Media Mentions – December 2, 2011

December 2, 2011

Authored by: Bryan Cave

With offices all over the world, Bryan Cave attorneys are often quoted in the news.  Recent Media Mentions of Financial Institutions Group attorneys include:

McAlpin on BankDirector.com

Atlanta Partner Jim McAlpin authored the first in a series of articles concerning best practices of bank boards Oct. 25 for BankDirector.com. McAlpin said “there has never been a greater need for well-functioning, informed and courageous boards of directors of banks and bank holding companies. There has also never been a more important time for board members to keep in mind that their responsibilities can be boiled down into one simple goal: the creation of sustainable long-term value for shareholders.” This also was the lead article in the BankDirector November e-mail newsletter.  Click here to read the full text.  The second installment in the series will be published by BankDirector in early December.

Moeling in American Banker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlanta Partner Walt Moeling was quoted at length Nov. 17 by American Banker regarding the new perception businesspeople have toward serving on a bank board. “Most of them joined because it is one of the great clubs in an area and there is an opportunity to help people in your community. But after four years of foreclosing on your neighbors, watching your friends lose their jobs and seeing your investment lose its value, you’re done,” said Moeling, adding that banks still can find local people to serve, but those directors will have to be prepared to roll up their sleeves a lot. “The compliance burden is huge. Regulators are going to expect directors to be on top of things. The meetings will be longer and more detailed. It will be a lot more demanding than it ever was in the past and it is not going to be as much fun.” He also was quoted Nov. 7 in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution concerning the reasons for the failure of Decatur First Bank in Decatur, Ga. The bank’s quest for growth (it opened subsidiary banks in the mid-2000s in the once-booming Lake Oconee area, about 80 miles east of Atlanta) provided a windfall for a few years until the housing market crashed.

ReVeal on BankDirector.com

DC Counsel John ReVeal was interviewed for two videos now being used on the BankDirector.com Web site. One video focuses on the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and how violations are perceived today by regulators. The other, which outlines what a bank board should know about BSA, has become the group’s official training piece concerning BSA and is located in a password-protected section.  Click here to view ReVeal’s video on BSA and regulators.

Andreassen, Rinearson on Paybefore.com

DC Associate Kristine Andreassen and New York Partner Judith Rinearson authored an article for the October edition of Paybefore.com concerning the recent notice of proposed rulemaking from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which adds “tangible prepaid access devices” to the list of currency and monetary instruments that consumers must report when they transport, mail or ship prepaid cards in aggregate amounts of more than $10,000 into or out of the United States. “This proposal appears to have only a limited direct impact on prepaid card issuers and program managers,” they wrote. “It will, however, impact cardholders directly — possibly with negative consequences for customer experience and satisfaction. The proposal may result in holders of prepaid cards feeling discriminated against and/or stigmatized as compared to holders of debit and credit cards, who do not need to report their associated funds nor their access to lines of credit.”

Odom in Earnshaw’s

DC Counsel Linda Odom was quoted in the October edition of Earnshaw’s magazine regarding the laws that govern gift cards. Recent amendments to prepaid card regulations on the federal level could mean businesses need to change their store practices on card load limits, service fees and expiration dates. For example, she said, cardholders who use their gift card at least once a year cannot be charged any service fees.

Moeling in American Banker

Atlanta Partner Walt Moeling was quoted August 16 by American Banker regarding Mercantile Bancorp Inc. The $904 million-asset company has banks in Quincy, Ill., southwest Florida and Leawood, Kan. Two of its three banks are considered undercapitalized, and the company itself is in a negative equity position. Some observers have speculated that Mercantile may have to sell its one solid bank in order to provide its two troubled banks with the capital to move forward. “I tell my clients that are in deep trouble to do any deal they can find. So long as it is approved, I tell them not to worry about what they are going to get because no matter what they are going to be way better off,” Moeling said. “It is painful, but it is the reality.”