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Defending Against ATM Fee Lawsuits
Friday, October 14, 2011 (1907 reads)


The 10-year-old Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) requires that banks display an on-screen notice and a separate notice in a visible area outside of an automatic teller machine, advising that a fee will be charged for using the ATM. The act also states that no fee will be charged if an electronic or posted notice is not visible, unless the consumer agrees to continue with a transaction. Notice posted on the screen alone is not enough and may expose ATM operators to civil liability for violation of the EFTA.



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Have We Really Seen These Attacks Before?
Friday, October 14, 2011 (982 reads)


Hackers seem to be everywhere these days – most recently the Epsilon breach, and then the  Sony PlayStation network. Millions of records have been exposed. The impacted organizations are notifying consumers and apologizing as fast as they can. Hasn't the banking community seen all this before?



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The Business Judgment Rule is the Director’s Best Friend
Friday, October 14, 2011 (2537 reads)


Dodd-Frank Act compliance concerns, the uncertain financial environment, perceived economies of scale and institution-specific factors have spurred the consolidation of New York’s community banks. Since the summer of 2010, at least seven mergers have been announced or completed (see sidebar). Five of them have been interrupted by class action “investigations” or actual commenced litigation. Most of those litigations settled to avoid deal disruption. One of them ended in complete victory for the defendant banks and their directors. This is the story of that victory and its meaning for New York institutions.



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Everything Old is New Again: Laundering Money in NYC
Friday, October 14, 2011 (1905 reads)


When it comes to money laundering, the bad guys suddenly have the upper hand: Several foreign companies have come under intense scrutiny for their banking habits, as they are apparently able to move tens of millions of dollars through New York’s biggest banks undetected.



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Empire National Bank Good Loans in Bad Times
Friday, October 14, 2011 (1199 reads)


When Sayville Ford, Long Island’s largest Ford dealer and one of the top 100 Ford dealers in the country, needed a cash infusion in 2008 to get through the recession, it naturally turned to its long-time community banker, who handled Sayville’s other business interests.



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ALCO: Act Like a Crisis is Obvious
Friday, October 14, 2011 (1432 reads)


July 21, 2011, marked the effective date of the repeal of Section 19(i) of the Federal Reserve Act (FRA), also known as Regulation Q, thereby allowing banks to pay interest on demand deposit balances. Buried on page 715 of 2,319 pages, Section 627(a)(i) of the Dodd-Frank Act (DFA), with only the word “[Repealed],” Section 19(i) of the Federal Reserve Act and the implementing regulations are forever repealed.
Regulation Q is a 75-year-old regulation that is a basic tenet of banking as we know it. The prohibition on paying interest is at the heart of every bank’s business plan and is integral to their pricing process.



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First Niagara’s HSBC Branch Buy
Friday, October 14, 2011 (1207 reads)


First Niagara Financial Group’s John Koelmel has been on the acquisition trail for the past two years. First, there was the NewAlliance acquisition announced early this year. Then, in early August, First Niagara announced its intent to purchase 195 branches that HSBC is divesting in upstate new York. And in mid-September, Koelmel indicated to American Banker that he was expecting Bank of America to sell branches as part of an initiative by BoA to cut $5 billion in costs by 2014. BoA’s 40 branches in the Albany, New York area are in part of First Niagara’s expanding geographic footprint.



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Six Key Ingredients for Effective Compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act
Friday, October 14, 2011 (2556 reads)


The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) was originally passed by Congress in 1970 and is intended to safeguard U.S. financial institutions from the abuses of financial crime, including money laundering, terrorist financing, and other illicit financial transactions. It has been amended several times since then, including provisions in title III of the USA PATRIOT Act (collectively referred to as Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Act or as BSA/AML).



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Risk Management Programs More Necessary than Ever
Friday, October 14, 2011 (1283 reads)


Community financial institutions are feeling as much pressure as their larger counterparts to comply with the Dodd-Frank bill's more than 10,000 pages of new regulations. This and the sheer number of major regulatory changes (more than 10 each year) are increasing the need to have in place an efficient and nimble risk management programs and a strong risk manager.



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Of Ants and Allowances
Friday, October 14, 2011 (979 reads)


The fables of Aesop have been relayed to countless schoolchildren over the millennia since the Greek storyteller first told them in the sixth century BCE. Whether human, animal or elemental, Aesop’s characters never fail to impart a profound moral lesson. The Boy Who Cried Wolf relates the consequences of lost credibility; The Tortoise and the Hare teaches the importance of managing for the long run instead of the short; The North Wind and the Sun depicts the efficacy of persuasion over force.



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Making Sense of Mobile
Friday, October 14, 2011 (956 reads)


Will the rapid adoption of smart phone technology assure the success of mobile banking? Is mobile banking just an extension of the Internet, or does it offer entirely new venues to interact with banking customers and generate revenues?



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