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Western News

Trade Wars Are Negatively Impacting the Rural Economy

July 20 — For a sixth consecutive month, the Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index climbed above growth neutral in July. This marks the first time since the July 2014 that the overall index has risen above growth neutral for such an extended period of time. However, the index did decline this month, falling from 56.1 in June to 53.8, and more than three-quarters of those surveyed are reporting that trade rifts and tariffs on grain farmers are having a negative impact on the economy.


Furlow Takes Office as TBA President, CEO

July 3 — Chris Furlow officially took the helm as the new president and CEO of the Texas Bankers Association, succeeding Eric Sandberg, who retired after holding the position for nine years. Furlow was named to the post in January 2018 following a nationwide search that included more than 200 candidates.

In advance of the leadership transition, Furlow joined TBA on April 1. Since that time, he has logged more than 8,000 miles on the road and in the air traveling Texas to hear directly from TBA members about their challenges and needs.

“I’ve really enjoyed getting around and meeting both leaders and employees of Texas banks,” Furlow said. “In addition to drilling down on the issues our members are facing, I’ve had the opportunity to see up-close and personal what wonderful people Texas bankers are. It’s certainly an honor to be leading the oldest and largest state banking association in the nation.”

Furlow says his No. 1 priority is “to work with urgency to address the competitive, regulatory and cyber risk that challenges banks of all sizes — but particularly our community banks that have fewer resources and personnel to combat them.”

Furlow understands these risks well. Most recently he served as president of Ridge Global, an international risk management and cybersecurity firm, where clients included banks and energy companies. He served in the George W. Bush White House following the 9/11 attacks and was a senior member of the founding staff at the Department of Homeland Security. He previously served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce and as communications director for a member of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee.

“As Gov. Abbott will tell you, the Texas economy is among the top 10 on the planet. But with a world-class opportunity comes world-class threats. TBA will help our member banks reduce these risks so they can do what they do best — help Texas businesses grow and families succeed,” he said.

Furlow also brings deep statewide and national political experience to TBA’s advocacy efforts for community banks. A Louisiana native, he served as executive director of the Louisiana GOP in the early 1990s. He was later appointed National Field Director at the Republican National Committee where he managed the RNC’s political staff during the 2000 presidential election. More recently, he has held leadership roles with the U.S. Chamber Commerce Cyber Leadership Council.

“Whether we are advocating on behalf of our members in Austin or Washington, TBA will communicate that most Texas banks are themselves small and family-owned businesses that enable the growth of other small businesses,” Furlow said. “The well-being of Texas banks is directly tied to the success of the communities they serve.”



Nelnet Files Application for Industrial Bank Charter with FDIC, Utah Department of Financial Institutions

July 3 — Nelnet has announced it has filed an application with the FDIC and the Utah Department of Financial Institutions to establish Nelnet Bank, a Utah-chartered industrial bank. If the charter is granted, Nelnet Bank would operate as an internet bank franchise with a home office in Salt Lake City. Nelnet Bank would be a separate subsidiary of Nelnet, and the industrial bank charter would allow the company to maintain its other diversified business offerings.


LA Responsible Banking Ordinance Clears Budget Committee

June 19 — In response to the efforts of Los Angeles bank workers, residents and consumer advocates to hold banks accountable, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office released an amended Responsible Banking Ordinance in March with language that requires any bank contracting with the city – or applying for a city contract – to disclose its sales goals and other potentially predatory business practices. If passed by a full City Council vote, the rules will be the first of their kind nationwide and will require that the financial institutions bidding for Los Angeles’s $17 million taxpayer-funded contracts are transparent about their sales goal tactics and employee compensation.


IBAT Hosts 33rd Annual Leadership Conference

June 12 — The Independent Bankers Association of Texas — the largest state community banking association in the nation — will host its 33rd Annual Leadership Conference at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort, June 14-16, 2018. More than 200 community bankers and industry advocates from across the state will participate in this three-day event focused on developing leaders in Texas community banking.

This year’s theme at this annual conference designed for both the next generation of leaders and current leaders in community banking is “Connecting Leaders.” Attendees will enjoy a combination of educational offerings, leadership development activities, networking opportunities and entertainment. General sessions are presented by industry experts and nationally renowned speakers. Additionally, there is a golf tournament and Kids Camp as well as a Family Fun Night with dinner, dancing and entertainment by popular cover band Suede, which will perform rock hits from the past five decades and original music.

Educational offerings throughout the event are in the form of general sessions, hot topic breakout sessions and optional workshops. General session highlights include:

  • “Fail Faster: Building Resilient Leaders,” presented by author and TEDx speaker Anne Grady, who will discuss the importance of consistently bouncing back and overcoming failure to ultimately reach success. She will focus on building resilience in organizations.
  • “Never Give Up: The Survivor Way,” presented by motivational speaker and reality show “Survivor” competitor Holly Hoffman, who will explore how we decide to survive on a daily basis and the role adversity plays in learning who we are and what we’re made of.
  • “Business Ethics, Wells Fargo and Mickey Gilley: Why All New Accounts Look Profitable at Closing Time,” presented by author and professor Lyle Sussman, Ph.D., who will present strategies for transforming codes of ethics into behavioral realities, using Wells Fargo as an example.
  • “Lead with Character,” presented by former NFL player Matt Birk, who will look at the complicated and often misunderstood concept of character. He will share a relationship-based approach to leadership that will promote well-being and foster resilience throughout any organization, from top to bottom.

“IBAT’s Leadership Conference gives up-and-coming community bank leaders the opportunity to network, learn from and develop personal relationships with their peers and tenured leaders in the industry — all while enjoying family time in an informal setting,” said Chris Williston, IBAT president and CEO. “Members and staff both enjoy the unique aspects of this conference that make it unlike any other event throughout the year.”

To learn more about IBAT’s 33rd Leadership Conference, visit www.ibat.org.



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