July 5, 2017

Campaign to Promote CLEAR Relief Act
State Bank Department Names Deputy Bank Commissioner
State Regulators and U.S. Secret Service Issue Industry Best Practices to Combat Cyber Crime
CSBS Launches Fintech Advisory Panel to Help Modernize State Regulation
Housing-Finance System Needs Updates, Not Overhaul

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ACB and the Independent Community Bankers of America are   actively working to advance the CLEAR Relief Act, which would provide community banks meaningful regulatory relief. To support this effort, we are asking you to send a letter to your Congressman and Senators: 1) thanking sponsors of this legislation, and 2) encouraging non-cosponsors to sponsor and support this legislation.

ICBA has set up a pre-written action alert that you can use to send messages to lawmakers. We encourage you to customize the letter with your bank and community specific information. You can reference statistics on community banks by state and congressional district through the Community Bank Footprint page.

Thank you for doing your part in advancing regulatory relief and supporting the passage of the CLEAR Relief Act!

John W. Ahlen IV, bank chief counsel for the Arkansas State Bank Department, has been named deputy bank commissioner, effective July 2.

He will replace Luther Guinn, who is retiring.

As deputy bank commissioner, Ahlen will oversee one of two commercial examination groups based in Little Rock, the commercial examination group in Jonesboro and the trust examination group. He will also be responsible for the training and information technology areas of the department.
Ahlen will retain his current position too. He joined the department as bank chief counsel in August 2016.

Previously, Ahlen served as general counsel for the Arkansas Auditor of State and as assistant parliamentarian and legislative analyst for the Arkansas House of Representatives.
State bank regulators, jointly with the U.S. Secret Service, released this week banker best practices for managing risks related to certain cyber threats. The best practices were developed by the Bankers Electronic Crimes Task Force, which includes bank CEOs and executive officers from banks across the U.S. The bankers identified four cyber threats that warrant continued attention by banks:
  • Large-Value Funds Transfers -- unauthorized wire transfers (SWIFT-like thefts) of millions to billions in funds
  • Ransomware -- a form of extortion that uses malicious software to encrypt a device or data, and demand payment for access
  • Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) -- an attempt to prevent users from accessing information or services, such as overloading the capacity of a bank's website
  • ATM Jackpotting/Cash-Out -- an illegitimate attempt to dispense cash from an ATM
The release of industry best practices is part of a larger effort among state bank regulators and federal authorities to combat cybercrime. In the past, state and federal authorities have hosted webinars, issued a cybersecurity assessment tool, held executive briefings to inform bank CEOs about the U.S. and global cyber threat landscape, and equip the industry with knowledge and tools for mitigating cyber risks.

The Bankers Electronic Crimes Task Force was modeled after the U.S. Secret Service's Electronic Crimes Task Force, but developed exclusively for the community banking industry. Texas and Massachusetts state banking departments, working with CSBS and 11 other banking departments, facilitated this initiative. The Bankers Electronic Crime Task Force identified the threats and developed the best practices. Members of the Bankers Electronic Crimes Task Force include community banks that range from $90 million to &.8 billion in total assets. 

Bankers Electronic Crimes Task Force:
  • Berkshire Bank, Pittsfield, MA   
  • PeoplesBank, Holyoke, MA   
  • Texas Bank & Trust, Longview, TX    
  • Lewis & Clark Bank, Oregon City, OR
  • Bank of Utah, Ogden, UT
  • Mainstreet Bank, Cook, NE   
  • First Northern Bank, Dixon, CA
  • Orrstown Bank, Shippensburg, PA     
  • Happy State Bank, Happy, TX
  • First Savings Bank, Clarksville, IN     
  • The Commercial and Savings Bank of Millersburg, OH  
  • RCB Bank, Claremore, OK    
  • Community Bancshares of Mississippi, Brandon, MS 
  • Bank of Oak Ridge, Oak Ridge, NC    
  • Farmers Bank & Trust Company, Magnolia, AR
CSBS is seeking representatives from the financial technology sector who wish to serve on a new advisory panel with state regulators. Beginning today, representatives can express their desire to serve on the CSBS Fintech Industry Advisory Panel by logging onto an online portal and providing a statement of interest along with basic information about their company. CSBS will keep the portal open until Friday, July 14th. Final panel members will be determined after a short review by state regulators.

The advisory panel will discuss existing pain points in multi-state licensing and supervision, brainstorm possible solutions, and provide feedback to ongoing state initiatives. The first meeting is anticipated to convene this fall.

Albert Forkner, chairman of CSBS and commissioner of the Wyoming Division of Banking, said: "Through the CSBS advisory panel, state regulators are seeking industry partners to help achieve a common goal: modernize state financial regulation for fintech firms and other financial service providers. If we succeed, then we will see more businesses producing more innovations for more consumers - all in a safe and sound manner."

The advisory panel is one part of CSBS' Vision 2020, a series of initiatives designed to forge an integrated, 50-state licensing and supervision system that removes friction experienced by fintechs, while ensuring safety and soundness and strong consumer protections.

For the advisory panel, CSBS seeks representatives from a wide range of industries, including but not limited to money services businesses, consumer credit providers, mortgage loan originators, debt collectors, bank services companies, and banks. Those considering expressing an interest can find more information about the advisory panel here .
In an op-ed that ran ahead of the Senate Banking Committee hearing on housing-finance reform, ICBA President and CEO Cam Fine wrote that the system is a fixer- upper-not a complete gut job.

Fine wrote in American Banker that lawmakers must avoid harming a system that works well and continued to operate during the worst recession in 80 years.

Fine continued ICBA's call for Congress to allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to rebuild their capital buffers, refuse to sell off the government-sponsored enterprises to Wall Street institutions, and uphold the rights of the GSEs' shareholders.

In a written statement for the committee hearing, ICBA summarized its recent white paper on GSE reform and noted that community banks depend on the GSEs for direct access to the secondary market. 
Read the Op-Ed....  

See the ICBA Plan for Prosperity

Sign the Petition to Congress