December 11, 2019



  • Banking News 
    • Elmira Savings Bank is honored
    • Ballston Spa Savings Bank supporting the local community 

By John J. Witkowski, President & CEO

By John J. Witkowski, President & CEO
The Governor & The Credit Union Bill

On Friday, December 6, the Legislature delivered S.727A Montgomery/ A.3320, Zebrowski) to the Governor for his action -- to either sign it into law, or veto it. This legislation would  extend the State Business Development District Program to credit unions, allowing them to participate in the program. 

IBANYS strongly opposed this legislation when it was being considered and eventually passed by the Legislature last spring, and we continue to oppose it. We have made our opposition known to the Governor's office, and we  also asked IBANYS member banks to email the Governor's office to urge him not to sign this bill, which would provide credit unions with a real property tax exemption for the branch offices established under the program -- enabling them to escape full payment of one of the few taxes they are actually obligated to pay. 

At a time when local governments are functioning under a tax cap, it makes no sense to provide a ten-year real property tax deduction to credit unions which are not paying other taxes. 
Please join us in opposing this legislation, byemailing the Governor's office and urge him not to sign the bill.  E mail your comments to:
  • . . .and also to
-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

We also have seen other developments in Albany, including both the Senate and Assembly gearing up to address the projected $6 billion state budget deficit, and the ongoing exodus of Republican members of the State Senate. . .and, in Washington, New Yorkers are trying to eliminate the SALT tax cap. 

With less than three weeks until the new year brings with it new state legislative and congressional sessions, IBANYS is once again ready to work in tandem with our membership to do everything possible to protect and advance the interests of our only constituency: New York community banks.

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. 
  • I also encourage you to review our Webinar schedule, which offers a wide array of programs designed for community banks and their officers, directors and employees.
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Mark Your Calendars For These Upcoming 2020 IBANYS Conferences: 

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 print it out, share it with your colleagues and "save the date." 

Brochures and registration information will be emailed within the next few days for Human Resource, Compliance NYC and Directors NYC Conferences.

Human Resource Conference
January 14, 2020                                                                    January 15, 2020
DoubleTree by Hilton                                                              Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel
1111 Jefferson Road                                                               40 Civic Center Plaza
Rochester, NY 14623                                                              Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
585-475-1510                                                                          845-485-5300
Compliance Conference
January 28, 2020                    March 3, 2020                         March 4, 2020
Pryor Cashman                       DoubleTree by Hilton              Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel
7 Times Square, 40 th Fl.         1111 Jefferson Road               40 Civic Center Plaza
New York, NY 10036               Rochester, NY 14623             Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
212-421-4100                          585-475-1510                         845-485-5300
Directors Conference
February 4, 2020                                April 7, 2020                           April 8, 2020
Pryor Cashman                       RIT Inn & Conf. Center           Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel
7 Times Square, 40 th Fl.         5257 West Henrietta Rd.        40 Civic Center Plaza
New York, NY 10036               Henrietta, NY 14467               Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
212-421-4100                          585-359-7746                          845-485-5300
  • 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.

Senate Dems: Tax Hike Should Not Be First Option
To Close Budget Gap
With an anticipated $6.1 billion state budget gap next year, New York State  Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Westchester County) said this week her conference she does not want  a tax hike to be a first option for closing that budget gap. (Last week, Assembly Speaker Carl Heaste, D-Bronx, said taxing New York's wealthiest residents could be the best way to fill the state's looming budget gap.) Deputy Senate Majority Leader Mike Gianaris (D-Queens) said there's a "discussion to be had" over whether richer people should be asked to pay more, but that's something we haven't resolved yet." Stewart-Cousins stated: "Just to be clear we are obviously concerned - it is critical - our first fallback thing isn't 'let's raise taxes,'" Stewart-Cousins said of the budget gap. She noted her conference wants to be involved, including finding solutions to address the growing Medicaid gap. "Hopefully, we'll be able to address it without causing a lot of pain."  Governor Cuomo has not embraced higher taxes for the rich, noting a $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions and the ability of wealthier people to leave the state. Revenue generated by the personal income tax comes in large part from a handful of wealthy people in the state. 

Governor Signs Consumer Hot Line Bill
Among the bills passed during the 2019 state legislative session that Governor has recently signed into law was A.3168 (Ortiz)/S.4931 (Sanders). The legislation requires the posting of public notice of the State Department of Financial Services'  (DFS)  toll-free consumer's hotline  telephone number in the same location that other DFS public notices are posted. The requirement will be effective as of February 26, 2020

Another GOP State Senator Won't Seek Reelection
Yet another Republican State Senator has announced he will not seek reelection in 2020. Senator Michael Ranzenhofer (R-61st S.D., which runs from the suburbs of Buffalo into Rochester) joined fellow GOP Senate colleagues Chris Jacobs, Robert Ortt, and Bob Antonacci (elected to a judgeship earlier this year) who have left or plan to leave. After last year's election, Republicans lost their majority status and Democrats now hold 40 of the chamber's 63 seats.
Latest Update On "SALT" Tax Cap
Rep King
Reps. Tom Suozzi & Peter King

Two New York Congressmen -- Democrat  Tom Suozzi (D-L.I) and Republican Peter King -- are  leading a long-shot effort  to eliminate the rule limiting the federal deduction on state and local taxes (SALT) to just $10,000. Suozzi noted:  "The SALT cap was particularly unfair to Long Islanders and New Yorkers. It is a tax on taxes already paid, and it hits homeowners whose local taxes fund police, firefighters and other services." The bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.), is expected to pass the House, but faces a dim future in the Senate. Meanwhile, according to the Wall Street Journal, more businesses (312 for 2020, compared to 262 in 2019) are taking advantage of a New York law that lets their employees avoid a federal cap on the amount of state and local taxes they can deduct from their federal returns. 
Washington, D.C.WashingtonGR

ICBA To NCUA: Reconsider Redlining Plan
ICBA urged the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) to  withdraw and redraft its proposed rule to allow tax-exempt credit unions to cut urban communities out of the membership areas they serve. The NCUA plan would allow federal credit unions to include wealthy suburbs of metropolitan areas in their fields of membership, while leaving out their urban cores. ICBA said the agency's proposal does not adequately address a circuit court ruling that this redlining policy could be discriminatory.  Meanwhile, ICBA also told Congress that credit unions avoid paying billons in taxes every year and pocket up to one-third of every tax-subsidized dollar. The message was drawn from ICBA's
 "Do They Know They're Tax-Exempt?" research paper, and noted credit unions pocketed approximately $900 million last year that was not returned to credit union members.  The messages to the NCUA and Congress are part of  ICBA's "Wake Up" campaign
that encourages policymakers to open their eyes to the growing threats posed by credit unions and to  their risky practices, costly tax subsidies, and irresponsibly lax oversight. 
More information on how credit unions have abandoned their original mandate and failed the communities they're supposed to serve is available at

Latest On Legislation Supporting
Minority Depository Institutions
Jill Sung 
ICBA urged the House Financial Services Committee to advance legislation to support minority depository institutions. A markup is scheduled to start today. ICBA supports the "Ensuring Diversity in Community Banking Act of 2019" (H.R. 5322), introduced by Rep. Meeks (D-Queens). H.R. 5322 would streamline the Community Development Financial Institution application and recertification processes for community banks, and establish a new "Impact Bank" designation for qualifying banks serving low-income borrowers. ICBA also supports the "Expanding Opportunity for Minority Depository Institutions Act" (H.R. 5315), introduced by Rep. Beatty, D-OH., to create a Treasury Department program for larger banks to mentor MDIs and community banks under $2 billion. ICBA Minority Bank Advisory Council Chair (and  IBANYS' Government Relations Committee member) Jill Sung (President & CEO, Abacus Federal Savings) recently testified before the committee on how policymakers can help minority depository institutions obtain capital, such as by reducing regulatory costs.

OCC To Increase Oversight Of LIBOR Risk
The OCC will increase regulatory oversight of LIBOR risk due to its likely shuttering as an active index by the end of 2021. The note was included in the agency's latest semiannual risk report. T he OCC said operational risk is elevated as banks adapt to an increasingly complex operating environment, credit risk has accumulated in many portfolios, and recent volatility in market rates has increased interest rate risk.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Volcker Dies; 
Posthumously Warns Against Attacks On Fed
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker passed away
Sunday in New York at the age of  92. He had also served as President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.   In a final essay published posthumously, Volcker called President Trump's attacks on the Fed a "matter of great concern" since the central bank is "carefully designed to be free of purely partisan attacks." He urged the current members of the Fed and members of Congress who are responsible for oversight of the central bank to protect the Fed's ability to act free of "partisan political purpose."
ICBA Action Alerts & Grassroot EffortsICBA

Support ICBA Action Alerts Regarding Credit Unions
New York community bankers: Please participate ICBA's "action alerts" -- which oppose credit unions' efforts to further expand their powers and authorities, and seek to level the playing field on behalf of community banks. Make your voice heard in Washington. 
Visit and click on the advocacy tab. 

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

Barret Graduate School Of Banking Program May 17 - 22, 2020
- - Register Soon!
The Paul W. Barret, Jr. School of Banking  -- endorsed by the ICBA -- has scheduled its 
Annual May Graduate Program May 17 - 22, 2020 in Memphis, Tennessee. The program is presented one week per year for three years, and includes 130 hours of classroom study, nine on-campus case studies and eight home study problems. The Barret School  is a non-profit independent school created by and governed by a Board of Regents, whose members are executives from banks and other firms involved with the financial services industry.  The mission of the Barret School is to provide an adult learning experience for the career-oriented individual in commercial banking or a related financial services industry business.  The commitment at Barret is to assist the student in attaining an excellent educational experience of benefit to both the student and the sponsoring employer. Registration is filling up, so interested bankers should plan to register early.  To review the program, click here For details, email Executive Director Chris Kelley at or visit
FDIC 3rd Quarter State Profiles Now Available
The third-quarter 2019   are now available online at The profiles are formatted as a quarterly data sheet summation of economic and banking conditions for all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Visit, c lick on the Industry Analysis tab, then on Bank Data and Statistics, and on FDIC State Profiles. To read the profiles for the New York region, click here



The Economy: By The Numbers


  • At its final meeting of the year today, the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged. Officials opted to see how the economy fares following three rate cuts during 2019 (after  slowly raising rates between late 2015 and 2018.) The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) kept the funds rate in a target range of 1.5%- 1.75%. In explaining the decision, the FOMC indicated monetary policy is likely to stay where it is for an unspecified time, though officials will continue to monitor conditions as they develop. Through the "dot plot" of individual members' future projections, the FOMC indicated little chance of a cut or increase in 2020.
  • The November 2019 employment report showed U.S. companies added 266,000, and the unemployment rate ticked back down to 3.5%, matching its earlier 2019 level which was the lowest since 1969. CNBC studied the net changes by industry based on data from the U.S. Labor Department contained in the employment report. The "financial activities" sector added 13,000 jobs for the month. The education and health care industry added the most -- more than 70,000 job.
  • The U.S. Labor Department reported that U.S. consumer prices rose more than expected in November. The Department's consumer price index increased 0.3% last month. The CPI advanced 0.4% in October, and In the 12 months through November the CPI rose 2.1% after gaining 1.8% in October. Meanwhile, a ccording to Morning Consult's Index of Consumer Sentiment (ICS),  U.S. consumer confidence remains strong during one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. The Index moderately increased to 112.0 this past week, just shy of its 52-week high, and better than this time last year. 

Banking NewsBankingNews
The Chemung County Chamber of Commerce honored Elmira Savings Bank celebrating a milestone anniversary date (150 years) and for its dedication to the community. IBANYS sends congratulations to President & CEO (and IBANYS' Vice Chairman) Tom Carr and his entire team!

Ballston Spa National Bank announced support of $36,000 has been awarded to local Capital Region organizations, including more than $10,000 in donations from the Bank and its customers to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York. "Today's donations are estimated to provide more than 40,000 meals to those in need. This would not have been possible without the generosity of our customers," said President & CEO (and former IBANYS Chairman) Chris Dowd. "We're also incredibly proud of the BSNB staff members that rallied their communities to address the need." The remaining $26,000 in Bank donations is provided to 31 additional organizations, including those that provide support for addiction recovery, veterans and active-duty soldiers, children and youth programs, and programs addressing poverty, hunger and homelessness.
IBANYS Spotlight Is On...spotlight

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Electronic & Physical Security Products, Special Projects, Service Contracts, Burglar/Fire Protection, Surveillance, Card Access Control, ATM & TCR Sales and Service, Vault & Safe Sales and Service.
Please contact Don Musielak at (716) 648-6012, for more information. Or, visit the website at

Did You Know?

 . . . That the first known Christmas Club started in 1909, when Merkel Landis, treasurer of the Carlisle (Pennsylvania) Trust Company, introduced the first Christmas savings fund?
The concept was that bank customers could deposit a set amount of money each week into a special savings account  and receive the money back at the end of the year for their Christmas shopping. The Carlisle Trust Company's first club  generated 350 customers who saved about $28 each, and the money was disbursed on December 1 of that year. 

. . .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