ICBA Chairman, President Urge Basel III Action
Now is the time for community bankers to submit a comment letter on the Basel III proposed capital standards and to tell everyone they know to sign ICBA’s petition to exempt the industry from the regulations, ICBA Chairman Jeff Gerhart and ICBA President and CEO Cam Fine wrote in a message to community bankers. With one of the most important regulatory comment deadlines in the industry’s history scheduled for a couple short weeks, every community banker to needs to step up now, they wrote.

“Let the regulators know that these complex regulations are unwise and counterproductive,” Fine and Gerhart wrote. “Send them a letter and tell everyone you know to sign our petition. We have one shot at this, so don’t leave anything behind!”

ICBA offers resources to help community bankers spread the word. The association offers a comprehensive Basel III webpage with guidelines for drafting comment letters, a link to the regulators’ calculator for determining the impact of the proposal, insertable talking points, information on where to send your comment letter, and more.

ICBA strongly opposes the proposed rules, which would subject all banks and thrifts to the new requirements, regardless of size. The association is urging regulators to exempt community banks from the Basel III guidelines and allow them to retain the Basel I capital rules.

Access the Calculator.
Submit a Comment Letter.
Sign ICBA’s Basel III Petition.

Regulators Approve New Stress-Testing, Assessment Systems
Federal regulators approved final rules requiring covered institutions with more than $10 billion in assets to conduct annual company-run stress tests. Institutions with more than $50 billion in assets will be required to begin conducting annual stress tests this year, though regulators may allow covered institutions to delay implementation on a case-by-case basis.

The rule delays implementation for covered institutions with total consolidated assets between $10 billion and $50 billion until October 2013. For institutions with more than $50 billion in assets that are required to begin stress testing this year, regulators said they expect to release stress-testing scenarios in November.

The FDIC board of directors also approved a final rule that refines the deposit-insurance assessment system for insured depository institutions with more than $10 billion in assets. The agency said the final rule amends the definitions used to identify concentrations in higher-risk assets to better reflect the risk posed to institutions and the FDIC. As of June 30, there were 108 institutions with more than $10 billion in assets, the FDIC said.

Finally, the FDIC updated its loss, income and reserve-ratio projections for the Deposit Insurance Fund over the next several years and concluded that the DIF reserve ratio is on track to reach the statutory minimum target of 1.35 percent by the Sept. 30, 2020, deadline.

Reports on Foreclosure-Rescue Scams Increase
Suspicious activity reports regarding foreclosure rescue scams grew in the first half of 2012 even as the total number of SARs indicating mortgage loan fraud declined, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network reported. Financial institutions filed 2,360 foreclosure rescue–related SARs in the first half of 2012. At this pace, 2012 foreclosure-rescue SARs will exceed the total of 2,782 reported in 2011.

In the second quarter of 2012, financial institutions submitted 17,476 total mortgage-loan-fraud SARs, a 41 percent decrease from the same period in 2011. Of these, 8 percent were related to foreclosure rescue. FinCEN said real estate market conditions and a growing awareness of foreclosure-rescue scams might be influencing this upward filing trend.

FHFA Releases 2013-17 Strategic Plan
The Federal Housing Finance Agency released an updated strategic plan for fiscal 2013-17. The agency’s four strategic goals included in the plan are:

  • Safe and sound housing government-sponsored enterprises
  • Stability, liquidity and access in housing finance
  • Preserving and conserving GSE assets
  • Preparing for the future of U.S. housing finance.

FinCEN Hosting Roundtable on Customer Due Diligence  Proposal
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network said it will host a roundtable discussion to continue gathering information on the advance notice of proposed rulemaking on customer due diligence  requirements. The meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. (Pacific time) Monday, Oct. 29, at the Los Angeles Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. FinCEN issued the proposed rule to solicit public comment on the potential development of an explicit customer due diligence  obligation for financial institutions, including a requirement to collect beneficial ownership information of their customers.

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