If you will recall from my recap of Day 1, I’m not typically an early riser. My day started as early as the conference would allow me with a Power Hour session provided by Treliant. The speakers for “Seven Steps to Avoid Redlining” were Carl Pry and Susanna Tisa. This session had a lovely continental breakfast provided, and lots of really informative discussion about…you guessed it, avoiding redlining! I think my favorite takeaway from this session was that you don’t want your mapping to look like a pastry. If your mapping area looks like a croissant or doughnut, you are probably at risk for a redlining violation of some sort.
Once my breakfast had been consumed and I had learned the broad points of how to do the right thing, I headed to the general session. The speaker in the gigantic ballroom was ABA President Rob Nichols. Rob spent some time telling us about the conference and the way the industry is heading as a whole. He also gave us a demonstration involving their new website www.grow.aba.com. This website is dedicated to showing how banks all over the country impact their state and the American economic system. As Rob said, “United States banks are the cardiovascular system for the most dynamic economic system in the world.” He also talked about the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act as just about everyone here has. He summed up what the consensus has been…we don’t really know quite yet what it means, but now is not a time to relax. He wrapped up with this quote, “Regulatory changes will take time and compliance is more important now. Double down on compliance!”
What do 2,000+ bankers do when they finish listening to the ABA President? I thought you’d never ask. The answer is coffee. A lot of coffee. Day 2 seemed to have a lot more “down time” than day 1, and this is an example of that. The Marketplace is an interesting animal. If you’ve ever been to this sort of event, in any industry, you know exactly what I am talking about. There are rows of booths with vendors hoping that the passerby will show some sort of interest. Strategically placed swag, flashy videos, and prizes are just a few examples of strategies they will employ in hopes of getting your contact information. It’s not an easy job and I feel for them as I walk past. However, that’s not the only purpose for the Marketplace. Hundreds of attendees can be found inside exchanging stories and business cards with their colleagues. As a first time attendee, this puts me in a little bit of an interesting spot because I have few contacts here. I did see a lot of our Compliance Masters Group members, but I will talk more about them in a bit!
Following the “coffee break”, I made my way to my first break out session. “Troubleshooting Your CDD Program: Where Are We?” was presented by Robert Rowe III, Megan Hodge and Daniel Stipano. This session certainly moved at a brisk pace and it was clear that all three speakers knew the subject matter very well. They spent a significant amount of time talking about the new Beneficial Ownership Rules as they apply to rollovers and renewals. They spoke about the 90-day limited exceptive relief and the need to have policies and procedures in place in the event that a customer refuses to provide beneficial ownership on renewal of a CD. Obviously, they spent time speaking on trigger events which led to possibly the line of the sessions when Daniel Stipano said, “Death is the ultimate triggering event!”. The parting thoughts were to not lose sight of the bigger picture and know your customer.
That brings us all the way up to lunch which was a little bit different than yesterday’s box lunch. We had two hours blocked in the gigantic ballroom for a seated luncheon with Jennifer Tescher, President and CEO of the Center for Financial Services Innovation. First, let me talk about the lunch setting. The portions, for anyone that has every played Oregon Trail, could only be described as meager. They have to serve 2,000 people in the course of an hour before the speaker begins, so I can understand I suppose. I was a bigger fan of the sandwich on Day 1. Also, as a person with a slight bit of misophonia, the sound of thousands of people using forks and knives against plates was a bit overwhelming. If you aren’t familiar with misophonia it is defined as “a strong reaction to specific sounds” and it is REAL! Jennifer Tescher gave a wonderful presentation about the state of financial health for individuals all over our country. You’re not just in compliance business, you’re not just in the banking business, you’re in the financial health business.
The luncheon was followed by some nice chess pie in the Marketplace and the same hobnobbing and networking that I discussed prior. Then, I made my way straight towards my next session on Fair Lending Hot Topics. The session was moderated by Cara James and was a Q&A style presentation by Anand Raman, Andrea Mitchell, Melanie Brody and Paul Hancock. These four attorneys waded through a variety of hot topics in the Fair Lending area. Redlining was a frequent topic visited throughout the session and was part of the conversation while speaking on the Bureau moving away from auto loans, the DOJ using publicly available information and Fintech. They also mentioned that acting director Mulvaney suggests that the Bureau will reopen Reg B to address Disparate Impact Theory of Liability in respect to Inclusive Communities. The overriding theme for this topic was, “Try to do the right thing”.
The final session of the day for me was a HMDA flash session presented by Robert Rowe III. Flash sessions are 45 minutes and it was over before I realized it. Basically, don’t get too excited about these HMDA exemptions for smaller institutions until we know what they actually mean. Do not change anything. Are you thinking about selling these loans at a later date? Well, you may run into an issue if you haven’t been collecting all the data. What happens if you are selling to an institution who is required to collect ALL of the data?
I thought when I started to put together this blog post that it wouldn’t be quite as long as yesterday’s. I guess I was wrong about that, but I cannot wrap this up without talking about the low key cocktail hour that we hosted for our Compliance Masters Group members. This was by far my favorite part of the conference! I talk to these people over the Internet at least three times a month, and it was so wonderful to be able to put faces with names. I’ve spent my week trying to figure out who is saying, “Hi, Brent!”. It is so odd to be in a scenario where people know your face, but you only know them by name…maybe by voice. I don’t think I could have had more fun spending time with somewhere between 15-20 of our members at Barlines in the Omni Hotel. I loved hearing all of the stories that they shared as friends who had attended these conferences together for years. As I look forward to my final day of my first ABA RCC, this was added another level of excitement for future attendance that I hope to be blessed with in the coming years. There are a lot of good people here, and I feel lucky to have some of the best of those people right in our own Compliance Masters Group. I’m heading to bed as I prepare to, once again, wake up much earlier than I would like to.