On November 10, 2017, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago hosted its 12th Annual Community Bankers Symposium titled, "Winds of Change: Headwinds, Tailwinds and Regulation." The Symposium was a joint effort among the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of Comptroller of the Currency.
The previous evening, CBAI hosted a Welcome Dinner for its members attending the Symposium at Mastro’s Steakhouse. The Welcome Dinner was generously sponsored by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago.
The day-long Symposium began with opening remarks by Charles L. Evans, President and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Mr. Evans' personal commentary on the economy is that it is on solid ground and the fundamentals are favorable going forward. He cautioned that the prolonged low interest rates, and gradual future rate increases nearing only 2.75% (the long-term Fed Funds Rate), leaves little room for the Fed to react aggressively in the event of an economic downturn. He noted that this is particularly concerning as the current expansion crosses the 100-month mark which makes this the third-longest period of economic expansion.
Lara Lylozian, Assistant Chief Accountant for the Federal Reserve System, provided a CECL Presentation. Takeaways for community banks from this presentation include: CECL is a high priority for regulators; community banks should be proactive and not wait for the regulators to tell you what to do; the process should begin now and should include data collection and investigation of all available resources; bankers should take an “adopt and adapt” approach to implementation; and the regulators will only be setting the CECL guiderails and will not immediately be expecting perfection but will be expecting a “best faith effort”.
An informative Ombudsman Panel and Consumer Compliance Supervisory Panel bracketed lunch and an Economic Update by Richard Brown, Chief Economist & Deputy Director, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Blake Paulson, Deputy Comptroller of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, provided the View from the OCC because Acting Comptroller Noreika's last day at teh OCC was November 10th, and Josepth Otting had not yet been confirmed as the Comptroller. Paulson commented that he has worked under seven Comptrollers in his OCC career, and Otting is different in that he has significant previous bank experience (OneWest Bank, CIT Bank and U.S. Bancorp). As Paulson stated that he believes Otting’s experience will be positive for the OCC and the 1,400 banks it regulates.
CBAI encourages Chicago Fed member banks to plan on attending the 13th annual Symposium next year as the new leadership of the OCC, FDIC, and the Federal Reserve Board will likely be invited to speak to attendees.