Category Archives:Uncategorized

Advisory Issued on FATF-Identified Jurisdictions with AML/CFT Deficiencies

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today issued an advisory to financial institutions regarding the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) updated list of jurisdictions with strategic anti-money laundering/counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) deficiencies. These changes may affect U.S. financial institutions’ obligations and risk-based approaches regarding relevant jurisdictions. FinCEN’s advisory can be viewed at

Advisory Notice

Update on Fair Lending

The upcoming Heart of Texas Compliance Officers (HOTCO) meeting will feature Kennedy Sutherland attorney, Karen Neeley, as she provides an update on fair lending. During the meeting, Neeley will review the current status of fair lending following the U.S. Supreme Court decision on fair lending and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA.) In addition, she will look at the recent CFPB redlining cases and discuss what they mean for banks.

HOTCO is an association for compliance officers at banks and credit unions in Travis County and surrounding areas. The meeting will take place on May 24, 2016 at 6 pm. at Morelia Mexican Grill in Pflugerville. Additional information regarding the meeting can be found on the Independent Bankers Association of Texas (IBAT) website.

Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act Introduced

Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) introduced this week HR 3846, also known as the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2015. The Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2015 proposes changes to the federal Historic Tax Credit to further encourage reuse and redevelopment in small, midsize and rural communities. The bill will increase the credit from 20 to 30 percent for projects with rehabilitation expenses of less than $2.5 million, which will help inject new private investment into smaller and more rural communities.  Other improvements include simplifying the process for the transfer of historic tax credits to investors for projects under $2.5 million. The bill provisions would be the first major changes to the federal Historic Tax Credit since the 1986 tax bill. The bill at introduction has bipartisan support with 9 original cosponsors.

The new legislation adds several provisions and eliminates others from the Creating American Prosperity through Preservation (CAPP) Act that was introduced in previous sessions.

Neeley Named 2015 Texas Super Lawyer in Banking

Kennedy Sutherland LLP is proud to announce that senior attorney Karen Neeley has been named a 2015 “Texas Super Lawyer in Banking.” . Neeley has been recognized in the field of banking by Super Lawyers since 2005.

Neeley is senior attorney and manages Kennedy Sutherland’s Austin office. Joining the firm in August 2015, Neeley provides legal services to community banks throughout Texas and has been a strong advocate for over 30 years. Routinely, she advises banks on regulatory compliance, examination preparation, policies and procedures and has special expertise in Bank Secrecy Act, fair lending and consumer compliance matters.

Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country.Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law.

See the complete list of Texas Super Lawyers 

New Texas Account Disclosure Web Seminar

Join the Independent Bankers Association of Texas for a complimentary web seminar about the ins and outs of the new Texas account disclosure in Senate Bill 1791, presented by IBAT General Counsel and Kennedy Sutherland LLP attorney, Karen M. Neeley. The web seminar will discuss what is required, what is not required and give practical advice on how to implement this disclosure at your bank.

Please plan to attend this informative program on Thursday, September 3, 10 -11 a.m. During the webinar, you will have the opportunity to submit questions online.

Register here

S.B. 1791, sponsored by Sen. Rodney Ellis (TX-13), requires financial institutions to notify people about the option to create a “pay on death” account, a type of bank account that allows ownership of the account to pass to beneficiaries when the account holder dies without the need for probate administration. The legislation was signed by Governor Abbott on May 22, 2015 and became effective September 1st.

Neeley to Present at Financial Institutions Forum

Karen M. Neeley, Senior Attorney at Kennedy Sutherland LLP, will present at the Padgett Stratemann’s 2015 Financial Institutions Forum on Wednesday, August 26th, 2015 at the Club at Sonterra in San Antonio, Texas. Neeley will cover “Emerging Hot Topics in Regulatory Compliance” from 10:45 – 11:30 am. Specifically, Neeley will touch on Employment Issues, Operations Issues, ADA, BSA/AML, CFPB and UDAP.

8:00 • 9:00           Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00 • 9:15           Seminar Overview and Padgett, Stratemann & Co., L.L.P Update
Kathleen Fields, CPA, PS&Co.

9:15 • 9:45           Taxes After Tangible Asset Regulations
Lisa Contreras, CPA, PS&Co.

9:45 • 10:30         A Day in the Life of Today’s Community Banker
Chris Williston, President & CEO, Independent Bankers Association of Texas

10:30 • 10:45        Break

10:45 • 11:30        Emerging Hot Topics in Regulatory Compliance
Karen M. Neeley, Senior Counsel, Dykema Cox Smith

11:30 • 12:00        Compliance Update
Annette Evans, CPA, CRCM, PS&Co.

12:00 • 1:00          Lunch

1:00 • 1:45            What is Your Bank Worth?
Curtis Carpenter, Principal & Head of Investment Banking
Sheshunoff & Co. Investment Banking

1:45 • 2:30            Banking System Performance and Regulatory Hot Topics
Kurt Purdam, Dir. of Bank & Trust Supervision, Texas Dept. of Banking

2:30 • 2:45            Break

2:45 • 3:15            It’s a New HR World
Connie Collins, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, PI, PS&Co.

3:15 • 4:00            Accounting Update
Steven Griffith, CPA, CRCM, PS&Co.

Register Now

Karen M. Neeley Joins the Firm

Kennedy Sutherland LLP is pleased to announce Karen M. Neeley has joined the Firm, effective Augusta 24, 2015, as Senior Attorney and will establish an Austin, Texas office. Karen has provided legal services to community banks throughout Texas and beyond for over 30 years. In addition to serving as General Counsel for the Independent Bankers of Texas, she is a permanent member of the Board of Directors of the Texas Association of Bank Counsel. Karen advises banks on regulatory compliance, examination preparation, policies and procedures and has special expertise in Bank Secrecy Act, fair lending and other consumer compliance matters.

This expertise will complement Kennedy Sutherland’s community bank corporate, securities and regulatory practice involving capital and debt offerings, bank holding company formation and expansion, mergers and acquisitions, loan documentation and tax credit finance practice.

“The addition of Karen Neeley to our team brings a very powerful dynamic to our Firm and her legislative focus and experience is a welcome complement to our efforts on behalf of the industry in Washington DC,” commented Patrick J. Kennedy, Jr. , Managing Partner.

Karen stated, “Kennedy Sutherland is a great fit for me and my banking clients, many of whom we already share in common. The Firm has been a leader in the community banking industry and we look forward to many more years of important gains for our clients.”

Kennedy Sutherland LLP provides a full complement of services for the community banking industry including corporate, securities, bank regulatory and complex transactions, including government guaranteed lending, tax credit and community development finance. The firm has expertise in bank technology and new products and services. The Firm maintains offices in San Antonio and Austin, Texas but enjoys serving clients nationwide.

For more information contact:

Patrick J. Kennedy, Jr.
Kennedy Sutherland LLP
112 E. Pecan St., Suite 2810
San Antonio, Texas 78205
210-228-4431 direct office
210-213-0279 mobile
Karen M. Neeley
Kennedy Sutherland LLP
1717 W 6th Street, Suite 441
Austin, TX 78703
512- 289-0594 mobile

Risks & Opportunities Facing Financial Services

Comptroller of the Currency Thomas J. Curry recently discussed risks and opportunities facing financial services during remarks before the New England Council in Boston, MA. During his speech, the Comptroller commented on interest rate risk, compliance risk, cybersecurity, and the role collaboration can play in mitigating these risks. He also discussed opportunities to improve business operations as well as service to customers.

More specifically, Curry emphasized that the inevitable rise in interest rates could greatly affect loan quality, particularly loans that were not carefully underwritten to begin with, and that ”loans that are typically refinanced, such as leveraged loans,” would be particularly severely affected. The final and “perhaps the foremost risk facing banks today,” according to Curry, is cyber threats. Curry outlined the agency’s efforts to curtail cyber intrusion in the banking industry, highlighting the June 30 release of its Semiannual Risk Assessment . Curry noted lastly that information-sharing is just as important as self-assessment and supervisory oversight and he strongly recommend that financial institutions of all sizes participate in the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, a non-profit information-sharing forum established by financial services industry participants to facilitate the sharing of physical and cyber threat and vulnerability information. Collaboration among banks of all sizes and non-bank providers, Curry stated, can be a “game-changer” in more ways than one.”

Read Curry’s remarks

FDIC's Advisory Committee on Community Banking Scheduled to Meet

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has announced that its Advisory Committee on Community Banking will meet on Friday, July 10. Staff will provide an update on a number of issues, including examination frequency and offsite monitoring; call report streamlining; the cybersecurity assessment tool; and recent rulemakings. There also will be discussions about high volatility commercial real estate loans and review of banking regulations under the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act (EGRPRA).

The meeting is open to the public and will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. EDT in the FDIC Board Room on the sixth floor of FDIC headquarters located at 550 17th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. The meeting also will be webcast live. The agenda for the meeting and a link to the webcast are available at

Cybersecurity Assessment Tool Released

The FDIC & FFIEC have released a Cybersecurity Assessment Tool to help financial institutions with less than $1 Billion in total assets identify their cybersecurity risks and determine their preparedness. The Assessment provides a repeatable and measurable process for financial institutions to measure their cybersecurity preparedness over time.

The Assessment consists of two parts: Inherent Risk Profile and Cybersecurity Maturity. The Inherent Risk Profile identifies the institution’s inherent risk before implementing controls. The Cybersecurity Maturity includes domains, assessment factors, components, and individual declarative statements across five maturity levels to identify specific controls and practices that are in place. While management can determine the institution’s maturity level in each domain, the Assessment is not designed to identify an overall cybersecurity maturity level. To complete the Assessment, management first assesses the institution’s inherent risk profile based on five categories: 1.)Technologies and Connection Types 2.) Delivery Channels 3.) Online/Mobile Products and Technology Services 4.) Organizational Characteristics 5.) External Threats. Management then evaluates the institution’s Cybersecurity Maturity level for each of five domains: 1.) Cyber Risk Management and Oversight 2.) Threat Intelligence and Collaboration 3.) Cybersecurity Controls 4.) External Dependency Management 5.) Cyber Incident Management and Resilience.

Learn More About the Cybersecurity Assessment Tool

FFIEC Cybersecurity Assessment Tool Presentation View Slides (PDF) | View Video

The FDIC encourages institutions to comment on the usability of the Cybersecurity Assessment Tool, including the estimated number of hours required to complete the Assessment, through a forthcoming Federal Register Notice. FDIC-supervised institutions may direct questions on the FFIEC Cybersecurity Assessment Tool through