On April 8, 2020 WBA filed comments on the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (agencies) proposed revisions to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations (proposed rule). The agencies proposed to clarify which activities qualify for CRA credit, update where activities count for CRA credit, create a new method for measuring CRA performance, and new CRA-related data collection, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements. 

WBA commented that while banks remain committed to the CRA goals, the regulation has become overly complex, unpredictable, and not kept pace with modern trends and technology. In the letter, WBA requested additional clarity on various aspects of the methods mentioned above, recommended changes, and highlighted the need for significant reduction in burden by providing examples of costs. Lastly, WBA urged all three banking agencies—the OCC, FDIC, and Federal Reserve—to develop a final CRA rule that is issued on an interagency basis.

View the Comment Letter.

By, Ally Bates

Webinar Recording: 

Coronavirus Management Series: CARES Act Lending Programs, Including PPP

Join WBA's Rose Oswald Poels and Eric Ness from the U.S. Small Business Administration's Wisconsin District for this complimentary webinar, which focused primarily on the guidelines for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with the caveat that we are assuming final and more specific guidance will be released by then. In addition, the webinar reviews changes to other lending programs contained in the CARES Act.

By, Amber Seitz

WBA Resources for All Your Compliance Education

Dealing with unfamiliar loan types, or far more volume than typical? Both?

With fewer staff in the office, now is the perfect opportunity to dedicate more time to training your frontline staff on compliance, and maybe brush up a bit yourself, too.

WBA has you covered with a wide variety of offerings to keep your bank compliant and your career growing. Check it out:

For Your Frontline and Back Office:

Your WBA membership gives you access to a wide variety of webinars, both live and recorded. Popular compliance webinar recordings available right now include:

Support your more experienced staff and encourage them to work towards a certificate! Your staff can work through online training to earn certificates including:

  • BSA and AML Compliance
  • Deposit Compliance
  • Fraud Prevention
  • Lending Compliance
  • Operational Risk Management
  • Risk Management Frameworks

Click here to access all certificate training. Be sure to select “Member” as your status.

For Compliance Pros:

Don’t miss the upcoming second session of the Community Bankers for Compliance Program, now being held virtually. Typically held as a full-day in-person program, this quarter’s session is split into two half-day morning sprints (9:00 a.m. – noon), allowing for a deep dive into this session’s topic: Account Opening – Online or In Person. Click here to register for the April 28-29 virtual program.

Short on time? Consider one of the following popular webinars:

Want even more flexibility? Your WBA membership gives you access to hundreds of self-paced online courses. Click here to open the portal. Expand the “Compliance & Risk Management” portion to display relevant courses, with options for both new and experienced staff.

Areas of training include:

  • Anatomy of a Regulation for Compliance Professionals
  • BSA/USA PATRIOT Act for Compliance Professionals
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) for Compliance Professionals
  • Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) for Compliance Professionals
  • Trust in Savings (Reg DD) for Compliance Professionals
  • And 100+ other topics!

By, Amber Seitz

By, Eric Skrum

Last updated 04/02/2020 at 4:00 PM.

By, Eric Skrum

Wisconsin Bankers Advise Patience as the Paycheck Protection Program Launches
Banks also offer customers additional help

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will offer some relief to small businesses in Wisconsin as it launches on Friday, April 3. Wisconsin bankers ask for patience from the public as the program begins. Application volume will be very high as the fewer than 170 financial institutions (as of April 2, at 11 a.m.) qualified to offer these loans will strive to keep up with demand.

Sheer volume won’t be the only reason the program will take time. Financial institutions still need guidance from federal agencies and regulators in order to move forward with PPP loans. Currently, there are more questions than answers about the expectations of the federal government in the steps needed to begin issuing funds.

“Keep in mind that PPP loans aren’t the only way Wisconsin’s banks are helping their customers,” explained Rose Oswald Poels, president and CEO, Wisconsin Bankers Association. “They worked one-on-one with their customers to find solutions before PPP became available and they will continue to do so after the program is done.”

The good news is Wisconsin’s banks entered this pandemic from a position of strength and are well-equipped to help their communities.

The Wisconsin Bankers Association has created an online resource for small businesses and consumers located at www.wisbank.com/COVID-19.

WBA also recommends the following five things businesses can do right now:

1: Talk to your lender, if you haven’t already.
If you are experiencing or expect to experience cash flow problems, contacting your lender is the critical first step.

2: Plan for the next 3-6 months, if you haven’t already.
Many businesses we’ve heard from have sufficient funds or access to capital for the first 2-3 months. However, we don’t know how long the pandemic will last, so look ahead, both in terms of a potential lengthening of the pandemic and also in how you will handle recovery and re-opening of the business if you are currently closed.

3: Be ready to produce required information quickly to help your lender with your application.
All loan programs still require some information in order for the lender to underwrite the loan, including the ones created through the CARES Act. Be ready to produce required documentation quickly to help your lender with your application.

4: Don’t panic and draw on lines of credit unnecessarily.
There is plenty of liquidity in the system (unlike the financial crisis in 2008) so don’t panic and draw on lines of credit unnecessarily. Just like we are encouraging consumers to keep excess cash in insured financial institutions, keep the lines of credit intact until you absolutely need to access them. There may be costs associated with accessing those funds and if you don’t need to incur the added expense, don’t.

5: Have patience.
The banking industry wants to help you through these unprecedented times, but not all programs are in place yet, and even when they are, technology can cause hiccups or delays (e.g. systems crashing).

By, Amber Seitz

 The Wisconsin Bankers Association offers for your use the following consumer education column. Your bank is free to use this as a community column in your local newspaper, a letter to the editor, a press release or in any other way you see fit. The purpose is to give our members an easy-to-use tool for promoting the banking industry to Wisconsin's communities. An archive of Consumer Columns is available, as well. 

So, you heard you’re getting a $1,200 check from the government. Hurray! … Wait? How is this going to work, exactly?

1: How to get your economic impact payment.
Now that the CARES Act is law, information—and misinformation—is flying around about when, how, and who will receive economic impact payments from the IRS and Treasury Department. Here’s a rundown of the essentials, straight from the source:

  • When: Payments will be distributed automatically beginning in April 2020.
  • Who: Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment of $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples, with an additional $500 per child. If you filed with more income than that, the payment phases out by $5 for each $100 above the cap, up to $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for joint filers.
  • How: If you’ve filed a tax return in the past two years (2018 or 2019), you don’t need to do anything. The IRS will direct deposit your payment if you received a refund via direct deposit. If not, the IRS will mail you a check. Need the cash sooner? The Treasury is developing a web portal to allow secure payment via direct deposit. Stay tuned.

If you haven’t filed a tax return, you’ll need to file a simple 2019 return in order to receive your funds.

2: The scammers are at it again.
Bad actors are always out there to take advantage of a crisis. Use the following tips to help protect yourself and your loved ones from becoming a victim:

  • What do the IRS, your bank, and the U.S. Treasury all have in common? None of them will call or email you to get your bank account information in order to mail you a check or direct deposit your funds.
  • If you do get a call or email, hang up and/or delete it. If you think it might be legitimate, end the conversation and contact your bank (or the IRS/Treasury/whoever is claiming to contact you) using the contact information you already have on hand (from bank statements, bills, etc.).
  • Never give out any personal information unless you initiated the conversation.

If you have any questions, contact your bank directly using the phone number you have on file for them, not a number given to you by a potential scammer.

3: Your money is safe in the bank.
If you have scared friends and/or relatives, remind them that the safest place for their cash is in an insured bank or credit union, not under the mattress. Even during “Safer At Home” restrictions, your money will always be available to you. Wisconsin’s banks pay for deposit insurance to keep your cash safe. Many institutions also have robust online and/or mobile systems that allow you to access your funds remotely, and many branches remain open for drive-through service. View a map of the Wisconsin banks with open lobbies or drive-through locations and other helpful resources at www.wisbank.com/COVID-19.

The biggest takeaway for consumers during this challenging time: whether you are a small business owner, furloughed worker, or worried parent trying to homeschool and pay a mortgage at the same time, your bank is ready to step up and help. Reach out and let your banker know what you need.

An archive of Consumer Columns is available here on WBA's website.

By, Amber Seitz

Below is an updated FAQ for bankers and lenders regarding SBA Paycheck Protection Program loans.

Last updated March 5, 2021 at 9:00 a.m.

If you have been on this page for any extended period of time, please refresh your page to view the most up-to-date version of this information as this page is regularly updated.

By, Amber Seitz