I hope this edition of Community Banker finds you enjoying a healthy and prosperous New Year. Before delving into the exciting things ahead of us in 2016, let’s look back a bit at what transpired since our last edition. In December, community bankers gained some regulatory relief through signage of the Highway Bill, of all things. Dogged advocacy by community bankers and community banking trade associations exempted community banks from burdensome regulations like Fed dividend cuts and redundant privacy notices while expanding exam cycles for certain highly rated banks and restoring cuts in crop insurance programs.
While we hoped for more expansive regulatory relief in 2015, the community banking provisions in the Highway Bill are a start. With 2016 being an election year, additional meaningful relief will be challenging, but we will continue to chip away at this regulatory behemoth.
Switching gears, we’re particularly excited about our new “live” education offerings over the next several months beginning with the Real Estate Construction Lending Workshop on March 15-16, Credit Risk Management – “Surviving the Changing Economy” on May 5, and the Women in Community Banking Summit on May 9-10. Your Education Committee has been busy as these live sessions are all new to our education portfolio and we’re pleased to be providing timely, high-demand training and education. In addition, we will be conducting seven ICBND/UMACHA sessions covering a variety of payments-related topics. These live sessions will be held in Fargo and spread through March, April and May.
The ICBA National Convention is March 6-10 in New Orleans. At last count, over 60 North Dakota independent community bankers had registered. Including guests, that number swells to well over 100. It’s not too late to register for what will again be a tremendous convention. On the heels of that, the Washington Policy Summit will be held April 25-27 in Washington, DC. This is truly our opportunity, en masse, to meet directly with our congressional delegation reminding them that a level playing field and regulatory relief for our member banks are critical to the health of North Dakota’s communities. I must say, I was quite impressed by the active participation of over 20 community bank leaders last year. Let’s exceed that in 2016!
Talk to you soon!