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From the chairman

By Curtis Davidson
OBA Chairman

To-do lists. We all use them whether they are written or verbal. Some of us get satisfaction by crossing tasks off the list. I almost always go for a couple of easy ones first, so I feel like at least I accomplished something.

After last week, Speaker Ryan and President Trump's to-do list reminds me of a game of 52-card pickup. You may remember the game, when you found an unsuspecting victim who agreed to play. You throw the deck of cards up in the air, scattering everywhere on the floor and calmly turn to your victim and tell him to pick them up.

The House of Representatives has put an abrupt halt to the presidential to-do list by failing to support Speaker Ryan's health care reform bill. So much for the president methodically ticking off campaign promises.

So where does the speaker go from here? Friday, Speaker Ryan said, “Yes, this does make tax reform more difficult but doesn't make it impossible. We will proceed with tax reform.” Sounds like a soldier headed to a battle with no hope of winning.

The road doesn't get any easier. Health care affects about one-seventh of our economy. Taxes affect 100 percent of our economy. It will be an enormous task to bring together a coalition that supports any kind of tax reform bill.

Roger Beverage and I visited last week with one of Speaker Ryan's key staffers who had an integral role in writing the GOP blueprint on tax reform. We both agreed the fundamental changes proposed by the blueprint will be difficult to explain, much less sell to a partisan Congress, a divided Republican majority and the American public.

By the way, one of those cards on the floor is regulatory reform. I certainly hope and pray Congress soon can work together to start passing legislation that's good for our country. Otherwise, our dreams of legislative changes that make it easier to serve our customers may be just that, a dream.

Warren Buffet once said that he doesn't look to jump over 7-foot bars: he looks around for 1-foot bars he can step over. I wonder if the president or speaker wishes they had followed Mr. Buffet's advice and picked off some low-hanging fruit, like helping community banks better serve small businesses and our communities.

Probably not. President Trump likes to swing for the fences, not hit singles.

By the way, I've always found it better to go first when playing 52-card pick-up.

Have a great week!

Curtis Davidson
OBA Chairman

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ABA's GR Summit well attended; congressional visits not as encouraging

Last week, about 25 Oklahoma bankers joined some 1,500 other bankers from across the country to attend the ABA's Spring GR Summit in Washington.  The attendance was up a record-shattering 50 percent, and it was a great response from industry leaders, including a large number of OBA Emerging Leaders, three of which were from Oklahoma. 

Attendees heard from Fox News' Chris Wallace among others. There was much to enjoy about the presentation by Wallace and others, but there was also a lot that caused even the most optimistic banking enthusiasts to come away somewhat more depressed than when they arrived.  

Senate Banking Committee's Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) set the tone at the outset about Democrats' intentions to consider banking reform. Yeah, generally, Democrats are willing to consider some ideas, but the message was clear: don't count on us for much.

The same message came through when we visited with members of the Oklahoma delegation in the House.  Basically, we have a long way to go before we get to the time when Congress begins to consider Dodd-Frank reform. 

“I wish I had better news to report,” OBA President and CEO Roger Beverage said.  “I just don't. 

“Our delegation is supportive of just about anything we propose. Our top priorities have already been introduced in the form of the TAILOR Act and the portfolio lending bill. 

“We don't have anyone on either of the key banking-related committees (other than Rep. Frank Lucas) who's in a position to take the lead on this effort. And Rep. Lucas is hamstrung by a chairman [Rep. Jeb Hensarling [R-Tex.] who sees the world only through his own lens – in this case the CHOICE Act.  That legislation – which he has yet to introduce, by the way – has zero chance of moving in the Senate. Zero. Yet that's what we're stuck with. It's maddening.” 

Beverage noted the Summit took place before the vote Friday on repealing the Affordable Care Act. 

“Obviously, the (Obamacare) debate had sucked most of the oxygen out of the air across the city,” he said.  “I had hoped we might be able to crack into the vacuum that was created and tag along with something simple, something non-controversial (very much, anyway) and something that would be a win for the president and the Republican majority. 

"Congressional Republicans seemed more intent on trying to improve their image from 'The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight,' to one that resulted in forming a circular firing squad. I've never seen anything quite like it, but the result is that discussion of our issues is likely to be postponed/delayed/forgotten about for some time.” 

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OBA education corner ...

The weather seems to be warming for good ... which means it's just catching up with our education department, which always keeps things warm with seminars, webinars and schools! Check out the following:

  • Limited Liability Companies: Do's and Dont's, April 4, webinar — Learn how to open, document, change signers, and handle the paperwork on these interesting accounts.
  • Letters of Credit, April 4, webinar — Whether your bank issues letters of credit, accepts letters of credit or takes liens on letter of credit rights, this program is for you.
  • Reg E Compliance: Five Best Practices for Handling, April 5, webinar — Will your financial institution experience more debit card fraud investigation in 2017? Learn steps for handling disputes, plus time frames for resolving unauthorized transaction claims.
  • BSA Series: 10 Examination Hot Spots, April 5, webinar — We will look at the top exam issues for 2017 and focus on avoiding the mishaps of poor planning on your examination.
  • Implementing the Revised HMDA Rules, April 6, Oklahoma City — The final rules are generally effective on Jan. 1, 2018, but changes begin with the 2017 HMDA data.
  • Flood Insurance Compliance, April 6, webinar — Join us for a webinar covering the flood insurance compliance HOT SPOTS.
  • Loan Participation: What You Should Know, April 6, webinar — Learn the basic requirements for successful loan participations or syndications.
  • Key Ratio Analysis: Calculating and Interpreting, April 7, webinar — Learn a "five-step" analysis plan that will clarify and "unify" this often confusing financial subject.
  • Regulation CC - Check Holds, April 11, webinar — Can we place a hold on a cashier's check? How many days can we hold checks on a new account? Does this apply to business accounts? Do we have to give the hold while the customer is there or can we mail it later? These questions will all be addressed in this informative and easy to follow program for the frontline.
  • Basic Bankruptcy for Bankers, April 13, webinar — This webinar will introduce you to the world of bankruptcy.
  • Investment & Interest Rate Risk Management, April 26, Oklahoma City —  This seminar is developed specifically for managers of financial institutions. Designed to meet the challenges of 2017, it is an in-depth examination of current topics.
  • HR Seminar, April 27, Oklahoma City — Attending this seminar will provide information to allow HR managers and staff to comply with changes and support the overall compliance function.
  • CECL Update, May 3, Oklahoma City — This workshop will provide a brief background on FASB's new credit impairment standard, which represents a significant change from the existing probable incurred losses model.

In additional news, now is the time to GET INVOLVED with your industry and your Association! The easiest and best way to do this is to join an OBA committee. There are several to choose from, ranging from school boards to agriculture and bank fraud. Click here to learn more about OBA committees and to download a Committee Interest Form!

Also, the OBA is proud to promote the recognition of bankers who have devoted 50 or more years of service to the banking industry. All eligible nominees will be honored at the 2017 OBA Convention on May 24 at the Embassy Suites in Norman.

Click here to download a nomination form. If you have any questions, please contact Janis Reeser at 405-424-5252 or janis@oba.com.