Week Ahead in General Assembly for Banking Issues
sure to read this week's Legislative Update. On Monday and Tuesday next week,
the House Banks and
Banking Committee will hold hearings on the bill we've been telling you
would limit the amount an acquirer of a loan or
other debt obligation can recover from guarantors of the
obligation under certain circumstances. GBA is opposed to the
current version. Two other GBA priority bills passed the
Senate last week.
Click here to read our issue brief to learn
why we oppose the note sale bill and get all the week's details
from the State Capitol here...
ATM Fee Disclosure Suits Filed in
Make sure your ATM signage and fee notifications
are up to date. At least four lawsuits have been filed against
Georgia community banks during the past few weeks alleging lack of
compliance with the physical ATM fee disclosure requirement in
the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (Reg. E) that we've
noted in previous GBA Bulletins (Feb.
March 9). The regulation
requires both a video screen notification and a prominent sign
on the ATM about possible fees. The same individual is the
named plaintiff each of the Georgia cases as we as cases across
various other states. The plaintiff is represented in each of
these law suits by the same law firm from Pennsylvania along
with a local Georgia firm. GBA has encouraged Congress and the CFPB
to change thse duplicate and unnecessary regulations to prevent such
frivolous "gotcha" lawsuits and eliminate costs associate with compliance.
Read more about the ATM disclosure issue here and see what
you can do...
Threshold and CU Update
The U.S. House last week passed a small-business
jobs package (H.R. 3606) that includes a provision (H.R.
4088) that would raise the current 500-shareholder threshold
for Securities and Exchange Commission registration to 2,000 for
financial institutions. The Senate will
consider the House's version of the package, rather than its own
version. We're supportive of the shareholder registration
provisions. However, there's a complication looming for the
industry. Sen. Mark Udall
(D-Colo.) has filed as a
pending amendment to the package his bill (S. 509) that
would raise the member business-lending cap for a handful of
large credit unions from 12.25 percent to 27.5 percent of total
assets. Industry support for the package will disappear if the amendment is
Learn more about shareholder and Credit Union legislation here...
Interpreting the Fed's Stress
Federal Reserve's annual stress test of large financial
institutions drew lots of attention this week. The tests were
designed to estimate the effects to banks' capital in a
catastrophic economic scenario. By all accounts, the proposed
scenario was dramatic – unemployment at 13 percent, stocks
falling 50 percent and housing prices declining another 21
percent. The scenarios are not to be interpreted as
predictions or forecasts. The tests showed a stronger overall
industry than a few years ago, but estimated capital levels
under the most adverse scenarios at four institutions, including
SunTrust, would be lower than 5 percent. There are some
important reasons to take the results with a grain of salt,
Learn why and read how GBA weighed in about stress
tests with local media.
Fed Rates to Remain Low through 2014
The Federal Reserve this week announced
it will keep the target range for the
federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent, and it expects the rate
will remain at exceptionally low levels through late 2014. The
Federal Open Market Committee cited moderate economic expansion,
improving labor conditions and unemployment numbers and
increased household spending and business investment in its
from its meeting this month. It also noted the continued
weakness in housing and the increase in gas prices as factors
weighing on the economy.
Job Outlook Bests National Rate
Georgia's second-quarter employment
growth outlook is 12 percent, while
the nation's is 10 percent. The second quarter should bring a
stronger pace of hiring, especially for the for metro Atlanta,
according to Manpower
Employment Outlook Survey.
From April to June this year, 20 percent of metro-Atlanta companies
Manpower interviewed said they plan to hire more employees.
Read more about the encouraging jobs and unemployment trends
from the Manpower survey here...
Business Optimism Grows
Nationally, small businesses are more optimistic
than they have been in four years. The February figure was its
sixth consecutive monthly increase and its strongest level since
December 2007. Part of the study also indicates continued soft
loan demand, however. Financing remained low on the list of
concerns for small-business owners. Only four percent cited
financing as their top business problem, compared to 21 percent
each citing taxes and unreasonable regulation. Ninety-three
percent reported that all their credit needs were met or that
they were not interested in borrowing.
Here's a link to a helpful index and report...
Mortgage Settlement Funds in State Control
$104 million of the national mortgage servicing settlement will
be paid by banks to the State of Georgia. The settlement set
aside such payments to go to the states to help investigate
mortgage fraud as well as establish homeowner assistance
programs. The money will go into the state treasury, and its
ultimate appropriation will be guided by the state budget
process. The Governor presents a budget to the legislature
annually, and the legislature adjusts it through committees and
approves a final version each year.
Read more about possibilities for how the funds
could be appropriated and used...
First CPP Investment Auctions
The U.S. Department of the Treasury has announced
its first auction of preferred stock Capital Purchase Program
investments. Treasury intends to conduct public auctions to sell
its preferred stock positions in six banks (none are in
Georgia). Treasury expects to conduct the auctions, which will
be registered public offerings, on or about March 26, 2012.
These offerings will be executed using a modified Dutch auction
methodology that establishes a market price by allowing
investors to submit bids at specified increments similar to the
process Treasury has used to auction warrants.
More details about CPP investments here......
Attention Lenders: 14 New Online
We have 14 new lending-focused courses, products
of The Risk Management Association, available in our
course catalog. We know these are areas of training important to
members. They begin with two high-level curricula:
The Lending Decision Process
The Commercial Real Estate Lending
Decision Process. Each of the curricula has six
components that can be purchased separately. These are all
self-paced courses. All you need is a computer, printer and
Learn more about these valuable courses both
Annual Meeting Brochures on the
Brochures detailing GBA's 2012 Annual Meeting,
scheduled for June 10-13 at
The Grove Park Inn in
Asheville, NC, will be mailed March 19. "We have an excellent
program packed with timely information, and it's all at a great
location," said GBA Chairman Rick Whaley, President & CEO
of The Citizens Bank of Americus. Attendees will hear
nationally known speakers discussing many of the most pressing
issues facing bankers today. Also scheduled are many great
breakout sessions and networking opportunities.
Learn more about the Annual Meeting here...
Key GBA Event
Marketing and Communications
Conference March 22-23
Get Business-to-Business Marketing
Strategies from an expert panel. Click here to see the full agenda and
Professionals Inst. March 22-23
Legal Update workshop with Steve Greene and
Marian Exall and more.
See the full agenda and register online
FDIC's Dujenski, DBF's Braswell,
Fed's Stanley on Agenda
Community Bank Symposium March 28
Hear About Bank Director Roles and
Click here for more information and to register
Issues for New-Account Documentation and Compliance April 10
This seminar will teach new
account personnel proper account-opening procedures and current
Click here for more information and to register
Read about all the Georgia bankers making news this week...
Send Us Your News
Please remember to include the Georgia
Bankers Association on the list of recipients for announcements
about promotions, new employees and special recognition your
bank has received. We want to share your news with your
colleagues across the state. Please forward your announcements
and photos to GBA's
David Oliver and Bogan Brannen.