December 4, 2019



By John J. Witkowski, President & CEO

As The World Turns. . .

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I was thinking about how quickly things change in today's world. In just 28 days, it will be 2020.  On New Year's eve, it will be twenty years since the world held its breath and awaited the infamous "Y2K" and the much hyped havoc it would cause on our computer networks, data bases, financial systems and lives. Not every predicted disaster comes true -- thanks to careful preparation.


We will also be in the nineteenth year since the tragedies of 9/11, and will be one-fifth of the way through the "new" century. 


By mid-2019, the United States population was an estimated 329,064,917 according to UN data. In 2000, that number was 281,421,906. In less than 20 years, the U.S. population increased by almost 50 million people!


Our world is changing rapidly, and in ways that dramatically impact our everyday lives and businesses. Before the iPhone launched in 2007, there were no "smart phones" . . and before 2010, there was no such thing as an iPpad or tablet. Today, can you imagine your personal or business life without them?  

As community bankers, we need to stay abreast of the ever-changing world of technology as it relates to our daily business operations, and to our ability to serve our customers and communities most effectively and efficiently. Many have called technology "the great equalizer" that level the playing field for community banks vis-a-vis larger financial institutions. Yet we are all too aware of the challenges that go hand-in-hand with the benefits of technology, from data breaches to hacking and more.

As we prepare for the new year ahead, IBANYS is working to ensure our member banks have access to the latest trends and developments in areas such as technology, strategic planning, compliance, governance, and a whole host of other matters. We'll offer presentations by expert speakers, panel discussions and peer groups at our meetings, conferences, seminars and webinars. Take a look at our 2020 meetings schedule in today's newsletter, and share it with your colleagues. 

With more than 50,000 locations nationwide, community banks constitute 99 percent of all banks, employ nearly 750,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in three U.S. counties. We hold more than $5 trillion in assets, nearly $4 trillion in deposits, and more than $3.4 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community.
At IBANYS, we look forward to doing what we have done since our inception: supporting community bankers through representation in legislative and regulatory affairs, offering educational programs for our members and providing information about community banking to the public.

You can bank on it.

As always, thanks for all that you do for community banking in New York State.

Please take a moment to review our 2020 IBANYS Meetings Calendar below, including the printable attachment. Mark your calendars, share it with your colleagues, and plan to join us for these important educational and networking sessions.
As always, thanks for all you do for community banking in New York State.
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Mark Your Calendars For These Upcoming 2020 IBANYS Conferences: 

(Meeting Agendas & Registration Information Coming Soon)


Click here for IBANYS -  2020 Meeting Dates & Locations  (printable version)


IBANYS' 2020 Meetings Calendar is now available (see printable document above)

. . . Please note we are introducing new meeting locations in New York City. We encourage all New York community bankers and IBANYS associate members, preferred providers, potential vendors, sponsors & exhibitors to priunt it out, share it with your colleagues and "save the date." 



Compliance Conference & Directors Conference


  • Have an idea for one of our meetings? Want to see a meeting or forum on a different subject? We want to hear from you! 
    Contact Linda Gregware or John Witkowski with your thoughts and/or comments
IBANYS Education/WebinarsWebinars
The Independent Bankers Association of New York State (IBANYS) partners with CBWN to bring you more than 150 webinars each year covering compliance, lending, regulations, security, operations, new accounts, collections, fraud, security and other topics. Not only that, but every time you purchase a webinar, you support IBANYS, because a portion of your registration comes directly to us. Thank you!  

You can view the 2019 Webinar Schedule here or by category here. In addition, CBWN has made some recent updates to provide better service to its consumers. Unfortunately, some changes may have caused you to miss important webinar announcements. Please read the IBANYS letter to view the updates and ensure that you do not miss another webinar.

CBWN and IBANYS thank you for your continued support of the education in the community banking industry. 

Purchase Webinars Individually or Purchase the Series to Save 10%!

View or Purchase the Webinar

Stay-up-to-date with our webinar features by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn! You can also follow the hashtag #WebinarWednesday on Instagram/Twitter!

Government Relations

The 2020 session of the New York State Legislature will begin in early January.
Click here for the 2020 New York State Legislative Calendar.

State Senator Amedore Won't Seek Reelection
New York State Senator George Amedore became the latest Republican member of the State Senate to announce he will not seek reelection in 2020. Amedote, elected to the Senate in 2014 after having served in the Assembly, joins fellow GOP senators Bob Antonacci (Central New York) and two Western New York Senators (Robert Ortt and Chris Jacobs) in announcing their planned departures. Democrats currently hold 40 of the 63 seats in the Senate. 

Early Focus On Budget Gap
Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Governor Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Heastie

Assembly Democratic majority held a pre-2020 retreat in Albany this week, just a week after the Governor's office forecast a $6 billion budget deficit. Speaker Heastie (D-Bronx) noted: "For us in the Assembly,  we would always rather raise revenue than cut."  Heastie was careful not to say this would come in the form of a tax increase, which the Democratic Conference has sought in the past in the form of taxing upper income earners in New York
-- people who earn well into the millions of dollars. The Senate will reportedly discuss this during their own retreat next week, but raising taxes in an election year would appear to be a challenge. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins recently noted: "You don't fill a billions of dollars gap easily. It is something we are all obviously going to have to take a look at and tackle. And if, indeed, a structural imbalance exists, we need to figure that out and work toward balancing this issue." State Budget Director Robert Mujica said in September the Governor would not propose any new tax increases in his budget this year. 

DFS Approves Virtual Currency & Money Transmitter Licenses
New York State Financial Services Superintendent Superintendent Linda Lacewell announced yesterday that the State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has granted virtual currency and money transmitter licenses to SoFi Digital Assets, a subsidiary of Social Finance Inc. The licenses will allow SoFi Digital Assets to offer its New York customers the ability to buy and sell virtual currency. Lacewell noted: "DFS is committed to fostering innovation in New York's vibrant virtual currency sector and ensuring its competitiveness as a market for new entrants." 

Washington, D.C.WashingtonGR

Federal Regulators Testify This Week
As Congress returns this week after the Thanksgiving recess, federal financial services
regulators will testify before Congress this week. Today, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing entitled "Oversight of Prudential Regulators: Ensuring the Safety, Soundness, Diversity, and Accountability of Depository Institutions." Among those testifying were Rodney Hood, Chairman, National Credit Union Administration; FDIC Chair Jelena McWilliams, and Randal Quarles, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman of Supervision. 
Tomorrow, the Senate Banking Committee will hear from the same individuals at its hearing entitled "Oversight of Financial Regulators."  The House Financial Services Committee will also hold hearings on promoting financial stability, the Federal Housing Administration, and artificial intelligence in the financial services industry.

FDIC Seeks Comment On Its Regulatory Actions
The FDIC is seeking comment on how it could analyze the effects of its regulatory actions. The FDIC said the request for information is part of its ongoing effort to strengthen the quality of its regulatory cost-benefit analyses. Comments are due by Jan. 28, 2020. To submit via e-mail, send to and include the RIN 3064-ZA13 in the subject line of your message. For further information, contact George French, 202-898-3929, or Ryan Singer, 202-898-7352.
Latest On SARs & Hemp
Federal and state regulators said that banks will not be required to file suspicious activity reports (SARs) for customers solely because they are engaged in the growth or cultivation of hemp. Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, the OCC and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors stated that banks aren't required to report suspicious activity reports on customers who produce hemp. Banks are still required to report suspicious activity regarding the hemp business, which was removed last year from a list of federally controlled substances.  The 2018 farm bill legalized the production and distribution of hemp nationwide. 
ICBA Action Alerts & Grassroot EffortsICBA
Tell NCUA: Don't Let Credit Unions Discriminate
ICBA is calling on community bankers to tell the National Credit Union Administration to adopt anti-discrimination safeguards that banking regulators apply to banks.  The NCUA's proposed rule would allow federal credit unions to continue to serve core-based statistical areas without serving their urban core, despite an appeals court ruling that this could have a discriminatory effect on low- and moderate-income communities.
ICBA (and IBANYS) encourage community bankers to send in a personalized message to the NCUA, though a form-letter version of the grassroots message is also available. A summary of the proposal is available on ICBA's "Wake Up" credit union resource center: Please visit

Link to personalized letter:

Link to form letter:

Other Action Alerts On Credit Unions:  actionalert

Urge Congress Congress To "Wake Up"
To Credit Union Reality
As part of ICBA's new "Wake Up" campaign, community banks can use ICBA's "Be Heard"  grassroots action center to tell Congress to "open their eyes" to the risks and taxpayer costs posed by credit unions. The campaign  urges policymakers to "Wake Up" to the risky practices, costly tax subsidies, and irresponsibly lax oversight of the nation's credit unions. ( ICBA distributed to Congress its new "Do They Know They're Tax Exempt?" Read the White paper here.)  IBANYS strongly supports ICBA's "Wake Up" campaign to "open the eyes" of policymakers about the many ways that tax-exempt credit unions have an unfair advantage, and are using it to take out their tax-paying community bank competition.  Visit  and click on the advocacy tab.

Tell NCUA: Try Again on Redlining Proposal
ICBA continues calling on community bankers to tell the National Credit Union Administration to adopt anti-discrimination safeguards that apply to banks. An NCUA proposal would allow federal credit unions to serve core-based statistical areas without serving their urban core, despite a court ruling that this could have a discriminatory effect.
ICBA encourages community bankers to send in a personalized message to the NCUA, though a form-letter version of the grassroots message is also available. A summary of the proposal is available on ICBA's   "Wake Up" credit union resource center .

Seek Equal Treatment For Community Banks On Military Bases
IBANYS joins ICBA in asking IBANYS members to urge their local Members of Congress to advance legislation that will help community continue to serve military bases and rural communities. ICBA's "Be Heard" grassroots action center ( can provide important information to help you. 1)  Urge lawmakers   to include language in a defense bill to extend  the same "rent-free" benefits  to on-base banks that are currently enjoyed by credit unions; 2)  Support legislation   that would exempt from taxable income interest on loans secured by agricultural real estate, and 3)  Thank members of the House   who voted to pass ICBA-advocated legislation to establish a cannabis-banking safe harbor.

ICBA Backs Plan For Dedicated Consumer Compliance Exam 
For Large Credit Unions
ICBA told the National Credit Union Administration that it supports NCUA board member Todd Harper's proposal to fund the creation of a dedicated consumer compliance exam program for large, complex credit unions. In a comment letter, ICBA said the proposal would help ensure that the NCUA's consumer protection efforts achieve parity with those of federal banking regulators. ICBA noted while the NCUA says it will use fair lending laws to protect against illegal discrimination as it relaxes field-of-membership and other regulations, the agency has conducted just 66 fair lending exams and supervisory contacts in 2018.

IBANYS Preferred PartnersPreferred
For more information on IBANYS Preferred Partners - click here:
Industry Trends & UpdatesTrends

Wall Street Journal: Credit Unions Have Outgrown Their Reputation
A new article in the "Wall Street Journal" analyzes the status of tax-exempt credit unions, citing their increasingly high-risk loans, their role in the taxi medallion scandal, the rise of growth-obsessed credit unions, and the National Credit Union Administration's "hands-off approach." The article comes on the heels of ICBA's "Wake Up" campaign that points out the credit union industry's risky practices, costly tax subsidies, and irresponsibly lax oversight. (NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood is among the federal financial services regulators scheduled to testify this week before the House Financial Services Committee and Senate Banking Committee.)

FDIC "Inclined" To Support OCC's CRA Reform Plan
FDIC Chair Jelena McWilliams said she is "inclined" to back a forthcoming proposal to revamp the Community Reinvestment Act, but still has some concerns about how it will affect CRA assessment areas and compliance metrics. The OCC will reportedly move ahead with a proposal to reform CRA. 
Sifting through CECL: Challenges and implications beyond provisioning, Bankers Digest, October 2019
By Grigoris Karakoulas,

CECL is considered one of the most challenging accounting change projects in a generation, with significant and widespread impact for banks. The article (linked below) discusses lessons learned from early disclosures so far; key implementation issues important for community banks due to their portfolio mix and local geographical footprint, and how certain choices on these issues could result in procyclicality in loss allowance and earnings volatility. Please click below to read the full article.



The Economy: By The Numbers
  • According to the the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac sold 117,466 non-performing loans (NPLs) during the first half of 2018 with a total unpaid principal balance of $22.2 billion.  The NPLs had an average delinquency of three years, and an average current loan-to-value ratio of 92%. The sales transfer credit risk to the private sector.
  • The U.S. Commerce Department reported that construction spending declined 0.8 % in October, but was still up 1.1% from a year ago. Private construction declined 1%, while public construction dipped 0.2%.
  • The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index fell 0.2 percentage point in November, to 48.1%. 
Banking NewsBankingNews


Welcome To Our Newest IBANYS Member Bank: Rhinebeck Bank
IBANYS is pleased to welcome our newest member bank: Rhinebeck Bank a New York chartered stock savings bank which provides a full range of banking and financial services to consumer and commercial customers through its eleven branches and two representative offices located in Dutchess, Ulster, Orange, and Albany counties. As of June 30, 2019, Rhinebeck Bank had assets of $913.1 million Rhinebeck has been helping to meet the financial needs  of its customers and community since 1860. 

A community bank in the truest sense , i t serves its customers by making local decisions -- on residential mortgages, construction loans and commercial mortgages. The Bank invests deeply into the communities it serves and provides charitable support for over 200 local, non-profit organizations annually.

Rhinebeck Bank has grown successfully for more than a century-and-a-half, demonstrating the strength of 159 years of community banking. Under the leadership of President & CEO Michael Quinn, the bank is well positioned for the future. Mike's career at Rhinebeck spans over 30 years. He began at the bank as a Management Trainee, and has held various positions including Branch Manager, Treasurer, Senior Lending Officer and President & COO before being named as President & CEO in 2004.  As President Quinn notes: "For over 159 years, Rhinebeck Bank has been an integral part of the area's economic growth and a driving force for commerce along the Hudson River. Rhinebeck Bank takes pride in being personally involved in local businesses, communities and charitable organizations. Our ability to be responsive to the needs of our customers and community has led to our continued growth. Our entire Rhinebeck Bank team is dedicated to making sure the next 159 years are just as successful. We're constantly looking for ways to offer the best banking, investment and insurance services to our customers ."
Welcome aboard!
Excelsior Growth Fund Can Help Your Small Business Customers

Excelsior Growth Fund (EGF) is NYBDC's nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution and IBANYS' exclusive online lending partner. Join the growing number of banks that work with EGF to offer their customers an affordable and responsible option when they do not qualify for traditional financing. EGF offers loans up to $500,000 with a convenient, digital process. Loans under $100,000 are disbursed within 5 business days.

 EGF's experienced team can work hand-in-hand with yours to develop a customized process to make referring seamless. To learn more about offering your customers a second look through EGF contact Bryan Doxford, SVP, at at at (212) 430-4512.

IBANYS Spotlight Is On...spotlight

When they realized the potential benefits that community banks could gain from a non-brokered CD Marketplace, they invented the concept. That was decades ago. Over 3,000 subscribers later (more than any other CD listing service), they continue to create powerful new solutions to help make your life easier, your work faster and your business more successful. QwickRate's premier non-brokered CD Marketplace for funding and investing delivers fast connections to more than 3,000 intitutions to proactively manage liquidity needs. Its affordable QwickAnalytics® provides online research on all banks, performance analytics, and regulatory compliance tools including the new CECLSolver™.  For information, contact Melissa Wallace, Senior Account Representative: (800) 286-8626,  
Did You Know?

 . . .That the first known deployment of home computer banking to consumers came in December 1980 at United American Bank, a Knoxville, Tennessee based community bank? United American partnered with Radio Shack to produce a secure custom modem for its TRS-80 computer to allow bank customers to access account information securely. Services available in its first year included bill pay, account balance checks, and loan applications, as well as game access, budget and tax calculators and daily newspapers. Thousands of customers paid $25-30 per month for the service.
. . .Now you know. 
New York community banks play a key role in our state and local economies. Help spread the good news among our customers, business, elected leaders and the media!

John J. Witkowski
President & Chief Executive Officer

Stephen W. Rice
Director of Government Relations & Communications

Linda Gregware
Director of Administration & Membership Services

William Y. Crowell III
Legislative Counsel