March 7, 2018

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Reg Relief Bill Set for Full Senate Vote 
The Senate is scheduled to vote this week on community bank regulatory relief legislation-meaning now is the time for community bankers to double down on your outreach to senators in support of the bill through the ICBA Be Heard advocacy center.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed cloture on the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155), setting the table for a vote by the full Senate.

While S. 2155 enjoys broad bipartisan support, it has begun facing attacks from anti-reform policymakers and outside advocacy groups.

To ensure full Senate passage, you can use the ICBA grassroots action center to thank Senator Cotton for co-sponsoring S. 2155 and ask Senator Boozman to vote in favor of this much-needed legislation.

Contact Senators Cotton and Boozman Today! >>>
Supreme Court Won't Hear Challenge Fannie, Freddie Profit Sweep 
The U.S. Supreme Court left in place a lower court ruling limiting lawsuits from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shareholders over the federal government's sweep of the enterprises' profits.

The high court declined to hear the case from shareholders led by Perry Capital challenging the federal government's authority to direct dividends to the U.S. Treasury.  

Community bankers
repeated a call for policymakers to end the sweep of the government-sponsored enterprises' earnings after Fannie reported a quarterly loss that will require a $3.7 billion capital infusion from the U.S. Treasury.

The Statement  >>> 
FCC Signals Move toward Reassigned Number Database  
The Federal Communications Commission announced that it would vote at its March 22 meeting on a proposal to establish a database of phone numbers that have been relinquished by one individual and reassigned to another individual. Under the FCC's existing Telephone Consumer Protection Act regulations, a bank or other company is liable for a call made in good faith to a party who has consented to receive the call but whose telephone number has been reassigned to another consumer - unbeknownst to the caller.
The FCC's proposal seeks comment on how such a database should be constructed, used and funded. In its proposal, the FCC expressed tentative support for the establishment of a single database of reassigned numbers, noting that a single database would be "more efficient and cost-effective" than an approach that reports reassigned number information to multiple commercial data aggregators.

The Proposal  >>> 
Fed Articulates Continued Rationale for Gradual Rate Rise 
The Federal Open Market Committee agreed that a strengthening economy supported "future gradual increases," according to the minutes from the January 30-31 meeting. During the meeting, committee members decided to hold rates at 1.25 to 1.5 percent, after raising them in the December meeting. They penciled in three rate hikes in 2018 and two more in 2019. The Committee will next meet in late March.

The Committee noted greater confidence that inflation will reach their goal, largely due to tax reform and a tight labor market. "Almost all participants continued to anticipate that inflation would move up to the Committee's 2 percent objective over the medium term as economic growth remained above trend and the labor market stayed strong; several commented that recent developments had increased their confidence in the outlook for further progress toward the Committee's 2 percent inflation objective," the minutes read.

This was the final policy meeting of Chairwoman Janet Yellen's four-year term. Fed governor Jerome Powell was sworn in as chairman on February 5th.

The FOMC minutes  >>>   
Guidelines for Establishing Small-Dollar Programs

The Pew Charitable Trusts released an issue brief with guidelines for banks and credit unions to follow as they develop new small-dollar loan programs.

The guidelines, which say banks and credit unions are a better option than payday lenders, are designed to protect consumers and enable sustainability and scale for providers.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last fall released a final rule on small-dollar loans with an exemption for thousands of community banks, recognizing community banks as responsible lenders.

The Pew Issue Brief  >>> 
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