Tennessee Bankers

This Week Newsletter



August 21, 2017 - Issue No. 1733


Justice Department Formally Ends 'Operation Choke Point'

In a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) last Wednesday, a Department of Justice official formally confirmed that the agency has ended the controversial Operation Choke Point initiative, which sought to curtail legal but politically disfavored businesses by working through bank regulators to pressure financial institutions to end customer relationships with those businesses.

"All of the Department's bank investigations conducted as part of Operation Choke Point are now over, the initiative is no longer in effect, and it will not be undertaken again," wrote Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd. "The Department will not discourage the provision of financial services to lawful industries, including businesses engaged in short-term lending and firearms-related activities." Read the letter.

Fed Divided Over Timing of Next Rate Hike

The Federal Open Market Committee was divided over when it will next raise the target federal funds rate, which they decided to hold at 1 to 1.25 percent, according to minutes from the FOMC's July 25-26 meeting.
 
"Some" FOMC members expressed uncertainty about inflation, saying that the committee "could afford to be patient," while others said the labor market has neared full employment and a delay in raising rates "would likely be costly to reverse" or "could lead to an intensification or financial stability risks or to other imbalances that might prove difficult to unwind."

The committee also said its plans to begin reducing the Fed's balance sheet will be "formally announced next month." The balance sheet is swollen with $4.5 trillion in securities purchased as part of quantitative easing programs between 2008 and 2014.

FOMC members said they expect continued economic growth and job gains in the near term, and agreed that the timing and size of future rate hikes "would depend on their assessment of realized and expectation economic conditions." Read the FOMC minutes.

Heaslet Named TBA SVP/General Counsel

Last week the TBA Board of Directors officially named Amy Heaslet SVP and General Counsel as well as secretary of the Board. Heaslet has been with the Association for eight years and worked on priority banking legislation including removing HOA's priority lien status; updating the state's trust laws, making them some of the best in the country; and enabling banks to better protect the elderly against financial exploitation.
 
"Amy Heaslet is going to continue to be a great leader for our industry, both on Capitol Hill as well as in the offices of the TBA. We are lucky to have someone with her background and experience lead this vital role for the association," said Colin Barrett, TBA President and CEO.
 
Amy Heaslet replaces long time general counsel Tim Amos who has begun his own legislative affairs business.

Push Back on CFPB's Small Business Data Collection Rule

The CFPB is working to implement section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act, that requires financial institutions to compile, maintain, and report information concerning credit applications made by women-owned, minority-owned, and small businesses. This regulation, which would essentially require HMDA-like data collection for small business loans, would be harmful to banks and problematic for small businesses that could bear the increase in the cost of compliance for the new rule.
 
The CFPB extended the comment deadline to Sept. 14, 2017. To submit comments to the bureau, click here.

TBA Thanks Rep.Kustoff for Appraisal Legislation

TBA thanks Rep. David Kustoff (R-Tenn.) for introducing in July the Securing Access to Affordable Mortgages Act (H.R. 3221), which would ease appraisal requirements and facilitate mortgage credit.
 
Appraisal requirements have become costlier in recent years, deterring community bank mortgage lending and reducing borrower choice. Under H.R. 3221, mortgage loans of less than $250,000 held in portfolio would be exempt from appraisal requirements that otherwise apply to "higher-risk" mortgages, as defined by regulation.
 
ICBA also thanked Rep. Kustoff last week for sponsoring the legislation. Read ICBA's letter.

The Southeastern Institute for IRA Training Hotel Deadline Quickly Approaching

So, you have finally received that "promotion" you never wished for—IRA guru! On the first day of training, you feel like someone put you in a rocket ship and launched you into outer space. In other words, you have no idea what they are talking about. Everything just sounds alien to you. It's true—IRAs are a different world from the other accounts at your bank. Oh, they may look similar, but the rules, regulations, and IRS reporting build the complications to the point where you feel like you are on another planet! And, just when you finally grasp it, they change the rules again!  
   
While it may take years to build a confidence level where you can answer almost any question thrown your way, The Southeastern Institute for IRA Training will raise your comfort level if you are a rookie and reinforce your knowledge if you have a higher level of experience. You will also receive your favorite tool—the 250-page 2017-2018 Sunwest Training Corp's IRA Training and Reference Manual. This edition is full of easy-to-follow IRA information, plus lots of cheat sheets, and quick reference tools to get you through your day-to-day tasks of dealing with your IRA customers.
 
The program takes place September 19 & 20 at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs, Franklin, Tenn. The hotel deadline is August 28, and the early registration deadline is September 5. Click here to register.

First Senior Human Resources Director Forum of 2017-2018 Scheduled for Nov. 30. Sign Up Now.

The 2017-2018 Senior Human Resources Director Forum, facilitated by Eric Stevens of Littler Mendelson, PC, gives you the opportunity to discuss your concerns and explore collaborative solutions to HR-related problems you face on a day-to-day basis. The forum group will meet three times annually, and the agenda for each session will flow based on feedback from participants in the forum group. As necessary, subject matter experts will be brought in to cover specific issues and topics. Join us for the first session November 30 in Nashville's TBA Barrett Training Center. Click here for more information.

Bankers Directory Orders Fulfilled This Week

The 2017/2018 Bankers Directory has arrived. CEOs, out-of-county main office branches, and associate members each receive one complimentary copy of the directory. Those and all other orders will be mailed this week.
 
The Bankers Directory is a compact, handy reference that puts information about all of Tennessee's commercial banks and trust companies at your fingertips. The directory contains complete financial data for Tennessee institutions taken from the 2016 year-end FDIC Call Reports.
 
Additional copies are available for purchase.

Commercial Bank Announces Deal with Citizens Bank New Tazewell

Harrogate based Commercial Bancgroup Inc., the parent of Commercial Bank, last week disclosed plans to buy Citizens Bank, New Tazewell. Pending regulatory approval, the transaction is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2018. From the deal, Commercial Bank will expand in Claiborne County by two branches and enter Hamblen County with one branch.

TBA On the Road

  • TBA observes the total eclipse from headquarters.
  • TBA begins Membership Meetings with stops Tuesday—Friday in Manchester, Chattanooga, Kingsport and Knoxville.

See where TBA goes while "on the road" by following @TNBankers.

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