March 27, 2019

In This Issue: 
Message From the President

By John Witkowski, President & CEO

IBANYS 2019 Meetings: The Best Is Yet To Come

Fresh spring air brings a sense of motivation and renewal and IBANYS is prepared for our busiest and most exciting month yet. Four important conferences will take place in April, beginning with the CEO Forum in Rochester, NY on Tuesday, April 2. The forum is for IBANYS member CEOs only and provides an informal, open-ended roundtable discussion on important and relevant topics selected by the attendees. 

The following Tuesday (April 9) IBANYS will be holding our third Compliance Conference in New York City at the offices of our partners, UHY Advisors NY, Inc. at 1185 Avenue of the Americas (38th Floor), New York, NY 10036. IBANYS is excited to expand this conference favorite into the downstate and New York City areas to help community bankers gain insight into a variety of compliance trends, topics and challenges such as the current regulatory climate for cyber security and monitoring risk, recent federal/state regulatory changes, updates directly from FDIC (FDIC New York Regional Director John Vogel) and OCC (OCC Community Consumer Compliance Officer Sheila Sheck), and more. There is also an opportunity to earn 6 CPE credits and network with fellow community bankers. 

The annual Directors Conferences will be held next, beginning on April 16 in Rochester at the RIT Inn & Conference Center. The April 17 conference will be held at our NEW location in Poughkeepsie, NY at the Hampton Inn Poughkeepsie. These sessions will examine issues such as ERM and role of the board, hot topics for audit committees in 2019, the loan committee's role in underwriting & CECL preparation, among others.

Finally, IBANYS will be attending ICBA's Capital Summit on April 28 - May 1 where we will meet with members of the New York Congressional Delegation, as well as hear from Senate Banking Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and FDIC Chairwoman Jelena McWilliams. This is a valuable once-a-year opportunity to meet with your local Representatives and fellow New Yorkers who serve on key committees, such as the House Financial Services Committee. Please plan to join us as important days to attend are Monday, April 29 (IBANYS dinner) and Tuesday, April 30 (congressional visits on the hill).

Brochures and registration are also now open for our Security Conferences and Lending Conference in May. Full information can be found on our website, as well as details for the Banking Executive Symposium in September.

Lastly, our biggest event of 2019 will be our Annual Convention June 10-12 at Turning Stone Casino & Resort in Verona, New York. Full information, including sponsorship and exhibitor info, are included 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.



Welcome to our newest associate member, La Macchia Group! La Macchia Group is a comprehensive consulting and design-build firm. Their capable, experienced team provides thorough due diligence, strategic site selection, compelling design and rigorous project management. Their highly specialized experts create financial institutions that are brand-centered facilities tailored to meet La Macchia Group's clients' needs and exceed their expectations.


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

In just one month, we need you to join us in Washington, D.C. at 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 is lining up congressional meetings with members of the New York Congressional Delegation for Tuesday, April 30.  We need your presence and your voice to demonstrate to our federal lawmakers how community banks are vitally important to New York's economy and social fabric. . .and, advocate for our industry's priority issues. In addition to these key "hill visits" we will hear from  a wide assortment of speakers from the regulatory and legislative arenas. Join us Monday night, April 30 for our IBANYS dinner, featuring a briefing on the next day's activities and issues -- co-hosted by IBANYS' preferred partner Luse Gorman, P.C.  Register to attend at . .then, email us the names of the Representatives with whom you'd like to meet. 


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!

 Connect With Us Today!

 Facebook: @ibanys1 | Twitter: @ibanys1

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2019 Meetings

Get Ready For 2019 Annual Convention!Convention19




June 10-12, 2019


5218 Patrick Rd, Verona, NY 13478

                                    Brochure                    Registration Form


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


State Budget Countdown On:
Only Four Days Until New Fiscal Year Begins 

This Sunday marks the deadline for the enactment of the 2019-20 State Budget. The Governor and the Legislature have just four days  to come to an agreement before the start of the state's new fiscal year on April 1.  Despite posturing over issues such as campaign finance law changes and education spending, there are reports that negotiations have been progressing over the past several days towards an agreement on a $175 billion budget deal. Frameworks appear to be falling into place. 

Legislators approved the first and least controversial piece of the state budget on Tuesday afternoon, the Debt Services appropriations bill, which guarantees the state of New York is going to pay its debt. While there were no definitive signs of an imminent broader agreement, there is optimism the budget will completed by the Sunday deadline. I f the budget is adopted after March 31, a promised $10,000 legislative pay raise won't go into effect next year. What is still unresolved is how much money the state will spend on education and healthcare. Among the issues still in the negotiations:
  • Mass transit funding: Additional funds for bolstering the New York City subway system to raise capital and boost improvements. The Governor has suggested various methods of raising capital to improve the New York City subway system. They include capturing sales tax revenue from out-of-state online purchases and the sales tax revenue gained from legalizing marijuana; (The marijuana legislation appears to be off the table for the budget, caught up in complications including how to regulate.) He has also proposed a property tax surcharge on non-primary residences worth more than $5 million. Another complication: Legislators from outside of New York City want something for their districts and regions as well, such as equity in bolstering local roads and bridges. 
  • Property tax relief: The Governor and six Long Island Democratic Senators said they would not back a budget deal without an agreement for a permanent cap on property tax increases. Democrats in the Senate are trying to engineer their own property tax relief for Nassau County amid a tax re-assessment designed to soften the blow of any tax hike resulting from the move.
  • Pied-à-terre tax: Governor Cuomo and state legislative leaders are reportedly backing away from an annual pied-à-terre tax on properties owned by non-New York City residents, and are moving toward a one-time transfer tax on all high-priced real estate sales.
  • Criminal justice law changes: The debate continues over ending cash bail. Legislators had hoped for a deal outside of the budget on the criminal justice law changes, but it appears much of it is getting swept into the budget.
  • Education spending: The Governor is resisting increasing education spending by more than $1 billion in direct aid to schools in New York. However, a group of new legislators (especially new Senate Democrats) successfully ran on the issue last year and are strongly advocating for the increased spending.
  • Guarding against recession: The Governor has re-asserted his advocacy for tighter purse strings, and Comptroller DiNapoli has urged that the budget should add more money to a "rainy day fund" in the budget (which the Governor agrees). He has noted the state's revenue expectations have dropped $2.5 billion this year, with another $1.5 billion decline projected next year. 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.

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. 
  • S. 2106A (Sanders)/A. 4618 (Wright) requires banks to disclose negative consequences of establishing alternative payment schedule on a loan (e.g., due to renegotiation, default) has passed the State Senate. For example, providing a disclosure that the transaction could have a negative consequence on their credit score. 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, 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.
  • S. 1864 (Gaughran)/A. 4403 (McDonald), which would update the state's "zombie property" law, has passed the State Senate and been reported by the Assembly Real Property Tax Committee. 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.   
  • 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 has reported the following 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

Trump To Nominate Powell Critic Stephen Moore To Fed; 
Will Herman Cain Follow?

Stephen Moore
President Trump plans to nominate Stephen Moore to serve on the Federal Reserve Board. Moore is a fellow with the Heritage Foundation, founding president of the Club for Growth, former member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board, and co-author of "Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive Our Economy." 

A  CNN contributor, he criticized the Fed's "easy-money" policies during the financial crisis, arguing that low interest rates and stimulus programs would spur inflation. At the time of the December 2018 rate hike, Moore said Fed Chairman Powell was "totally incompetent" and called for his resignation. He has since regretted the "harsh" tone of his criticism of Powell.  There are currently two open positions on the Fed's Board of Governors, and there have been press reports that the President is also considering nominating businessman Hermain Cain, a former Kansas City Fed Chairman who ran unsuccessfully for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012.

Tell The Regulators: Exempt More Community Banks 
From Basel III Capital Rules

ICBA and IBANYS continue to encouraging community banks to submit comment letters urging regulators to exempt more community banks from the Basel III capital rules. Community bankers can use ICBA's Be Heard grassroots action center to tell regulators that their proposed 9 percent community bank leverage ratio is too high and to call for an 8 percent CBLR.  Community bankers can also plan to continue our grassroots advocacy on a variety of pressing federal issues at next month's ICBA Capital Summit in Washington.

Rep. Serrano Won't Seek Re-election

Jose Serrano

Rep. Jose Serrano (D-Bronx), one of New York State's most senior members of Congress, announced he will not seek re-election in 2020 after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Congressman Serrano was first elected to the House in 1990, is the longest-serving Hispanic-American in the House. He is a longtime member of the House Appropriations Committee and chairs its subcommittee on commerce, justice, science and related agencies. He plans to serve out the remainder of his current term.

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.

Other Significant Updates:
  • The FDIC board of directors will meet Friday to discuss a proposal to revise regulatory capital rules on large banks, and to discuss notices of proposed rulemakings on timely deposit insurance record keeping and joint deposit accounts.
  • The House Financial Services Committee continues to mark-up legislation the SAFE Banking Act (H.R. 1595) to help enable banks to serve cannabis-related businesses. ICBA supports the initiative and advocated for it in recent testimony. It would establish a safe harbor from federal sanctions for financial institutions and ancillary companies that serve cannabis-related businesses in states where cannabis is legal. ICBA's Paul Merski told "The American Banker" that the Act "is a very direct and helpful first step in ensuring banks are not punished by banking cannabis-related businesses when it is legal in the state." 
  • The House Financial Services Committee will meet next week on the Fair Housing Act and the affordable housing crisis in rural America. In a recently released hearing schedule, the panel said it is also planning upcoming hearings on the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and holding megabanks accountable.
  • The Senate Banking Committee held hearings yesterday and today on Chairman Crapo's outline for housing-finance reform. Among other things, the proposal would turn Fannie and Freddie into private mortgage guarantors competing with other private guarantors, while allowing for Ginnie Mae to provide a government backstop. ICBA submitted testimony saying the recapitalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac cannot wait for Congress to act on housing-finance reform, and that the Treasury Department and Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) should end the sweep of the government-sponsored enterprises' earnings and require them to begin recapitalizing. ICBA also urged policymakers to 1) avoid further consolidation of the mortgage industry, 2) ensure fair access to the secondary market, and 3) focus reforms only on aspects of the current system that are not working.

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.


Latest Results Of Promontory's Bank Confidence Index

IBANYS' associate member firm Promontory Interfinancial Network's "Bank Confidence Index" has hit a four-year low. Its latest Bank Executive Business Outlook Survey Report details the results of the survey, which is based on bank leaders' forward-looking expectations for access to capital, loan demand, deposit competition, and funding costs. The report includes overall confidence and component readings by region for the past four years. For bankers, 2018 was a turning point. Bankers noted a number of factors  (e.g., weaker growth in loan demand, higher funding costs, more competition for deposit)  that underscored a much tougher environment for the industry. Other h ighlights from the survey include:
  • Loan Demand. A major change from a year ago. Last year, 64% of respondents predicted an improvement in loan demand for 2018. This year, just 39% expected to see an improvement in the indicator over the next 12 months.
  • Deposit Competition. Expectations for deposit competition remained relatively stable-at high levels-for the past year.
  • Funding Costs. At the end of 2018, 88% of respondents expected funding costs to rise, down slightly from recent quarters, but in line with predictions from the beginning of the year.
  • Access to Capital. After a drop in the first quarter, expectations regarding access to capital remained steady throughout 2018.
Note: Promontory helps financial institutions of all sizes thrive. Promontory Network members use its solutions  ̶  Bank Assetpoint, Insured Cash Sweep, or ICS, CDARS, IND, and Yankee Sweep  ̶  to source new asset opportunities, diversify their asset portfolios, reduce collateral requirements, purchase funding, and build multi-million-dollar relationships. Contact Kevin Hamilton, (866) 776-6426 ext. 3329 to see how Promontory can help your bank manage its balance sheet more profitably.


Federal Reserve Banks Earnings Down For 2018

The Federal Reserve reported that the Federal Reserve Banks had 2018 earnings of approximately $63.1 billion, down roughly $17.6 billion from 2017. The reserve banks provided $65.3 billion in remittances to the U.S. Treasury in 2018. Interest income on securities acquired through open market operations declined, while interest expense on reserve balances rose.


New York Small Business Employment Beats National Average,
Notes Community Banks Key To Success

According to a   report by State Comptroller DiNapoli , employment among New York's small businesses increased slightly faster than the national pace for the five-year trend from 2011 through 2016. The report is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau.  "Small businesses have a substantial financial impact in every region of the state and helped fuel New York's recent job gains and economic growth," DiNapoli noted. The report found:
  • Small business employment rose by 9.2% in New York while increasing 8.9% across the country. 
  • The companies provided more than 4.1 million jobs in the state in 2016, just over half of all private sector jobs in New York. 
  • Small businesses provided more than $212 billion in payroll, nearly 40 percent of the total private sector payroll in the state.
  • The smallest firms in New York, those with four or fewer employees, provided nearly 488,000 jobs with total payroll of $23.3 billion.
  • Businesses with 20-49 employees contributed more than 809,000 jobs, almost one-fifth of all small business employment and 10 percent of all private sector employment. These firms had total payroll of over $39 billion in 2016.
  • Small businesses with over 200 employees had the second highest level of employment (693,000 jobs), but the highest total payroll ($43 billion).
  • Three industry sectors account for almost half of all small businesses in New York - trade, professional services and leisure activities. With almost 87,000 firms, the trade sector, which includes both retail and wholesale establishments, had the largest share, nearly 19 percent of all small businesses in New York.
  • The leisure activities sector, which includes restaurants and theaters, had the highest employment level of all sectors, with more than 677,000 jobs or 16.5 percent of the total.
NOTE: The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) "Community Banking Study" in 2013 found  community banks provided most of the loans for New York's small businesses and are essential to job growth and the strength of the state economy. It noted community banks held less than a quarter of all bank assets in New York, and compete against much larger national banks, but generate more than half of all small business loans. Governor Cuomo said at the time: "Community banks represent a strong economic engine that drives growth in New York and their performance is remarkable. Small business is the engine of job growth and most small business loans come not from the big national banks, but from community banks."


FHA To Characterize More Loans As "High Risk"

The Federal Housing Administration has informed lenders it will characterize more loans as high risk, including loans extended to borrowers with low credit scores and high loan payments compared to their incomes. That could affect around 40,000 to 50,000 loans per year, about 4% to 5% of the FHA-insurance mortgages issued annually in recent years.


Fed's Miki Bowman "Optimistic" About Rural America

Michelle "Miki" Bowman

Federal Reserve Governor Michelle "Miki" Bowman said she is optimistic about the future of rural America.  Bowman this week said rural populations have stabilized following six years of steady declines, that rural unemployment and poverty are declining, and that agricultural conditions are stable after recent decreases in commodity prices.  "The narrative of rural decline is too sweeping and brushes aside the diversity of the rural experience," she said.


Latest On Housing Market, Consumer Confidence

  • Existing home sales rose 11.8% in February from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.51 million, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales of previously owned homes posted their largest monthly gain since 2015, an indication that lower mortgage rates and more attractive prices may be helping to lure potential buyers back to the market at the beginning of the spring selling season. Also, home price increases slowed in January, with the Case-Shiller national index falling to a 4.3% annual gain from 4.6%. That was the slowest annual gain since April 2015.
  • According to CNBC's All-America Economic Survey, half of all Americans believe the economy is in excellent or good shape - unchanged from the fourth quarter of 2018, but down from 58% in the third quarter. Overall, 47% of the public approve of President Trump's economic stewardship, down a point from last quarter, while 43% disapprove, up a point. As for the president's overall approval, 40% approved of the job he is doing as president, while 49% disapproved. 

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

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...


The Financial Guys Insurance Agency is a full service employee benefits provider. They take a 'Back to Basics" approach: Learn about your business & employees, develop a plan that is tailored to your needs, and educate your employees so they understand - and appreciate - the benefits you provide. 

In addition, they provide cutting edge technology to enhance and support your Benefits programs and HR services - at no cost to you!  Ask them about their unique benefit plan designed specifically for IBANYS members!

For details, contact 
Managing Partner April Hartloff: 

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 the New York State  Division of the Budget officially came into existence January 1, 1927 after two constitutional reforms laid the foundation for a "strong executive" form of government? 
  • In 1925, the State Constitution was amended to consolidate executive branch agencies and to subject the heads of many of those agencies to the appointive authority of the Governor. 
  • In 1927, the Constitution was again amended to give the Governor responsibility for submitting an annual, comprehensive and balanced plan of revenues and expenditures and prohibit the Legislature from acting on other spending measures before acting on the Executive Budget.
These reforms made the Governor the chief architect of the State's budget, accountable for the development and administration of the legislatively-approved budget. In January 1928, Governor Alfred E. Smith submitted the first budget prepared under the current Executive Budget process.

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