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February 27, 2015

CFPB to Host Arbitration Field Hearing in Newark
Earlier this week, the CFPB posted notice that next month in Newark, N.J. it intends to hold a field hearing on arbitration. According to the CFPB, the hearing will take place on March 10, 2015, at 11 a.m. EST and will feature remarks from Director Richard Cordray, as well as the industry, consumer groups and others.
The Dodd-Frank Act requires the CFPB to study mandatory arbitration and provides the agency with the authority to issue rules prohibiting or restricting these clauses in consumer financial service agreements, consistent with the results of the study. Field hearings like these have typically been venues used by the CFPB to make public policy or release reports, so we have every reason to believe the final arbitration study and report is likely to be issued in conjunction with the hearing.

We have always believed arbitration is a convenient way for consumers to resolve disputes affordably. If the report compares how consumers fare in arbitration versus a suit in court or as a party to a class-action, we believe it will bear us out. We will be watching events in Newark very closely.
Visiting Our Members
On Wednesday, February 25, 2015, I went to Charlotte to spend time with Michelle Lee, President, Community Banking for the Eastern Region, at Wells Fargo, who has been nominated to serve on the CBA Board of Directors. She's looking forward to joining us at CBA LIVE 2015! This world now being small, on the airplane ride back to D.C., I saw Pete Jones, President, Mid-Atlantic Region at Wells Fargo, who serves on CBA's Government Relations Council.
CBA LIVE Sets New Banker Attendance Record - Hotel Rooms UPDATE
2015 will be another banner year to gather with the leaders of retail banking at CBA LIVE. On Thursday, February 26, 2015, we surpassed our all-time record with the registration of the 550th banker! The Hilton Bonnet Creek and the Waldorf Astoria are currently sold out. The Wyndham Bonnet Creek, conveniently located across the street from our conference site, has availability. Please act quickly, as space is filling up to accommodate our record breaking crowd!
CBA Chair Tim Wennes on Community Engagement
Tim Wennes, CBA Board Chair and West Coast President of MUFG Union Bank in San Francisco, was recently referred to by American Banker as the "most enlightening panelist" at last month's Hope Global Forum on financial inclusion. Tim offered insight on how to have impactful community engagement. His advice? "Collaborate, collaborate, and collaborate."

Return to Sender... This Idea is Undeliverable
It must be Groundhog Day. Last week a dying idea saw renewed life when the Wall Street Journal reported the American Postal Workers Union is making the expansion of financial services at the USPS part of its contract negotiations with management.
Even Postmaster General, Patrick R. Donahoe, who recently left the USPS has weighed in saying the idea is "undeliverable." Rather, he thought things such as focusing on package delivery for shippers such as Amazon made more sense. I, for one, agree.
CBA has expressed (and will continue to express) concern in response to the idea of a federal agency, which has lost billions of taxpayer dollars over the years, entering the financial services space.
FDIC Quarterly Report Page Turner
In my leisure time, I love reading data - whether it's the latest on election returns or earnings reports. The most recent FDIC quarterly report did not disappoint. The FDIC said big bank earnings fell while community banks earnings were up. The report showed banks held $152.7 billion in total net income in 2014, down 1.1 percent from the year before, with seven of the 10 largest banks reporting lower earnings. Among other notable takeaways:
  • Litigation expenses increased by $6.5 billion for the year;
  • The slowdown in housing market contributed to the slide; and
  • The problem list of banks fell below 300 for the first time since 2008.
Meanwhile, community banks earnings were up 28 percent in the fourth quarter from the prior year. I continue to believe, and will continue to say, the biggest challenge for community banks is technology, not regulation.
Bank of North Carolina and Clarity Services Join CBA
We are delighted to welcome Bank of North Carolina to the CBA family. Coming full circle, Cal Ratcliff, Senior Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer at the bank, is former chair of our CFPB Committee. We look forward to seeing him at CBA LIVE.
CBA also welcomes Clarity Services as our 11th new associate member.
Maggie Seidel has joined CBA as our Assistant Vice President of Media Relations and Communications. She previously served as Communications Director for Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), the Chairman of the House Financial Services Sub-Committee on Capital Markets and GSEs. She succeeds Tom Crosson who recently joined the SunTrust corporate communications team in Atlanta.
Cindy Reeves, Executive Vice President and Director of Bank Compliance for Frost Bank, has accepted the role of Vice Chair for the CFPB Committee.
Andrea Bjorkman, Vice President, State Farm Bank, has agreed to be the Vice Chair of our Digital Channels Committee.
Joe Robles, Jr., USAA President and Chief Executive Officer, will retire on February 28, 2015. Stuart Parker will become the new Chief Executive Officer on March 1, 2015.
Janet M. Coletti, a member of CBA's Small Business Banking Committee, has been promoted to Executive Vice President for Human Resources at M&T Bank, and has been appointed to M&T's Management Committee. She succeeds Steve Braunscheidel as head of the company's Human Resources Division. On March 1, 2015, he transitions to part-time status after a 36-year career at M&T.