March 20, 2019

In This Issue: 
Message From the President

By John Witkowski, President & CEO

Empire State of Mind: Attend the 1st Compliance Conference in NYC!

With positive feedback from our Compliance Conferences in Rochester and Troy last week, IBANYS is looking forward to expanding upon that success with our third Compliance Conference in New York City on April 9. The conference will be held at the offices of our partners, UHY Advisors NY, Inc. at 1185 Avenue of the Americas (38th Floor), New York, NY 10036. Attendees will gain insight into a variety of compliance trends, topics and challenges including:
  • Examination of the current regulatory climate for cyber security and monitoring risk
  • Recent federal and state regulatory changes 
  • Updates from FDIC New York Regional Director John Vogel and OCC Community Consumer Compliance Officer Sheila Sheck
  • Discussions on BSA/AML, Cybersecurity and CRA/Fair Lending led by NYS Department of Financial Services Deputy Superintendents Yolanda Ford and Brian Montgomery

Participants will also have the opportunity to earn up to 6 CPE credits as well as network with fellow banking colleagues. Don't miss these great events in one of the most exciting cities in the world!


But That's Not All...


IBANYS has a full calendar of events tailored to specific subjects such as bank management, security, lending and executive leadership. We also have our biggest event of the year, the 2019 Annual Convention, on June 10-12 at Turning Stone Casino & Resort in Verona, New York. Full information for these meetings can be found in today's newsletter and on our website. Be sure to save the dates and submit your registrations as soon as possible to secure your place.



Meet  With Our  New York Congressional Delegation
at the ICBA Capital Summit

We are six weeks away from the ICBA Capital Summit where New York community bankers will have the opportunity to join IBANYS' leadership and colleagues from throughout the state to advocate for our industry's top federal issues and priorities.


IBANYS will be scheduling important "hill visits" with members of the New York Congressional Delegation for Tuesday, April 30. New York has five members on the House Financial Services Committee, as well representatives on a number of other key committees. Our senior U.S. Senator, Chuck Schumer, is the Democratic Minority Leader of that chamber. It's important for our federal lawmakers to understand the key role local community banks play in New York's local and state economies, and learn our issues and priorities.


Prominent and intriguing government officials will also be speaking at the Summit such as FDIC Chairwoman Jelena McWilliams and U.S. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID), who led the successful fight for community bank regulatory relief in his S.2155 legislation. With such a wide assortment of speakers, excellent learning opportunities await to increase your knowledge about the current legislative environment and its impact on community banks. 


In addition to noteworthy speakers, full legislative and regulatory briefings will be provided, along with a Monday night (April 29) IBANYS dinner co-hosted by the Association and preferred partner Luse Gorman, P.C. With your help, we can present a strong, unified presence that community banking is essential to every community and our economy. IBANYS is putting a strong focus on our advocacy efforts, specifically in Washington as the legislative landscape continues to change. All voices matter. Register to attend with IBANYS today!


If there is someone at your bank who is not currently receiving the e-newsletter, send us their names and email addresses and we will add them to our list! Email  Linda Gregware or Natalie Rowan to add additional recipients or for more information. In addition, ensure everyone is following IBANYS on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date with all IBANYS news.
Follow IBANYS On Social Media!

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2019 Meetings

Get Ready For 2019 Annual Convention!Convention19




June 10-12, 2019


5218 Patrick Rd, Verona, NY 13478


Attend One of Our Educational Meetings! Meetings2019

Our 2019 Meeting dates and locations are now available! These educational conferences cover various subjects that are important within the community banking industry, spoken by the experts. T hey are also a great opportunity to network and earn CPE credits. Here is what we have planned for 2019:


April 2, 2019
145 Killbourn Road
Rochester, NY 14618

                           View Brochure                          View Registration Form

*This forum is limited to 15 participants

**This forum is for IBANYS member banks only

***This event is sold out



April 9, 2019
1185 Avenue of Americas, 38th Floor
New York, NY 10036

                            View Brochure                         View Registration Form

CPE Credits Available = 6

                           April 16, 2019                                     April 17, 2019
                    RIT Inn & Conference Center                    Hampton Inn Poughkeepsie
                       5257 W.  Henrietta Road                                   2361 South Rd.
                          Henrietta, NY 14467                            Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

                          View Brochure                          View Registration Form

CPE Credits Available = 7


                           May 7, 2019                                         May 8, 2019
                 RIT Inn & Conference Center                     Hampton Inn Poughkeepsie
                      5257 W. Henrietta Road                                   2361 South Rd.
                         Henrietta, NY 14467                              Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

                           View Brochure                              View Registration Form

CPE Credits Available  = 7



May 21-22, 2019
16 North Franklin Street
Watkins Glen, NY 14891

           View Brochure                               View Registration Form

CPE Credits Available  = 7


Banking Executive SymposiumBankExecSymposium

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

CPE Credits Available  = TBD


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 2019 Webinar is now available! The Independent Bankers Association of NYS (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


With Just 11 Days Until Budget Deadline,
Fault Lines Still Exist Between Governor & Leaders

From left to right: Andrew Stewart-Cousins, Governor Cuomo, & Carl Heastie

With 11 days left until the April 1 the state budget deadline, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins believed there was at least an agreement to have a budget done by the end of the month. However, Governor Cuomo stated  he would never agree to that. Yesterday, his position on budget negotiations was that was that t hings 'may be at the 5-yard line, but it's not a touchdown just yet.'  As IBANYS reported last week, " fault lines" developed among the Governor and legislative leadership. the Governor is still resisting efforts and proposals by the Assembly and Senate to increase spending, including for education and several other high profile social programs. He is also meeting resistance on his desire to keep the property tax cap, now set at 2 percent or the rate of inflation-whichever is lower - and make it permanent, which he says is "essential." 

The Governor has noted the state's revenue expectations have dropped $2.5 billion this year, with another $1.5 billion decline projected next year. He blames, in part, the federal tax plan that caps the deductibility of state and local taxes (SALT) on federal returns.  The Assembly has proposed an increase in the surtax on the state's highest earners (the so-called "millionaires tax," while Cuomo has proposed extending the temporary personal income tax top rate (now at 8.82 percent on high income earners) for another five years. ( Review the membership and schedule for the State Assembly and State Senate Joint General Budget Conference Committee and Subcommittees)

Meanwhile, the Governor said the budget will not include marijuana legalization, but hopes it can be approved later this session. Legislative supporters of legalizing marijuana remain publicly optimistic it can still be accomplished, but are p rivately concerned opponents have increased in numbers in recent weeks and made inroads to block the effort. The Governor  acknowledged critics had made "good points" that need to be addressed. Both chambers mostly agree on the major components of a legalization effort 
-- including a legislative role in who runs any future cannabis regulatory agency. However, legislative leaders and the Governor have disagreed on where the tax revenue should go. 

Two New Polls Reveal Voters' Views On Issues, Governor

A new Siena Poll released on Monday found a number of interesting views among the state's electorate.

  • 67% of New York voters - including 53% of Democrats - believe it is "getting harder" to do business in New York. 
  • Most voters (51% to 28%) believe the concerns of upstate New York are being ignored by state officials - with 73% of upstate voters expressing that view. 
  • Governor Cuomo's favorability rating remains "under water" at 46% to 48% - a slight improvement from the 43% to 50%  split last month.
  • There was broad support (59% to 25%) for the Governor's proposal to make the state's cap on property taxes a permanent measure 
  • More than half of voters (53%) back ending cash bail for those who face misdemeanor or non-violent felony charges
  • 53% also support the legalization of marijuana in New York (43% do not)
  • By a 67% to 21% margin, voters across the state believe the cancelled Amazon deal in Queens - which would have linked $3 billion in tax credits to up to 25,000 jobs --was a bad development for the state. Voters supported the plan by a 61% to 30% margin. A plurality (38%) place the blame for the failure on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Queens/Bronx).
Meanwhile, a Quinnipiac poll released this morning found: 
  • Governor Cuomo's job approval rating has improved to 50% for the first time in nearly a year (41% disapprove). U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who launched her presidential campaign this past weekend, has a 46 percent approval rating. 
  • Most voters (61% to 35 %) believe they can afford to live in New York, including 67% of upstate voters and 55 percent of New York City residents. 
  • Voters by a wide margin also back legalizing marijuana 65 percent to 32 percent. 
  • Other major issues in the budget received mixed results. Voters support ending cash bail by 45 % to 42% (Democrats by 57%to 30%.) 
  • As in the Siena survey, Quinnipiac's poll found support for bringing Amazon back to New York City.

State Legislative Activity 
  • S. 727, (Montgomery) would permit state and federal credit unions to participate in the State Business Development District Program. There is no companion bill yet in the Assembly. IBANYS is once again opposing this legislation, based on the fact that credit unions pay no income taxes to NYS and should not receive the benefits funded by taxpayer dollars. 
  • S. 1461 (Sanders) would allow credit unions to join the Excelsior Linked Deposit Program. IBANYS continues to oppose it this year, for reasons noted above on S.727. There is no Assembly companion bill as yet. 
  • S. 2106, (Sanders) would require banks to disclose negative consequences of establishing alternative payment schedule on a loan (e.g., due to renegotiation, default). For example, providing a disclosure that the transaction could have a negative consequence on their credit score. There is no companion bill in the Assembly. IBANYS is seeking modifications to the bill, such as restricting the application to consumer mortgages and consumer loans, not commercial loans, and perhaps inserting the disclosure as an add-on.
  • S.133 (Carlucci)/A.5635 (DenDekker), proposed at the request of State Attorney General James. It would expand current data breach notification areas to include biometric data, credit and debit cards, and emails with passwords/security questions. It includes a limited exemption for banks who notify of breaches (under the federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act) to avoid duplicate obligations.
  • Legislation sponsored by Sen. Gaughran (D-L/I.) to update the state's "zombie property" law has passed the State Senate. The bill would reduce from two years to one the time a city, town or village must wait before beginning the process to take ownership of an abandoned property.  The Assembly companion bill is sponsored by Assemblyman John McDonald D-Capital District).
  • S. 4182 (Salazar)/A.1800 (Magnarelli) would expand the current vacant and abandoned property requirements to include covering HOA/co-op fees. The legislation was on the floor in the Assembly this week, and on the Senate Housing Committee's agenda. 
  • A. 5610 (Weinstein)/S.2396 (Hoylman) which would allow for an arbitration ruling to be vacated where an arbitrator disregards the law, passed the Assembly this week. It has not yet moved in the Senate.
  • S. 2884A (Sanders)/A. 2611A (Dinowitz), which would prohibit the disclosure or use of consumer credit history in hiring, employment and licensing determinations, with an exemption for those required to utilize the credit histories for "licensing or permitting purposes," was reported out of the Senate Consumer Protection Committee. It has not yet moved in the Assembly.

The Assembly Banks Committee, chaired by Assemblyman Zebrowski (D-Rockland County) held a meeting "off the floor" Tuesday to consider two bills:

  • A02071C (Zebrowski) would require certain loan servicers to obtain a license from the Department of Financial Services and prohibit certain practices by servicers that could defraud or mislead borrowers. The bill was referred to the Assembly Codes Committee. There is no Senate companion bill as of yet.
  • A03408 (Zebrowski) (same as S. 02426) would amend the financial services law in relation to student debt consultants and set standards of practice for the student debt consulting industry in New York. The bill was referred to the Assembly Codes Committee.

Have You Reached Out To Your New State 
Legislators  Members Of Congress?ReachOutCongressRep

There are 39 new members of the State Legislature and 5 new members of the new York Congressional Delegation. IBANYS has provided lists of all the new State Senators, Assembly Members and Congressional Representatives, as well as talking points to help them understand and appreciate the importance of community banks to New York's state and local economies and communities (see below) as part of our   outreach program to all member banks and encouraged you to meet with your new members of the State Senate, State Assembly and New York Congressional Delegation. The program materials include:
  •  Talking points for your use in your meetings, emails and phone calls to introduce yourselves and to help inform them about New York's community banks.
Please contact your new state and federal lawmakers, then let us know the results by emailing  John Witkowski and Steve Rice 

Washington, D.C.WashingtonGR

ICBA & IBANYS: Submit Comments To Regulators On Exempting 
More Community Banks From Basel III Capital Rules

New York community bankers: Use ICBA's Be Heard grassroots action center to tell regulators that their proposed 9 percent community bank leverage ratio is too high. IBANYS joins ICBA in calling for an 8 percent CBRLR to include another roughly 600 highly capitalized community banks in the exemption. 

Last year's ICBA-advocated S. 2155 regulatory relief law requires the banking agencies to develop a CBLR of between 8 and 10 percent to exempt banks under $10 billion in assets from risk-based capital requirements. Take a few minutes to submit the pre-written comment from ICBA and add your personal experience/story to send a clear message to the banking agencies that this reform is needed.

Senate Banking Committee Hearings On GSE Reform

The Senate Banking Committee will hold two days of hearings March 26 - 27 on Chairman Crapo's most recent framework for housing finance reform. Among the witnesses slated to testify are Robert Broeksmit, President and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, and Vince Malta, President-elect of the National Association of Realtors. Additional witnesses who will be testifying will be made public in the near future.

ICBA's Romero Rainey To Community Bankers: Be Bold

Rebeca Romero Rainey at ICBA Live

In her remarks at ICBA's Annual Convention in Memphis, ICBA  President and CEO 
Rebeca Romero Rainey encouraged community bankers  to be bold in innovation, leadership and life, and called on community bankers to step out of their comfort zone while holding steadfast to the ideals that define community banking.   She  also pledged to continue ICBA's relentless advocacy following the recent introduction of the Community Focus 2020 platform while building bridges between community banks and fintech companies. 

ICBA Unveils "Community Focus 2020: The Community Bank Agenda for Expanding Economic Opportunity" ICBACommFocus2020

ICBA unveiled its new legislative and regulatory policy platform: " Community Focus 2020: The Community Bank Agenda for Expanding Economic Opportunity". The multifaceted agenda advocates common-sense reforms that will promote greater access to financial services and economic opportunity throughout local communities nationwide.

Community Focus 2020 includes policy prescriptions on the following issues areas:
  • Regulatory Relief: ensuring common-sense reforms that tier regulations to community banks' scale and risk profile, including capital standards and the bank exam environment, to better promote the flow of credit and economic opportunity for all individuals and families. 
  • More Competitive Landscape: Promoting a fair playing field between current providers of financial services, such as community banks, and new entrants in the marketplace while scrutinizing the taxpayer-subsidized advantages enjoyed by tax-exempt credit unions and Farm Credit System lenders.
  • Community Bank Innovation: Promoting financial innovation and collaboration with fintech companies as well as regulations that foster a level playing field across the financial sector.
  • Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering: Addressing outdated BSA/AML rules to make them more efficient and effective by raising the currency transaction report and suspicious activity report thresholds and ensuring that beneficial ownership information is collected and verified by either the IRS or other appropriate federal or state entities at the time a legal entity is formed.
  • Data Security, Fraud and Privacy: Advancing proper security and confidentiality of customer information and supporting equally strong safeguards for the many other entities that use and store consumer financial data.
  • Preserving Mortgage Lending: Supporting access to an open and robust secondary mortgage market, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are a source of capital for lenders of all sizes and are obligated to serve all markets at all times.
  • Tax Relief: Promoting tax and budget policies that foster economic growth and support the community banking sector by providing tax reforms and encouraging private savings and small business investment.
  • Industry Concentration and Systemic Risk: Advancing legislative and regulatory changes that would curb or end advantages enjoyed by too-big-to-fail banks while preserving the separation of banking and commerce to ensure unbiased credit decisions and avoid excessive market power.
  • Agriculture and Rural America: Advocating policies that will support rural America by strengthening community banks, which fund nearly 80 percent of all agricultural loans from the commercial bank sector.
  • Payments: Creating a legal and regulatory environment governing payments that does not discourage community banks from offering various payments services that best address consumer needs.
  • Cybersecurity: Supporting policies that broaden supervision of technology service providers while recognizing existing cybersecurity frameworks, tools, and assessments for community banks to avoid duplicative and counterproductive obligations.

Meet With the New York Congressional Delegation at the
ICBA Capital SummitICBACapSummit

The 2019 ICBA Capital Summit will be held April 28 - May 1 in Washington. Community bankers from around the nation will travel to Washington to meet with their Members of Congress in their offices "on the hill" and hear federal financial regulators to discuss key issues. We'll hear firsthand from financial and policy leaders, and work to influence the policy-making process. New York community bankers: Mark your calendars and save the dates. U.S. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, a champion of the S.2155 regulatory relief bill that provided the most comprehensive relief for community banks since Dodd-Frank's enactment in 2010, will be a featured speaker at the Capital Summit. as will the new FDIC Chair, Jelena McWilliams.

IBANYS will be scheduling meetings with members of the New York congressional delegation. With a Democratic House of Representatives, a new agenda in the House Financial Services Committee, five new Representatives from New York and six New Yorkers on the House Financial Services Committee, it is more important than ever to bring our New York community bankers' voices, priorities and stories to the forefront. Email John Witkowski or Steve Rice  to confirm your participation and indicate which Representatives with whom you would like us to arrange meetings with.  

Industry Trends & Updates

EGF Offers Reduced Interest Rate Loans for Veteran Business Owners

At Excelsior Growth Fund (EGF), veteran-owned small businesses can qualify for loans up to $250,000 at reduced interest rates. EGF loan advisors are experienced in lending to veteran entrepreneurs and will work one-on-one with them. Larger loans are also available through EGF's affiliate, the New York Business Development Corporation (NYBDC). 

Excelsior Growth Fund (EGF) helps businesses grow by providing streamlined access to business loans and advisory services. EGF is a nonprofit organization and is certified by U.S. Department of Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). As an affiliate of NewYork Business Development Corporation and The 504 Company, EGF can also facilitate access to a full suite of alternative financing products.


Member Bank Lake Shore Savings Wins 4-Wheeler from CSI

Congratulations to IBANYS member Dan Reininga, President & CEO of Lake Shore Savings Bank, who was the winner of a raffle drawing sponsored by CSI for a four-wheeler. Safe travels, Dan!


Breaking News:
Fed Leaves Rates Unchanged, 
Sees No More Hikes In 2019FedUpdate
At the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting today, the Federal Reserve not only decided not to raise interest rates, but the it currently holds its benchmark funds rate in a range of 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent. The Fed also indicated no more hikes will be coming this year.  In a unanimous move that coincides with market expectations and demands, the policymaking Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) took a sharp dovish turn from policy projections just three months earlier. 

In its post-meeting statement, the FOMC indicated it would remain "patient" before adopting any further increases.  Explaining its decision, the FOMC said economic activity "has slowed" even though the labor market remains "strong" despite February's weak 20,000 growth in non-farm payrolls. It noted: "... r ecent indicators point to slower growth of household spending and business fixed investment in the first quarter," a period during which GDP gains are expected to be modest," and added that i nflation also has "declined" due largely to a drop in energy prices.


CNBC's Fed Survey: Economic Growth To Slow

According to respondents to the March CNBC Fed Survey, economic growth in the United States is likely to slow sharply in 2019 and 2020, with weaker global growth and tariffs identified as the major reasons. The average forecast for gross domestic product growth this year is 2.3% - down from the 2.44% growth expected in the January survey, and a further slowing from the actual 3.1% year-over-year pace for the fourth quarter of 2018. Economic growth is seen dropping below 2 percent in 2020. 

Poll respondents expect fewer rate hikes by the fed, and a bigger balance sheet. 60% still see a rate hike this year, down from 78% in January; 14% now forecast a rate cut, and that number rises to 35% in 2020. They also saw the probability of a recession in the next 12 months rise to 26%, the third straight increase. 

In contrast, the Trump administration's budget forecasts continued economic growth at a rate of 3% or higher over the next five years; the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecasts 2.7% growth for this year, 1.9% for next year, and the Federal Reserve's forecast for long-run growth is also at about 2%.


White House Trumpets Nation's Economic Strength
Kevin Hassett (left) & Larry Kudlow (right)
For a different perspective, the President's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), chaired by Kevin Hassett, released the "Economic Report of the President" and fulfilled its charge of providing Congress with "timely and authoritative information concerning economic developments and economic trends" for the preceding year and, prospectively, for the years ahead. The report notes that in 2018, "for the second consecutive year, the U.S. economy outperformed expectations and broke from recent trends by a substantial margin." 

The document notes it demonstrates that a unified agenda of tax, regulatory, labor, healthcare, financial, and energy market reforms that enhance the role of market prices is a more efficient and effective approach to unleashing the growth potential of the U.S. economy. The report also states that the positive economic conditions were generally achieved by providing maximum scope for the efficiency of free enterprise and competitive market mechanisms, and ensuring that those mechanisms are operative in both domestic and global markets.


Vining Sparks & ICBA Securities Balance Sheet AcademyBalanceSheetAcademy

Registration is now open for Vining Sparks and ICBA Securities' Balance Sheet Academy seminar in Memphis, Tennessee from Monday, April 29 to Tuesday, April 30 2019. This  advanced seminar is designed to expose seasoned community bank portfolio and balance sheet managers to advanced products and concepts.  The objective is to enable the attendees to consistently outperform their peers. The dynamics of a community bank balance sheet require an investment professional to be versed in a wide range of topics.  Balance Sheet Academy  provides discussion and practical classroom exercises to equip the attendees for these demands. Examples of these topics include: 
  • Advanced interest rate risk management strategies;
  • Low cost funding strategies; and
  • Strategies for serving bank customers while managing interest rate risk.  
Attendees will learn how the changing economic data impacts market interest rates from Vining Sparks' Chief Economist. The Balance Sheet Academy is structured for more experienced investment managers, particularly those who have attended Bond Academy.  
It incorporates balance sheet strategies into the day-to-day management of an institution's investment portfolio, wholesale funding and interest rate risk management. Bank personnel with an intermediate level of understanding of investments who are integral to the investment and balance sheet management process will benefit the most from this advanced course. New directors serving on the investment or asset-liability committee will also find this course beneficial. 

Contact:  Kert Johnson,  SVP/Marketing at (901) 762-5340 or

Banking News

Congratulations to Community Bank, N.A.!CongratsCommBank

In a study  by Forbes, Community Bank System, Inc. was ranked third in the nation for financial performance - making it one of America's Best Banks! The Forbes study analyzed growth, asset quality, capital adequacy and profitability - a ll metrics related to being a good bank. IBANYS send our congratulations to President & CEO Mark Tryniski and his entire team! Read more about the accomplishment.


Further Your Education at Barret Graduate School of Banking BarretGradSchool

Barret and IBANYS are aligned with a common interest: to represent the interests of the industry through effective advocacy and high quality educational offerings.

Located in Memphis, TN, Barret Graduate School of Banking offers a comprehensive graduate learning program for professionals in the financial services field. IBANYS has established partnerships with key industry educators including the Barret Graduate School of Banking. The school provides community bankers with an opportunity for a graduate degree in banking. 

We are currently endorsed by ICBA, ICBA Securities, Arkansas Community Bankers, CBAofGA, Indiana Bankers Association, CBAofKS, MIBA, CBAofOH, CBAofWV - with a couple more on the way. 

To learn more about Barret Graduate School of Banking, please visit


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 at at (212) 430-4512. 

Spotlight Bank of the WeekSpotlightBank

If your financial institution is called a "savings bank," it has probably seen its fair share of history. The very notion of a savings bank is a relic from a time when banks were limited to one or two services. Although these regulations were repealed in the mid-1900s and banks could expand the services offered, many savings banks retained their original names in the interest of the community they served. Watertown Savings Bank is one such institution, where community has mattered for 125 years.

Watertown Savings Bank - 1893
In 1893, a small group of Watertown residents decided they would build a financial institution to benefit the community. This group, composed of prominent businessman and successful professionals in the area, was beginning to see Watertown flourish and recognized the need for a reliable local bank.

The bank was, and still is, structured as a mutual savings bank with a board of trustees and no stockholders. A brief look at the original list of trustees provides a snapshot of local commerce and politics around the turn of the century. Among the list are two paper manufacturers, a produce dealer, a former lieutenant governor, a city mayor and a local jeweler. The snapshot is
Watertown Savings Bank - 1921
brought more into focus with a look at the original operating hours. In addition to weekday hours, the bank was also open from 5:00 to 8:00 P.M. on Saturdays. This was done to accommodate the mill workers and factory employees, who could only make it to the bank on Saturday  
evenings after a six-day workweek.

The formative years of Watertown Savings Bank were proving fruitful, so much so that the bank moved into a new space in 1921. The new location, four times the size of the original office, was located at the top of Public Square and provided a hub for the hard-working local customer base. At this time, after only 28 years of operation, the bank had seen a growth of over $4 million in assets. Profits only increased in the decades to follow.

In 1959, the bank was once again in need of a larger facility and purchased two
Watertown Savings Bank - 1960
properties to facilitate the construction of a new office building. The new office opened a year later with 30 employees and $32 million in assets. A handful of our current employees started out at this now razed building, and they stayed because the bank cares as much about its employees as it does its customers.

Quality customer service is at the heart of what Watertown Savings Bank stands for and it is the reason customers continue to visit our branches. Bank President & CEO Mark R. Lavarnway said, "we have found that providing the highest level of personalized and community support offers many benefits which are often superior to our competitors. We understand our local economy and the diverse banking needs of our community."

This year, Watertown Savings Bank celebrates 125 years of service in the North Country. With 125 employees, $660 million in assets and a total of nine branches in
Watertown Savings Bank - 2018
Jefferson County, the bank built to serve the Watertown community is still thriving. It currently retains the largest deposit market share in the county and has been recognized as the top mortgage and commercial lender. The Bank's accomplishments do not stop at the county level either. It has been awarded the Top SBA Small Community Lender six times. Last year, Banking New York magazine named Watertown Savings Bank as the Top Community Supporter in New York State. In 2017 alone, we proudly donated over $335,000 to local non-profits and charitable organizations.

Our name and our mission have stayed the same since 1893. The nature of the banking industry demands that a bank evolve and adapt to stay relevant, but this is no small feat. Evolve too much and you risk losing your loyal customers, fail to adapt and you lose your ability to form new customer relationships. Watertown Savings Bank has found the right balance. Mr. Lavarnway points out "We have evolved with the times in terms of products and services, but we have maintained that same culture of local management, local decisions, and local support." An emphasis on local support is the reason we opened our doors 125 years ago and it is the reason they are still open today.

To learn more about Watertown Savings Bank and its products and services, please visit


About Spotlight Bank of the Week

Spotlight Bank of the Week is a new feature that we have added to our website and e-newsletter. It is an opportunity to promote anything about your organization, such as fun facts, organization news, special events, etc. The Spotlight Bank of the Week will be featured on our homepage slider, e-newsletter, and our social media platforms for one week. So don't miss out on this exceptional opportunity to showcase your bank to thousands of people!

View banks that have been featured as our Spotlight in the past!

To apply, just fill out our registration form and email it to Natalie Rowan at

IBANYS Spotlight Is On...

Every so often, a new technology emerges that goes above and beyond customer and employee expectations.
With a growing number of borrowing and technology options available to customers, how do community financial institutions stay competitive? What happens when the convenience of technology replaces personal relationships? Or, when information is so readily available that customers are empowered to make more educated decisions without expert advice?

Vetter is a digital loan platform built specifically for community banks, in partnership with a couple of NYS banks. The Vetter platform is a combination of a loan-type agnostic online loan application along with a management workspace that allows the bank to generate fee income on all loans, collect updated financials from borrowers automatically, enhance the customer experience and stay compliant. Vetter delivers everything you need to streamline your processes and provide an outstanding loan experience to your customers while staying compliant.

There's a whole world of customers out there, leverage Vetter's proprietary database of 200 million people and 40 million businesses coupled with sophisticated data analytics to target specific prospective customers that are most relevant for your existing suite of products at the most appropriate time in their life. Expands your geographic footprint of satisfied customers and attracts next generation entrepreneurs.

For information, visit Or, Contact Bryan Adler: 

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  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. 

Did You Know?

. . .That United States Senators used to be elected by state legislatures, not by the public? That was the case until 1913, when  the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution established the popular election of United States Senators by the people of the states. It was  proposed by the 62nd Congress in 1912 and became part of the Constitution on April 8, 1913 upon ratification by three-fourths (at that time, 36) of the state legislatures. 

Sitting Senators were not affected until their existing terms expired, so the Amendment took six years to fully implement. It was finally complete on 4 March 1919 when the Senators elected in the General Election of November 1918 took office.

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