September 18, 2019

In This Issue: 
Message From The President

By John Witkowski, President & CEO


IBANYS Is Member Driven -- So Tell Us:  What's YOUR Preference?


IBANYS is YOUR association: What we do, and how we do it, is decided by our stakeholders -- you, our member banks. We want and need your input on everything from formulating our 2020 legislative and regulatory positions, to the topics we include on the agendas of our 2020 conferences, meetings and seminars.

  • What issues are on YOUR bank's list?
  • What are YOUR bank's chief concerns?
  • How can we address your top priorities?
  • Do you have specific speakers you would like us to consider as presenters?
  • Are there products or services your bank would like to learn more about?

You can have a direct impact on all these matters and more. 

  • Join our Government Relations Committee: Make your bank's priorities heard in our weekly half-hour calls on Friday mornings throughoiut the state legislative session. We review state senate and assembly activities and developments as well as initiatives from the Governor's office and the NYS Department of Financial Services.
  • Join our Compliance and CFO Peer Groups, and also e-mail me with your ideas and suggestions for our educational programs. Have your say as to what subject matter should be addressed -- and which potential speakers should be considered -- for our for educational programs.
  • Join our Innovation Committee: Help review which firms we should be looking at in terms of providing the most important and beneficial potential products and services for community banks.

Most importantly: Participate in the decision making process for your association. IBANYS was specifically established in 1974 to make sure New York community banks had an association of their own, representing only their priorities and interests. 45 years later, that's still what we are all about. . .but, it only works if you take a seat at the table, and make your voice heard!


Please email how you (or, members of your senior team you may choose to designate) want to get more involved in your association. You can send your thoughts to me (, Director of Administration & Membership Services Linda Gregware or Government Relations Director Steve Rice (


As always, thanks for everything you to to advance community banking in New York State!


Follow IBANYS On Social Media!

 Connect With Us Today!

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Instagram: @ibanys1 | LinkedIn: @ibanys

  • IBANYS 2020 Annual Convention will be held June 15-17, 2020 - Turning Stone Resort and Casino - Save the Date - Mark your calendar.
  • Watch for our announcements regarding our 2020 Meetings, Conferences & Seminars Calendar. . .Coming Soon!
  • Have an idea for one of our meetings? Want to see a meeting or forum on a different subject? We want to hear from you! 
    Contact Linda Gregware or John Witkowski with your thoughts and/or comments


IBANYS Education/WebinarsWebinars

Have you reviewed our 2019 Webinar Calendar? The Independent Bankers Association of New York State (IBANYS) partners with CBWN to bring you more than 150 webinars each year covering compliance, lending, regulations, security, operations, new accounts, collections, fraud, security and other topics. Even better, each time you purchase a webinar, you support IBANYS, because a portion of your registration comes directly to us. Thank you!  

You can view the 2019 Webinar Schedule here or by category here. In addition, CBWN has made some recent updates to provide better service to its consumers. Unfortunately, some changes may have caused you to miss important webinar announcements. Please read the IBANYS letter to view the updates and ensure that you do not miss another webinar.

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

Purchase Webinars Individually or Purchase the Series to Save 10%!

View or Purchase the Webinar

Stay-up-to-date with our webinar features by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn! You can also follow the hashtag #WebinarWednesday on Instagram/Twitter!

Government Relations


The New York State Legislature will return to Albany in January for the 2020 session. 

Among The Bills Recently Sent To Governor Cuomo: 

Legislation recently sent to the Governor for his signature or veto included:
  • A.3235  Dickens/ S.3223 Sanders, an act to amend the banking law in relation to assessment of the record of performance of banking institutions in helping to meet the credit needs of local communities. The bill adds minority and women owned business as category that the DFS Superintendent shall take into account when deciding if they are meeting the credit needs of the community. Another criterion to consider is the banks efforts to assist low and moderate income residents to be able to remain in affordable housing in their neighborhoods. This legislation adds licensed mortgage bankers or licensed mortgage loan originators that have made one hundred or more home mortgage loans in New York State in the calendar year and investment banks shall additionally be covered.
  • A.1940  Zebrowski/S.2245 Sanders, an act to to amend the banking law, in relation to the number of withdrawal transactions from a basic banking account. It would allow 8 withdrawal transactions for account holders under 65 years of age, and 12 withdrawal transactions for account holders 65 years of age and older -- including those conducted at electronic facilities, during any periodic cycle at no additional charge to the account holder.

New Siena Poll: Latest On Cuomo, Presidential Race

The new Siena Research Institute Poll released yesterday found Governor Cuomo has a 48-46% favorability rating, up from negative 43-50% in August, while his job performance rating is 38-59%, up from 34-64% last month. His biggest gain was among independents (he's now evenly divided) and upstate voters (he's now under water by 16 points, up from a negative 33 points last month.) By 49-35%, voters say Cuomo has made New York better in the last nine years as governor. 
As for the presidential race, President Trump's favorability is at its lowest since January. His re-elect is at 28%, and he has a negative 32-64% favorability rating, down from 35-62 percent in August. His job performance rating is 28-72%, down from 34-66% last month, and 28% of voters are prepared to re-elect him while 66% would prefer 'someone else.' On the Democratic side, 22% support former Vice President Biden, 17% are for Sen. Warren, 15% for Sen. Sanders, 4% for Sen. Harris and 3% for Mayor Buttigieg. 37% believe Biden  has the best chance to win in 2020, followed by Warren (13%) and Sanders (11%).

Comptroller DiNapoli Provides Tax Update 

State Comptroller DiNapoli reported that about 20 municipalities are close to reaching its Constitutional tax limit, with Jamestown the only entity hitting its taxing threshold.  The constitutional tax limit is the amount of money a city, village and county can ask its property taxpayers to provide compared to the total assessed property value in the community. Jamestown officials first hit its tax limit in 2017.  According to the Comptroller's office, the number of cities, counties and villages in New York that are close to reaching its Constitutional tax limit has more than doubled since 2012, when  only seven municipalities had used 80% or more of its taxing limit. In 2018, that number had risen to 20, with ten municipalities exhausting more than 90% of its tax limit. Cities are more likely than counties or villages to be close to their tax limit. Statewide, of the 60 cities for which 2018 data was available, 10 were found to have exhausted at least 80% of its tax limit, or nearly 17%. Eight of the 527 villages reporting, 1.5%, and two counties out of 57 reporting, 3.5%, were also found to have exhausted at least 80% of its available limit.

DFS Names Student Advocate and Director of Consumer Advocacy

New York State Financial Services Superintendent Lacewell appointed Winston Berkman-Breen as Student Advocate and Director of Consumer Advocacy for the New York State Department of Financial Services. He will work across the agency and the state on consumer advocacy "to ensure consumers remain at the center of the Department's decisions and priorities." Berkman-Breen was a Justice Catalyst Fellow and Staff Attorney with the Consumer Protection Unit at the New York Legal Assistance Group, where he represented low-income New York consumer borrowers in affirmative and defensive cases in state and federal court against predatory lenders and debt collectors. 


IBANYS' Plan of Action for 2020

IBANYS is preparing for the 2020 state legislative session that begins in January, developing positions and policies and encouraging member banks to meet with their local legislators to continue informing them about community banks, our priorities and the vital role we play in New York State.

Washington, D.C.WashingtonGR

IBANYS Joins ICBA, Other State Banking Associations
To Urge  House Vote On SAFE Banking Act

IBANYS  joined ICBA and 42 other state banking association affiliates  in co-signing a letter to House leaders  urging them to schedule a full vote on H.R. 1595, the Secure and Fair Enforcement ("SAFE") Banking Act of 2019 to create a safe harbor for financial institutions that serve cannabis-related businesses in states where cannabis is legal.  The letter noted: "Legal and regulatory uncertainty has curtailed access to the traditional banking system for CRBs and forced them to operate mostly in cash." Creating a safe harbor would reduce the risk associated with these largely cash-based businesses, bring their operations into the compliance framework, and extend protections to the many ancillary businesses that serve CRBs such as landlords, accountants, and utility providers, which may be difficult to identify in states where cannabis is legal. The  Senate companion bill is S.1200. 

New York community banks: Comment via ICBA's " grassroots action aler"t  at  T he  National Association of State Treasurers , the  top financial regulators in 25 states , a  majority of state attorneys general  and 20 state  governors have  also urged Congress to pass the SAFE Banking Act.

Action On The Banking Regulatory Front:
  • Federal regulators issued a final rule to hold the Community Bank Leverage Ratio at 9% despite community bank efforts to lower the threshold to 8% and expand capital relief to more community banks. (S. 2155 required the banking agencies to set the CBLR between 8 and 10%.) Banks with less than $10 billion in assets and a tier 1 leverage ratio above 9% can opt to be considered well-capitalized and exempt from risk-based capital requirements, including the Basel III capital rules. Regulators will use tier 1 capital rather than "tangible equity" as the numerator. Instead of incorporating "Prompt Corrective Action" proxy levels into the CBLR framework, they will allow a two-quarter grace period for banks with a leverage ratio between 8 and 9%. The CBLR framework will be available for banks to use in their March 31, 2020, call report and the FDIC will issue a compliance guide to accompany the rule.
  • The FDIC also finalized a rule to permit community banks to use the simpler regulatory capital requirements for mortgage-servicing assets, certain deferred-tax assets arising from temporary differences, investments in the capital of unconsolidated financial institutions, and minority interest when measuring their tier 1 capital as of Jan. 1, 2020. Banks will be able to use the new measure of tier 1 capital under the CBLR framework.
  • ICBA also filed a   comment letter  on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to allow a policy exempting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage loans from the bureau's Qualified Mortgage rule to expire.   ICBA cautioned CFPB to work with stakeholders on any plans to remove the "GSE Patch" given its importance in obtaining QM status and legal protections for community banks and its potential impact on the mortgage market and availability of credit. 
  • ICBA urged FDIC Chair McWilliams to  amend regulations regarding the FDICIA reporting requirements. ICBA requested a) that only institutions with total assets of $1 billion or more be subject to requirements regarding audited financial statements, instead of the  current asset threshold of $500 million, and b) that institutions with total assets of $5 billion or more be subject to the requirement of having internal control assessments by management and external auditors. C urrently, the asset threshold is $1 billion).
  • FASB has proposed granting additional time for most community banks to implement standards on current expected credit losses, leases and hedging. Under the proposal, community banks would delay CECL until 2023 unless they have a public float of $250 million or more,  in which case they would apply CECL as originally scheduled in 2020. 

Industry Trends & Updates

New York Community Bankers:
Don't Miss These Two Vining Sparks Webinars   
On September 24 and September 26

"Watching Out For The Next Economic Downturn"

Over this summer the U.S. yield curve fully inverted and reignited the fear of recession for bank investors and managements.  As a result, the industry focus shifted from a growth bias toward a more conservative approach.  As this recovery from the Great Recession is now almost a decade old, we believe this worry is reasonable; however, our credit cycle analysis suggests that the U.S. economy may have a couple more stable years still ahead of it. On Tuesday, September 24 this free of charge Vining Sparks webinar, designed for Portfolio Managers, CFOs, CEOs/Presidents, will help participants understand what the credit cycle monitor tells us about the direction of the economy over the next 2 to 3 years -- and, discuss how bankers can get ahead of potential recessionary pressures before they arise.

Speaker  Marty Mosby,  Director of Bank & Equity Strategies,  has been a bank research analyst for the past 7 years. He utilizes his past experience of managing a regional bank to cover 20 of the largest U.S. banks.  Prior to covering banks, Marty was an executive manager at First Horizon National Corporation. During his 20-year career he served as Chief Financial Officer, Head of Investor Relations and Strategic Planning, ALCO Chairperson and Chief Economist.  To register, click on or cut and paste the link below into your browser:

You will receive instructions to access the webinar after your registration is confirmed. If you do not receive a registration confirmation email, please email

"4Q Economic Outlook Webinar -- September 26"
Just as the U.S. economy reached a milestone as the longest period of expansion on record, U.S.- China trade negotiations deteriorated dramatically putting the expansion's longevity in question.  Trade uncertainty combined with an already weak global environment, has already taken a toll on manufacturing output and caused businesses to reign in investment. Thus far, the strong U.S. consumer has kept the economy buoyed.  Going forward, the fate of the expansion will depend on trade negotiations and the response from monetary policymakers. This September 26 Vining Sparks webinar is designed for Portfolio Managers, CFOs, CEOs/Presidents, free of charge, will discuss the recent deterioration and how it impacted expectations for growth and interest rates in 2020.   The speaker will be Craig Dismuke, Executive Vice President and Chief Economist for Vining Sparks . He is responsible for the projection and publication of Vining Sparks' economic and interest rate forecasts, publishes research articles and speaks at industry conferences on the health of the U.S. economy and expectations for interest rates.  He is a frequent guest on CNBC, Fox Business, and Bloomberg TV as well as being quoted often in the financial news.  To register, click on or cut and paste the link below into your browser:

You will receive instructions to access the webinar after your registration is confirmed. If you do not receive a registration confirmation email, please email

Fed Approves Quarter-Point Interest Rate Reduction 

The Federal Reserve today approved a quarter-point interest rate cut, reducing its benchmark overnight lending rate to a target range of 1.75% to 2.00%.  
Powell said the Fed expects the economy to remain strong, inflation to remain around its 2% target and suggested another small cut or two could be warranted in the future, but doesn't think the Fed needs to keep cutting for many more months.  
With two more meetings left in 2019, seven of the 17 Fed officials now see the possibility of at least one more rate cut, potentially totaling three for the year. Five would prefer to halt any additional easing for the remainder of 2019.
  President Trump believes current interest levels put the U.S. at an economic disadvantage to countries with lower rates, and criticized today's  decision, saying the Fed "fails again" and had "no guts, no sense, no vision." 

New Jersey To Ask Financial Institutions About Relationships 
With Gun  Manufacturers & Sellers

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy plans to unveil a proposal to ask financial institutions for information on their  relationship with and policies toward gun makers and sellers.  The state pays more than $1 billion in bank fees every year, and reportedly could use the disclosure requirements to decide whether to continue doing business with financial firms.T he state will also reportedly stop doing business with gun manufacturers and retailers that don't adopt certain policies, such as conducting background checks. 

The Economy: By The Numbers

  • The New York Fed acted to relieve pressure on "soaring" short-term interest rates by adding $53 billion back into the banking system via repurchase ("repo") agreements and conducting a second repo transaction, injecting up to $75 billion in cash. The New York Fed had not conducted a "repo transaction" since 2008.  The rate on overnight repo agreements hit 5% on Monday (up from 2.29% late last week and well above the 2% to 2.25% target range set in July by the Federal Reserve) and reached 10% before the NY Fed stepped in.
  • The chief executives of the nation's biggest companies have downgraded their outlook for the U.S. economy, according to a survey released today. The Business Roundtable said its members now forecast growth this year will clock in at 2.3%, down from last quarter's estimate of 2.6%. In addition, its indexes of hiring, capital investment and sales all declined.
  • The National Association of Home Builders index of builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes rose one point in September to 68. (Anything above 50 on the index is considered positive.) The index is at its highest level since October 2018 primarily due to low interest rates and solid demand. 
  • The Federal Reserve reported manufacturing production rose 0.6% last month after an unrevised 0.4% drop in July. U.S. manufacturing output increased more than expected in August. 


Banking NewsBankingNews

IBANYS Congratulates Tioga State Bank & Bob Fisher!

Bob Fisher
Tioga State Bank has once again received national recognition as one of American Banker magazine's "Best Banks to Work For." For the second consecutive year, the bank was honored for their employees' commitment to their customers and communities. Tioga State Bank President and CEO Robert Fisher commented, "As a local community bank, we were thrilled to be recognized again this year as one of the best banks to work for. Prioritizing a positive culture is something we feel not only impacts our employees, but also translates to our relationships with our customers as well." Mr. Fisher, a former Chairman and current Director of IBANYS, is also Vice Chairman and a Director of ICBA. He is a fifth generation community banker who serves on the board of ICBA Securities Inc., the broker-dealer subsidiary of the Independent Community Bankers of America. IBANYS President & CEO John Witkowski is  also a Director. 

Tioga State Bank, headquartered in Spencer, New York, has assets of $482 million and employs 100 people. It is a locally owned, independent community bank serving Tioga, Broome, Tompkins, and Chemung counties with offices located in Binghamton, Ithaca, Candor, Endwell, Newfield, Owego, Spencer, Van-Etten, Vestal, and Waverly, NY.   The Bank added a digital media specialist four years ago to help tell its story online. It is now focused on using creative content such as employee testimonials in videos, blog posts and social media to highlight the benefits of working at Tioga.  "It is not just the quantity and locations of the postings that are important, but also the type of posting and what it says about working at the bank," said President & CEO Fisher noted. 

The Best Banks to Work For program was initiated in 2013 by American Banker and Best Companies Group. It identifies, recognizes, and honors U.S. banks for outstanding employee engagement and satisfaction. Full results of this year's program are available at  and in the September issue of American Banker magazine.


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.

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?

Continuing to grow your organization and ensuring its bright future is more challenging than ever. Luckily, Vetter is committed to achieving these business goals with you, every step of the way. Vetter delivers everything you need to streamline your processes and provide an outstanding loan experience to your customers while staying compliant. Empowering community financial institutions and the people who run them is both their  mission and purpose.  Vetter is a digital loan platform built specifically for community 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. 

For details, contact CEO and Founder Bryan Adler: 516-965-0054,

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 this past Labor Day marked the 50th anniversary of ATMs in the United States? The debuted September 2, 1969 on Long Island, at a Chemical Bank location in Rockville Centre, where the bank introduced its "Docutel" cash dispensing machine. It could only dispense cash, not receive deposits or bills. The first "self-service cash dispenser" opened near London, England two years earlier -- inspired, according to its creator, by a candy bar vending machine. Today, there are reportedly more than 3 million bank affiliated and stand alone ATMs throughout the world.
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