ABA Banking Journal
August 19, 2016

This ABA Banking Journal newsletter is a free, twice-monthly supplement to the ABA Banking Journal magazine intended to help you stay on top of industry and policy news. You can also stay abreast of banking news by visiting aba.com/BankingJournal, home to ABA Daily Newsbytes and other email bulletins.

Industry News
The biggest banks are forming an alliance against a common enemy: hackers. A team of eight banks, including J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America, are reportedly forming a team to tackle the growing threat of cybersecurity. The group, currently in its early stages, will trade information about digital threats and potentially play out model hacking scenarios, the Wall Street Journal reported. (Fortune)
Bitcoin suffered yet another blow this month when Bitfinex, one of the cryptocurrency’s largest exchanges, suffered a hack that cost its users about $65 million. Every one of its investors saw their funds suddenly drop by 36%, as the company decided to "socialize" the losses. The source of the security breach remains unconfirmed, but the details of the hack aren’t its only mystery. Burnt traders are now struggling to figure out something even more basic—who exactly is behind Bitfinex and where are those people located? (Quartz)
The Federal Reserve is raising expectations for an interest rate rise this year, even as early as next month, after two policymakers on Tuesday said the economic stars now appear to be aligning despite weak U.S. economic growth in the first half of 2016. (New York Times)
Verint Systems
A lack of new bank startups combined with an extended wave of industry consolidation has raised red flags that community banks, long a linchpin of local economies, could be headed for the endangered species list. "We as an industry are concerned," said Peter Gwaltney, president and CEO of the N.C. Bankers Association. "It’s something we talk about frequently." (News & Observer)
Long-term U.S. mortgage rates edged lower this week, remaining at historically low levels as a potential spur to home purchases. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the average for the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage slipped to 3.43 percent from 3.45 percent last week. The average rate is down from 3.93 percent a year ago, and is close to its all-time low of 3.31 percent in November 2012. (Washington Post)
The U.S. economy may be on the upswing, but your chances of securing a mortgage are not. That’s according to data released last week by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which showed that the total volume of new mortgages actually declined in the second quarter of 2016 from a year earlier, by $39 billion. (Fortune)
iGen Is Coming. Prepare Now.
Harland Clarke
The first wave of iGen (aka Generation Z) turns 21 in 2018. Their relationship with technology, combined with the expectations this relationship has fostered, poses big challenges for financial institutions.
Learn More
Policy News
ABA firmly pushed back last week against a report from the President’s Council of Economic Advisers claiming that the Dodd-Frank Act and other regulations has had little to no effect on community bank consolidation. "[C]ommunity banks have remained strong as Dodd-Frank reforms have been implemented," the report found. "There is a serious disconnect between this report and the daily reality for America’s hometown banks and the communities they serve," said ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols. (ABA Banking Journal)
Along lines long urged by the ABA, the federal banking agencies today proposed anew, shorter Call Report with simplified instructions for banks with less than $1 billion in assets and no foreign offices. The new Call Report form would be reduced from 85 pages to 61 as a result of removing 950 data items, or about 40 percent of entries on the current Call Report. (ABA Banking Journal)
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray replied Wednesday to a letter spearheaded by Senate Banking Committee members Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) that urged the bureau to exempt community banks and credit unions from certain regulations. The letter, cosigned by a bipartisan group of 70 senators, had cited a provision of the Dodd-Frank Act allowing the bureau to exempt "any class" of entity from its rulemakings. (ABA Banking Journal)
Last week, the Federal Reserve announced the members of its 2017 Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council, including two ABA member bank executives who will serve as the panel’s president and vice president. (ABA Banking Journal)
Computer Services Inc
Thomson Reuters
All grassroots advocacy builds up to making an ask. And when it comes time for the big ask, it helps to have a solid relationship with the lawmaker you’re trying to reach, says Michael Mauldin, president and CEO of First Financial Bank’s Hereford, Texas, region. (ABA Banking Journal)
In a sharp retort to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s proposal to change the standard auditors report, the ABA called on the PCAOB to suspend the project and provide transparency over audit expectations to both auditors and the companies they are auditing. (ABA Banking Journal)
New Year, New Growth!
With 2017 here, banks are strategically planning how to reach new audiences, grow market share, and stay competitive. Is your core banking platform helping or hindering your progress? Download the free ebook, Digital Growth: The Paradox of Legacy Platforms, to learn more about the current state of digital banking and why banks are changing cores.
Learn how.
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