Thursday, December 3, 2020

Week of April 17

From the chairman

By Curtis Davidson
OBA Chairman

Someone once said, “What you put into life is what you get out of it.” That same concept is also true as it relates to your bank’s investment in the OBA.  As we were preparing the budget for the next fiscal year, it caused me to closely examine what my OBA dues dollars have done for me personally and, most importantly, for my bank.  

I have – and my bank’s dues are a bargain.

Any trade organization must first and foremost advocate for its industry. It projects the image of the industry and should be its leading advocate. OBA shines in this area.

Our relationship with state officials at all levels couldn’t be better. We have the ear of our state’s elected leaders, from the governor, to the speaker, the president pro temp, and members of the House and Senate. We work closely with State Banking Commissioner Mick Thompson and we have earned their trust over time.

Both Adrian Beverage and Roger Beverage have the necessary integrity to do the job over the last three decades, and they both have the respect of decision-makers at the Capitol and in Washington. Operating in that manner helps banker efforts to enact laws that benefit our customers, our communities and the state’s economy.  

This trust and respect for bankers is also apparent on a national level. We’ve worked hard to earn the trust of the members of our Oklahoma congressional delegation over the last 30 years. While their support is not “automatic,” it is rare when one of our members disagrees with or fails to support our views about legislation.  

It wasn’t always this way. But, we’ve worked hard to make sure our collective voice is heard clearly and is trustworthy. I’m here to report to you that our collective voice is not only heard but it’s essential to the advocacy process in Congress.

In addition, I believe regulators look to the OBA for advice and leadership. They continue to reach out and seek a clear dialogue with the banks they regulate. This was evidenced by Roger’s recent visit with Esther George, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve 10th District. It was also evidenced by the visit from Gil Barker at the OCC and his key examiners when they recently asked to meet with the OBA Board.

But that’s not all. Your OBA provides your bank with legal and compliance services that are second to none. Have a compliance question? Call the OBA. Mary Beth Guard and her team will make certain you have a timely answer that’s accurate and helpful.

Our compliance team is made up of six individuals with some of the top compliance minds in the country. You and your bank have unrestricted access to their expertise and guidance, not from the 30,000-foot level, but on the ground and in the trenches. I can’t tell you how many times Mary Beth and her staff have helped answer questions for us and have given us guidance about how to handle various situations.

Meanwhile, transaction fraud has exploded for all financial institutions. A bank is lucky if they can measure its fraud losses in just the thousands. But, your OBA has the premier fraud prevention department in the country. I say that confidently because we are the ONLY bankers association that offers this service and also has Elaine Dodd.

I don’t think you’ll find an Oklahoma banker that doesn’t know about Elaine and her work. She has educated thousands upon thousands of bankers and customers about bank fraud. She’s helped hundreds of banks and thousands of their customers avoid fraud scams and intercept or unwind some of them that are in process.  She has saved Oklahoman millions of dollars over the past decade.

Elaine works tirelessly for you and your bank. She offers education programs, seminars and training sessions for you and your customers. Elaine works in the field with all law enforcement agencies in the state investigating and preventing financial crimes. She provides our banks with timely alerts about active fraudster activities that are “hot” at any given moment.
 
But wait, I’m not finished. Your OBA is the voice of Oklahoma’s banking industry. Community bankers have a great reputation but we aren’t very good at promoting our work. We have a tendency to just do our job and we don’t seek recognition for promoting our customers and building our communities.

Your OBA is excellent at spreading the “good news” about banking. Its communications department is led by Jeremy Cowen. If you haven’t bounced your marketing ideas off Jeremy, you are missing a valuable OBA service. He is always eager to help and is a great idea person.

Oh, have I talked about your cost?  No, because all of these features and included in your bank’s dues. So, if you want a bargain take advantage of what you have already paid for and what’s available at your fingertips. I promise you will get more out than what you put in.

My opening statement about “what you put into life is what you get out of it” was made by my favorite “Make My Day” philosopher, Clint Eastwood. He’s absolutely correct.

Have a great week!

Curtis Davidson
OBA Chairman

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Working together: ABA, ICBA focus on rural America

In a joint letter to the president last week, the American Bankers Association and the Independent Community Bankers Association urged him to put rural America much higher on his priority for revising the nation’s infrastructure. Communication networks, improved highways and transportation systems are critical to make certain the nation’s agricultural economy retains its vitality and strength.   

“This is what I’ve been talking about,” OBA President Roger Beverage said. “Together, we’re stronger, and this is yet one more instance of the two national trades working together for the benefit of both member groups. This joint effort will affect millions of people whose work is directly tied to the business of food production, and an industry that exports billions of dollars’ worth of agricultural products each year.”

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Appraisal shortages: it’s reaching cities

We know there has been a shortage of licensed appraisers in rural and agricultural areas of Oklahoma and other ag-producing states. We’ve now been told that an appraiser shortage is coming to a city or town near you, and that’s what we need to know.

In some areas of the country during the recession, housing markets slowed way down and many appraisers simply retired or got into some other line of work to make ends meet.  As a result, when housing made a comeback, the shortages became much more obvious, consumer costs were higher and delays were longer.  

What has been your experience? Have you noticed any issues or problems that have come up under RESPA or TILA regarding access to an appraiser, at a reasonable fee, who performs in a timely manner? Either on the consumer or the commercial side? If you have, PLEASE send an email to roger@oba.com or call him (405) 424-5252 and help the OBA collect more data.

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CFPB emphasizes upcoming priorities

Friday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released its 68-page report focusing on the Bureau’s fair lending enforcement priorities during the coming year. Redlining, mortgage lending, small business lending and servicing student loans are at the top of the Bureau’s priority list. 

“I thought the language used was a little bothersome,” OBA President Roger Beverage said. “The Bureau’s focus is to be on whether lenders have ‘intentionally discouraged’ minority applicants from even applying for credit.  How do they intend to do that?  Interview prospective borrowers in minority neighborhoods? Or, will they simply ‘guess’ at the number based on some subjective factor that has yet to be determined. 

“This is the kind of thing that drives you nuts. How do you prepare for that kind of analysis in advance? I certainly hope that the Bureau intends to clarify what it means, but I have my doubts. Just look at what the Bureau is doing in the small dollar loan department. Talk about nuts!” 

Click here to read the report.

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Regulatory relief: What do bankers think?

Promontory Interfinancial Network recently conducted a poll that was featured in today’s American Banker. It shows that most bankers (59 percent) believe Congress will provide some form of regulatory relief during the 115th Congress. That’s the good news. The bad news is that only 20 percent of the bankers surveyed believe that such congressional action will provide “significant” regulatory improvement. 

Click here to read the article.

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OBA convention ready for Norman in late May

Mark your calendars for the 2017 OBA Annual Convention & Trade Show, set for May 22-24 at the Embassy Suites in Norman. Keynote speaker Matt Lewis, CNN political commentator and author of the book Too Dumb to Fail: How the GOP Betrayed the Reagan Revolution to Win Elections (and How It Can Reclaim Its Conservative Roots) will discuss the upcoming Trump years in the White House.

Lewis is one of many high-quality speakers that will present. Another inspirational speaker will be Holly Hoffman on May 24. Registration is now open. Click here to view more information.

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OBA education corner …

Convention is looming, as the above story mentions – but don’t forget about other education events! Check out the following: