Richard's Rapid Fire - December 14, 2018

December 14, 2018

Yesterday’s CBA Holiday Party & Day of Fun was one for the books. We toured the U.S. Capitol, celebrated Janet Pike’s retirement with House Speaker Paul Ryan, and ate well! Click here to see the surprise on Janet’s face when she saw Speaker Ryan, who she worked with before he was a Member of Congress and for when he was first elected.


Cajun Thoughts: JANET PIKE  While the holidays are indeed the most wonderful time of year, it is very bittersweet here at CBA as we say farewell to Janet Pike. Janet and I have worked together for 11 years and she has been an integral member of the CBA team – who could forget iJanet from last year’s CBA LIVE! I could not be more thankful for all she has done. Janet was especially adored by our membership, specifically our board and their assistants. Not only was her office the power center of the office, she really made CBA a family. While we hope Janet enjoys retirement in sunny Florida and lots of trips to visit her new grandson Lukas, to say she will be missed would be an understatement … The recently published 2019 Bank M&A Survey indicated the banking industry is pleased with the new regulatory landscape ... In 2018, there were 262 bank mergers. With 184 bank executives and directors as participants, 87% of those surveyed believe the Trump administration has had a positive impact on the banking industry and the same percentage applauds former acting director Mick Mulvaney who "turned the agency into less of a regulatory cop and more into a regulator" ... I am optimistic for 2019 as more than half of participants believe the current environment is more favorable for deals, and 50% say they're likely to acquire another bank by the end of 2019. 




Kraninger Sworn In As BCFP Director: Kathleen Kraninger was sworn in on Monday by Vice President Mike Pence as the second fulltime director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, completing the regulatory leadership transition. I met with Director Kraninger about her first day and am looking forward to working with her on common-sense regulations that protect consumers while also allowing our well-regulated banking system to serve families and small businesses. With her five-year term now officially underway, there has been a complete turnover among the heads of all major banking regulators since 2017. Mel Watt still heads theFHFA, but his term expires in January. The White House confirmed plans to nominate Mark Calabria, chief economist to Vice President Pence, to replace Director Watt.


BCFP Campus Products Report: Banks value the relationship they have with their customers and provide important, necessary services to students as they work to achieve their goals. The more services – wire transfers, overdraft protections and the like – used by a customer of any age will result in increased annual costs. Each product and service carries a nominal fee – as the report notes – and is optional. According to Bankrate, most Americans pay around $9 a month, or $108 a year, for checking accounts, however, banks in a BCFP report charged students significantly LESS than most Americans. More here.


Sinema, Smith Added to Senate Banking Committee: On Thursday, U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer announced Senate Democratic committee membership for the 116thCongress. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) will join the Democratic side of the Senate Banking Committee next year. CBA looks forward to working with Senators-elect Sinema and Smith, as well as all the members of the Senate Banking Committee, on common-sense, bipartisan legislative proposals and regulatory reform. We had a good relationship with Rep. Sinema in her role on the House Financial Services Committee and believe she will be a knowledgeable member of the Senate Banking Committee for consumers and the industry. Senate Republicans have not yet announced committee assignments – stay tuned!


BCFP to Solicit No-Action Letter Policy Comments: Late last Friday evening, CBA learned the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection plans to solicit comments on reforming its no-action letter policy related to firms looking to develop new and innovative products and services. The Bureau looks to streamline the no-action letter process, expand the types of statutory and regulatory relief available to firms who use the no-action less process, and coordinate with existing and future programs offered by other regulatory bodies.


To this end, the Bureau plans to focus on the quality and comprehensiveness of no-action letter applications, while focusing on the potential benefits a product will have for consumers. To encourage more applicants, the Bureau is proposing to not require applicants to commit to sharing data about the product or service in question. Further, the Bureau proposes lifting the time-limited applicability of letters, and will carry the weight of the Bureau standing behind the no-action promised in the letters. Comments on this proposal will be due 60 days after it hits the federal register.


FCC Moves Forward with Reassigned Numbers Database: On Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made two rulings related to establishing a long-awaited reassigned numbers database and protecting consumers from spam robotexts. The ruling made clear wireless phone providers are authorized to stop unwanted text messaging through anti-spam features, specifically by finding Short Message Service (SMS) and Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS) are defined as "information services" instead of "telecommunication services" under the Communications Act. This classification allows wireless providers to continue blocking unwanted text messages.


While the details on this database will be released soon, it is proposed to provide a safe-harbor for those institutions that use it, though there likely will be a per-view cost associated with the database's use. Chairman O'Reilly agreed with CBA's position that an "intended recipient" fix was needed, though the reassigned numbers database would be a useful solution. The influx of fraudulent and illegal robotexts often places a timely and annoying burden on consumers.


For more on CBA’s position on this, our letter to the FCC last year is available here.




Associated Acquires Huntington Branches in Wisconsin: CBA Member Associated Bankannounced its plan to buy 32 branches ($134 million in loans, $850 million in deposits) of another CBA Member Huntington Bank's Wisconsin operations. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter and should be at least 2% increase in 2020. With this acquisition,Associated is gaining 60,000 deposit accounts, including 33,000 households. Huntington will retain its national consumer and commercial business in the state, including its Small Business Administration operations. More here.


Eric Smith Named Regional COO of Fifth Third Chicago: This week, Fifth Third Bankannounced current Chicago regional president Eric S. Smith will transition to chief operating officer of the region once the merger with MB Financial, Inc. is finalized. Smith will continue as regional president until the merger closes and will then assist with onboarding the leadership team members joining Fifth Third from MB FInancial. Congratulations! Learn more about Mr. Smith's new role here.

Wells Fargo CISO Rich Baich Sworn In To NIAC: On Thursday, CISO Rich Baich of Wells Fargo was officially sworn in as an appointee to the National Infrastructure Advisory Council in Washington, D.C. Congratulations! Full release here.



Black Knight’s Shelley Leonard & Servicing Digital: Earlier this year, CBA premier sponsorBlack Knight launched Servicing Digital, an interactive, consumer-focused mobile solution fostering customer convenience with “anytime/anywhere” accessibility to loan information. EVP & Chief Product Officer Shelley Leonard of Black Knight spearheaded this successful digital initiative and executed the solution via client engagement, resource identification and managing all related issues. Congratulations on a job well done at a time when digital innovation is so important. We are proud to have you as part of the CBA family!


Happy Birthday to Bob Kottler: Former CBA Board Chair and current Board Member Bob Kottler of IBERIABANK celebrated a birthday this week! Serving as EVP and Director of Retail and Small Business Banking and a 1999 EBS graduate, Bob has been a valuable member of the CBA family for many years. We appreciate Bob’s work with us and continued commitment to inspiring the next generation of innovative leaders. The CBA Team sends our warmest birthday wishes!


Welcome Tim Carey & Viktorija Stich to the CBA Team: Warm welcome to Tim Carey, the newest member of our government relations team, and Viktorija Stich, who will be helping with database and registration for conferences! Tim comes to CBA with more than a decade of experience in public policy and advocacy, government relations, legislative and regulatory processes. He previously worked with Financial Services Committee Rep. Brad Sherman (CA-27) and most recently specialized in financial services at Venn Strategies. Tim and Viktorija’s first day with us was this Monday and we are happy to have them.


CBA State of the Week: Our State of the Week is UTAH, where more than half of all residents banks with a CBA member! CBA members in Utah hold $463 Billion in total assets, employ 13,000 people, provide $7.8 Billion in small business loans and serve 1.7 Million customers. Utah is also home to CBA member-banks American Express, Sallie Mae,Zions Bancorp, Comenity, Ally Bank and Synchrony. Check out our state by state numbershere.