Happy New Year! Since this is the time of year when many of us make New Year’s resolutions, initially for this blog I took a jab at writing some banking resolutions for 2015. The problem is, we cannot “resolve” what we cannot control – and we all know there is much affecting our industry that clearly is out of our control.
So I set aside my resolutions in favor of a wish list. Borrowing a “top 10” format from fellow Hoosier David Letterman, below is a top 10 wish list for banking in 2015. This list is not necessarily in descending order of importance, and it likely does not cover everything that bankers wish for. Hopefully, though, you will agree that the items below do warrant attention.
No. 10: FASB simplifies the rules for financial accounting by banks and recognizes that the banking industry is already heavily regulated and examined.
No. 9: The federal government balances its budget, bringing stability to the economy and creating an environment in which our children and grandchildren can succeed.
No. 8: Banks once again become authorized to make credit risk decisions, instead of tying up time and talent trying to evaluate regulatory risk.
No. 7: Banking takes back the payment system.
No. 6: The Federal Reserve Board moves up interest rate levels to be more in line with historical norms, allowing banks to once again enjoy interest rate spreads.
No. 5: Loan demand, particularly commercial loan demand, returns to normal levels, as business owners and managers detect more certainty in the future.
No. 4: Government and businesses, including banking, align to combat cybersecurity threats, eventually eliminating cybercrime altogether.
No. 3: A regulatory relief bill passes that: simplifies the overly complicated and burdensome mortgage compliance process; reigns in, eliminates or, at least, places a governance board and congressional budgetary constraints on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; and provides relief from additional overkill in the Dodd-Frank Act. (Okay, that might be three wishes in one ask!)
No. 2: Reign in the Farm Credit System banks from predatory pricing by making them pay state and federal taxes at the same rates as banks and thrifts, and subjecting them to the same regulatory compliance as banks and thrifts.
… and No. 1 (drumroll, please): Credit unions, regardless of charter, pay state and federal taxes at the same rates as banks and thrifts, and are subject to the same regulatory compliance as banks and thrifts.
While I doubt that every point on this list will be accomplished this year, I do believe that we will make some progress. Politically and economically, the year 2015 holds some promise that we have not seen in a long time, and it could bode well for bankers. My final hope is that, by year-end, some of these wishes become reality!
– S. Joe DeHaven