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 21, 2016

Best wishes for a joyeous and healthy holiday season and a very  Happy New Year from the Independent Bankers Association of New York State. Our IBANYS newsletter will not publish next week, and will resume normal publication on Wednesday, January 4, 2017.

IBANYS welcomes our newest member Wallkill Valley Federal  Savings & Loan under the leadership of President & CEO Mike Horodyski.  Organized in July, 1913, and headquarterd in Wallkill, they have branch operations in Milton, Highland Falls and Maybrook. IBANYS looks forward to working for, and with, our newest member in the  coming  year!  

IBANYS Testifies At Assembly Banks Hearing 
On Cybersecurity & Banks
On Monday, December 19, the Independent Banksre association of New York State testified before a hearing of the Assembly Banks Committee on the issue of cybersecurity policy and the impact on New York community banks.  Gov. Cuomo  and the State Department of Financial Services in September announced proposed rules to establish cyber-security protocols that include reporting all cyberattack attempts and implementing a chief information security officer to oversee cybersecurity plans.  Joining IBANYS President John Witkowski in testifying were Pioneer Bank's Laura Mazzara, Senior Vice President & Chief Risk Officer, and james Whalen,  Compliance & CRA Officer.  "There's a bit of a one-size-fits-all approach" in the rule, said Mazzara. The Association believes that the proposed regulation doesn't take into account the different circumstances and risk profile of smaller community banks. "We are completely in support of the underlying objectives...We hold ... information security ... in very very high regard ... it really is a cornerstone of what we do to ensure trust from our customers."  Mazzara added, "We also have some concerns that center around competitive disadvantage for New York State-chartered community banks... We're concerned that this regulation will create a disparity between the standard that we're expected to meet on the federal side and the standard in this new proposed regulation." 

James Whalen, a compliance officer at Pioneer, said the reporting requirements "would be quite voluminous" and voiced concern that additional security measures for small banks may steer customers away. "It is entirely possible that community bank customers frustrated by what they perceive as overly burden or cumbersome security procedures may leave community banks and seek out large, nationally chartered banks that are not subject to the rules," he said.  IBANYS President Witkowski told the Committee hearing that one of the biggest challenges facing local community banks is "the excessive burden of regulation compliance. This includes the growing problem of duplication in state and federal regulation.
While the large banks have separate departments and consultants to coordinate their compliance demands, too often community banks must rely upon an existing employee who already wears several other hats.Too often, we find our resources must be applied to meet compliance needs, instead of lending in our community. For every compliance officer hired, that's a lending or business development or consumer loan officer not hired, or retained.That's not healthy situation for New York's communities or consumers."

To read press coverage of the hearing, click on, or cut and paste the link below to your browser.
  • CLICK HERE to read IBANYS & ICBA comment letter to DFS on cybersecurity
  •  CLICK HERE to read the joint Business Council letter to DFS co-signed by IBANYS. 
  • CLICK HERE to read the joint letter to the Governor's office co-signed by IBANYS.

Update On New "Zombie Properties" Reg
IBANYS also 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.  The final regulation 3 NYCRR 422 by DFS for maintaining vacant and abandoned property took effect yesterday (Tuesday, December 20, 2016).  Section 422.3(a) of the regulation places the burden of establishing an exemption on the financial institution.  For the 2017 calendar year, an exemption must be filed by 2/28/17 on a form provided by the Superintendent.  Neither the form nor the total number of residential real property mortgages originated in New York State for the period ending two years prior to the current calendar year, which information is required for the exemption calculation, has been issued by DFS to date.  DFS has been alerted to the above . IBANYS will keep our member banks fully informed of further developments.

IBANYS Hosts Compliance Planning Call
IBANYS hosted a planning conference call this morning for members of our Compliance Peer Group to begin preparing issues and topics for our Regional Compliance Conferences March 22 and 23 in Rochester and the Capital District -- as well as for inclusion during such other IBANYS educational meetings as Lending, Directors, CFO/Senior Management & Annual Convention. Preliminary discussion included: incentive compensation guidelines; HMDA; private flood insurance; AML/BSA, and vendor and third-party oversight and management. Overall risk management will also be featured.  Watch for news on specific program agenda and speakers.  Meanwhile , our next planning conference call  will be  January 5, 2017 with members of our IBANYS CFO Peer Group  to begin preparation for our CFO/Senior Management Conference June 7-9 at West Point. 

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 Directorson the following dates:
  • March 2, 2017 
  • June 9, 2017
  • July 20, 2017 (conference call meeting)
  • October 19, 2017
To view details on our 2017 education calendar, visit, click on education tab, then on upcoming meetings for full details.



Governor Talks Special Session, 
2017-18 State Budget
Governor Cuomo said today he and legislative leaders are working "in good faith" on coming to an agreement on bills that would be addressed in a special session of the Legislature. No date has been set. He noted: "These are actually fairly straightforward issues. These are not complicated bills." On the upcoming state budget, the Governor said there will have to be "belt-tightening" due to a shortfall in revenue. He said it's unknown how far down state collections are to date."So the budget is going to be tighter than in past years," he said. "Past budget years the difficult came from the abundance of options. We had funding, what's the best thing to do with the funding...This discussion is going to be a harder conversation where we won't have enough money to do everything we all jointly agree that we want to do." The current state budget is $147 billion.

In other Albany News: 
  • For the first time in a decade, upstate New York lost more people than New York City gained. The state's total population declined by .01% as of July, according to a report from the Empire Center. 
  • Affordable-housing advocates want the Governor and legislative leaders to convene an immediate meeting of an obscure state board with purview over the release of lucrative  low-income housing tax credits . They are concerned the investment market for such credits could decline under the next federal administration.
  • According to a new survey by the AARP, the majority of small business owners in New York State like the idea of the state setting up a program to help their employees save money for their retirement. AARP is pushing the state to create such a plan, and would like the governor to include it in his 2017-18 budget proposal. 

CFPB's New HMDA, Reg Z Thresholds
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has announced the 2017 asset-size exemption thresholds for depository institutions under HMDA and for creditors under the Reg Z mortgage regulations. The new thresholds will take effect on January 1. The HMDA exemption threshold will stay at $44 million; the exemption threshold for Reg Z mortgage requirements will increase to $2.069 billion.  

In Other Washington News: 
  • President-Elect Trump announced will nominate Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, to head the Office of Management and Budget. He is known as a strong budget-reduction "hawk".
  • New members of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee will include Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Senators-Elect Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). 
  • Names being mentioned as potential Federal Housing Administration Commissioner include outgoing Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), Illinois homebuilder Edward Brady, and Debra Still, the former head of the Mortgage Bankers Association. 
  • Former U.S. attorney Debra Wong Yang is said to be a top contender to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission. 


Thanks, Ron!
IBANYS thanks Ron Bentley, who recently completed his service as a member of the IBANYS Board of Directors, and will retire as CEO of Chemung Canal Trust and Chemung Financial Corp. at year end, but  will remain on the board of directors. Ron will be succeeded as CEO by Anders M. Tomson, Chemung Canal's current president and chief operating officer. IBANYS is pleased that he has also succeeded Ron on our Board of Directors, effective Nov. 1. Ron  Bentley joined Chemung Canal as president and COO in July 2006 and was named president and CEO in April 2007. He has served as a director of both companies since March 2007. IBANYS President John Witkowski noted: " Ron Bentley served with great distinction. His guidance and commitment to community banking made a significant contribution to our Association and our industry!  Both Chemung Canal and IBANYS are fortunate that Anders Tomson will continue his legacy of service."

Federal Reserve  Chair  Janet Yellen  said this week that the U.S. has the strongest jobs market in nearly a decade thanks in part to accelerating wage growth and a low layoff rate. In last week's decision to raise rates, Fed officials indicated full employment is "getting closer," with the jobless rate currently at 4.6%. Yellen said in remarks that j ob creation has been steady and job openings are up, and mentioned that challenges include "slow economic growth" and "disappointing productivity." Chair Yellen noted that recent  economic gains have raised living standards, and cited trends toward technology and globalization, which have increased demand for college degrees. She said the "college-to-high school diploma pay gap" is now 70% percent; it had been only about 20% in 1980. 

Fed Report Sees Uptick
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York says its Empire State index rose to a reading of 9 in December, up from 1.5 in the previous month. Manufacturers expanded more quickly than in November, driven by a large jump in new orders. Anything over zero indicates that factories are increasing business. N ationwide surveys in the past two months suggest manufacturing is slowly growing again, if slowly. However,  a gauge of employment fell to minus 12.2 from minus 10.9, indicating that factories cut jobs last month.


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:

The Kafafian Group (TKG). . . a finance, strategy, and operations consulting firm that specializes in Performance Measurement, Profitability Outsourcing, Strategic and Business Planning, Regulatory Assistance, Profit/Process Improvement, and Investment Banking Advisory Services for the Financial Industry. Over the past 30 years, we have worked with over 400 financial institutions in over 40 states ranging in asset size from $16 million to over $100 billion. They are a a team of seasoned industry professionals dedicated to helping banks perform better by delivering meaningful management information and analysis, helping identify operating efficiencies, evaluating strategic alternatives, offering a wide-range of advisory services, helping clients develop winning strategies, and providing the information necessary to make informed decisions.
For information, contact Robert Kafafian, President & CEO:  (973) 2990300, Or, visit the website at


That a lthough the official Christmas tree tradition at Rockefeller Center in New York City began in 1933,  an unofficial tradition began during the Depression-era construction of the Center when workers decorated a smaller 20 foot balsam fir. This year's tree lighting ceremony was seen by a television audience estimated at 125 million people.


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