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The Examiner

“I am delighted to see Miki Bowman nominated to the Federal Reserve Board. Miki has been an active regulator on behalf of the citizens of Kansas, and I know she will be a valued addition to the Fed. Her appointment highlights the important role of state banks in our national financial system.”

- CSBS President and CEO John W. Ryan
On the nomination of Kansas State Bank Commissioner to the Federal Reserve Board


Kansas Bank Commissioner Nominated to Federal Reserve Board of Governors

President Trump said on Monday he would nominate Michelle Bowman as a Governor on the Federal Reserve Board.

According to Reuters:

Bowman, the commissioner of the Kansas State Bank Commission since 2017, would fill a position at the Fed reserved for someone with community banking experience.

That seat has remained open since 2014, when the U.S. Congress passed a bill requiring the Fed to reserve one seat on its policymaking board for someone familiar with the thousands of institutions with assets of less than $10 billion.

Bowman’s family owns the Farmers and Drovers Bank of Council Grove, Kansas, where she served a vice president from 2010 until her appointment as state bank commissioner. She is also familiar with Washington after stints on the staff of former Republican U.S. Senator Bob Dole of Kansas and as a deputy to former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.


21 Student Teams Advance in Nationwide Community Bank Competition

Twenty-one student teams from universities across the nation have advanced to the second round of the 2018 Community Bank Case Study Competition, CSBS announced today. This year’s competition focuses on how community banks are using technology.

“We're amazed by the quality of submissions,” said CSBS Senior Executive Vice President Michael Stevens. “It was difficult to get down to 21 entrants and will be even harder to get down to finalists. It is a great sign of the quality of college students interested in the intersection of technology and financial services.”

The teams were chosen from a pool of 51 student teams representing 45 universities. A record number of entrants entered in the fourth year of the competition, which is open to undergraduate students in all fields of study as an opportunity to gain valuable first-hand knowledge of the banking industry. Last year, 33 teams participated.

The case studies will undergo two more rounds rigorous judging by two additional panels of banking experts. The top three scoring teams will be announced on May 10 during the CSBS State-Federal Supervisors Symposium in Jacksonville, Fla. The announcement will be streamed live on the competition website at www.csbs.org/bankcasestudy.

The student teams compete for an academic scholarship, a chance to get their work published in an academic journal and an opportunity to attend the sixth annual CSBS-Federal Reserve Community Banking Research Conference, held in St. Louis this October.

Student teams from the following universities advanced to the second round:

  • Bowling Green State University
  • Concordia College
  • DePaul University
  • Eastern Kentucky University
  • Fairfield University
  • Florida State University
  • Grove City College (Penn.)
  • Immaculata University (Penn.)
  • Kutztown University - Team 2
  • Middle Tennessee State University
  • Nicholls State University (La.)
  • Ohio State University
  • Southeastern Louisiana University
  • University of Arkansas
  • University of Houston
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Missouri - Kansas City
  • University of Northern Iowa
  • University of Tennessee at Martin
  • University of Texas at San Antonio
  • York College of Pennsylvania

SEC Recognizes CSBS for Assistance in Cryptocurrency Fraud Case

On April 20, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced additional fraud charges stemming from an investigation of Centra Tech Inc.’s $32 million initial coin offering. 

In an amended complaint filed, the SEC charged one of Centra’s co-founders, Raymond Trapani, in a fraudulent scheme related to Centra’s 2017 ICO, in which the company issued “CTR Tokens” to investors. Earlier this month, the SEC and criminal authorities charged Centra’s two other co-founders, Sohrab “Sam” Sharma and Robert Farkas, for their roles in the scheme. 

In the announcement, the SEC acknowledged the assistance of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, which maintains a database of state-licensed financial companies that investors can access before deciding to invest in a company claiming to have state licenses. That database is NMLS Consumer Access, an online portal. 

“We allege that the Centra co-founders went to great lengths to create the false impression that they had developed a viable, cutting-edge technology,” said Robert A. Cohen, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit.  “Investors should exercise caution about investments in digital assets, especially when they are marketed with claims that seem too good to be true.”

The SEC’s amended complaint alleges that Trapani was a mastermind of Centra’s fraudulent ICO, which Centra marketed with claims about nonexistent business relationships with major credit card companies, fictional executive bios, and misrepresentations about the viability of the company’s core financial services products.  The amended complaint further alleges that Trapani and Sharma manipulated trading in the CTR Tokens to generate interest in the company and prop up the price of the tokens. 

Read the full press release here


States Nationwide Participate in Financial Literacy Awareness Month

States across the nation are pitching in to help consumers identify better financial habits, increase their savings, and plan for retirement.

Financial Literacy Month, occurring each year in April, is an opportunity for financial corporations, nonprofits, and government agencies to promote educational initiatives and resources. The Jumpstart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy coordinates the work of hundreds of businesses and state and local governments for Financial Literacy Month. CSBS has been a long-standing partner with the Jumpstart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy.

Several state banking departments are already hard at work promoting financial literacy for their consumers. Here is just a small sampling of states participating in Financial Literacy Month:

District of Columbia

In observance of Financial Literacy Month, District residents can participate in free educational programs, resources and services that promote inclusive prosperity, economic growth and personal financial well-being.

“Many Americans live paycheck to paycheck and worry about not having enough funds to cover daily expenses let alone planning for retirement,” said Commissioner Stephen C. Taylor. “Mayor Bowser and her administration are committed to helping all District residents break the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck by providing the educational tools and strategies for managing household debt and create pathways to the middle class.”

Idaho

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter has signed a proclamation establishing April as “Financial Literacy Month” in Idaho, noting that, “The quality of every Idahoan’s life is dramatically affected by how you manage your money.  Education is a key to providing Idahoans the tools to achieve a better financial life.  I encourage every Idahoan to take advantage of the great free resources available during the month to learn about the wise use of credit, the basics of saving and investing, home ownership preservation, and the pitfalls associated with financial fraud.”   

The Idaho Department of Finance, the Idaho Financial Literacy Coalition (IFLC) (www.idahoflc.org) – an affiliate of the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy – the Idaho Military Financial Alliance, and Idaho Public Libraries have joined together to sponsor “Financial Literacy Month” in April. The IFLC is a partnership of private- and public-sector financial educators.  The Department of Finance participates year-round in IFLC efforts and is proud to take part in this opportunity to draw attention to the need for all Idahoans to learn money management skills.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf declared April as "Financial Capability Month" in Pennsylvania. In his proclamation, Governor Wolf recognized the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities for its work with CSBS to assist thousands of Pennsylvanians each year. 

The Department also conducts several consumer outreach events year-round, with emphasis on financial literacy and avoiding common financial scams. For senior citizens, the Department will conduct a "Consumer Fraud Bingo" event, a program to help develop a spending plan, and an in-depth discussion on avoiding scams and identify theft, banking basics, and budgeting. For Students, the Department will conduct a presentation combining lessons on credit reports and scores, banking basics, and creating a spending plan.

Texas

The Texas Department of Banking supports Financial Literacy Month, promoting the "$mart Kid" Essay Contest. The “$mart Kid” Essay Contest is aimed at helping students develop knowledge of financial concepts, understand budgets, recognize the importance of financial planning, and become better prepared for future roles as consumers, investors, and employees. In support of Financial Literacy Month, the Financial Fitness Greater Austin (FFGA) “$mart Kid” Essay Contest, presented by Capital One Bank, encourages middle school and high school students in the Greater Austin area to answer this year’s “$mart Kid” question. 

Washington

The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions is also a partner celebrating April 2018 as Financial Capability Month. Understanding the importance of financial education, Washington Governor Jay Inslee proclaimed April as Financial Capability Month. 

This month presents opportunities for partners like DFI, the Treasurer’s Office, Jump$tart Washington Coalition and the Financial Education Public-Private Partnership (FEPPP) to highlight and support the work being done to increase and improve financial education in our state - and assist the many educators and organizations currently providing financial education to Washington residents. 

“Helping Washington residents improve their financial skills and capabilities is part of DFI’s core mission,” DFI Director Gloria Papiez said. “When more residents understand how to make sound financial decisions and avoid financial fraud, they can protect themselves — and our state as a whole is stronger.”

Wisconsin

Dozens of communities across the state will participate in Money Smart Week Wisconsin April 21-28 with events focused on improving the personal financial awareness and education of Wisconsin citizens.

Money Smart Week Wisconsin is the highlight of April being national Financial Literacy Awareness Month. The Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy, in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, is spearheading Money Smart Week Wisconsin, the celebration of which was proclaimed by Governor Scott Walker on April 2.

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