December 18, 2019



Next weeks newsletter will be published on Monday, December 23.  

  • Banking News 
    • Bank of Akron opens a new branch
    • North Country Savings Bank annual donation
    • *Ballston Spa National Bank supporting the local community 

  • Meeting Dates for 2020 - Registration is open for:
    • Human Resource Conference
    • Compliance Conference (NYC)
    • Directors Conference (NYC)
* An earlier version of this publication incorrectly referenced Ballston Spa National Bank

By John J. Witkowski, President & CEO

IBANYS Turns Focus To 2020 Legislative Session
-- Government Relations Call Kicks Things Off

This week, IBANYS held a conference call of our Government Relations Committee as we continue to discuss the upcoming 2020 state legislative session that will begin in early January. The call focused both on continuing to develop our strategy for the coming year, and consideration of a number of proposals related to community banks.

We discussed two bills passed by the Legislature earlier this year that Governor Cuomo signed last week.  S.727-A, Montgomery/A.3320, Zebrowski, which  extends the State Banking Development Districts (BDD) Program to credit unions. This was signed as Chapter 629 of the Laws of 2019. Also,  S.3227-A, Sanders/ A.1772-A, Peoples-Stokes  requires a bank's CRA evaluation to include a written discussion of their performance record on each of the 12 assessment factors listed in the Community Reinvestment Act. This was  signed as Chapter 590.

IBANYS met with the Governor's office and with the NYS Department of Financial Services to focus on our concerns regarding the broader issue of credit unions seeking to enter the overall municipal deposits business. We noted with the State facing a $6 billion budget deficit, any legislation with a potentially significant cost impact would be problematic. Allowing credit unions into the bidding process as a new tax-exempt bidder would present a potential loss in state revenue of that we have estimated would be at least $18 million. It would also pose a safety and soundness issue for community banks if they were to lose the muni revenue -- a major component for many banks -- and would curtail their ability to lend. 

IBANYS noted that to level the playing field, two alternatives are available.

  • Provide community banks with a state tax credit on interest earned from municipal deposits, or
  • Ensure that credit unions would pay a state tax on that same earned interest income from munis. 

We will continue to provide the state with research and data to help make our case, and have follow-up meetings scheduled for early 2020.

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We also previewed a number of "pro-active" bills as part of our 2020 state agenda, including initiatives related to state CRA exemptions, enhancing the State Community Bank Deposit Program, and the establishment of community bank service corporations.
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The Legislature is facing a number of significant challenges in 2020, led by deciding how to close that projected $6 billion budget deficit. The session will also play out during an election year, in which every seat of the State Senate and Assembly will be on the ballot. Clearly, community banks have our work cut out for us. We need your input and participation. Please participate in our government relations conference calls, our "action alerts" and legislative outreach efforts.

We thank the members of our Executive Committee and Board of Directors, as well as our Government Relations Committee, for sharing their time and expertise as we work to improve the climate for community banks in New York State.

We look forward to working with and on behalf of our entire 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.

IBANYS is pleased to announce that we are offering both our Compliance and Directors Conference in NYC - January 28 & February 4 respectively.  Both meetings will be held at Pryor Cashman LLP, 7 Times Square, 40th Floor, New York, NY.  See complete details and registration information in the meetings section below.
  • 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.
Follow IBANYS On Social Media!

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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." 


Detailed agendas and registration information is coming soon for March 3 & 4 Compliance Conference and April 7 & 8 for the Directors Conference.  

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.

  • The State Legislature passed 935 bills during the 2019 legislative session, the most since 2006. More than 300 of those bills had not been signed into law by the Governor as of Dec. 5, resulting in a flurry of signings and vetoes cutting the number of outstanding bills down to 168 as of last Friday. Recent signings included: S.727-A, Montgomery/A.3320, Zebrowski, extending the State Banking Development Districts Program to credit unions, signed as Chapter 629; and, S.3227-A, Sanders/ A.1772-A, Peoples-Stokes, requiring a bank's CRA evaluation to include a written discussion of their performance record on each of the 12 assessment factors listed in the Community Reinvestment Act and signed as Chapter 590. 
  • The State of the State address will take place on Jan. 8 in Albany. The Governor has slowly been announcing various priorities over the past few weeks, including measures dealing with  a ban on drugs that imitate the synthetic opioid fentanyl; mandating automatic recount votes in close elections (for statewide elections when the margin of victory is .2 percent of all cast ballots, and for other elections when the margin is .5 percent), and  a plan to bar people convicted of violent crimes in other states from obtaining a gun license in New York.
  • Each year, the Governor Cuomo has established a "theme"  reflecting the agenda he puts forward in Albany, and this past weekend, he  revealed the 2020 version: "Making Progress Happen."
  • State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said the Legislature and Governor Cuomo should not take on more debt to close a $6.1 billion budget gap. He wants lawmakers and the Governor to address the underlying issues for the gap, stemming from the state's Medicaid program in the budget and not kick the can down the road.  DiNapoli added, "I think we do need to look carefully at the spending level," and urged lawmakers to consider bolstering the state's defenses against a recession and putting more money into the state's "rainy day" fund. "I hope that even in the context of a tough budget, debates about spending and revenue and taxes, we really talk about how to better position for when that downturn will come," he said.
  • State Senator Rich Funke (R-Rochester area) became the latest Republican to announce he will not seek reelection in 2020. He was elected in 2014 to represent a Democratic-leaning district. Two other Western New Yorkers (Chris Jacobs and Robert Ortt) are running for the congressional seat vacated by Chris Collins. Bob Antonacci (Syracuse area) was elected to a judgeship. Betty Little (North Country), George Amedore (Hudson Valley), Joe Robach (Rochester area) and Mike Ranzenhofer (Western New York) have announced plans to retire. Cathy Young (R-Western New York) resigned after losing a leadership election to Minority Leader John Flanagan. Republicans lost the Senate Majority for the first time in a decade in 2018, and are reportedly behind Democrats in fundraising efforts as well. Democrats currently hold 40 of the chamber's 63 seats. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Westchester County) said she expects that after next November's election, her conference will hold at least 43 seats by the start of the 2021 legislative session. 
  • A report released by state Sen. James Skoufis (D-Hudson Valley), who chairs the Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee, looked into the state's public authorities, including industrial development agencies. The report found the entities are subject to little oversight and have amassed more than $280 billion in debt -- an 8% increase since 2014.
Washington, D.C.WashingtonGR

Getting Noticed!
ICBA's "Wake Up" campaign targeting credit unions is gaining traction on Capitol Hill, according to the "Credit Union Times". The publication noted members of Congress are starting to repeat the key themes of the ICBA campaign, which calls on policymakers and the public to "Wake Up" to the risky practices, costly tax subsidies, and irresponsibly lax oversight of the nation's credit unions. The article cites recent congressional hearings at which committee members, including Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) and Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), raised concerns with credit union acquisitions of community banks.

ICBA: Concern Remains Over CECL
ICBA has informed federal it remains concerned with the Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) accounting standard, and supports efforts to limit its impact on community banks. ICBA supports the Financial Accounting Standards Board's (FASB) decision to delay implementation for smaller community banks until 2023 while it backs stop-and-study legislation. The association also reminded the agencies that the standard confirms that community banks can use spreadsheet calculations, and asked the regulators to add a section specifically on scalability.

2020 Federal Spending Plan Nearly Done
The House advanced comprehensive fiscal 2020 spending legislation worked out by congressional leaders and the White House. The $1.4 trillion package, which the Senate is expected to send to the President for his signature, would fund the government through September 2020. It would avoid a government shutdown set for this weekend. Among the provisions are measures to keep the Small Business Administration 7(a) loan program running, extend the National Flood Insurance Program, provide disaster relief to farmers affected by this year's severe weather, and appropriate $2.75 billion in guaranteed farm ownership loans and $1.96 billion in guaranteed farm operating loans.

NCUA Again Delays Risk Based Capital Rule For Credit Unions
The National Credit Union Administration's (NCUA) again has delayed its risk-based capital rule for credit unions, approving a two-year delay and voting down a proposal by NCUA Board Member Todd Harper to create a dedicated consumer compliance exam program for large credit unions.  In an op-ed in the American Banker, Harper wrote the NCUA's action shows it is forgetting the past like characters in " Groundhog Day."  ICBA continues raising the profile of the credit union industry risky practices, costly tax subsidies, and irresponsibly lax oversight of the nation's credit unions through its "Wake Up" program.

  • FDIC Chief Information Officer & Chief Privacy Officer Howard Whyte is stepping down next month. Deputy CIO Sylvia Burns will serve in an acting capacity until a successor is named.

2020 Election Status Of New York's 27 Congressional Races
The publication "City & State New York" has published an updated list of the status of all of New York State's 27 congressional districts in terms on the 2020 election. Please visit and click on the article, "Who's Threatening House Members In 2020" to read the full analysis.  

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. 


For ICBAs White Paper One-Pagers that are condensed infographic representations of portions of the ICBA Credit Union White Paper Do They Know They're Tax Exempt ?  
For all the information regarding ICBA and the Wake Up Campaign click:

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

New York Fed's Williams: "Monetary Policy Is In A Good Place"
New York Fed President John Williams said today that the Federal Reserve will have to see a substantial change in economic conditions before making any shifts in its monetary policy. "Monetary policy is in a good place, but, as we've proven in the past, if economic conditions shift, change in a material way ... obviously we're ready to adjust our policy views accordingly. With the rate cuts that we did this year, we created a situation where monetary policy is supportive and accommodating growth. That's a good position given what's going on in the economy."

FDIC 3rd Quarter State Profiles Now Available
The FDIC's latest Quarterly Banking Profile showed community bank net income rose 7.2% from a year ago, compared with an overall banking industry decline of 7.3%. Community banks posted steady gains in deposits, loans and asset quality.  Third-quarter 2019   available online at,  are formatted as a quarterly data sheet summation of economic and banking conditions for all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Visit, click on the Industry Analysis tab, then on Bank Data and Statistics, and on FDIC State Profiles.To read New York region profiles, click here

Fed Schedules Meetings For Banks, Fintech Companies
The Federal Reserve Board will hold a series of "fintech innovation office hours" across the country to meet with banks and fintech companies. The one-on-one meetings are intended as a resource for banks and fintech firms to meet one-on-one with Fed staff members with relevant expertise to discuss fintech developments and ask questions. The Fed believes they may be particularly helpful to community banks and their potential fintech partners. IBANYS will keep you informed as to the date of the New York meeting. Meanwhile, the Fed has launched a new section of its website ( focused on fintech innovation, a hub of information for stakeholders interested in learning about and engaging with the Board on innovation-related matters.


The Economy: By The Numbers
  • According to the National Association of Home Builders index, builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes increased to a historic high in December, The Housing Market Index rose five points to 76, the highest reading since June 1999. Regionally, on a three-month moving average, builder sentiment in the Northeast fell 2 points to 61. 
  • The U.S. Commerce Department reported that retail sales rose 0.2% in November from the previous month and were up 3.3% from one year ago,  The Department also noted that business inventories increased 0.2%in October, and were up 3.1% from October 2018.
  • The Commerce Department Tuesday reported that homebuilding nationally increased more than expected in November, and permits for future home construction surged to a 12-1/2-year high. Housing starts rose 3.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.365 million units last month. Single-family construction reached a 10-month high, and rose in the Northeast. A ctivity in the multifamily sector increased for a second straight month.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau reported that housing starts rose 3.2% in November, and were up 13.6% from the previous year. Building permits increased 1.4% from the previous month, and 11.1% from a year ago. On a separate note, the Federal Reserve noted that, after declining in October, industrial production rose 1.1% in November. 
  • The 30-year fixed mortgage rate has risen to 3.73% from a year-low of 3.49% in early September, but is still below its peak of 4.94% in November 2018, according to data from mortgage finance agency Freddie Mac.
Banking NewsBankingNews

Bank of Akron officially opened its new branch in Wilson last month, the bank's sixth location in Western New York and its first in Niagara County. The bank also has received approval from the New York State Department of Financial Services to participate in the banking development district (BDD) program in Wilson.  The BDD program is designed to encourage the establishment of bank branches in areas across the state that are underserved by banking institutions. Through this approval, Bank of Akron will be able to provide services for underbanked consumers and small businesses in the community, who have been without a bank branch since 2016. As Bank of Akron President & CEO (and IBANYS board member) Tony Delmonte noted:  "With this new branch and BDD designation, we are proud to expand access to banking services in Wilson. In partnering with the New York State Department of Financial Services and the Town and Village of Wilson on this BDD program, we will provide accessible and reliable services to an underbanked community that has not had them available for some time."

North Country Savings Bank recently made its annual gift to the Canton-Potsdam Hospital Foundation to support the advancement of health and wellness in the community.Annual gifts have helped to purchase equipment such as diabetic retinopathy screeners, defibrillators, bilirubin therapy lamps for the Birthplace, vital signs machines, and an infant security tag reader system.

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

CES produces the biannual NY Banking Customer Experience Benchmarks which include 100,000 + objective reviews by households and businesses about all banks they use. They interview customers at every institution in New York and gain their ratings on 53 different customer-centric metrics. 

Subscriptions provide banks with a best-in-class Customer Experience Measurement program with ongoing objective customer feedback and competitive benchmarking. 

For additional information, please c ontact :   Bruce   Paul, CEO: (203) 906-8923, Or, visit the website at

Did You Know?

. . .That the first-ever Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center in New York City was erected in 1931, during the construction of the complex, by  workers who decorated a 20-foot tree  with "strings of cranberries, garlands of paper, and even a few tin cans" on Christmas Eve?
Two years later,  the first "official" tree, a 50-foot-tall tree, became what Rockefeller Center dubbed "a holiday beacon for New Yorkers and visitors alike," and a skating rink was opened below the tree in the plaza in 1936. Today, the tree lighting ceremony is nationally telecast live, is lit by the Mayor of New York and a n estimated 125 million people visit the attraction each year. The 2019 Christmas Tree Lighting took place on December 4, 2019. The tree will remain on display until January 17, 2020.
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