Your IBANYS Team: 
Working Together To Make 2016 A Great Year 
For New York C ommun ity Banks !
In This Issue

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Have You Contributed to NYSIBPAC This Year?
If is the time! We need your help in this statewide election year to support candidates and committees who understand community banks' needs. Can we count on you?
CLICK HERE for our 2016 PAC contribution form. Help support IBANYS' political action efforts in New York State.


December 14, 2016
Special Update: 
Fed Approves Interest Rate Hike

Federal Reserve officials approved the first interest rate hike in a year today, and foresees three more increases next year. 
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) raised its target range from a range of 0.25% to 0.5% to 0.5%to 0.75%. The overnight funds rate currently sits at 0.41%. The FOMC also approved a quarter-point increase in the discount, or primary credit, rate, from 1% to 1.25%. The decision was unanimous. 
The FOMC now expects three rate hikes in 2017, two or three in 2018 and three in 2019. 

  • On inflation, the committee said market-based measures remain low but have moved up "considerably". 
  • On the jobs market, Fed officials indicated that full employment is getting closer. "The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting some further strengthening in labor market conditions and a return to 2 percent inflation."
By John Witkowski, President & CEO

IBANYS Closing Out Successful 2016, 
Preparing For Busy 2017
As a successful 2016 draws to a close, IBANYS is busily wrapping up some open items to close out the year and preparing for 2017. Next Monday, December 19, IBANYS President John Witkowski will join Laura Mazara and James Whalen of Pioneer Bank to testify at a State Assembly Banks Committee hearing on cybersecurity policies and regulations and their impact on New York community banks. IBANYS will provide verbal testimony, and will also submit a copy of  our comment letter  to the State Department of Financial Services (DFS) on their newly proposed cybersecurity regulation. 

As we gear up for 2017, IBANYS is working to schedule conference calls with our Compliance Peer Group and our CFO Peer Group to discuss priorities for the coming year, and being planning our Regional Compliance Conferences and CFO/Senior Management Conference. We'll be holding a planning call for the Compliance group Wednesday, December 21 at 10:00 a.m., and a call for the CFO group on Thursday, January 5 at 10:00 a.m. We are looking for thoughts on hot topics and speakers for both programs.  

We will also be discussing our 2017 state legislative and regulatory program/agenda with our Government Relations Committee in early January.

I also want to thank the members of IBANYS' Innovation Committee. I appreciate your time and commitment to hearing about new concepts and products, and value your feedback. There are currently two companies we are in discussions with to determine how we can market their product through IBANYS. Your support has been tremendous.

(If you are interested in serving on the Compliance Peer Group, CFO Peer Group or Government Relations Committee -- or, our Innovation Committee -- please contact IBANYS' Director of Operations Linda Gregware at

We are pleased to announce our 
2017 IBANYS Education Calendar:
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March 22, 2017 - Compliance Conference - Rochester

March 23, 2017 - Compliance Conference - Albany

April 11, 2017 - Directors Conference - Rochester

April 12 2017 - Directors Conference - Albany 

April 30-May 3, 2017 - ICBA Capital Summit, Washington D.C. ( meetings "on hill" with New York Congressional Delegation)

May 9-10, 2017 - Lending Conference - Syracuse (tentative)

June 7-9, 2017 - CFO/Sr. Managment Conference - West Point, NY

September 25-27, 2017 - 43nd Annual Convention - Niagara Falls, NY  

October 24, 2017 - Security Conference - Rochester, 

October 25, 2017 - Security Conference - Albany

IBANYS Board of Directors Meetings:
IBANYS will hold meetings of our Board of Directors on the following dates:
  • March 2, 2017 
  • June 9, 2017
  • July 20, 2017 (conference call meeting)
  • October 19, 2017
Visit, click on education tab, then on upcoming meetings for full details.

Thanks to all our member banks for their continued participation and support. You've made 2016 a great year for New York community banks, and we look forward to even better days in 2017.

-- John



Regulations In Forefront
IBANYS has been hard at work on the state regulatory front in recent weeks. IBANYS responded to the State Department of Financial Services (DFS) proposed cybersecurity regulation that would have a significant impact on community banks. We submitted our joint comment letter with ICBA, co-signed letters from the financial and business community to both DFS and the Governor's office, and will testify next week before the Assembly Banks Committee on cybersecurity policies and their impact on community banks. IBANYS also coordinated a conference call for state chartered community banks with senior officials at the State DFS to discuss concerns over regulatory burden and duplication and the impact on banks' bottom line and operations. Please email YOUR bank's top concerns and priorities to John Witkowski ( and Steve Rice ( by Friday, Decenber 16 so we can forward to DFS.
  • Click here  to read our IBANYS/ICBA cybersecurity comment letter.  
  •   Click here to read the joint Business Council letter to DFS
  •  Click here to read the letter to the Governor's office.
IBANYS appreciates the work and participation of member banks in formulating our comment letters, as well as our  comment letter to DFS on their proposed regulation on vacant and abandoned ("zombie") properties. Click here  to read that letter.

In Other Albany News:
  • Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-L.I.) told reporters this week "there's always a chance we could come back," but offered little new insight on the potential for a special lame duck session before yearend.  "There's ongoing discussions...No resolution." Sen.  Flanagan said legislators could address such GOP priority issues as economic development, workforce development, job training and business regulations, but said constitutional amendments proposed by the governor are not on the negotiating table.  Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) said the list special session topics keeps changing periodically, but said any agenda should include separate bills, not a "big ugly" style package. He also noted he believes  a legislative pay raise would pass in both chambers. A pay raise must be enacted by the end of the year to take effect in January. Sen.  DeFrancisco said aside from the payraise, a special session isn't necessary. "We're going to be back in three weeks," he said. "None of them are that important.
  • New York State Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan (R-L.I.) has announced Shawn MacKinnon as the majority's new secretary to the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee (a key venue for tax and economic issues) is chaired by Sen Catharine Young (R-Olean). Mr. McKinnon most recently served as the deputy secretary to the Finance Committee, and will replace Michael Paoli, who is retiring. 


ICBA To Suggest Community Bankers For 
Federal Reserve Board
ICBA plans to submit names of "qualified community bankers" to President-elect Donald Trump's transition team for open positions on the Federal Reserve Board. In a Bloomberg interview, ICBA President and CEO Cam Fine  said recent monetary policy has been "too accommodating," which has hurt community banks and their communities: " We want governors that reflect Main Street America--the small towns, small businesses, small banks. . .that's exactly why a seat for a community banker was created on the Fed board."  In January of 2015, an ICBA-advocated law was signed  requiring the White House to appoint someone with community banking experience to the Fed Board. 

Fed Tax Changes Could Impact New Yorkers
New York taxpayers could lose up to $68 billion they now deduct from federal taxes if President-Elect Trump and House Speaker Ryan move forward with a tax reform plan next year, according to state officials and some tax experts. If the proposed scaling back or elimination of the deduction for state and local income and property taxes is enacted, New York would be among the hardest hit states in the nation, costing an average of $4,500 for taxpayers who file itemized returns, according to economists and an analysis by state tax officials. The average federal tax bill would increase 30%. New York taxpayers are currently second only to California in the total amount claimed as IRS cuomo deductions for state and local taxes. About 3.3 million taxpayers in New York (about 34%  of those who filed federal returns) claimed the state and local tax deduction in 2014, for a total of $68.4 billion, according to the Tax Policy Center, a non-partisan research organization in Washington, D.C. The Ryan plan could permanently eliminate the state and local tax deduction, while the Trump proposal could keep it on the books but make it more difficult for taxpayers to claim on their IRS returns. About 30% of U.S. taxpayers file itemized returns, with the largest deductions taken for state and local taxes, followed by mortgage interest and charitable contributions. In the past, Governor Cuomo has warned Congress that repealing or capping the deduction for state and local taxes "would have severe consequences for taxpayers here in New York and across the nation. . .Allowing taxpayers to deduct their state and local taxes from their federal taxable income is a fundamental statement of the long-standing historical right of state and local governments to raise revenues, and taxpayers not to be double taxed." 
Fed Allowing Some Volcker Rule Extensions
The Federal Reserve is accepting applications for a compliance extension for banks to divest or otherwise align certain proprietary illiquid assets with the Volcker Rule. T he Fed said it would allow banks additional time to comply with the Dodd-Frank-mandated requirement that banks not engage in proprietary trading in the cases where those proprietary assets may be difficult to liquidate, divest or otherwise conform to the rule. The Fed indicated it expects most banks experiencing such challenges will be granted an extension, but banks must demonstrate a good-faith effort to comply.


FDIC Cuts Budget, Employees Again
The FDIC board has approved a $2.18 billion operating budget for 2017 -- marking the seventh straight year that the agency approved a budget reduction. The 2017 FDIC budget is down 2.4% from 2016, and down 46% from 2010 at the height of the financial crisis.The FDIC also will see a 2.6% decrease in employee positions, down 32% from the 2011 peak.

Fed Names New Financial Stability Director
The Federal Reserve Board promoted an expert on bank stress tests to lead its financial stability division.  Andreas Lehnert, currently the division's deputy director, helped develop and run the Fed's first stress tests to see how banks could withstand massive financial upheaval.  Lehnert will succeed Nellie Liang, who retires this month. 

Mortgage Volume Is Down
Total mortgage application volume fell 4% on a seasonally adjusted basis last week from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Applications to refinance a home loan fell 4% seasonally adjusted, and average refinance loan sizes housing money declined. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) reached the highest level since October 2014, 4.28%, with points decreasing to 0.36 (including the origination fee) for 80% loan-to-value ratio loans -- and the average rate for larger, jumbo loans, rose even higher. Mortgage applications to purchase a home also declined, falling 3% for the week. Purchase applications are now just 2% higher than the same week one year ago. 

. . .And, So Are Retail Sales
The U.S. Commerce Department said today retail sales edged up 0.1% following two months of strong gains. October retail sales were revised downward to show a 0.6% increase instead of the previously reported 0.8%. 
Sales were up 3.8% from a year ago. Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales also nudged up 0.1% last month following a downwardly revised 0.6% increase in October.  These so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product. 



IBANYS initiatives can provide value and bottom line benefits to New York community banks. Take a moment to review them. We hope you take full advantage of these exciting opportunities. . .

New York Community Banks: 
Check Out This Health Care Option! 
It's approaching the time to sign up for health benefits for 2017. We suggest you take a look at our healthcare partner, My Wellness Resource" as an addition to your existing benefit package. The Teledoc program is an exciting new way to provide value to your institution and employees. It provides 24/7/365 access to a doctor through the convenience of phone or video consults. It is an affordable option for quality medical care.  Click here to read how high deductibles can lead to health care avoidance,  and here  to learn how this program can help you in planning your health care benefits package.  Community banks can take advantage of a low-cost, non-traditional program to help save time and money, and offer employees on demand health care. It's an exciting new way for community banks to provide additional health care benefits options, reduce cost and retain employees -- designed to improve productivity, decrease absenteeism and boost morale without straining your bottom line.   Contact Alan Justin, Managing Partner at (716) 907-5500 or call the IBANYS office at (518) 436-4646.  For more details on the benefits of the My Wellness Resource Card, visit: 

 Discover .BANK Toolkit & Digital Campaign. . .
IBANYS encourages New York community banks to take a look at  a digital campaign that fTLD has put together to raise the visibility of .BANK  in the marketplace.  ICBA asked us to pass along this opportunity for banks to join in with ICBA, ABA and the Financial Services Roundtable to promote .BANK. To view the campaign, view the toolkit and read nine different ads available for use, click on the link below, or cut and paste it into your browser. Click below:
E x celsior Growth Fund (EGF): 
IBANYS' Online Lending Partner
EGF is  a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution formed by New York Business Development Corporation (NYBDC). EGF is endorsed by IBANYS as exclusive online lending 
partner for our 
EGF provides innovative financial solutions and business advisory services to underserved small businesses in New York State through a fast, simple and secure online lending platform. Its core product is the EGF SmartLoan™, which features amounts up to $100,000, approvals within one-to-two days, and disbursements within one week. Importantly, interest rates a fraction of those typically offered by online lenders.  EGF offers banks a unique customer retention solution when a customer either does not qualify for a bank's loan offerings, or seeks the fast,  transparent process available through online lenders. To facilitate retention, EGF shares performance information on the referred loan portfolio on a quarterly basis and offers the opportunity for the bank to purchase referred loans at par at any time.  Additional details on the EGF SmartLoan, including eligibility criteria, are available at:
For details, or to make a referral, contact Bryan Doxford, Chief Lending Officer at Excelsior Growth Fund: or  (212) 430-4512.

We also joined the  "Cure the Blue" effort to raise funds and awareness regarding prostate cancer in New York State. We are partnering with the Buffalo Bills Alumni Foundation, and hope to see a number of IBANYS members participate. Please join us in supporting this worthwhile cause. Visit to get involved!  

IBANYS Webinars For 
New York Community Banks 
New York's community banks face a wide range of challenges. Officers, board members and employees need to understand their responsibilities -- and, potential liabilities -- are not about to diminish. They require the information and tools required to meet their responsibilities, and properly prepare the bank for the future.  One way to assure this is to participate in  IBANYS' webinars -- tailored to the needs of New York community banks. The programs are both effective and cost-effective, and couldn't be more convenient! Community banks' officers, directors and employees participate directly from their offices. Over the past two years, the number of bankers participating in IBANYS webinars has risen dramatically increased.  Find out why. Join  your industry and association peers and take full advantage of these timely webinars.  Review  our upcoming programs by clicking the link below:

Pentegra Retirement Services Offers:
For more than 70 years, Pentegra has delivered a different approach to every client solution. Their focus has always been to enhance clients' value. 

When Pen tegra says they are "client driven," that's not just an empty tagline, it's their DNA.  It begins with a strategic understanding of your needs, and putting those needs first. Pentagra is independent, governed by clie nts, was founded by clients and is owned by clients. More than 100 of their clients have been with them for over 30 years; they maintain a 98% client retention. P entegra does not manage or sell proprietary products.  

For more information, contact Fabrizio D'uva,  Regional Director/ BOLI & Non Qualified Benefits Plans: 


. . .That the 30-year fixed mortgage was 18.45% in October, 1981? Did you also know it was 2.66% in both November and December, 2010?


New York community banks play a key role in our state and local economies. Help spread the good news among your customers, business and elected leaders and media!

Click here for quotes from Governor Cuomo and DFS Superintendent Lawsky extolling the performance and value of New York community banks.

Click here for the full NYS Study on community banking.

Click here to read IBANYS President & CEO John Witkowski's comments on the new tax changes and benefits for New York community banks as approved in the 2014-15 State Budget.


Click here for IBANYS' letter to the Editor of Consumer Reports Magazine correcting failure to mention community banks as an alternative to using "big banks."


John J. Witkowski
President and Chief Executive Officer
Stephen W. Rice
Director of Government Relations and Communications

Linda Gregware
Director of Administration and Membership Services 

William Y. Crowell, III
Legislative Counsel