Sunday, November 29, 2020

Week of Jan. 9

From the chairman

By Curtis Davidson
OBA Chairman

As predicted by many sources, including the ABA, health care reform has quickly taken center stage as the number one domestic political issue. After reading and listening to supporters from both sides of the aisle, I’m reminded of the hot potato game we played as children.

If you remember, the objective is to avoid holding the “hot potato” at the end of the game. Republicans and Democrats are trying desperately to have the other party own the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) which has become the political hot potato.

In the midst of all this political potato tossing was an op-ed piece written by Kimberley Strassel that appeared in Friday’s Wall Street Journal. She reminded Republican lawmakers that ObamaCare “failed in the court of public opinion-because of both the manner and the means by which it became law.”

Strassel recommends that instead of ramming a “repeal and replace” process through Congress, Republicans should develop a coalition which includes Democrats who support some modification or changes to the ACA. In her opinion a bipartisan coalition with honest compromise is the only way to get changes that will help Americans obtain affordable healthcare insurance.

I know the health insurance debate is not directly tied to banking issues which is what your OBA and I are working on. Nevertheless, the issue and the debate are both sucking all the air out of other activities in Congress, including banking reforms.

I worry that the current debate about health insurance will be used as a guide to how Congress and the new President will approach Dodd-Frank reform. The question is essentially the same: will Congressional Republicans try to forge a bipartisan reform agreement or will they act unilaterally either to repeal Dodd-Frank in its entirety or make major changes to it, including an attack on the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?

As mentioned before, Dodd-Frank reform is an important campaign promise made by President-elect Trump, but the issue is not in his top three objectives. That means it may not be addressed in the critical first 100 days.

When Congressional debate begins you and I will have a better idea about the strategy being used to make D-F changes by playing close attention to the healthcare insurance debate.

Have a great week!

Curtis Davidson
OBA Chairman

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ADA website compliance clarified

Recently in this space and elsewhere you have read about large law firms sending demand letters to banks and other small businesses alleging that the entity’s website does not conform to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The violation(s) are that such websites are not accessible by either a visually- or hearing-impaired consumer.  

“This issue is one about which we are very concerned,” OBA President Roger Beverage said. “The OBA has requested a bill in the upcoming 55th Oklahoma Legislature to give banks and other businesses time to make the necessary adjustments after receiving a demand letter.”

What does it mean to be ADA-compliant? Our thanks to Deb Stewart, an independent banking consultant in Charlotte, NC, who recently wrote an article about this critically important issue that appeared in the ABA Bank Marketing magazine.

Generally, being ADA-compliant “means that people with disabilities can use your website.” Under the Act, banks are considered as “public” entities and that subjects them to the Act’s requirements: provide equal access to the products, services and benefits to persons who have disabilities.

“Such as what?” you may ask. Here are some examples: 

  • Blind, color blind or having some form of impaired vision. If your website is not coded correctly your blind customers will not be able to utilize it;
  • Deaf or hard of hearing;
  • Limited mobility or dexterity;
  • Epilepsy or other nervous disorder;
  • Having a range of cognitive disabilities.”

“The problem is currently there are no ‘standards’ by which your website must be judged,” Beverage said. “There are ‘guidelines’ but they are just that – guidelines.

“Below is the list of requirements your bank is facing that we got from Deb Stewart and the ABA:

  • Provide text alternatives for non-text content;
  • Provide captions, audio descriptions and other multimedia alternatives;
  • Provide adequate contrast between text and background;
  • Making certain page content is read to the user in a logical order;
  • All functionality must be available from a keyboard;
  • No seizure-causing content (less than three flashes);
  • Provide users enough time to read and use content;
  • Help users navigate your site and find content;
  • Make text readable and understandable;
  • Make content appear and operate in consistent and predictable ways;
  • Help users avoid and correct mistakes (provide error messages that identify the error and how to fix it); and
  • Maximize compatibility with current and future user tools.

Although this general subject (the ADA) is a matter of federal law, at the state level we have requested a bill that will give a bank or other small business a period of time in which to correct the alleged deficiency. These lawsuits involve injunctive relief, not claims for actual damages.  

To read more of Deb Stewart’s well-done article, click here:
http://ababankmarketing.com/insights/website-ada-compliant/
 

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President-elect Trump’s pre-inauguration activities continue

Washington is gearing up for the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump and the U.S. Senate is busy scheduling confirmation hearings for his selections for the various cabinet positions. Democrats are busily searching for background on many of these selections and are promising to dig deep into each of their backgrounds to judge their suitability to serve.

The Senate confirmation hearings are being scheduled to take place over the next several weeks. While there have been no selections or nominees for the Secretaries of Agriculture and Veterans Affairs, most of those selections have been made.   

A full list of current nominees is below:

Cabinet Position

     

Nominee

Education Secretary

 

Betsy DeVos

Commerce Secretary

 

Wilbur Ross

*Small Business Administrator

 

Linda McMahon

Secretary of State

 

Rex Tillerson

Treasury Secretary

 

Steven Mnuchin

Housing and Urban Development Secretary

 

Ben Carson

Transportation Secretary

 

Elaine Chao

Health and Human Services Secretary

 

Tom Price

Attorney General

 

Jeff Sessions

Energy Secretary

 

Rick Perry

*Office of Management and Budget Director

 

Mick Mulvaney

Interior Secretary

 

Ryan Zinke

Vice President

 

Mike Pence

Labor Secretary

 

Andrew Puzder

Secretary of Defense

 

James Mattis

Homeland Security Secretary

 

John F. Kelly

*Chief of Staff

 

Reince Priebus

*EPA Administrator

 

Scott Pruitt

*U.N. Ambassador

 

Nikki R. Haley

* “cabinet-rank” positions  

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Request for information coming from Bank News

Oklahoma banks will soon be receiving a request for information from Bank News. These forms are used by Bank News to help the OBA update its annual Oklahoma Bankers Association Directory of Banks.

This information is what is solely utilized to update a bank’s information in the printed directory. First and foremost, we ask that each bank make it a priority to complete this information and return it to Bank News as soon as possible. If possible, please make a copy of the paperwork and submit to the OBA’s Lea Ann Jackson by email (leaann@oba.com), regular mail (643 N.E. 41st St., OKC, 73105) or fax (405/604-9545) for update of the association database as well.

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OBA Bankers’ Night Out programs ready for spring

The dates for the OBA Bankers’ Night Out programs have been finalized. Mark your calendar for the date of the program that’s in your area of the state and plan to attend. Bring your coworkers with you so that everyone can be up to speed on the most recent developments affecting their job.

As in the past, the schedule for each of these meetings is:

5:30 p.m. – Drinks
6:15 p.m. – Program
7 p.m. – Dinner

PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. The cost is $40 per person. Click here for a registration form.

Locations and dates for this year’s events are:

  • Lawton, March 23;
  • Oklahoma City, March 28;
  • Tulsa, March 29;
  • Guymon, April 11;
  • Krebs, April 19;
  • Enid, April 20.

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Register for OBA’s 2017 Contact Banker Program

We have set the dates for the 2017 Contact Banker Program. Many of you are seasoned veterans of the program and we look forward to seeing you again this upcoming year.

Click here to find a sign-up form that has all the dates listed for this year’s program. We ask that you look and see what dates work best for you and send it back to me. Once we have the groups finalized, we will send you an email confirmation of your date.

On the date you have selected, we will meet at the Capitol around 8:30 a.m., with groups usually consisting of 10-15 bankers. Once the group has arrived, we will have a short briefing about the issues we are tracking and what our plan is for the morning. Please know, we will stay together as a group the entire morning. We will go and meet with your individual senator and representative and you will have a few minutes to chat with them about anything you want. Depending on what week you select, the group will sit in on a committee meeting or we will sit in the gallery of both chambers and watch action on the floor. We try to finish our business about 11:30 a.m. – afterward, the OBA will take everyone to lunch to discuss the events of the morning. There is no charge to attend; the only cost is your time.

This is our 17th year to have this program and it gets more popular every year. All legislators know that on Tuesday’s there will be bankers at the Capitol and we always have legislators asking when their bankers are going to visit. The fact legislators know bankers are involved in the process and watching what they do is very valuable to your industry.

Many of you are probably thinking you haven’t been to the Capitol since you were in elementary school. This is the perfect opportunity to come back and see all the changes. We encourage you to sign up and bring as many employees as you would like.

Please fill out this form and send it back. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Adrian Beverage at the OBA.

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Women In Banking program set for March

Women in senior level or high-potential middle management positions in the banking industry in Oklahoma are invited to attend a forum on March 28 hosted in partnership with the OBA and the Community Bankers Association of Oklahoma. The forum will address topics critical to bankers today and will provide industry and leadership development knowledge that will enhance their careers and networks.

Event topics include:

  • Economic Update by Kansas City Fed President Esther George;
  • Community banking regulations;
  • Cybersecurity;
  • Creating and cultivating diverse networks, teams and boards;
  • Utilizing social media to build brands;
  • Panel discussion with top women leaders in Oklahoma.

Attendees will also receive resources and the opportunity to network with other professionals.

Click here to register!

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OBA education corner …

The calendar has flipped over to a new year – make your resolution to further your banking education and attend an OBA school or seminar during the next 12 months! You can start with the following:

  • New HMDA Rules: Implementation Challenges, Jan. 17, webinar — After a long wait, the CFPB finally issued its new HMDA rules.
  • Online Deposit Account Opening, Jan. 18, webinar — Opening deposit accounts online is becoming a way of life instead of an exception.
  • Implementing the New Beneficial Ownership Rules, Jan. 19, webinar — On May 11, 2016, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued its final rule to implement the long awaited beneficial ownership rules that will significantly impact customer due diligence requirements.
  • Right of Setoff, Jan. 24, webinar — Do you know when the right of setoff is allowed and when it isn’t? Do you know if your financial institution has a statutory or contractual right of setoff? Do you understand the financial risks of using your setoff rights incorrectly? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, make sure to attend this valuable webinar.
  • ERM Program for your Community Bank, Jan. 25, webinar — Are you creating the first ERM Program for your bank? Or do you want to ensure your current program is complete, yet simple?
  • Advertising Compliance, Jan. 26, webinar — The webinar will help keep the rules straight and will provide useful checklists and other compliance tools to make your job easier, whether you’re a compliance professional, an auditor, or a marketing department ad designer.
  • 2017 OBA Intermediate School, Feb. 6-10 and June 5-9, Oklahoma CityThis school provides excellent training for bank leadership and management development. It offers an intense curriculum that exposes participants to the overall banking functions.

One education program, in particular, to be aware of is the OBA Intern Program. The Intern Program will again be active in 2017 and we’re looking for participating banks! For more information on this IMPORTANT program – important not only to aspiring students, but also to participating banks – click here for more information or contact the OBA education department at (405) 424-5252!

Also, several scholarships are now available to bankers from OBA-member banks for various graduate schools of banking. Applications should be submitted to the OBA’s Janis Reeser by email (janis@oba.com), regular mail (643 N.E. 41st St., OKC, 73105) or fax (405-424-4518). The scholarship recipients will be selected and announced no later than April 21.

Click on each link for more specific information about each scholarship:

Finally, make sure to save the date for the 2017 Community Bankers Leadership & Senior Management Conference, set this year for April 2-4 in San Diego, California. If you work for a community bank or if you’re looking for ways to improve your bank’s performance, then this event is for you! Click here for more information.