August 28, 2019
 
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                  Bank Management and Directors Conference Nov. 5th
Little Rock
Embassy Suites
Come hear Coach Neighbors kick off a great one-day event Nov.5th! Something for everyone!

Telecommuting
HR and Medicinal Marijuana 
Washington D.C. Update
The Growing Landscape of Cybersecurity
Compliance and Financial Accounting Update 
and the
 SBA Arkansas Bank Lender Awards!   
And More! 

Check out the Agenda and Register!

(6 Free CPE Credits!)
   

Appraisal Threshold Increase
 
Regulators are preparing to issue a final rule as soon as this week  raising the threshold for residential real estate transactions requiring an appraisal, according to Mortgage News Daily.

The agency plan would increase the threshold from $250,000 to $400,000-the first increase since 1994. It would raise the number of mortgage originations for which appraisals are not required by roughly 40 percent, according to the report. 
 

Issuers Could Improve Communication About Credit Card Benefits
   
As U.S. credit card spending continues to set records in the face of an uncertain economy and growing competition from alternative lenders and digital payment apps, credit card issuers are in a pitched battle to win new customers with ever - richer rewards a nd incentive programs. According to the J.D. Power 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study , th e credit card incentive war may have reached its peak, with no real change in customers saying they fully understand the rewards and ancillary benefits available to them .
 
" The average credit card customer today has roughly 1 6 different benefits available, yet only about one - third of customers say they completely understand all of the benefits avai lable to them ," said John Cabell , Director , Wealth and Lending Intelligence at J.D. Power . " While the last several years of rewards - based competition among issuers has served to steadily increase overall customer satisfaction, issuers may have wrung all of the value they can out of this approach. They should now turn their attention to communication to help customers extract the full value from their products and buttress themselves against competition from a growing crop of rivals. "
 

USDA Details Calculations of Trade Damages
   
The USDA published details of how estimated damage from trade disruptions was calculated for its $16 billion support package for farmers. USDA economists estimated gross trade damages for commodities with assessed retaliatory tariffs by China, India, the European Union, and Turkey to set commodity payment rates and purchase levels.
 

Volcker Rule Exemption Continues S. 2155 Relief 
 
Federal regulators recently issued a final rule exempting most community banks from the Volcker Rule's prohibitions on proprietary trading. While community banks generally do not engage in proprietary trading or relationships with hedge funds or private equity funds, they nonetheless were covered under the rule and required to demonstrate compliance.
 
Not anymore. This additional source of regulatory burden no longer applies to the vast majority of community banks. The exemption specifically applies to community banks that have less than $10 billion in assets and with trading assets and liabilities that are no more than 5 percent of total assets. According to ICBA data, that accounts for more than 5,200 community banks-roughly 97 percent of all U.S. banks.

Student Loan Servicing
   
According to Politico, the student loan industry attempted to work with the Education Department to "fend off the growing trend of states considering or passing laws to crack down on student loan servicing companies." "The states were responding to allegations of misrepresentations and other abuses in the industry, which manages the student loan payments of the nation's more than 45 million student loan debtors." CSBS opposes federal pre-emption of these state consumer protections and sent a letter to Education Secretary DeVos outlining state regulators' objections. 
 
Politico  >>
 
CSBS Letter  >> 

Main Street Banks Share Outlook for Interest Rates
   
After raising its policy rate nine times (from near zero beginning in late 2015), early in January the Federal Reserve Bank suspended its planned normalization of interest rates and credit conditions, ending plans to further raise rates and reduce the size of its portfolio of government bonds and mortgage backed securities. This was in response to increasing concerns about economic "weakness" in the press and a negative response in the equity markets in late December that also reflected some liquidity concerns. The financial press reported rate cuts are "priced in" on Wall Street and markets "expect" the Fed to deliver as early as the July meeting. The markets' expectations were met.
 
Among bankers, CSBS found that relatively more bank managers expect credit conditions to ease.......
 
More from CSBS  >>  
 
The Answer of the Week
 
QUESTION: For HMDA purposes, may a bank rely on an oral or written statement regarding the use of covered loan proceeds?  
 
ANSWER:  Yes, a financial institution may rely on the oral or written statement of an applicant regarding the proposed use of covered loan proceeds. For example, a lender could use a check-box or a purpose line on a loan application to determine whether the applicant intends to use covered loan proceeds for home improvement purposes.  
 
Reference: 12 CFR 1003.4(a)(3); Comments 4(a)(3)-1.