ICBA called on Congress to ensure that parties that suffer a data breach are required to bear responsibility for fraud losses and restitution to affected parties. In letters to members of the House and Senate, ICBA noted that community banks have been working to protect their customers from adverse consequences of the breaches. ICBA urged Congress to allocate liability to incentivize maximum security. The association wrote that the party that suffers a data breach—whether it is a retailer, data broker, financial institution or other entity—should be responsible for fraud losses and the costs of mitigation and restitution when consumer information is compromised. ICBA also called for a single national standard to replace the patchwork of state laws on data security that fosters confusion and puts consumers at risk. Community bankers can continue to ask questions and share their experiences on the security breaches by emailing SecurityBreach@icba.org. More information is available on ICBA’s Toolkit on Maintaining Consumer Confidence During a Data Security Breach. Read ICBA’s Letter to Congress. Read ICBA Release. Visit ICBA’s Toolkit. Plan for ProsperityCLEAR Relief Act Tops 100 House Cosponsors Following Grassroots BlitzFollowing November’s ICBA grassroots blitz in support of legislation to provide much-needed regulatory relief, more than 30 additional members of the House and Senate have signed on as cosponsors of the CLEAR Relief Act of 2013 (H.R. 1750/S. 1349). The grassroots push has brought the cosponsor total to more than 100 in the House and more than 20 in the Senate in a matter of weeks. The legislation, inspired by ICBA’s Plan for Prosperity regulatory relief platform, offers community bank exemptions from mortgage and auditing regulations and supports additional capital opportunities for small bank holding companies. ICBA waged the grassroots effort to maximize support of the legislation heading into the 2014 congressional session. With a blitz that called on community bankers to involve their employees and bank directors, the growing cosponsor list has increased momentum for congressional action. New Senate cosponsors include Senate Banking Committee members Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). New cosponsors of the House bill include House Financial Services Committee members Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), Dennis Heck (D-Wash.), Robert Hurt (R-Va.), Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) and Keith Rothfus (R-Pa.). ICBA continues encouraging community bankers to view the list of cosponsors for the House and Senate legislation and to urge their members of Congress to cosponsor the legislation if they have not yet signed on. Find Cosponsors for H.R. 1750 or S. 1349. Call Your Lawmakers Today. Send a Follow-Up Message. Too-Big-To-FailReport: Megabanks Work to Sway GAO Report on Too-Big-To-FailMegabanks and their lobbyists are working to undermine a Government Accountability Office study on the economic benefits that too-big-to-fail financial firms receive due to actual or perceived taxpayer support, according to a recent Center for Public Integrity report on Forbes.com. In January 2013 Congress asked the GAO to investigate whether banks with more than $500 billion in assets are able to raise funds more cheaply than smaller competitors because creditors believe the megabanks have a government guarantee against failure. The GAO released the first part of its report, on government-assistance programs for large financial firms, in November. The second part is due out this year. According to the Forbes.com report, the megabanks and their lobbyists have developed studies that argue that recent regulations have reduced their advantage as “systemically important” fiscal institutions and that there is no need for further regulation. However, they have had a hard time arguing that they receive no market subsidy. ICBA supports the GAO study to gain needed information on the market distortion and risks that the largest financial firms pose and to help taxpayers better understand how these institutions affect the financial system. ICBA NewsWatch Today is sponsored by NACHA:With nearly 1,200 members listening to what’s being said about them on social media, ICBA announced the expansion of its premier social media monitoring tool—the ICBA Social Media Monitor, sponsored by NACHA. Participating community bankers can now search up to five keywords, allowing ICBA member banks to find even more mentions of their banks from consumers, media and policymakers! Current participants interested in adding or changing keywords can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your bank name, email contact info, and list of new keywords and phrases to monitor. New participants can set up their preferences at www.icba.org/webmonitor or read frequently asked questions about the program.InterchangeCourt Hears Oral Arguments on Interchange AppealThe U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard oral arguments in the merchants’ challenge of the of the Federal Reserve’s debit interchange rule (NACS v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System). Counsel representing ICBA and other financial services trade associations participated in the hearing. A decision is expected no later than late summer.Bank FailuresRegulators Close Illinois BankDuPage National Bank in West Chicago, Ill., was closed by regulators, and the FDIC entered into a purchase-and-assumption agreement with Republic Bank of Chicago in Oak Brook, Ill. As of Sept. 30, DuPage National Bank had approximately $61.7 million in total assets and $59.6 million in total deposits. The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund will be $1.6 million. DuPage National Bank is the first FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year. Read More from FDIC.EconomyHousing Starts, Building Permits Down in DecemberHousing starts declined a seasonally adjusted 9.8 percent in December and remained up 1.6 percent from a year ago, the Commerce Department reported. Single-family starts were down 7 percent. Housing completions were down 10.8 percent from the previous month but remained up 10.7 percent from a year ago.EconomyRural Economic Growth Slows in JanuaryRural economic growth declined sharply in January, according to the latest Rural Mainstreet Index from Creighton University. The index fell to 50.8 from 56.1 in December as the farmland-price index sunk to its lowest level since October 2009 and farm-equipment sales declined for the seventh straight month. Nearly 80 percent of bank CEO respondents said they expect cuts in the 2014 ethanol-blending level to negatively affect the economy.PollTake This Week’s Quick PollTake this week’s Quick Poll on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Qualified Mortgage rules, and view results from the previous poll on the CFPB’s mortgage rules. View the Archive.EducationICBA Audio Call Next Week Covers Regulation OOver the past year numerous banks have been cited for violations of Regulation O due to widespread misunderstanding over its requirements and the manner in which the regulation is enforced. An ICBA audio conference scheduled for 11 a.m. (Eastern time) Tuesday, Jan. 28, will address Regulation O’s requirements and offer guidance on how to ensure your institution maintains regulatory compliance with its substantive provisions. Learn More and Register.Products and ServicesPromontory’s Bank Assetpoint Attracts 1,200 BanksPromontory Interfinancial Network, an ICBA Cooperative Alliance, announced that 1,200 banks have become participants in its new Bank Assetpoint service, which enables banks to connect when they want to buy or sell loans, real estate or other assets. Participants in the Bank Assetpoint service represent one in six U.S. banks and more than one-third of the U.S. banking industry by asset size. Read More.Products and ServicesUpcoming Webinar Covers 2013 Lessons and Best PracticesFrom server meltdowns and equipment failures to tornadoes and snowstorms—it’s been a busy year for disasters. Join ICBA Preferred Service Provider Agility Recovery at 2 p.m. (Eastern time) this Thursday to review the top recovery stories from 2013, share best practices and lessons learned, and explore some of the most common recovery mistakes. Register Now.