Go LocalICBA Kicks Off Community Banking Month ICBA announced the launch of Community Banking Month in April. In addition to offering a Marketing and Communications Toolkit to ICBA members, ICBA also is running a Washington, D.C.-area promotional blitz encouraging consumers and policymakers to consider the importance of community banks to local economies. Ads running on D.C. buses, trains and a key Capitol Hill Metro station spread the community bank message and encourage consumers to find a community bank on ICBA’s Community Bank Locator. The ads will run through the ICBA Washington Policy Summit, slated for April 29-May 2 in the nation’s capital. The Marketing and Communications Toolkit for ICBA members includes four customizable news releases, an op-ed, marketing ideas, and sample social media posts and graphics that community banks can use in their communities. ICBA encourages members to use these turnkey custom resources throughout April. Community bankers also can tweet with the #BankLocally hashtag and share their photos with ICBA on Facebook. ICBA will share community bank posts and showcase their celebrations across the nation. Also, don’t forget to register for the ICBA Washington Policy Summit to see the Community Banking Month ad campaign. The summit will feature face-to-face meetings with policymakers and remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg and Senate Banking Committee members Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.). Access ICBA Community Banking Month Toolkit. Register for ICBA Washington Policy Summit. Too-Big-To-FailICBA: IMF Study on Too-Big-To-Fail Shows Need for Further ReformAn International Monetary Fund report that found that U.S. too-big-to-fail financial institutions received up to $70 billion in taxpayer-funded subsidies shows the need for further reform, ICBA said in a statement. ICBA President and CEO Cam Fine said the too-big-to-fail threat remains powerful and dangerous despite Washington’s efforts to address the problem. That is why ICBA supports legislation that would require the largest and riskiest banks to hold more leverage equity capital to reduce their risks and avoid future taxpayer bailouts, he said. The IMF said the too-big-to-fail issue has intensified in the wake of the financial crisis because the crisis left little uncertainty about the willingness of governments to support big banks in distress and because banks have continued to grow bigger in a consolidating industry. According to the report, the implicit subsidy distorts competition among banks, can favor excessive risk-taking and may ultimately entail large costs for taxpayers. Read ICBA Statement. Read More from IMF. HousingFannie Updates Property, Appraisal Guidance for Small and Rural AreasFannie Mae released guidance clarifying its property and appraisal requirements for properties in small towns and rural areas. Fannie’s Lender Letter LL-2014-02 features policies on appraiser selection, property eligibility and special considerations, and acceptable appraisal practices. ICBA has worked closely with Fannie and the Federal Housing Finance Agency to address the needs of lenders in small towns and rural markets. In August a group of ICBA members met with representatives from the FHFA to share their challenges with obtaining appraisals in rural or small-town markets that were acceptable to the GSEs and Fannie Mae. Fannie said its guidance for small towns and rural areas has been intentionally broad to accommodate the diversity of this market segment. It said the additional policy clarification is designed to address misconceptions. ICBA NewsWatch Today is sponsored by QR Lending:You too can take advantage of profitable opportunities in the housing market. With an expert partner, your bank can run a profitable, compliant and service-oriented mortgage operation – no hassles. Call 888.766.4734 and ask about the benefits of your own Dedicated Loan Coordinator. Or register for a webinar on April 17th at 2:00pm ET. Equal Housing Lender.EconomyManufacturing Activity Expands in MarchEconomic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in March for the 10th consecutive month, according to the Institute for Supply Management. ISM’s manufacturing index rose 0.5 percentage points from February to 53.7.EconomyConstruction Spending Rises SlightlyConstruction spending rose 0.1 percent in February and was up 8.7 percent from a year ago, the Commerce Department reported. Private and public construction were both up 0.1 percent.PollTake This Week’s Quick PollTake this week’s Quick Poll on celebrating Community Banking Month, and view results from the previous poll. View the Archive.EducationFannie Mae Hosting Webinar on Top Loan DefectsFannie Mae announced it is hosting a webinar on top loan defects identified through its discretionary post-purchase review process. The webinar, which will feature observations and suggestions to avoid defect, is slated for April 10 and 15 and May 5.EducationICBA Hosting Upcoming Auditing InstituteICBA is hosting a two-week Auditing Institute to help community bankers establish, rebuild and sustain the growth and culture of their bank while providing new ways to look at, analyze and solve some of the industries toughest challenges. At the institute, slated for April 28-May 2 and May 5-9 in Kansas City, top industry professionals will discuss new strategies and tactics to improve bank performance, succeed in the current market and maintain an effective internal auditing framework. Register for Week One. Register for Week Two.Products and ServicesWhite Paper Focuses on Avoiding High Electricity BillsThe 2014 polar vortex caused many residential and commercial customers to experience costly electricity bills this winter. Some electricity suppliers dramatically increased their charges; some even quadrupled the variable prices billed to customers. ICBA Preferred Service Provider APPI Energy offers suggestions to keep your electricity costs consistent and reasonable. Read Now.