Our mild November and December has given farmers and ranchers time to finish up late fall projects and graze their cattle on corn stubble and cover crops. We are blessed and thankful to have an extra month of fall.
Early last month, ICBSD held its CEO/Directors Conference in Sioux Falls, SD. ICBSD tried something different this year and scheduled this event the day after the EideBailly conference. This allowed our member banks to attend both events without an extra travel date. Our speaker, Philip Smith, spoke about director and officer responsibilities, methods to enhance shareholder value without buying and selling and enhancing shareholder value through purchase or sale. Mr. Smith did a great job speaking and kept our bankers and directors engaged in his case studies. In my opinion, Mr. Smith was definitely a top-tier speaker and the subject of his presentation was right on. Based on the comments we received and the increase in attendance, it appears that our CEO/Directors conference was successful and a great value for our membership.
On the regulatory front, it appears that community banks got a small victory. The highway bill recently passed, and with the help of the ICBA, Federal Reserve member banks under $10 billion will not have to surrender any of their Federal Reserve dividends. This is a small victory, but a victory is a victory. We need to stay diligent in fighting for more regulatory relief, and hopefully, we will elect leaders that recognize that the cumulative effect of regulations are quite burdensome for community banks. I was encouraged when I watched the Republican Debate that Fox Business Channel hosted in October. A number of the candidates spoke about the regulatory burden that community banks are facing and that the impact was much worse for a small community bank due to the lack of economies of scale. The candidates also recognized that the community banks are the lifeblood for the local economy of small communities. It seemed like they were very sympathetic to the need for community bank regulatory relief.
As we pray for the victims of the San Bernardino terrorist attack, it is being reported that the two terrorists were financed through a personal loan of $28,000 obtained through an online bank. The online bank wired the loan proceeds to the terrorist’s bank account and they withdrew $10,000 cash. I hope that those banks had good CIP procedures and that they were followed. This reminds us bankers that we need to know who we do business with, an advantage that community banks have over big banks. Most community banks have a business model that builds relationships with their customers and that the owners, directors, officers and employees live in the communities they serve. It could be argued that the community bank model helps keep our country safer.
Thank you to the banks and associate members that attended this year’s CEO/Directors conference. I would also like to thank our sponsors for this event. It would not be possible to host a quality event without the help from our sponsors. I had a great time reconnecting and meeting other bankers from around the state and I always look forward to the next time we meet.
I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.