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Friday, March 10, 2017

Community Bank Leaders Meet with Trump at White House

Six of ABA’s community bank leaders, joined by three officers from the Independent Community Bankers of America, met with President Trump at the White House yesterday for a “listening session” on the challenges that community banks face and how the regulatory environment can be reformed to promote job creation and economic growth.

Bankers raised topics like tailored regulation, accountability for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, regulation of small business and mortgage loans and the need to align regulatory capital requirements with risk.

“Community banks play a vital role in helping create jobs by providing approximately half of all loans to small businesses,” Trump said. “We must ensure access to capital for small business to grow. Community banks [are] the backbone of small business in America. We are going to preserve our community banks.”

Representing ABA members were ABA Chairman Dorothy Savarese, chairman, president and CEO of Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank, Orleans, Mass.; Chairman-Elect Ken Burgess, chairman of FirstCapital Bank of Texas, Midland, Texas; Vice Chairman Jeff Szyperski, chairman, president and CEO of Chesapeake Bank, Kilmarnock, Va.; Leslie Andersen, president and CEO of Bank of Bennington, Bennington, Neb.; Luanne Cundiff, president and CEO of First State Bank, St. Charles, Mo.; and Laurie Stewart, president and CEO of Sound Community Bank, Seattle.

Also participating were Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin; National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn; ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols; ICBA Chairman Rebeca Romero Rainey, chairman and CEO of Centinel Bank, Taos, N.M.; ICBA Chairman-Elect Scott Heitkamp, president and CEO of ValueBank Texas, Corpus Christi, Texas; ICBA Vice Chairman Tim Zimmerman, president and CEO of Standard Bank, Monroeville, Pa.; and ICBA President and CEO Cam Fine.

“Today’s meeting is an important step toward policy changes that will allow banks to go even further in helping communities and our economy thrive,” said Nichols. “The diversity and strength of our banking industry is the envy of the world. However, in the current regulatory environment, highly prescriptive rules mean that mortgages don’t get made, small businesses don’t get created and banks find it more difficult to make the loans that drive job creation. This is particularly true for community banks.”

Read more.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

HFSC Committee Holds Hearing on "Flood Insurance Reform: FEMA's Perspective"

Today, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing addressing private flood insurance reform and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) reauthorization. Testifying was Roy Wright, Deputy Associate Administrator, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, at FEMA. Director Wright reiterated his support for a private flood marketplace and emphasized the importance of bringing transparency to the financial framework of the flood insurance program and the need to address barriers to meeting the needs of customers.

Representative Sean Duffy, Chairman of the Housing and Insurance Subcommittee, led the hearing and questioned Director Wright on the plan or ability for FEMA to pay back the NFIP debt and also requested official data on compliance rates for mandatory purchase requirements. Currently, the NFIP has about 5.1 million policies providing over $1.2 trillion in coverage in almost 22,000 communities in 56 jurisdictions. The NFIP has an outstanding debt of $24.6 billion borrowed from taxpayers, with $5.825 billion remaining of its total temporary $30.425 billion Treasury borrowing authority.

Read the full Committee memorandum.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Private Flood Legislation Reintroduced in Both House and Senate

Today, U.S. Rep. Dennis A. Ross (R-FL),  reintroduced H.R. 1422, the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act, with Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL). This legislation would encourage the development of a private flood insurance market that can offer homeowners options in terms of pricing and coverage. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) and Senator Jon Tester (D-MT)  also reintroduced the Senate version of the bill, S. 563. Last year, this legislation passed in the House of Representatives by a 419-0 vote.

The American Bankers Association has long supported both legislative and regulatory efforts to ensure that private flood insurance policies are more readily available as an alternative to the NFIP. We strongly support the efforts to pass legislation making this possible.

Providing consumers with alternatives to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and driving down flood insurance prices through greater competition is one way to ensure greater protection for consumers against flood damages in the mortgage markets; it is also a significant contribution to the goal of returning the NFIP to more robust fiscal health. Additionally, your legislation will make it possible for borrowers and lenders to shop for flood insurance in the same manner currently provided for home owners’ insurance. This simplification of the process will make it vastly easier for borrowers to obtain flood insurance at a competitive price.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Department of Labor Proposes Extension to the Applicability Date for the Fiduciary Duty Rule

Today the U.S. Department of Labor proposed to extend the applicability date for the Fiduciary Duty Rule. The proposal will be published in tomorrow’s (March 2) Federal Register. The proposed rule would extend the applicability date for the Fiduciary Duty Rule from April 10 to June 9, 2017. The purpose of the extension is to give the Department of Labor time to respond to a presidential memorandum that directed the Department to determine whether the Fiduciary Duty Rule would harm the ability of Americans to obtain retirement information and financial advice. The Department also is required to draft an updated economic and legal analysis of the rule’s likely impact.

ABA is encouraging short comments to support the proposed extension, so that the rule to delay can be approved prior to the April 11 applicability deadline. Comments on the proposed extension of the effective date are due 15 days after the proposed rule’s publication in the Federal Register.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Trump Orders Agencies to Create Regulatory Reform Task Forces

President Trump on Friday issued an executive order as part of his administration’s efforts to reduce regulatory burdens. The order requires agencies to appoint regulatory reform task forces led by regulatory reform officers, with a mandate to identify regulations that eliminate jobs or inhibit job creation; are outdated, unnecessary or ineffective; have costs that outweigh their benefits; are inconsistent with regulatory reform initiatives; or derive from since-rescinded executive orders. Initial reports are due within 90 days.

Read the order.

Read the release.