ICBA Offers Custom Basel III Op-Ed
A new customizable op-ed from ICBA helps community bankers spread the word on why regulators should exempt the industry from proposed Basel III capital guidelines. The op-ed, which community bankers can customize for their communities, notes that the proposed regulations would unnecessarily subject Main Street community banks to the same complex capital requirements as Wall Street megabanks.

Meanwhile, ICBA continues calling on community bankers to submit comment letters and sign its petition on Basel III regulatory capital guidelines before the Oct. 22 comment deadline. ICBA is encouraging community banks to use the calculator released by federal regulators and write a comment letter describing how the Basel III proposal will affect their risk-based capital ratios. Guidelines for drafting comment letters are available on the ICBA website.

Additionally, ICBA continues urging community bankers and their allies to sign a petition calling on regulators to exempt community banks from the Basel III proposals.

Sign ICBA’s Basel III Petition.
Send in a Comment Letter.

ICBA Backs Broader Exemptions from Mortgage-Servicing Proposals
ICBA called on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to exempt small mortgage servicers from proposed servicing rules. In a comment letter to the bureau, ICBA advocated exempting servicers that service 10,000 or fewer mortgage loans from a proposed rule that would require more burdensome monthly mortgage statements. ICBA wrote that the bureau’s proposed threshold of 1,000 loans is too low to provide any real relief for community bank mortgage servicers.

The association also urged the CFPB to drop proposed changes to adjustable-rate mortgage notices. Under the proposed rule, servicers would be required to send borrowers an estimate of their initial adjustment six months before a rate change takes effect. ICBA wrote that this estimate will confuse borrowers and provide inaccurate information. ICBA also urged the bureau not to require additional changes to the timing of ARM adjustment notices because these changes are not required by statute, provide no value to consumers and would be costly to implement.

Finally, ICBA asked the CFPB to provide clear guidance to the prudential banking regulators to accept community banks’ current processes and procedures for complying with the proposed rules regarding error resolution, continuity of contact, prompt crediting of payments, loss mitigation and early intervention, force-place insurance and reasonable information management practices. The CFPB acknowledges in its proposed rule that community banks already comply with these rules. ICBA said that clear guidance will ensure that community bank examiners do not require more prescriptive processes or procedures to comply with these rules.

Community Service
ICBA Seeks National Community Bank Service Awards Nominations
ICBA announced that it is seeking nominations for its 12th Annual National Community Bank Service Awards. All community banks with community service or volunteer programs that help to strengthen their local community are eligible for the awards, which recognize the outstanding work of community banks across the nation.

Nominations are being accepted through Monday, Dec. 3. Award recipients will be recognized in April as part of Community Banking Month and will be acknowledged in ICBA Independent Banker magazine and at the 2013 ICBA National Convention and Techworld in Las Vegas, scheduled for March 11-15. Read ICBA Release. Learn More.

Fed Governor Defends QE3 Plan
The Federal Reserve’s plan to purchase more mortgage-backed securities will offer a greater economic boost than buying more Treasury securities, Fed Governor Jeremy Stein said.

In his first monetary policy speech since joining the agency, Stein said that the efficacy of Treasury purchases is likely diminished because many corporate borrowers already have access to low-cost funds. He said that, as a result, policymakers were right to focus on a sector that is more sensitive to financing costs such as the housing market.

The Federal Open Market Committee announced last month that it would purchase $40 billion of agency mortgage-backed securities each month. In addition to the third round of asset purchases, the FOMC also announced that it will maintain its Operation Twist program of swapping short-term securities for longer-term ones. The panel also said it will keep target interest rates at zero to 0.25 percent “at least through mid-2015.”

Producer Prices Up in September
The Producer Price Index rose a seasonally adjusted 1.1 percent in September, the Labor Department reported. On an unadjusted basis, prices rose 2.1 percent from a year ago, the largest year-over-year increase since March 2012. Prices were up 1.7 percent in August 0.3 percent in July.

Freddie: Mortgage Rates Up from Record Lows
Freddie Mac said average fixed mortgage rates edged up last week from record lows following September’s employment report. Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.39 percent last week, up from 3.36 percent the previous week and down from 4.12 percent a year ago. Rates on 15-year FRMs averaged 2.70 percent, up from 2.69 percent last week and down from 3.37 percent last year.

Take This Week’s Quick Poll
Take this week’s Quick Poll on comment letters on Basel III regulatory capital standards, and view results from the previous poll on ATM fee disclosure lawsuits.

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