Week of Aug. 21

Greetings from Guy

By Guy Sims
OBA Chairman

At the convention this spring, I was optimistic the community banking industry would be on offense by this point pushing for common-sense regulatory reform in Washington D.C.  As it stands today, we’re not even on the field with our issues.  

The congressional calendar is full for the foreseeable future. Raising the debt ceiling, spending bills to keep the government open, and, probably most importantly, a budget resolution that sets spending levels for fiscal year 2018 all must be passed by Sept. 30. Without the budget resolution, Senate Republicans can’t pass tax reform with 51 votes using the reconciliation process. The talk now is tax reform will not be passed until year-end or beyond.

The above schedule does not take into account the X-factor – that being President Trump. While the early-morning tweets, continued staff shakeups and off-the-cuff comments to the press may be entertaining, these distractions don’t help in pushing the president’s agenda forward. More importantly, they eat up precious political time and capital. I was hopeful Gen. Kelly as the new chief of staff would bring some order to the White House. The past 10 days have made me curb my enthusiasm.  

With that said, there is work to be done in D.C. by bankers. Tax reform and the treatment of the interest rate deductions, Rule 1071 requiring the collection of information on business loans by the CFPB and pending overdraft regulation by CFPB all have the potential to adversely affect the community banking industry.  

Our Annual Washington Visit provides the best opportunity to voice our concerns directly with the regulators and our congressional delegation on these issues. While we may not be on offense as we had all hoped for, it is just as important we play smart defense on the above issues.  

I encourage you to make plans now to attend the Annual Washington Visit on Oct. 1-3. Our voices need to be heard on these issues as well as common-sense regulatory reform. Hope to see you there!


Guy Sims
OBA Chairman

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Justice Department formally ends ‘Operation Choke Point’

Courtesy of the ABA, in a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) on Wednesday, a Department of Justice official formally confirmed the agency has ended the controversial Operation Choke Point initiative, which under the Obama administration sought to curtail legal but politically disfavored businesses by working through bank regulators to pressure financial institutions to end customer relationships with those businesses.

“All of the Department’s bank investigations conducted as part of Operation Choke Point are now over, the initiative is no longer in effect, and it will not be undertaken again,” wrote Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd. “The Department will not discourage the provision of financial services to lawful industries, including businesses engaged in short-term lending and firearms-related activities.”

ABA has long opposed Choke Point, successfully urging the FDIC to end its participation in the initiative and supporting legislation to prevent similar activities in the future. However, many financial institutions had been concerned about serving Choke Point-targeted businesses without a clear statement from DOJ that the initiative has been dropped.

Read the letter by clicking here.

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Nondeductible portion of OBA dues calculated

BKD, LLP, has performed a calculation representing the nondeductible portion of member dues attributable to lobbying expenditures for the OBA’s year ending April 30, 2017.

The source of the information used to determine this percentage included the Association’s general ledger and an estimate of the percentage of time related to applicable personnel’s involvement with lobbying activities by management of the Association. The OBA has reviewed the details involved in the calculation and have indicated it appears to represent the lobbying expenses for the year ending April 30, 2017.

As a result of these procedures, it has been determined the applicable percentage, as previously described to be 15.92 percent.

If you have any question, please contact Lea Ann Jackson at the OBA.

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OBA education corner …

Same as kids currently preparing to go back to school for the year, bankers should be preparing to go back to school themselves with education opportunities from the OBA! Take a peek at the upcoming events:

  • Call Report for Banks: Recent Changes, Highlights, Aug. 23, webinar — The webinar will cover the latest revisions and recently approved changes to the call report, as well as updates due to revisions in accounting standards.
  • Dealing with Casual Days, Dress Codes and Work Appearance, Aug. 25, webinar — This program will cover the practical and legal issues and the current trends in workplace appearance and what you should and shouldn’t do about it.
  • Cash Management, Aug. 29, webinar — During this two-hour webinar, you will gain a more in-depth knowledge of cash management (a.k.a. Treasury Management) products and services.
  • 60 Critical Steps for Handling Delinquent and Abandoned Safe Deposit Boxes, Aug. 30, webinar — This webinar answers questions regarding the collection of past-due box rent, drilling delinquent boxes, securing drilled and inventoried box contents, reporting abandoned property to state authorities and many other legal and compliance issues have caused concern and confusion for the safe deposit industry.
  • BSA/AML for Lenders, Sept. 6, webinar — This two-hour program will assist your bank in determining whether your BSA Compliance Program adequately includes controls, such as training, policies and procedures, monitoring, etc for loan products in addition to deposit products.
  • Commercial Loan Agreements and Covenants, Sept. 7, webinar — This program explores the key sections in a commercial loan agreement and the goals they help achieve.
  • Reg E Seminar, Sept. 19, Oklahoma City — This program will provide a strong foundation in the requirements of Regulation E (Electronic Fund Transfers). We’ll address what’s covered and what’s not, the issuance of access devices, liability for unauthorized transactions, disclosure requirements, preauthorized transfers and error resolution.
  • Analyzing Financial Statements, Sept. 20-22, Oklahoma City — Commercial lending officers, credit department personnel, loan review personnel and operations personnel interested in learning more about commercial lending will benefit from this three-day course.