“I t’s poor tax policy to continue to allow 5 percent of credit unions to reap an estimated 75 percent of the industry’s tax-exemption benefits .
–  ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey in a statement today on the National Taxpayers Union’s support of credit union hearings.
Legislature wastes no time getting to work, ICBM priorities advance
The 2020 legislative session began last week on Tuesday, Feb. 11, with a flurry of activity.

On Feb. 11, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce held its annual session priorities event that included comments from Governor Tim Walz and a panel discussion with the four legislative caucus leaders. Leaders generally expressed their willingness to work together, but that bipartisanship eroded quickly when debate turned to legalizing recreational marijuana and allowing grocery stores to sell wine and liquor.

During the following first two full days of work, legislators attended more than 20 committee hearings. And, they didn't hold back from controversial issues like insulin prices, renewable energy, and mining permits.

This week, two ICBM legislative priorities received attention: Elder financial abuse and new prohibitions on credit union acquisitions of community banks.

Read coverage of our progress on prohibiting credit union acquisitions.

See the next item for coverage of the bill to provide stronger immunity protections for community banks that report suspected instances of elder financial abuse.

ICBM letter supports progress for bill to improve protections for vulnerable adults
Yesterday the Senate Commerce Committee heard SF2466 (Housley) which offers stronger immunity protections for community banks that report suspected instances of elder financial abuse.

ICBM issued a letter yesterday and met previously with Senator Housley to voice support of the bill. Although there were a few suggestions on improvements from Gender Justice and by Senator Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park), the bill was passed as amended on a voice vote and was re-referred to the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee. It may see some slight edits when it receives a hearing at its next stop.

We continue to work for a hearing in the House on this important issue.
Download ICBM's 2020 Event and Network Calendar
The schedule is out for ICBM's 2020 networks, workshops, conferences, and convention.

Here's an idea: Print one for you, then print another for your break room.

Seven community banks to be honored at the Capitol
Many lawmakers don't bat an eye at Wings Financial acquiring a community bank. For years, credit unions have flocked to Capitol in large numbers to tell their story. Now, they've convinced many that credit unions are the best kind of financial institution for the state.

If we want a fighting chance at passing legislation in St. Paul that prohibits credit union acquisitions of banks, lawmakers need to know you and the great good you do for Minnesota communities. So, we are gearing up to tell that story!

This year at our Day at the Capitol on March 23 , we're honoring the seven community banks recognized by ICBM's Impact Magazine for their amazing work in their local area.They are:

  • Ultima Bank Minnesota increases the supply of credit to communities from Bemidji to East Grand Forks.
  • Farmers & Merchants State Bank for a character-loan and donations that have sustained a cultural center in New York Mills.
  • HomeTown Bank for its education financial literacy via its branch and volunteer efforts at Shakopee High School.
  • The State Bank of Faribault for giving an inventor in aeroponic farming a chance to start his business.
  • ProGrowth Bank and First National Bank of Fairfax for their investment in broadband internet in Renville and Sibley Counties.
  • First State Bank Southwest, Worthington, for its support of immigrant entrepreneurs.

Join us in recognizing your peers and to meet your lawmakers in the relaxed setting of the reception afterwards. (The new format for meeting with lawmakers this year.)

FDIC and OCC extend comment period for CRA rules
Yesterday, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency extended the public comment period for proposed changes to the rules implementing the Community Reinvestment Act until April 8, 2020.

On December 12, 2019, the FDIC and OCC announced a proposal to modernize the regulations under the CRA and provided for a 60-day comment period following formal publication on January 9, 2020 in the  Federal Register  (85 FR 1204).

The proposed rules are intended to increase bank activity in low- and moderate-income communities, and to clarify what qualifies for credit under the CRA, enabling banks and their partners to better implement reinvestment and other activities that can benefit communities.

This short video explains the benefits of modernizing Community Reinvestment Act.

Latest WASDE report shows little change in 2019-20 corn-soybean stocks
The most recent USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report was released on February 11. The latest WASDE report showed no change in 2019-20 corn ending stocks and a slight decrease in projected 2019-20 ending stocks for soybeans, compared to the January WASDE estimates. 

Keep reading for highlights from the latest report.
Mark Your Calendar
Faces and Places
Thomas promoted to executive vice president and senior regulatory counsel

The Independent Community Bankers of America today announced Lilly Thomas’ promotion to executive vice president and senior regulatory counsel, effective March 1, 2020. Her promotion comes as ICBA restructures its regulatory team as Viveca Ware, group executive vice president for regulatory policy, retires on Feb. 28.

“Lilly is a dedicated and highly-respected member of the government relations team whose leadership and expertise helps advance key issues before policymakers in line with ICBA’s mission to create and promote an environment where community banks flourish,” said Karen Thomas, senior executive vice president, government relations and public policy. “ICBA congratulates Lilly on her well-deserved promotion and is exceptionally grateful to Viveca Ware for 30 years of dedicated service to the community banking industry. She will be greatly missed by our staff and our members, but we wish her all the best as she moves forward to this next chapter.”

Thomas’ expanded role reflects increasing responsibilities since joining ICBA in 2009 as regulatory counsel. In her new role she will oversee several ICBA regulatory policy priorities including, consumer financial services, compliance, cybersecurity, data security, privacy, the Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering, and fair lending.
Quick Links