ABA Banking Journal - May 2014 - (Page 4)
BY JEFF PLAGGE
Moving the ball
"Our voice has to be
LOUD, CLEAR, AND
PERSISTENT. If we don't
speak up for our industry,
President and CEO,
Northwest Financial Corp.,
Arnolds Park, Iowa
ABA BANKING JOURNAL
merica's gridlocked Congress makes
it difficult to move important legislation. And the regulatory process can
be clumsy and slow. Yet, ABA is finding
ways to get things done. Look at some of
what's been accomplished over the past
* The 2014 Farm Bill became law earlier
this year, preserving a solid crop insurance
program and eliminating term limits for
USDA Farm Service Agency guaranteed
loans. That opened access to credit for
35,000 farmers and ranchers with a guaranteed loan, and removed obstacles for
the 4,000 banks that held those loans.
* ABA helped persuade Congress to fix
affordability and escrow problems in the
Biggert-Waters Act. A bill signed in March
reinstates grandfathered status for properties built to code before flood maps were
adopted and allows new buyers to assume
existing flood policies on their property.
* As ABA urged, federal regulators adopted a final Volcker Rule exempting
community banks that trade in certain
instruments from the rule's compliance
requirements. Problems remained with
the TruPS CDOs. After ABA sued, but
continued to work with the regulators,
those problems were largely resolved. We
saved community banks nearly $600 million. We continue to push for an equitable
resolution to the CLO issue as well.
* Rejecting arguments from retailers, a
federal appeals court upheld the Federal
Reserve's use of fixed costs, network
processing fees, and the cost of fraud
in the interchange fee cap calculation.
Along with others, ABA filed an amicus
brief. Although the Durbin Amendment
has caused a great deal of damage, further
damage was averted.
* Don Childears, Colorado Bankers
Association president and CEO, is leading
an ABA/Alliance Regulatory Relief Task
Force that identified meaningful reforms
that can be achieved this year. The State
Alliance CEOs and ABA will push for those
reforms over the next several months.
* Months of ABA-led discussions with
members of Congress and mutual institutions helped lead to the introduction of
the Mutual Bank Choice and Continuity
Act of 2014, H.R. 4252. The bill would
provide mutuals with a capital raising
tool that would treat funds as Tier One
common equity and provide a mechanism
to raise targeted capital to meet regulatory
requirements. The bill also would create a
new mutual national bank charter.
* ABA's efforts helped secure a delay in
the SEC's compliance date for registration
as municipal advisors. Previously, ABA,
the state associations, and bankers succeeded in persuading the SEC to exempt
traditional banking services from the rule.
There is still much to do. We've worked
hard to influence QM rules, Basel III impact, cybercrime and payment initiatives,
patent troll reform, and taxation of credit
unions and the Farm Credit System. More
bankers will have to get involved. Our
voice has to be loud, clear, and persistent.
If we don't speak up for our industry, others will. That's why ABA has emphasized
identifying emerging leaders. We brought
100 young women and men to Washington
in March for special training to help groom
the next generation of leaders.
Progress takes patience, persistence,
and effort. Every two years there will be
new members of the House and Senate.
Yet we make progress when bankers find
their voices and get involved.
That's what it takes to move the ball and
get back to the business of banking.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - May 2014
Who will fill the chair?
Pass the Aspirin
Doing well by doing good
ABA At Your Service
ABA Banking Journal - May 2014