must proceed with utmost caution … as [CECL] has the potential to irreversibly damage community banks”. They went on to recommend a “method for determining expected losses should be simple, straightforward, and easy to apply. A requirement that uses complex, theoretical forecasting models, determining each loan’s probability of failure based on a wide range of economic factors, is impractical, costly, and time consuming for community banks.” Read U.S. House Member Letter to FASB.

CBAI thanks Illinois Congressmen Mike Bost (R-12), Rodney Davis (R-13), Bill Foster (D-11), Randy Hultgren (R-14), and Mike Quigley (D-05) for signing the U.S. House Member Letter to FASB that urges caution, suggests better alternatives and requests a response to their thoughtful questions and concerns. 

February 2, 2016

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CBAI Critical of FinCEN’s Regulatory Impact Assessment for New Customer Due Diligence Requirements

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has proposed new Customer Due Diligence (CDD) requirements for financial institutions to identify beneficial owners of legal entity customers. FinCEN’s rulemaking on these new requirements began in 2012, continued in 2014, and on Christmas Eve of 2015, published in the Federal Register the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) which included a brief 30 day comment period.

CBAI’s comment letter highlighted that community banks have long been enlisted in the fight against identity theft, financial fraud, money laundering, and terrorist financings. As good citizens, community banks are proud to fulfill their responsibility to identify and report the bad actors, but doing so comes with a very real regulatory burden and a significant cost of compliance. CBAI urged FinCEN to “tread as lightly as possible on community banks and to be cognizant of the many and significant challenges community banks face on a daily basis in complying with an ever-increasing regulatory burden while also striving to serve the needs of their communities, consumers, and small businesses.”

CBAI recommended that new CDD rules be justified with a robust cost/benefit analysis. A review of the RIA however discovered significant deficiencies. The RIA’s Executive Summary states, “Although limitations prevent us from fully quantifying all costs and benefits attributable to the CDD rule, [and later “we can only describe the rule’s benefits qualitatively”] the U.S. Department of Treasury is [nonetheless] confident that the proposed rule would yield a positive net benefit to society.” This statement reminds us of the figure of speech Trust us – we’re the government, and quite honestly is insufficient evidence to support the implementation of the proposed rule.

CBAI urged FinCEN to pause in the rulemaking process, conduct a robust breakeven analysis, and publish for comments (a 90 day comment period) a revised RIA. Read CBAI Comment Letter to FinCEN.

January 25, 2016