September 25, 2019

In This Issue: 
Message From The President

By John Witkowski, President & CEO

"Information Is Knowledge"
  • Does your local state senator, assembly member of congressional representative understand what a community bank is and does? 
  • Do your state and federal representatives -- who make policy that directly impacts your business, bottom line and future -- know what your bank does for your local customers and communities -- indeed, for their constituents? 
  • Do they know the important role your bank plays in the local, state and federal economy?
  • Do they know that your bank pays its full and fair share of local, state and federal taxes -- while the local credit unions (your direct competition) offers the same products and services but is tax exempt and is not subject to any CRA mandates?
  • Do they know the myriad contributiuons your bank, your employees, officers and directors make to your local community. . .the value you provide to local civic and charitable efforts?
As we prepare for the 2020 state legislative and congressional sessions, you need to answer these questiosnin the affirmative. You need to make absolutely certain that they DO understand these facts. 

You can do so by reaching out to them: Schedule a meeting in their local district office 
-- or better yet, in your bank. Establish and maintain regular contact and build relationships with them -- and, with their senior staff. 

IBANYS has prepared talking points to help you inform and educate your representatives. Information is knowledge. Let's make every effort to provide both to our state and federal legislators as they also prepare for the coming sessions.

Please use these talking points in your meetings, discussions, letters and phone calls with your representatives.

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


We are saddened to report the sudden passing on Saturday, September 21 of Phil McCann, Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer at Lyons National Bank. Phil previously worked for Key Bank in Syracuse and for The Farm Credit Bank. On behalf of the Association and the New York community banking industry, we extend heartfelt condolences to Phil's family and friends.
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  • 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. 

Governor Signs CRA, Basic Banking Bills Into Law 

Late last week, Governor Cuomo signed two bills of interest to New York community banks that passed during the 2019 state legislative session.
  • A.3235  Dickens/ S.3223 Sanders amends 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 DFS 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. The 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 allows 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.

NYS DFS Objects To CFPB's Debt Collection Proposal

New York State Financial Services Superintendent Linda Lacewell has objected to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) debt collection proposal, saying it does not go far enough to protect consumers from excessive phone calls and unlimited emails and texts. The Superintendent  sent a letter to CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger outlining concerns about the bureau's proposed regulation updating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act of 1977, noting: "The current proposal would severely harm the financial futures and social well-being of millions of consumers in New York State and nationwide." 
Lacewell urged the federal regulatory agency to take a step back and engage states, like New York, to formulate new standards that would adequately address the needs of consumers, including abusive debt collection practices.


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. Please email us your ideas, thoughts and comments on issues you want to see on the 2020 IBANYS legislative agenda.

Washington, D.C.WashingtonGR

House To Vote On SAFE Banking Act

Ahead of a full House vote on the SAFE Banking Act (H.R. 1595) set for today, ICBA urged all members of the House to vote to pass pending legislation to establish a cannabis-banking safe harbor. ICBA  said  the bill is essential for community banks to continue meeting the needs of their communities.  ICBA continues calling on community bankers to tell their House members to vote to pass the bill. Community bankers can urge support with ICBA's  Be Heard grassroots action center. Visit The bipartisan SAFE Banking Act would establish a safe harbor in states where cannabis is legal. As the first national banking trade group to support the SAFE Banking Act, ICBA has long worked to advance this policy to curb regulatory uncertainty and reduce public safety risks. IBANYS co-signed  a recent letter from ICBA and 43 state banking associations, urging a House vote: "Legal and regulatory uncertainty has curtailed access to the traditional banking system for CRBs and forced them to operate mostly in cash." 

Focus On "Real-Time Payments" 

ICBA today kicked off two days of testimony before Congress giving strong support for the Federal Reserve's decision to build a real-time payments system. Hearings are being held today by t he   Senate Banking Committee  and tomorrow by the House Financial Services Committee's   Task Force on Financial Technology . The hearings follow last month's announcement by the Fed that it plans to develop a service to support real-time payments. ICBA strongly supports the Fed plan, which will ensure universal access to real-time payments and avoid a megabank monopoly.ICBA's  testimony notes the "FedNow" system will ensure competition, choice, universal access and affordability while offering a platform for innovation that is a natural extension of the Fed's current payments role.

Senate Considers Spending Bill With Funds For SBA 7(a) Program 

The Senate this week plans to take up stopgap spending legislation to extend key programs set to expire Sept. 30, before Congress begins a two-week recess. The spending bill has passed the House 301-123. It includes special funding needed to keep the Small Business Administration's 7(a) guaranteed lending program running; extends the National Flood Insurance Program, as well as USDA payments to agricultural producers affected by U.S.-China trade disputes. ICBA has urged Congress to avoid needless disruptions.

Credit Unions' "Fly In" This Week

Credit union representatives are on the hill in Washington this week in an effort to strip language from a pending defense bill that promotes parity between banks and credit unions on military bases. Currently,  banks on military bases are required to pay rent for the use of facilities, while credit unions may operate rent-free. Under the Senate version of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, if the Defense Department waives or charges rent for credit unions, it would be required to do the same for banks.  ICBA has urged Congress to include the parity provision in the final spending bill .

Latest On Facebook's Plans For "Libra" 

David Marcus, who heads up Facebook's Calibra digital wallet division, told senior House Financial Services Committee member Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO) that Libra won't launch until the tech company has addressed "all U.S. regulatory concerns." Marcus said Facebook would provide "any and all information" to the Financial Stability Oversight Council or the Office of Financial Research.

Action On The Banking Regulatory Front:
  • Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams said the Bank is looking into why banks with an excess of cash didn't lend to the overnight money market after overnight borrowing rates rose as high as 10% last Tuesday. The New York Fed responded by injecting cash in the overnight repurchase market for the first time since the financial crisis.
  • As part of an agreement between the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Trump administration, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could start keeping their earnings as early as this week instead of turning them over to the Treasury Department.  The agreement, which FHFA head Mark Calabria hopes can be completed by the end of the month, would allow Fannie and Freddie to retain a year's worth of profits (approximately $20 billion). 
  • Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria recently issued a formal directive to end guarantee fee discounts for high-volume lenders from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The FHFA explained that it is attempting to "level the playing field" for smaller lenders, and is making this a priority in housing finance reform.
  • The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency ( OCC) said  commercial banks and federal savings associations reported $8 billion in second-quarter trading, a 19.8% percent decrease from the previous quarter. Trading was up 9% from a year ago.
  • The U.S. Labor Department   issued a final rule  updating the earnings threshold that determines exemptions from overtime pay requirements. After a federal judge in 2017 struck down the Labor Department's 2016 final rule, the new final rule increases the salary level test from $23,660 to $35,568 per year and the total annual compensation level for "highly compensated employees" from $100,000 to $107,432 per year.  The final rule is effective Jan. 1, 2020.
Industry Trends & Updates

Vining Sparks Webinar: "4th Quarter Economic Outlook" Thursday,  September 26

"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

Fintechs Teaming Up With Small-Town Banks

An artticle on Bloomberg discusses how partnerships between "high-flying" tech companies and traditional banks (many of them tiny by comparison) are a key force behind the financial technology boom. The article notes that since virtually no tech companies have the license required to perform banking services, many of them partner with existing banks to offer a suite of services including checking accounts, credit cards and the back-end and regulatory work the tech companies aren't equipped-or allowed-to handle. It notes: "driven by the tech industry's thirst to jump into finance, a new crop of businesses are looking to broker the connections between tech and banks."

Treasury's Plan For Fannie & Freddie: Will It Help 

  An "American Banker" article notes banks have been ceding market share in home lending to nonbank lenders for years, a problem that worsened when  Dodd-Frank imposed significant restrictions on mortgage lending. S ome in the industry believe that could change under Treasury's proposal to remove Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from conservatorship, and think stabilizing Fannie and Freddie could at least help banks keep what they have, even if it is unlikely to bring about a return to pre-2010 norms. 

Latest On New York Fed's "Repo" Actions

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York added $49.7 billion to the financial system Monday, using the market for overnight repurchase agreements ("repo") to relieve funding pressure in money markets. Banks asked for $49.7 billion in overnight reserves, offering collateral in the form of U.S. Treasury and mortgage securities. The New York Fed has offered to add at least $75 billion daily to the financial system through October 10. On Tuesday, banks "flooded" the New York Fed with more than twice as much demand for new two-week loans than it was offering. In its latest effort to calm short-term lending markets, the Fed offered $30 billion of two-week cash loans and received $62 billion in demand from banks offering collateral in the form of Treasury and mortgage securities. 
Williams cautioned short-term lending markets face another crisis down the road if banks don't prepare for when the London Interbank Offer Rate ("LIBOR") is phased out. LIBOR is used as an international benchmark for overnight lending.


The Economy: By The Numbers

  • The Conference Board reported U.S. consumer confidence slipped in September to 125.1 from 134.2 in August -- the biggest drop in nine months.Reuters noted the September result was the largest shortfall relative to the economists' expectations since 2010. A Conference Board spokesperson  noted: "Consumers were less positive in their assessment of current conditions and their expectations regarding the short-term outlook also weakened.
  • The U.S. Commerce Department reported that new home sales increased 7.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 713,000 units last month, primarily due to activity in the South and West. July's sales pace was revised up to 666,000 units from the previously reported 635,000 units. However, sales tumbled 5.9% in the Northeast. 
  • The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index rose 3.2% annually in July, the same gain reported in June. However, prices are still cooling in the largest cities: New York, as well as San Francisco and Los Angeles, were barely in the positive

Banking NewsBankingNews


Main Street Successfully Completes 
System & Organization Controls (SOC) Exam 

Main Street, Inc.,  a data-driven analytics and print solutions provider and an IBANYS associate member, announced the successful completion of a System & Organization Controls (SOC) examination. This achievement showcases the suitability of the design and operating effectiveness of its controls relevant to security and confidentiality of Main Street's Printing and Mailing systems utilized to process users' data and the confidentiality of the information processed by these systems. The controls provide reasonable assurance that Main Street's service commitments and system requirements were achieved based on the trust services criteria. The engagement was performed by an independent certified public accounting firm, Insyte CPAs, LLC, based on the Standards for Attestation Engagement, as defined by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).  Ted Walton, President of Main Street, Inc. said , "Information security is top of mind for our business partners as well as the consumers they serve. This SOC achievement is a testament to the priority Main Street places on safeguarding data and the systems that house it. Our commitment to security is constant and we will continue to make investments to ensure the integrity of our systems."   Main Street partners with over 2,100 community-oriented financial institutions to provide data-driven solutions.  For additional information, 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.

IBANYS Spotlight Is On...

Strategic Resource management (SRM)  is currently serving over 200 financial institutions to reduce expenses, enhance revenue and maximize bottom line performance. Drawing on its extensive experience, market insight, and proprietary benchmarking database, SRM helps banks improve their bottom line, without sacraficing qulaity or valued vendor relationships.  For additional details , contact  Ben   Mrva, Executive Vice President: (901) 681-0204,  Or, visit

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?

Timothy Geithner & Paul Volcker

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