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Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy and Healthy New Year wishes from St Casimirs Savings Bank.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Safe LIke St Casimirs

Small Banks to Depositors: Trust Us

The looming end of the Transaction Account Guarantee program has small banks nationwide reaching out to affected customers to assure them the banks can be trusted to hold their deposits. Keith Costello, chief executive of Broward Bank of Commerce, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based unit of Broward Financial Holdings that holds $129 million in assets, said the bank is telling customers "that we have a loan portfolio that has no nonperforming loans, which is a very clear statement that our bank is very solvent, very safe and very secure."

From "Small Banks to Depositors: Trust Us"
Wall Street Journal (12/26/12) Sidel, Robin

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Cheer

Thanks to Maryland Financial Bank and all its sponsors the Christmas reception at the Maryland Club. Pictured at the podium are Ed Nolley (Advisory Board Chair) and Bob Chafey (President/CEO.) The beautiful setting is the Maryland Club on Eager Street in Baltimore.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

FDIC Releases Community Banking Study

The FDIC yesterday released its “data-driven” Community Banking Study that looks at community banks over the past 25 years to identify and explore issues and questions about them. The study, which is part of the FDIC’s year-long community banking initiative, “is designed to be foundational, providing a platform for future research and analysis by the FDIC and other interested parties,” the agency said in a press release.

It explores such key areas as the definition of a community bank; structural changes among community and noncommunity banks; the geography of community banking; the performance of community banks compared to noncommunity banks; the performance of community bank lending specialty groups; and capital formation at community banks.

The study uses detailed balance sheet and geographic data to define community banks primarily in terms of their traditional relationship banking and limited geographic scope of operations.

“Based on this definition, there were 7,658 FDIC-insured community banks operating within 6,914 separate banking organizations (or 94 percent of all banking organizations) as of year-end 2010,” it said. The study added that 330 of those institutions exceeded the $1 billion limit that might have identified them as noncommunity banks if a strict asset-size definition had been applied.

The study also found, among other things, that in in 600 counties -- out of slightly more than 3,000 -- there wouldn’t be any banking services if it weren’t for the local community bank; the best-performing banks are those that specialize in agricultural lending, residential real estate, or are diversified with no specialty; and 40 percent of community banks never needed to raise external capital during the 25-year period.---

ABA Daily Newsbytes

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

As Mortgage Rates Keep Falling, More Are Scratching 15-Year Itch

Fifteen-year loans made up nearly 16 percent of the fixed-rate mortgages that lenders sold to Freddie Mac in the third quarter, up from almost 10 percent a year prior, the firm reports. CoreLogic, meanwhile, says about a third of refinancings in the first seven months of the year were 15-year mortgages; the figure has risen since 2007. Borrowers favor the shorter option because of low interest rates, which make it easier to manage payments and still pay off their notes in half the time of a traditional 30-year loan.

From "As Mortgage Rates Keep Falling, More Are Scratching 15-Year Itch"
Wall Street Journal (12/18/12) P. C9 Andriotis, Annamaria

Monday, December 17, 2012

U.S. Banks Increase Retention of Mortgages

U.S. banks are keeping more home loans on their balance sheets instead of turning them over to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for securitization. The trend could signal increased confidence in the housing market and a first step toward a healthier securitization market, but it also could be the result of higher fees being charged by the government-sponsored enterprises as well as profit pressures created by low rates.

From "U.S. Banks Increase Retention of Mortgages"
Financial Times (12/16/12) Alloway, Tracy; Nasiripour, Shahien

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bank Data Confidentiality Rule Awaits Obama After Senate Passage

Banks moved closer to greater confidentiality for information they share with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after the U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation to extend the protection. Senators backed amending the Federal Deposit Insurance Act to give lenders assurance that providing information to the bureau wouldn’t automatically waive any privileged status. Senators agreed to pass the bill by unanimous consent after Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) removed a procedural block on the measure. The House passed the bill on March 26 with bipartisan support. The legislation now goes to President Barack Obama to be signed into law.

From "Bank Data Confidentiality Rule Awaits Obama After Senate Passage"
Bloomberg (12/11/12) Dougherty, Carter


Monday, December 10, 2012

CFPB Sends First Fair Lending Report to Congress

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau late last week sent to Congress its first fair lending report. “We are responsible for ensuring ‘fair, equitable, and nondiscriminatory access to credit’ under the Dodd-Frank Act … [and] we submitted a report … on our efforts to fulfill this fair lending mandate,” Patrice Ficklin, the CFPB assistant director for fair lending, explained in a blog on the agency’s website.

The report said that some of the CFPB’s first-year accomplishments included using fair lending supervisory oversight and enforcement to identify and eliminate consumer harm; educating consumers and promoting awareness of federal fair lending laws; and completing fair lending reviews at dozens of bank and nonbank institutions.

“We are still in the process of building our … program and expect the CFPB’s contribution to the work of ensuring compliance with fair lending laws and promoting access to credit will grow … ,” the report said. “We are also developing risk-based approaches to our … supervision and enforcement work to efficiently allocate the CFPB’s resources in a manner that provides the greatest benefit to consumers.  --ABA Daily Newsbytes

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Rate Update

Mortgage Rates Rise Slightly

The average interest rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages edged up to 3.34 percent this week from a record low of 3.32 percent last week, Freddie Mac reported yesterday. A year ago, rates for 30-year mortgages averaged 3.99 percent.
--ABA Daily Newbytes

Monday, December 3, 2012

Fannie, Freddie Loan Limits Unchanged in 2013

The maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchase in 2013 will remain at current levels, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said last week. That means the loan limit in most areas will be $417,000 for one-unit properties. In high-cost areas, such as Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., the maximum will remain at $625,500, the FHFA said.

Agency officials explained in a press release that the loan limits are established under the terms of the 2008 Housing and Economic Recovery Act and are calculated each year.

“The law sets loan limits as a function of median home values in local areas,” the FHFA said. “While some counties saw increases in home prices in 2012, no loan-limit increases were evident after other HERA terms such as the statutory ceiling and floor were taken into account.

--ABA Daily Newsbytes