Banking News

FDIC Consumer Newsletter Features Tips on Bank “Rewards” August 28, 2015

The latest FDIC Consumer News features tips for consumers on how to maximize the benefits and rewards when choosing a credit card. Tips include advising consumers to comparison shop different rewards programs, to know how rewards are earned, and to choose a program that fits their lifestyle by rewarding them for purchases they make on a frequent basis.

The latest edition also features articles on mobile financial services, ATMs, credit scores, reverse mortgages, and deposit insurance. Click here to read more.

AmBA Foundation, AARP Release Infographic on Joint Bank Accounts August 28, 2015

The AmBA Foundation and AARP have produced an infographic to help seniors understand the risks of joint bank accounts, which are sometimes used to help seniors manage their finances by giving caregivers access to funds.

“Setting up a joint account essentially removes the financial firewall between both parties,” said AmBA SVP Corey Carlisle. “There are often safer alternatives available that will protect the assets of older customers, as well as those of financial caregivers.”

These safer alternatives include “view only” accounts, financial powers of attorney and a “payable upon death” notice on the account. Click here to view the infographic.

SNL Article Spotlights Farm Credit System Abuses August 27, 2015

An article on Tuesday in SNL Financial shone a spotlight on the Farm Credit System’s “dangerous and abused advantages” and the efforts of recently hired AmBA SVP Steve Apodaca to highlight them publicly.

“The FCS is both unfairly competing with private lenders and expanding its activities well beyond farm country, potentially putting taxpayers at risk,” reporter Kevin Dobbs wrote in summarizing Apodaca’s point of view. As the FCS grows, “it is venturing outside of its expertise and if it runs into trouble it would put taxpayers on the hook to bail it out,” Dobbs continued.

The author also highlighted Apodaca’s personal experience as a banker attempting to compete with the FCS. “Apodaca said an FCS lender had no interest in a start-up farmer in need of a loan, which is the kind of farmer the system is supposed to support,” Dobbs said. “But after a bank financed that farmer's operation and that farmer proved both successful and reliable in terms of paying down debt, the FCS then stepped in with a lower rate and stole that farmer's business away from the bank. Apodaca said it is an example of the FCS' widespread practice of cherry-picking pristine credits and leaving banks to grapple with more challenging loans. Click here to read the article.

Nichols Officially Joins AmBA August 18, 2015

After spending much of the summer traveling and meeting with bankers and state associations, Rob Nichols officially joined AmBA on Monday as the association’s incoming president and CEO. He marked the occasion by changing his Twitter handle to @bankersprez, tweeting “First day at @ABABankers. Excited to get started.”

Bankers can learn more about Nichols by reading a profile from the forthcoming September/October issue of the AmBA Banking Journal. Read the profile.

Bankers Urged to Meet with Lawmakers during August Recess August 18, 2015

With three weeks left in the congressional summer recess, AmBA encourages bankers -- if they have not already -- to make plans to meet with lawmakers while they are in their home states.

AmBA has provided a free, online packet of resources to help bankers focus conversations with their lawmakers. The packet includes talking points and issue backgrounders on regulatory relief, tailored regulation, portfolio lending, Federal Reserve Bank dividends, credit unions, the Farm Credit System and other issues that affect bankers’ ability to do business.

AmBA EVP James Ballentine emphasized the importance of having these conversations now. “When Congress returns, it will have only a few weeks to process a lot of legislation,” he said. “For ABA-backed bills to make the agenda, bankers must show their lawmakers how regulatory relief now will help them meet their customers’ needs.”

Download the packet.

Business Email Compromise Results in Massive Loss August 11, 2015

A recent article by Brian Krebs outlines the recent case of business email compromise that led to the loss of $46.7 million by networking firm Ubiquity Networks Inc. The company disclosed this loss in a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, stating that it occurred following a scam involving employee impersonation and fraudulent requests from an outside entity targeting the company’s finance department. Click here to read more.

For more information about business email compromise scams, including the various scam scenarios and tips to mitigate these threats, see the following alerts:

Curry: Banks Will Continue Leading in Innovation August 10, 2015

As new technologies emerge in the financial marketplace, banks will play a leading role, Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry said at a speech on Friday in Chicago. “The banking industry has always taken the lead in financial innovation, particularly in the area of technology,” he said, citing ATM networks and mobile banking apps. “I’m betting that much of that transformation will take place inside the traditional banking system, and I want the OCC to be ready to deal with it.”

Regulators’ challenge is balancing support for innovation with prudent risk management, Curry said. He expressed concern that much recent financial technology development has occurred outside of insured depository institutions in part due to “the perception that it’s too difficult to get new ideas through the regulatory approval process,” and he said the OCC is responding by developing a new framework for handling technological innovation.

Curry also cited examples of innovation, both inside and outside of the banking industry, that has made it easier for low-to-moderate-income people to manage their finances. Click here to read the speech.

Democratic Senators Urge Changes to Fiduciary Proposal August 10, 2015

Led by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), eight Democratic senators wrote to the Department of Labor on Friday urging several fixes in its re-proposed fiduciary standard under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. While the senators overall welcomed the rulemaking, they said they had heard “a number of thoughtful concerns from stakeholders … and we believe the guidance can be improved and enhanced.”

Among other items, the senators called on DoL to loosen language around IRA investment education and to revisit the “best interest contract” exemption to ensure it will be useful to bankers and other financial professionals. ABA and others have noted significant challenges in the BIC exemption that would make it less likely that banks will use it.

AmBA has called on DoL to withdraw the entire proposal and take a different approach that would be less burdensome to the industry and provide more options for individuals seeking retirement savings. Click here to read the letter.

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Check out photos from these recent ABA events!

The Arkansas Banker

The Arkansas Banker is now available in digital format, accessible on all of your electronic devices. To view the current issue and the archives click here.