Richard's Rapid Fire - July 13, 2018

Commission Bill Adds Two – Breaking News: Bipartisanship in Congress is not dead. This week, Reps. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) and Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) became the eighth and ninth cosponsors of a bipartisan bill in the House of Representatives to create a Senate-confirmed, bipartisan commission at the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. The bill was introduced while we were at CBA LIVE this March and has steadily gained support from key Members of Congress since then. So far, the bill has the support of Reps. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), David Scott (D-Ga.), Financial Institutions Subcommittee Chair Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), Vincente Gonzalez (D-Texas) and Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.). Rep. Meeks is a senior Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee and Rep. Duffy is Chair of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance. Advocating on behalf of consumers and the industry for a bipartisan commission at the Bureau is a key priority for CBA and we will continue promoting this bill as a way to put an end to the political pendulum the Bureau has been since its creation. 
Does Kavanaugh Pick Make Bureau Commission More Likely? – President Trump on Monday nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the pending retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy. 
What does it mean? 
  • Judge Kavanaugh currently sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, where he ruled against the Bureau in PHH v. CFPB. He wrote, “The CFPB’s concentration of enormous executive power in a single, unaccountable, unchecked director not only departs from settled historical practice, but also poses a far greater risk of arbitrary decision-making and abuse of power, and a far greater threat to individual liberty, than does a multi-member independent agency.”
  • Following President Trump’s nomination, I noted, “We appreciate the President nominated someone who recognizes the consequences of having so much power vested in a sole director at the Bureau. A bipartisan commission would give consumers the certainty and stability they deserve.”
  • Isaac Boltansky with Compass Point wrote in his newsletter, “Given persistent legal debate over the CFPB's constitutionality, the odds of SCOTUS being forced to consider the Bureau’s structure have increased in our view … We note that conventional wisdom regarding [a bipartisan commission to lead the Bureau] appears to be shifting on Capitol Hill and the added dynamic of an external catalyst from SCOTUS could tilt the debate in favor of a legislative change.”
  • American Banker discussed several industry policy areas that could be impacted by the Supreme Court, including the Chevron Doctrine, CFPB leadership structure, interest rate limits for debt payers, GSE issues and the disparate impact rule for fair lending. You can read more on those here.
More Leadership Changes at Bureau – Leandra English's attorney Tweeted late last Friday she would resign her position as Deputy Director of the Bureau this week. Her attorney added paperwork would also be filed bringing English's court case, which asserts she should be the Bureau's acting director, to a close. 
On Monday, Acting Director Mick Mulvaney named Brian Johnson as the Bureau's Acting Deputy Director. Johnson has been a senior advisor to Mulvaney since December 2017. Prior to joining the Bureau, he was senior counsel on the House Financial Services Committee under Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas). Johnson also attended CBA LIVE this year and met with the CBA Board.
I told reporters following English’s announcement, "The transition of power at the Bureau was a circus and we could possibly witness it again in five years unless a bipartisan commission is created to give consumers the certainty and stability they deserve."
Mark Your Calendars –Kathy Kraninger’s confirmation hearing is set for next week, Thursday, July 19. As you know, she is President Trump’s pick to be the full-time director of the Bureau. 
CBA Mid-Tier Forum at CBA World HQ – CBA’s Mid-Tier Forum met yesterday at CBA World HQ in Washington. Chair Nitin Mhatre with Webster, Wayne Akins with Synovis, Lynn Asensio with WesBanco, Janice Budnik with United, Kevin Miller with TCF, Cindy Purcell with Banner, Jimmy Stead with Frost, Paul Thome with Sallie Mae, Ray Webb with Old National and Cindy Wolfe with Bank of the Ozarks had a great discussion on business trends ranging from fraud and fintech to blockchain and mergers. They also heard from Sean Dugan with Black Knight and Cooper Schorr with R3. Great discussion. 
Shahira Knight Named Top White House Congressional Aide – It does not seem like too long ago when I hired Shahira Knight to cover retirement and tax issues at SIFMA. In the less than 10 years since then, she has been a Vice President at Fidelity and a deputy director at the National Economic Council where she played a key role in getting tax reform across the finish line. This week, it was announced she is set to become President Trump’s top liaison to Congress. I know the President will be as proud of hiring Shahira as I was back in 2007. 
Visa Innovation Station – The financial services industry is at the forefront of innovations and Visa has played a pivotal role in paving the way. This year they are celebrating 60 years of powering digital commerce with their Innovation Station. I had to opportunity to drop by the launch of the pop-up exhibit and the technology on display was amazing. Consumers demand smarter, faster and safer commerce. If you are in D.C., stop by 1011 4thStreet, NW, to see for yourself how Visa is delivering for consumers. 


Great Visit to Pittsburg: PNC and First Commonwealth – I had the opportunity to visit with CBA’s Chair-Elect Todd Barnhart, several CBA Executive Banking School students and members of our committees this week at PNC’s offices. As CBA’s next Board Chair, Todd is going to preside over CBA’s 100th Anniversary and our 10th CBA LIVE. It is going to be an exciting year!
CBA President & CEO Richard Hunt visited with CBA Board Chair-Elect Todd Barnhart, CBA Executive Banking School students and committee members from PNC during this week's trip to Pittsburgh.
I also met with First Commonwealth President and CEO Mike Price. CBA’s members are our greatest asset and talking with Mike was a master class in banking’s competitive landscape. I certainly appreciate his invaluable insight. 
Woodforest Expands Footprint – Since CBA Board Member Cathy Nash came on board as CEO at Woodforest National Bank in 2015, the bank has increased its commercial lending footprint. Woodforest’s commercial loans have tripled since mid-2016, according to a recent article in American Banker. Net interest income – as a result of that growth – has increased 31 percent. The article notes that while the focus on commercial lending has increased, the bank is not shying away from its in-store, retail banking roots. 
Bank of the Ozarks Leads the Way – Another CBA member bank is also leading the way. Bank of the Ozarks, as Bloomberg Businessweek put it, is outpacing “Wall Street’s real estate machine” to become one of the nation’s top construction lenders. Appropriately, people are taking note. At one New York conference, a property finance specialist opened by asking attendees a rhetorical question: how many times would Bank of the Ozarks head George Gleason’s name be mentioned (noting he is “one of the most important real estate bankers in America today”). While some see another downturn on the horizon, it does not seem to be impacting the bank. Profits have increased almost fourfold since 2014 and ROA is double the industry average. As Bank of the Ozark likes to say, they don’t want to be the biggest bank – just the best. When it comes to real estate lending, it looks like they are living up to that motto. And, be on the lookout for the bank’s new, younger, global, tech-oriented brand – something Gleason developed himself – Bank OZK.  
Back in Business – CBA members finance the American Dream. Whether buying a house, a car, sending a kid to college or opening a business, a strong banking industry is crucial for economic growth. Recent Federal Reserve data found business loans have increased 5.5% in June compared to less than 1% at the end of 2017. Thomas Roepsch, co-owner of Old National Bancorp in Indiana, told the Wall Street Journal , “We’re trying to keep up with growth. People are knocking on the door asking for more of our products.” David Prince with Associated Banc-Corp in Wisconsin reported similar conditions. An increase in business lending is good for banks and it is also good for the nation’s economy. So, keep up the great work of helping finance entrepreneurs’ dreams! 
Building Your Team – Hiring good team members is one of the hardest things a manager has to do and it is not getting any easier as the labor market tightens. There are now actually more job openings than Americans looking to fill them. Hiring in the financial industry has increased for the last five years but the Bureau of Labor Statistic estimates that trend could come to an end, as growth could fall a percent over the next year. A partner at an executive search firm in California said banks are looking for more experienced, skilled workers to fill openings – and she has seen an increase in demand for workers with a background in mobile technology. Like I said, finding good talent – and keeping the best – can be difficult. To help, CBA recently started a new Talent Management Committee led by John Jordan with Bank of America. If you want to learn more about the committee, reach out to Brenda Mechling.
Financial Planning at Fifth Third – Speaking of keeping the best and the brightest… Fifth Third started a financial wellness program for employees. The service was born – so to speak – from another wellness program the bank instituted to help expecting mothers juggle their new responsibilities. Many soon-to-be-mothers mentioned a need for financial education and planning now that things like day care and college tuitions were on the horizon. About a year into the new program, more than 13,000 of Fifth Third’s employees have utilized the service. 


Small Business Committee Chair Gail Gandy of Wells Fargo Bank - CBA Small Business Banking Committee Chair Gail Gandy boasts nearly 20 years in the banking industry.  She has been with Wells Fargo Bank (and Wachovia) for most of her career and serves as the Senior Vice President of Business Management and Business Real Estate Financing.  Since becoming chair of CBA's Small Business Banking Committee in 2016, Gail has exemplified true leadership and valued dedication to the industry. She has been instrumental in the success and growth of the committee as it worked to address important industry issues such as the Dodd-Frank 1071 data collection effort by the BCFP. In addition to leading the committee, she has joined CBA in advocating on behalf of the industry with stakeholders in D.C.  Gail is a true asset to the CBA banking family.  Thank you, Gail!


Chris McComish Named Chief Banking Officer at Chemical Bank – Former CBA Board Member Chris McCommish has been named chief banking officer – Consumer & Wealth Management, with Chemical Bank in Michigan. This is a great addition to the team. I know they will benefit as much from Chris’s insight and three decades of experience as CBA did while he was on our Board. 
M&T’s Lauren Tennes Promoted – M&T Bank yesterday promoted Lauren Tennes as their new Head of Federal Government Relations. In her new role, she will lead the bank’s efforts in Washington and represent M&T before Congress and the Executive Branch. Lauren graduated from Drew University, has more than two decades of government relations experience and has been with M&T for four years. We look forward to working with Lauren in her new role and welcoming her to Washington, D.C.
Flagstar Hires Ryan Goldberg – Flagstar Bank in Michigan has hired Ryan Goldberg as their new executive vice president and director of Retail Banking. He will oversee Flagstar’s branch banking, consumer finance, national business banking and investment and insurance services. Ryan joins Flagstar from another member of the CBA Family, Regions. Congratulations to Ryan!