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May 24, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Trump Promises to Improve Dodd-Frank for Community Banks

On Monday, May 1st, President Trump spoke to representatives from the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), committing to cut the ‘red tape’ imposed by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulatory law. His repeal promises were met with a great deal of excitement from the community bankers present, in part because of the reminder that the number of federally insured small banks dropped from 7,357 in 2011 to 5,980 in 2016—at least in part because of the regulation.[1] ICBA representatives including CEO Cam Fine reiterated the general tone, saying that community banks face a “pressing need for regulatory relief.”[2]

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Topics: Regulations, Dodd-Frank, Trump

May 17, 2017 11:00:00 AM

Does the WannaCry Cyberattack Make You Feel Insecure?

On Friday, May 12, a ransomware attack called WannaCry hit computers in Europe, followed by Asia and more than 150 other countries including the U.S. By Monday, the cyberattack had hit more than 300,000 computers, first locking them and then demanding a $300 payment to restore their files. While the identity of the individual or group who deployed the software (WannaCrypt) is yet unknown, it didn’t take long for copycats to pop up. That’s partly because the WannaCrypt ‘exploits’ were taken from the National Security Agency, which had reported the theft in April. About the same time, Microsoft released a patch to protect against the vulnerability. The problem was, few people took advantage of it.

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Topics: Cybersecurity, Malware, WannaCry

May 11, 2017 10:30:00 AM

Planning and Investing in a Fluid Interest Rate Environment

As promised, the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy committee raised interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point at its March 15 meeting. Chair Janet Yellen had suggested the hike would be appropriate if economic markers—in particularly GDP rates, jobs, and consumer spending—improved over a slight slump from at the start of 2017 determined to be mostly ‘transitory.’

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Topics: Regulations, Interest Rates

May 3, 2017 11:00:00 AM

Do You Know When and Why to Engage an Internal Auditor?

Many company leaders see audit as a task related to compliance, and that’s a fair—if overly simplified—definition for external audit. Once per year, an external auditor will perform an annual examination and issue an objective report regarding the financial statements. This regulated activity has an impact on the reputation and financial health of a business. Internal audit is neither specifically tied to regulation, nor is it a single, time delineated task. It is, however, more vital to the ongoing resilience of the business. The effort is more flexible and tailored to the goals and qualities of the entity, and (if done well) is performed throughout the year to monitor company practices and risks.

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Topics: M&A, Growth

Apr 26, 2017 10:30:00 AM

Trick or Trump: The Radical Impact on Community Banks and Their Consumers

Saturday (April 29) marks the 100th day of the Trump Presidency. The benchmark has historically been used to review promises made and kept, as well as where progress has occurred and where it is yet to happen. For community banks and the small businesses and individuals they support, four markers are of particular importance—small business lending, mortgage rates, interest rate risk, and regulations. Let’s look at all four to get a sense of where the country is, and where we may be headed in the second half of 2017.

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Topics: Regulations, Trump

Apr 19, 2017 10:00:00 AM

2017 Bank M&A Survey: What Makes a Successful Acquisition

Despite (or perhaps because of) a turbulent political, economic, and regulatory climate, analyst predictions continue to point to 2017 as an active year for bank M&A transactions. On one side of the coin, it’s because large banks are striving to ‘bulk up’ in the face of regulations. On the other, it’s because small community banks are buckling to shareholder pressures and seeking to exit.

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Topics: Mergers and Acquisitions, M&A, Bank Growth

Apr 12, 2017 11:30:00 AM

Cost Segregation Can Help Banks Take Full Advantage of Trump Tax Rate Changes

With changes to tax regulations on the horizon, bank leaders should be thinking about how they are managing financial strategies. It’s likely that you are. Close to 74% of U.S.-based CFOs believe President Trump's principal focus should be corporate tax reform. [1]  And it is. The White House says tax reform is a major piece of their policy agenda.

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Topics: Tax, Trump

Apr 5, 2017 10:30:00 AM

Internal Audit is More Necessary in a Disruptive Market

Internal audit (IA) is more often than not viewed as a ‘check the box’ exercise on a compliance to-do list. While it’s true that banks do have to perform set IA tasks, limiting your work to what’s required not only could leave your institution vulnerable, it could diminish the value of an otherwise highly valuable effort.

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Topics: Internal Audit

Mar 30, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Use Your CECL Data to Build Competitive Opportunity

While the on-paper goal for banks working toward their implementation deadline for the new Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) impairment standard is compliance, the long game opportunity is much greater. Every decision in the process hinges on data.

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Topics: Regulations, CECL

Mar 22, 2017 10:00:00 AM

How to Respond to the SEC Request for Public Comment on Industry Guide 3

“As an agency designed to serve the American people, it is imperative to constantly look back on the SEC’s rules and engage the public on ways to improve. Today, we are asking for public comment on whether Industry Guide 3 continues to elicit the information that investors need for informed investment and voting decisions.”

- SEC Acting Chairman Michael Piwowar

On March 1, 2017, the SEC voted to publish a request for public comment on disclosures mandated by Industry Guide 3—Statistical Disclosure by Bank Holding Companies. The agency is seeking input from investors, registrants and others on ways to improve disclosures for bank holding companies, inquiring whether Guide 3 remains capable of gathering the information needed for investors to make informed funding and voting decisions. Additionally, the SEC is examining what new types of disclosures about bank holding company activities might be necessary.

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Topics: Regulations, SEC, Industry Guide 3

Mar 16, 2017 10:30:00 AM

What You Need to Know Now about Trump Administration Tax Reforms

From the earliest days of the election cycle, tax reform has been a consistent topic of focus. During campaigning, all of the Republican candidates recommended reductions to personal and corporate income taxes. Now-President Trump's was the most aggressive. He proposed bringing the corporate income tax rate down to 15%.

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Topics: Trump, Tax Reform

Mar 8, 2017 10:00:00 AM

3 Risk and Reward Considerations for a Successful Bank M&A Deal

The past three years have seen healthy M&A activity. 2015 set a record for banking and securities M&A. In 2016, activity slowed slightly in the early part of the year but picked up again in the second half, and concluded strong. With the current post-election uncertainty, an unsettled regulatory landscape, and new capital requirements related to Basel III, however, analysts expect a slight pause.[1]

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Topics: M&A, Risk and Reward

Mar 1, 2017 11:00:00 AM

What Banks Need to Know About Secure Vendor Management

Vendor relationships are a reality for virtually every shape, size, and kind of business. On any given day, you might have people who come into your bank to do simple things like deliver coffee or clean your offices. You’re almost just as likely to have outside providers who are handling complicated tasks like managing your servers. Though the coffee guy might not have access to private data, every vendor relationship brings with it some degree of risk. Knowing how to quantify that risk and engage proper security protocols are vital to the resilience and reputation of your institution.

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Topics: Vendor Management, Risk Management