The President's Message:
IBANYS News and Updates
By John Witkowski, President & CEO

Community Banks Responding To The COVID-19 Crisis; IBANYS Working To Be A Conduit For Information & Updates

Much has happened over the past week in terms of our country, state and industry dealing with the "new reality" brought about by the coronavirus (COVID -19). New York community banks have made hard decisions and taken difficult but necessary steps to safeguard the health and safety of their employees and customers, and sought ways to provide obtain capital and liquidity to allow them to continue serving their communities.

IBANYS has been working hard to serve as a conduit for information from the federal and state government and additional sources to keep community bankers fully informed, up-to-date on any and all developments and activities.

  • We have held a number of conference calls with our Board of Directors, banks, members of Congress and the State Legislature and have reached out on a continuing basis to, among many others, the Governor's office, the NYS DFS, OCC, FDIC, Federal Reserve, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, Small Business Administration, FASB, ICBA. We have worked with Pursuit, the Empire State Development Corporation, and numerous outside legal and accounting firms to gather and disseminate details.

  • Yesterday, we held a call with Congressman Tom Reed (R-23rd C.D.), member of the House Ways & means Committee, for an update on the status of the CARES Act, future legislative initiatives, situation regarding the SBA payroll protection and tax incentive programs and ongoing needs and concern of community banks.

  • Tomorrow, we have a call with the Chairman of the State Senate Banks Committee, James Sanders (D-Queens) and Congressman Greg Meeks (D-Queens), a member of the House Financial Services Committee and Chairman of its Consumer Protection & Financial Institutions Subcommittee, to discuss COVID-19 related issues banks have faced and possible future legislation.

  • Beginning March 16, IBANYS has sent out daily updates and alerts (often, twice a day) to New York community banks to keep them fully informed and updated on important developments and activities.

  • Reminder: All NYS DFS industry letters and updates on COVID-19 are available on the DFS website at www.dfs.ny.gov.

Late last week, Congress passed and the President signed the $2 trillion federal coronavirus relief package (the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or "CARES" Act) to help address the economic needs of individuals and businesses. Here are two sources that include good summaries of the CARES Act for your convenience. Just days after the approval of the $2-trillion-plus coronavirus economic stimulus package, Congress has begun considering what to do next to address the pandemic. The fourth round of legislation is likely at least weeks from being passed, and there does not appear to be a clear consensus as to what a Phase Four should include. Congress is not scheduled to return to Washington until at least April 20. 

Here are several important updates for your review:



  • A letter written by ICBA to Treasury and the Small Business Administration listing a number of concerns regarding the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), and urging them to make changes to the guidelines before the PPP goes live. Read the  ICBA Letter

The CARES Act includes approximately $350 billion for a small business loan program (the Paycheck Protection Program, administered under the SBA's 7(a) program) designed to quickly get cash into the hands of suffering small businesses quickly, and with less red tape than under the SBA’s existing loan programs. The goal is to help small businesses keep employees on the payroll by offering them loan forgiveness. Alternatively, there are also tax deferral and employee retention tax incentive programs available. The Treasury Department released initial information and resources on the programs on its website:
https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/top-priorities/cares-act/assistance-for-small-businesses
 
  • Existing SBA-certified lenders will be given delegated authority to speedily process PPP loans.
  • Other lenders can apply with the SBA by submitting applications to DelegatedAuthority@sba.gov.
  • Small businesses and sole proprietorships may apply beginning this Friday, April 3, while independent contractors and self-employed individuals may start applying April 10.

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Annual Meeting Time :
Luse Gorman PC has provided some guidance on whether banks can hold their shareholder or member annual meetings virtually in light of health concerns of COVID-19. 
This alert addresses the legal and practical considerations for holding a virtual meeting. Or, click on link below :
https://www.luselaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Alert-Virtual-Annual-Meetings-in-Response-to-COVID-19-5.pdf

NOTE:
All IBANYS meetings through July 1, 2020 have been POSTPONED.