July 31, 2019

In This Issue: 
Message From The President

By John Witkowski, President & CEO

CFO's and senior management teams are often confronted daily with situations that require not only their expertise, but effective tools and techniques that are critical to bottom-line performance. Gain insight into these various methods and current issues by attending IBANYS' Banking Executive Symposium on September 9-11! It is our final major conference of the year and will be held at the picturesque 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel in Clayton, New York. This noteworthy meeting is specifically tailored to: 
  • Chief Executive Officers
  • Chief Financial Officers
  • Chief Operating Officers
  • Presidents & Senior Managers
  • Bank Directors & ALCO Teams
The Symposium will provide strategic insights and industry updates to help guide senior management teams to future success. Topics to be covered include Achieving Next-Level Performance, Cybersecurity, The Why & How of Profitability Improvement, Avoiding Legal Pitfalls From Your Website, Sifiting Through CECL, and more! 

Plus,  IBANYS has been authorized by the New York State Department of Education to award up to 12 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits to participants. There are also various sponsorships available.  Sponsoring an event demonstrates your support for community banking, in addition to enhancing the visibility of your organization to attendees. 

Full details can be found in the Banking Executive Symposium brochure , as well as on our website Please note that there is a hotel room cutoff date on Friday, August 16,  after which we cannot guarantee the room rate. Hotel reservations can be made by calling the hotel directly at (315) 686-1100 and referring to the Independent Bankers Association of New York State. 

Don't miss out on our last event of the year on the scenic St. Lawrence River. Endless networking and educational opportunities await, so reserve your room and send us your registration form today!


It's August- Time To Meet With Your Legislators!

In 2019, the banking industry learned that the new political environment in Albany and Washington produced a very different legislative and agenda. The new Democratic majority in the New York State Senate resulted in a number of initiatives that impacted banks and business -- many of which would likely never have been approved in previous years. 

Many of the leaders and newer members of the Senate and Assembly, in addition to their respective Banks Committees,  do not have longstanding relationships with community banks. The same is true in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

IBANYS has consistently urged New York community bankers to reach out to local state and federal legislators to build and strengthen relationships, and more fully explain the role and importance of our institutions to local and state economies and social fabrics. 

August is the perfect time to do that. Congress is out on recess and back in their districts until after Labor Day, and the State Legislature is adjourned until January. The time is now to call, email, arrange meetings, and invite representatives to visit your banks. 

Here are some talking points on community banking for your use  when meeting with your local members of the Congress and State Legislature. Please keep us advised on who you meet with, and how the discussions went.

As part of our ongoing outreach, I recently met with DFS Superintendent Linda Lacewell to continue our dialogue on the importance of community banks in New York State.  During our meeting, she noted the Department's focus on innovation and fintech. Hence, the announcement last week of a new DFS  division to address those areas. We have more about that later in today's newsletter. 

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2019 Meetings

Banking Executive SymposiumBankExecSymposium

September 9-11, 2019
200 Riverside Drive
Clayton, NY 13624

CPE Credits Available  = 12

Hotel Information

Village View - $169
River View - $189
River View with Balcony - $209


After this date, we cannot guarantee room rate.

Reservations can be made by calling the hotel directly at (315) 686-1100 and refer to the Independent Bankers Association of NY. 


Of course, you also won't want to miss our full calendar of our IBANYS webinars on a wide range of operational, governance and strategic issues. 

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

Have you reviewed our 2019 Webinar Calendar? 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. Even better, each 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 has added more than 140 webinars to the IBANYS webinar calendar, covering all the essential topics. Start the new year off right by gaining the knowledge and tools to make 2019 the best year yet! 

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

Government Relations


The New York State Legislature is adjourned for the year, and will not return to Albany until January, 2020.  IBANYS' Government Relations Committee will be developing policies and positions regarding our 2020 state legislative program .


IBANYS Monitoring Bills Headed To Governor Cuomo's Desk

IBANYS' Government Relations Committee and Board of Directors recently held a conference call to discuss strategies on how to proceed on the list of bills of interest to community banks that were passed by both the State Senate and Assembly this past legislative session and may now be sent to Governor Cuomo for his signature or veto. View the list of bills discussed.  

In addition, they include legislation related to credit unions, foreclosure/"zombie" properties and CRA. IBANYS' President & CEO John Witkowski, Legislative Counsel Bill Crowell and Government Relations Director Steve Rice reviewed the list of bills. Note: Bill Crowell will be at our September Banking Executive Symposium in Clayton, New York to provide an update on the 2019 session and a preview of what likely awaits in 2020.

Recent Actions By The Governor

  • Governor Cuomo last week signed the "Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security (SHIELD) Act," (A.5635B, DenDekker/S.5575B, Thomas). A top priority of Attorney General James, it expands the definition of data breach, updates state laws involving notification requirements and consumer data protection obligations, and expands the Attorney General's oversight on data breaches impacting New York consumers. It includes a limited exemption for banks who notify of breaches under the federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act to avoid duplicate obligations. The bill takes effect 90 days after his signature.
  • The Governor also signed legislation to decriminalize marijuana. Possessing small amounts of marijuana will no longer appear on someone's criminal record in the state, and past offenders could have any record of that crime erased. The new law takes effect in late August, and will reduce the charge for possessing less than two ounces of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a violation and lower fines that come with it.

New DFS Division Focuses On Research & Innovation

State Financial Services Superintendent Lacewell announced the creation of the Research and Innovation Division at DFS. The new Division will be headed up by Executive Deputy Superintendent Matthew Homer; Deputy Superintendents Matthew Siegel and Olivia Bumgardner, and Counsel Andrew Lucas. The newly created division will have responsibility for licensing and supervision of virtual currencies; identifying and protecting consumer data rights, and encouraging innovations in the financial services marketplace. 

Cuomo In Chairs Of National Governors Association

Photo Credit:  nga.org
Governor Cuomo was elected vice chairman of the National Governors Association (NGA) last week, taking on a more prominent national profile with the bipartisan organization.  He is in line to chair the association in 2020, an even more prominent presence in a presidential election year. The newly elected NGA Chairman  for the current year is Republican Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland.  In a speech at the NGA's summer meeting in Salt Lake City, Cuomo said governors and state governments are being looked to with Washington in a "state of political paralysis. . . We have to keep the lights on, we have to balance a budget, and we to respond to daily needs. Governors cannot filibuster to solve opioid epidemic.  We cannot take a recess to educate a child. And we can't rely on a parliamentary point of order top build the road. Governors must deliver."

Washington, D.C.WashingtonGR

Washington Winding Down For August Recess

This week in Washington, the U.S. Senate is the only entity in town. The House has left for its annual summer recess, and is not expected to return until after Labor Day. The Senate continues to work on a budget agreement before also adjourning for the month of August. The Senate Banking Committee also held a hearing  on regulatory frameworks for digital currencies and blockchain.

Senate Banking Committee GOP To Agencies: 
Act On Community Bank ReliefSenateBankingtoGOPRegRelief

In a joint letter to federal regulators, Republican members of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee led by Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID), urged the agencies to advance several pro-community bank policies, including unfinished measures from the S. 2155 regulatory relief law.  The letter   urged the agencies to advance several initiatives strongly advocated by ICBA and IBANYS, including:
  • Implementing an 8% Community Bank Leverage Ratio to maximize the community bank exemption from risk-based capital rules,
  • Expanding on the limited relief provided under their final rule implementing a short-form call report for many community banks, and
  • Further offsetting the potential negative effects of the Current Expected Credit Loss accounting standard on bank lending.
ICBA continues working closely with Congress and the regulators to maximize and expand on the community bank regulatory relief policies of S. 2155.

ICBA To NCUA: Implement Risk Based Capital Rules Now, Not Later

ICBA says the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) should  implement its risk-based capital rules now, and opposes the agency's proposed delay in the effective date for tax-exempt credit unions. (The NCUA seeks to delay the effective date of the final rules issued in late 2015 until 2022.)  ICBA advocated regulatory capital standards on par with community banks, so credit unions do not expose taxpayers to needless financial risks as a backstop to the Share Insurance Fund. ICBA agrees with NCUA board member Todd Harper, who voted against the agency's proposed delay due to its risks.

Meanwhile, New York community banks can use ICBA's "Be Heard" grassroots action center   to urge Congress to investigate the trend of large credit unions buying up community banks. ICBA is also encouraging community bankers to send in examples of egregious credit union actions to  exposingcreditunions@icba.org  and to use ICBA's  customizable op-ed  to raise awareness of the acquisition trend.

Latest On Faster Fed Payments: Please Comment 

ICBA continues urging community bankers to support Federal Reserve involvement in real-time payments. ICBA is sponsoring this week's "Politico Morning Money" newsletter, and recently ran ads   in "Politico" and "The Hill" urging policymakers to stop the megabank monopoly on real-time payments. 

ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey wrote to Federal Reserve Chairman Powell - and penned an op-ed - noting the Fed is uniquely positioned to provide equitable access to real-time payments.  IBANYS members can  use ICBA's "Be Heard" grassroots action center to tell your  local  members of Congress   and New York   Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams why the agency should operate a Real-Time Gross Settlement service.  ICBA said Fed involvement in real-time payments would provide safety, integrity, continuity and equitable access to all financial institutions.

Other Notes From D.C.
  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has proposed a measure to roll back a post-crisis regulation that makes it possible for homebuyers with high debt compared to income to obtain a mortgage. The temporary measure, which expires at the beginning of 2021 and made the government responsible for $260 billion in mortgages last year, could be replaced with a tougher regulation as the Trump administration seeks to return Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to private ownership.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said federal  regulators will likely issue new cryptocurrency rules  as they consider Facebook Inc.'s launch of its planned digital currency Libra. He indicated regulators (which could include the SEC and Commodity Futures Trading Commission) will "have a unified approach."

Industry Trends & Updates

Fed Cuts Benchmark Rate By A Quarter Point FedCutsInterestRates

The Federal Reserve today lowered its benchmark rate by a quarter-point as an insurance policy - not against what's wrong with the economy now, but what could go wrong in the future. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) dropped the target range for its overnight lending rate to 2% to 2.25% (25 basis points from the previous level). It cited "implications of global developments for the economic outlook as well as muted inflation pressures," called the current state of growth "moderate" and the labor market "strong," but decided to loosen policy anyway. The Fed also left the door open to future cuts, saying it will "act as appropriate to sustain the expansion" as it continues to evaluate the incoming data.


Hemp Headaches?

With many states beginning to legalize marijuana (New York decriminalized it this week), and with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the hemp industry has begun to bloom as various states are already issuing licenses for growers, processors and distributers. In an  article entitled "Hemp Headaches," Compliance Anchor's  Nancy Lake and  Kevin Martin  look at the current situation, and examine  what financial institutions should be considering. 


Another Major Data Breach -- This One At Capital OneCapitalOneDataBreach

A hacker accessed the personal information of nearly 106 million credit card customers and applicants from Capital One Financial Corp. The hacker, a former Amazon web services employee, was arrested. She is reportedly accused of breaching a firewall and accessing the lender's customer data stored on Amazon.com Inc.'s cloud service. Roughly 140,000 Social Security numbers and 80,000 linked bank account numbers were compromised. 

New York State Attorney General Letitia James plans to investigate the Capital One data breach, and to make sure New Yorkers caught up in the breach are given relief. She stated: "It is becoming far too commonplace that financial institutions are susceptible to hacks, begging the questions: Why do these breaches continue to take place? And are companies doing enough to prevent future data breaches?" 


Latest On Website Accessibility Law Suits

In a small but potentially important victory for defendants facing website accessibility lawsuits, the Fourth Circuit has issued two decisions upholding dismissal of lawsuits for lack of standing with a well-reasoned analysis that can be applied to the defense of other lawsuits. The Court said inability to get information from a website - without more - is not enough to establish standing to sue. 

The blind plaintiff in Griffin v. Dept. of Labor Credit Union sued the credit union under Title III of the ADA alleging its website was not accessible to him through his screen reader software. Reviewing the district court's dismissal of the case for lack of standing, the Fourth Circuit held that the plaintiff did not have standing to bring his claim because he had not suffered an injury in fact and was not facing an imminent injury in the future."


CFPB, New York AG Settle with Debt Collector

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the New York Attorney General's office filed proposed settlements with several debt collectors that operated together in Buffalo, N.Y. The debt collectors would be banned from the industry and required to pay penalties for collecting and inflating consumer debts and using illegal tactics to collect.

The Economy By The Numbers
  • While the Federal Reserve cut interest rates this week for the first time since 2008, but the biggest source of debt for U.S. consumers-mortgages-has been getting cheaper since late last year. Mortgage rates have fallen recently to the lowest levels since late 2016, tracking a broader slide in U.S. Treasury yields. The average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.75% last week, down from 4.94% in November, according to Freddie Mac. Former Fed Chairwoman Yellen endorses a quarter-percentage-point cut, because of worries over global growth and low inflation. 
  • Last week's Commerce Department's report on the strength of the economy showed the U.S. economy slowed in the spring. The economy grew at a 2.1% annual rate in the second quarter, down from the first quarter's 3.1% pace. Gross domestic product expanded 2.5% on a fourth-quarter-over-fourth-quarter basis last year, and 2.9% from the prior year. The Trump administration has long forecast 3% GDP growth in 2018. The President blamed the Federal Reserve for the decline from 3.1% growth in the first quarter, comparing the Fed to an "anchor wrapped around our neck."
  • The gross domestic product (GDP) increased 2.1% in the second quarter, according to the Commerce Department's   advance estimate. The GDP rose 3.1% during the first quarter, though Commerce downwardly revised the 2018 gain to 2.9%. Its second estimate for the second quarter is slated to be released Aug. 29.
  • Borrowing by the federal government is set to top $1 trillion for the second year in a row. The Treasury Department expects to issue $814 billion in net marketable debt in the second half of this calendar year, bringing total debt issuance to $1.23 trillion in 2019.  

The Bond Academy
Learn Bond Basics with your Peers!

When: October 21, 2019

Where: Embassy Suites
1022 S. Shady Grove Road
Memphis, TN  38120

The Bond Academy is designed to provide community bankers with the basic knowledge needed to help plan and create effective investment portfolios.  A high performance investment portfolio can provide a noticeable increase to your bank's bottom line. The learning objectives of Bond Academy are aimed at providing you with the tools to understand how debt instruments work and their overall role in complementing the entire balance sheet.  This all new curriculum has been specifically designed to equip a new portfolio manager with basic portfolio management issues. Specifically, fundamentals of bond pricing, valuation, and selection will be covered extensively.  You'll learn the basics of the bank portfolio investment process. There is also an opportunity to earn up to 12 CPE credits!

Who Should Attend?

CPAs and those new to their roles as investment officers, cashiers, controllers, and internal control professionals will benefit the most from Bond Academy. New directors serving on the investment or asset-liability committee will also find this course beneficial. No advance preparation is necessary.

You Will Learn:
  • Bond basics, including bond pricing, duration, and price volatility
  • Bond types, including agencies, municipals, mortgage securities, and floating rate instruments
  • The composition of a high performing portfolio
  • How to understand the rate market: yield curves, spreads, monetary policy
  • How economic data affects the bond market
  • The impact of interest rate risk on portfolio management
  • Portfolio strategies of laddering, barbells, riding the yield curve
  • Day-to-day portfolio management techniques
  • Evaluating investment portfolio performance

  • ICBA Members - $595 / session
  • Nonmembers - $695 / session
  • Members & Non-Members: Save $150/session for each additional registration from your bank.

Banking News

Gold Coast Bancorp Acquired By Investors BancorpGoldCoastAcquired

Investors Bancorp in Short Hills, N.J., has agreed to buy Gold Coast Bancorp in Islandia, N.Y.  The $27.6 billion-asset Investors will pay $63.6 million in cash and stock for the $563 million-asset Gold Coast. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020.  Gold Coast has seven branches, $463 million in loans and $486 million in deposits. In addition to its Islandia headquarters, Gold Coast has branches in Huntington, East Setauket, Farmingdale, Mineola, Southampton and Brooklyn. Gold Coast's EVP, CFO & Corporate Secretary Cathy Califano has served with distinction as IBANYS' CFO Peer Group.


Keep The Door Open For 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 bryan.doxford@excelsiorgrowthfund.org at at (212) 430-4512.

IBANYS Spotlight Is On...

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. 

QwickRate originated non-brokered CD funding in 1986. Since then they have created an entire array of additional products, services and tools to help community banks become more efficient - at funding, analytics and research, surpassing examiner expectations, and more! 

For details, contact Senior Account Representative Melissa Wallace 

Phone: (800) 286-8626

IBANYS Endorsed Services
IBANYS identifies offers products and services that provide value to your banks, companies, employees communities. These brief summaries provide links for information. Please contact IBANYS President John Witkowski with questions.

Health & Wellness

My Wellness Resource & TELADOC

The health and wellness landscape continues to evolve. "My Wellness Resource" can be a nice addition to your existing benefit package. 

Teladoc can save your banks time and money, and provide real value to your employees as this testimonial from a New York community bank CEO proves:
"I wanted to let you know that some of our employees and I have been using "Teladoc" and it is one of the best things we have done for the bank. We all love it: We are saving time, avoiding waiting in an urgent care center or a doctor's waiting room for non-emergency related illnesses . . .and it is easy to use and convenient. Once you use it, you are hooked! This was a great find! Would recommend it to all banks."

Mario Martinez 
Chairman & CEO
Catskill Hudson Bank

Contact Alan Justin: (716) 907-5500. 

"Cure the Blue" Helps Banking Industry Battle Prostate Cancer!

The "Cure the Blue" program sponsored by the Buffalo Bills Alumni Foundation allows New Yorkers to participate in one of the most comprehensive efforts to help promote prostate cancer awareness and research in the United States.  Lake Shore Savings Bank has provided prostate cancer literature and Cure the Blue information at all eleven of its branches and their headquarters in Dunkirk. The bank also offered Cure the Blue ceramic lapel ribbon pins for a $5.00 donations to Cure the Blue to all their customers. "We fully understand the severity of this disease and the devastating effect it can have on families" said Lake Shore Savings Bank President and CEO Dan Reininga. "Our support of the Buffalo Bills Alumni Foundation's "Cure the Blue" initiative is something that we are taking very seriously and are proud to support." Buffalo Bills Wall of Famer and Alumni Foundation President Booker Edgerson, a two time prostate cancer survivor, said the bank has been a tremendous longtime supporter, noting: "They have really stepped up to the plate with their unwavering support of our Cure the Blue initiative." 

IBANYS urges all of our member banks, associate members and allies to join the effort. Cure the Blue" raises funds and awareness regarding prostate cancer in New York State. Visit  curetheblue.com  to get involved! Of all new cancer cases in the nation, prostate cancer represents 9.6%. In 2017, there were an estimated 161,000 new cases, and more than 26,000 fatalities due to the disease. Support IBANYS' "Cure the Blue" campaign to help New Yorkers participate to promote prostate cancer awareness and research.

Secure, Enhanced Internet Presence

The .bank program by fTLD operates trusted, verified, more secure, easily-identifiable internet locations for financial companies and  customers. www.icba.org 

Did You Know?

. . .That checks are said to have first been used in the United States in 1681, when cash-strapped businessmen in Boston mortgaged their land to a "fund" against which they could write checks. The first printed checks are traced to 1762 England banker Lawrence Childs. The world "check" also may have originated in 1700s England, when serial numbers were placed on these pieces of paper as a way to keep track of the, or "check" on them.

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

Natalie Rowan
Marketing & Social Media Assistant