ICBA’s Fine Recognized on The Hill’s List of “Top Lobbyists”
President and CEO Camden R. Fine was named a top lobbyist by The Hill on its annual list of the most influential advocacy leaders. Fine has been named to the list every year since 2008. The story, released by The Hill, says “it is Fine’s job to make sure the new regulations don’t end up damaging smaller community lenders.”

“As a former community banker, and one who now has the privilege of advocating for the nation’s more than 7,000 community banks, I’m deeply honored to be named by The Hill as a top lobbyist on behalf of the community banking industry,” Fine said in a press release. “ICBA has a top-notch staff and we never let up when it comes to advocating for our members. ICBA makes sure Washington policymakers know that community banks are a vital part of America’s economic system and that they work overtime to serve their customers and communities. My job is to continue to spread that message and ensure that community banks have a bright future. It’s a mission I couldn’t be more proud of and am passionate about fulfilling.” 

ICBA to FASB: Simplify Private Company Decision-Making Framework
Yesterday, ICBA filed a comment letter with the Financial Accounting Standards Board on their discussion paper covering the private company decision-making framework. FASB’s discussion paper seeks to solidify a framework for when the accounting requirements for private companies should be altered to better reflect the needs of their stakeholders. For many community bank shareholders and other interested parties, the current presentation of historical financial statements is overly complex and seeks to provide details that are not relevant for this user group. The calculation of the fair value for financial instruments is a prime example. 

One area where ICBA raised concern was in response to the presumption by FASB staff that industry-specific guidance should apply to both public and private companies in the same manner based on the specificity of the guidance. ICBA disagreed with this presumption because community banks operate under a vastly different business model than larger banks and the recognition, measurement and disclosure guidance should properly reflect this model difference throughout the financial statements.

Another area of concern is the method for adopting accounting changes. ICBA believes that accounting changes for private companies should be applied prospectively whenever possible to minimize the financial impact on the reporting entity. The high regulatory burden associated with applying such guidance retrospectively comes from preparation, audit and technological costs that generally do not provide meaningful benefits that outweigh their immense costs. To highlight this point, ICBA believes that audit fees and auditor expenses should be considered when setting implementation guidance for accounting changes.

Fed Releases 2013 Payment Services Fee Schedule
The Federal Reserve Board will increase its payments services fees by an average of less than 1 percent starting Jan. 2, 2013. The effective average fee banks will pay to collect checks using the Reserve Banks' Check 21 services is expected to decline 4 percent, while the effective average fee for banks to return a check electronically will decline 3 percent. Bank fees will increase about 7 percent for Fedwire Funds and National Settlement Services, and about 9 percent for Fedwire Securities Service. Read Fed Announcement.

Lending Standards Easing for Business/Consumers, Little Change in Residential Real Estate
According to an October 2012 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices, small fractions of domestic banks reported easing standards for business lending and some categories of consumer lending over the past three months. Respondents reported little change in residential real estate lending standards on balance. Also, significant fractions of banks reported increased demand for commercial real estate loans, residential mortgages and auto loans, while demand for most other loan types  remained unchanged.

The survey addressed changes in the supply of, and demand for, bank loans to businesses and households over the past three months. This summary is based on responses from 68 domestic banks and 23 U.S. branches and agencies of foreign banks. View the survey.

Design Your Convention Education Experience
With more than 60 educational sessions, the ICBA National Convention and Techworld® boasts an opportunity to customize your learning experience based on your personal and professional needs while earning Continuing Professional Education credits. Workshop tracks include compliance and risk management, lending, regulation and exams, technology and more. Last year’s attendees say that “the number and variety of quality speakers and topics cannot be found at any other conference … and the wealth of information and networking opportunities are unparalleled.”

Register today to qualify for a $300 early bird discount. To learn more about the nine educational tracks and to start customizing your experience, visit the Convention website.

Take This Week’s Quick Poll
Take this week’s Quick Poll on residential real estate lending, and view results from the previous poll on compliance committees. View the Archive.

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