Thursday, December 3, 2020

Week of Sept. 5

Greetings from Guy

By Guy Sims
OBA Chairman

I hope everyone had a great three-day weekend. My family started the weekend early attending the OSU game on Thursday evening. The weather and atmosphere was perfect for the home opener. Congratulations to both OSU and OU on great starts to the college football season. 

It doesn’t seem appropriate to be espousing opinions on banking regulation and politics at a time like this as we watch the people on the Texas coast struggle in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The recovery and rebuilding efforts will take years to complete, and while the state, federal and private response has been impressive, there are some things that money can’t replace. These folks have a long road ahead of them. 

As corporate citizens and employees of this great industry, we need to help in the relief, recovery and rebuilding effort. I’m asking the Oklahoma banking community to do our part by making tax-deductible contributions to the Oklahoma Bankers Foundation relief effort (see story below). Proceeds will be forwarded to the TBA/IBAT/ICBA/ABA effort in Texas. 

Respectfully,
Guy

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They’re back

Congress reconvenes this week to take up the challenge of governing when one party controls the House, the Senate and the White House. So far this seems to have been a major challenge.

“There are many issues that need attention, not the least of which is the threat from North Korea,” OBA Chairman Guy Sims said. “Certainly, banking issues should be included in that category, at least in my opinion, but funding the federal government, the debt ceiling, government spending, avoiding a government shutdown, tax reform and the National Flood Insurance Program are likely to take precedent and dominate the conversation for several weeks.”

Sims noted the OBA is intimately involved in discussions that will move banking issues up on the agenda, particularly more “tailored” regulation for community banks and to provide “qualified mortgage” protection for residential real estate mortgage loans originated and retained by the bank. 

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Overtime pay rule overturned

Late last week, a federal judge in Texas entered an order granting summary judgment to the plaintiffs in a case brought to challenge the Obama Administration’s final rule regarding overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  

“The rule would have required employers to, in essence, double the salaries of all employees currently ‘exempt’ under the Act, and it would have especially hurt small banks and other small businesses,” OBA President and CEO Roger Beverage said. “For ‘exempt’ status, salaries would have minimally increased from $23,660 to $47,476, and whether the person otherwise qualified for the ‘executive’ exemption would have been irrelevant.

“This ruling comes about nine months or so after Judge (Amos) Mazzant entered an order granting injunctive relief to plaintiffs that prevented the Obama Administration’s rule from taking effect. The rule would have made salary rather than duties the factor that resulted in an employee’s classification. The court’s ruling was that this interpretation was not authorized by the (Act).”

The judge’s ruling can still be appealed, but it seems doubtful the Trump administration will challenge the court’s order. Labor Secretary Alex Acosta is currently seeking public comments on the projected impact the earlier rule would have had on businesses generally.

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ABA to D.C. opinion leaders: ‘Unleash America’s potential’

As Congress re-convenes, ABA has launched a new campaign to move the issue of regulatory relief for banks higher on the crowded Capitol Hill agenda.

“One of the biggest issues we face has nothing to do with the language of certain proposals or prioritizing legislative goals,” OBA President and CEO Roger Beverage said. “Instead, it deals with trying to convince the Republican leadership that community banking regulatory relief proposals are critical to the nation’s economic recovery and, because of that, these issues need to be higher on their collective agenda.  

“The (ABA) is doing a number of things this week to drive awareness of what’s needed. For example, the trade group is sponsoring a popular email newsletter all week (Axios PM) that reaches a large number of policy experts and influencers who are engaged in the daily interactions within Congress. The message is simple and direct: Unleash America’s potential.

The campaign is focused on eliminating layers and layers of needless regulation that work collectively to stifle growth and expansion.

“There are bipartisan ideas ready for action, and even regulators agree it’s time to reassess some of the rules on the books,” the message says. “The House has already passed one reform bill. Now, it’s the Senate’s turn to act.”

The radio spots urge listeners to call their senators and ask them to pass regulatory reform.

“Even though Oklahoma does not have anyone in leadership, per se, it wouldn’t hurt to remind members of our delegation that the need for regulatory reform is great and the time is now,” Beverage said. “For far too long we’ve been put off, stalled, asked to be patient and to understand how important these ‘other’ issues are.  Well, so are your issues, and you’ve been put off long enough.”

Beverage also reminded bankers the OBA’s Annual Washington Visit is scheduled for Oct. 1-3, 2017, and encouraged them to have their bank represented.

“This is your chance to come face to face not only with those who represent you and your bank, but also to come face to face with federal banking regulators,” he said. “It’s a full, concise program, but in the end, it’s totally worth it to make your views known directly to the people who have the power to change things.” 

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Hurricane Harvey relief fund initiated

The Aug. 29 OBA Update carried a report about a joint effort by the Texas Bankers Association and the Independent Bankers Association of Texas to help raise money for the Houston flood. The two banker advocacy groups expressed their heart-felt angst, thoughts and prayers for those communities that have been devastated by the recent hurricane.

TBA and IBAT were joined by the Independent Community Bankers of America and the American Bankers Association in an effort to work together and raise money to help the residents and communities recover from the unbelievable damage that’s occurred to Houston and the surrounding areas. It’s just beyond description.

The groups acknowledged it will take some time to even be able to assess the damage in a meaningful way, and to understand the limits of flood insurance.

“There are a lot of folks who don’t understand how flood insurance works,” OBA President and CEO Roger Beverage said. “Regrettably, they blame the ‘banks’ and that’s producing additional negative news about the banking industry. We’re going to have to deal with that issue as well as people’s mounting frustrations in the wake of this massive disaster.”

OBA Chairman Guy Sims directed the OBA ask our member banks to help the residents and communities recover from the extensive damage caused by Harvey.

“What we’re asking member banks to consider doing is to make a tax-deductible contribution to our OBA Foundation, and after we gather funds we’ll forward the total amount to this joint TBA/IBAT/ICBA/ABA effort,” Beverage said. “I’m so very glad that, for once, the various banker trade groups chose to work together in an effort to produce a positive result. I hope all member banks will join the OBA in making a contribution to this effort.”

Checks should be made payable to the Oklahoma Bankers Foundation to meet the requirements for deductibility.

Checks should be mailed to:

Oklahoma Bankers Foundation
P.O. Box 960173
Oklahoma City, OK 73196-0173

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OBA education corner …

Labor Day weekend is behind us and so is the summer. Ahead of us? Well, take your pick of Oklahoma weather conditions, but one thing is certainly in front of us: more OBA educational offerings! Take a peek at the upcoming events:

  • Cybersecurity Seminar, Sept. 12, Oklahoma City — This interactive, in-person seminar is designed to provide education on evolving cybersecurity threats and what your institution should do to
    prevent, detect and respond to these threats.
  • Right of Setoff, Sept. 12, webinar — The risks of using the “Right of Setoff” process incorrectly can be costly to your financial institution. Learn how to use this process correctly.
  • Best-Ever Compliance Checklists for Commercials Loans, Sept. 12, webinar — This colorful checklist, patterned after the popular Best-Ever Consumer Checklists, will guide bankers through those traps and ensure compliance.
  • CRA Nuts & Bolts – Five Steps to Pass the Exam, Sept. 13, webinar — Learn five steps to pass the exam – and much more.
  • What To Do When a Customer Dies, Sept. 14, webinar — We’ll walk you through the complicated process of dealing with a customer’s death – both on the deposit side and the loan side.
  • Understanding Real Estate Loan Documents, Sept. 14, webinar — Gain understanding of all sections of required real estate loan documents.
  • 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.
  • Information Security Basics: Board of Directors Edition, Sept. 19, webinar — Many directors would benefit from additional training on your information security program, cybersecurity threats and emerging technology risks.
  • Equipment Lease Financing, Sept. 19, webinar — This webinar focuses on the many aspects of equipment lease financing, from structure and documentation to monitoring and administration.
  • Wire Transfer Basics, Sept. 20, webinar — This webinar will cover the basic elements of wire transfers and how they differ from other types of payment channels.