Idaho Bankers’ Advocacy in Washington D.C., A Comprehensive Agenda

Last week, Idaho’s bankers converged on Washington D.C., representing the state’s diverse financial interests. This delegation included bankers Jeff Huhn, Cheryl Sorensen, and Carlan McDaniel as well as IBA’s Trent Wright, and Jeni Hall, and Idaho Department of Finance Director Patti Perkins. In addition, the Idaho group comprised delegates from Umpqua Bank, U.S. Bank, Washington Trust Bank, Heritage Bank, Bank of America, and Bank of Eastern Oregon. The purpose was clear: to engage in meaningful dialogues with our Congressional Delegation and Federal Regulators, casting light on pressing legislative  and regulatory issues.

A key focal point was the “Promoting Fair Lending to Small Businesses Act” that seeks uniform oversight across all lenders, guaranteeing equitable lending terms for small enterprises. Further, there were deliberations to streamline data collection methodologies championed by the CFPB under rule 1071. Credit unions, with their distinct tax advantages, were also under the lens. Lawmakers are keenly assessing their contributions, especially in juxtaposition to community banks, to low-to-moderate-income communities. Global discussions on Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) haven’t gone unnoticed, and Idaho bankers expressed apprehensions about the potential federal competition they might pose against traditional banking mechanisms. Another pivotal discussion was on interchange fees. Idaho bankers staunchly opposed price controls on these fees, emphasizing that such measures, instead of benefiting consumers, end up disproportionately favoring a handful of large merchants while sidelining small businesses. Additionally, underscoring the heartbeat of rural America, the delegation pushed for initiatives to reduce credit costs for rural stakeholders, including farmers, ranchers, and homeowners.

This recent expedition to the nation’s capital underscores the dedication and forward-thinking approach of Idaho’s bankers. By advocating for these issues at the national level, Idaho bankers are ensuring that the unique challenges and opportunities of Idaho’s financial landscape are recognized and addressed. Idaho bankers’ endeavors in Washington D.C. are a testament to their commitment to shaping a more inclusive and progressive financial environment for all stakeholders, both in Idaho and across the nation.


Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) scams continue to be a costly and challenging issue for financial institutions. Wire transfer fraud can easily reach millions of dollars, and with advancements in technology, such as online databases for county clerk records, online banking and online title searching, data commonly used by financial institutions to verify customer identity for wire transactions is routinely and easily compromised.

Several financial institutions have fallen victim to losses arising out of wire transfer and check forgery schemes targeting HELOC accounts and have taken action to mitigate the risk of future loss experience. Institutions that place a high value on their customer service and customer confidence in the institution’s security against wire transfer fraud have implemented risk mitigation upgrades to their operations to help solidify customer confidence. According to Travelers, the following steps are initiatives that can help to avoid, or at least significantly reduce, losses arising out of HELOC fraud scams:

  • Place greater emphasis on getting full account numbers from callers;
  • Phrase verification questions so that the caller is providing the information, rather than simply confirming what the financial institution has on file;
  • Remove items from the list of authentication options (such as mother’s maiden name and date of birth) that have become “public information” through social media websites and venues;
  • Train employees who field calls to verify authentication items in a specific order and not skip to other items if the caller cannot verify the requested information;
  • Train personnel with an updated full fraud-awareness module to help employees identify warning signs of fraud;
  • Encourage customers to set up PIN numbers if the automated phone system allows it;
  • Update customer account files with driver’s license numbers, if not copies of the entire driver’s license (or other government-issued ID if there is no driver’s license);
  • Utilize a mandatory callback procedure for all customer-not-present wire transfer requests;
  • Use a password to authenticate customers rather than commonly compromised information and only allow in-person modification of passwords and key account information;
  • Consider requiring full balance transfers (or transfers up to a certain percentage of the available funds) to be made in person while placing a reasonable monetary limit (or percentage limit) on customer-not-present wire transfer requests;
  • Establish a reporting procedure which refers all suspicious wire transfer requests to a higher level of authority for confirmation/processing;
  • Require a dual telephone confirmation procedure where the financial institution calls the home phone of the customer as well as an alternate number, such as a mobile phone or work phone;
  • Establish an automatic two-day holding pattern anytime a request is made to initiate a wire transfer from a HELOC account to a foreign bank account within which time the financial institution ensures accurate verification and deters fraudsters seeking immediate processing;
  • Verify change of address or phone number requests with a call to the customer’s phone number on file;
  • Customize specific and unique verification questions and procedures with an account holder/customer that can only be modified in-person.
  • Consider performing a verification call back when a purported customer calls the bank to set up on-line banking for the first time.

Technology has made it easier than ever for bad actors to obtain data that is commonly used by financial institutions to verify the identity of their customers. That’s why financial institutions must utilize robust authentication procedures to protect their customers – and themselves – from wire transfer fraud. This includes greater awareness, updated and vigilant policies, procedures and training, and implementing imaginative and unique verification procedures to help reduce the risk of loss arising out of wire transfer fraud targeting HELOC accounts.

Travelers is committed to managing and mitigating risks and exposures, and does so backed by financial stability and a dedicated team – from underwriters to claim professionals – whose mission is to insure and protect a company’s assets. For more information, visit

Slips, Trips and Falls in the Workplace

According to the National Safety Council, slips, trips and falls are the third leading cause of injury in the workplace. Some of these incidents occur at banks with employees or customers. While these mishaps might be commonplace, there is a proactive approach banks can take to help reduce the risk of their employees and customers being injured in a slip, trip and fall. A smart place to start: Analysis of both the physical conditions of the premises and usage and traffic flow patterns, which can often identify potential hazards that should be addressed.

Some of the accident causes are well known: wet spots on floors, uneven walking surfaces, dirty doormats. Other factors, such as poor lighting, might not be as noticeable but can be equally dangerous.

“Banks should be aware of the potential for people falling and getting injured, and should take steps to ensure the premises are as safe as possible,” said Laura Lundin, Vice President of Financial Institutions P&C at Travelers. “There are many ways to do this – maintain clean floor surfaces, ensure the space is well lit, schedule regular maintenance during low traffic times and conduct periodic walkthroughs to confirm everything looks safe. A little attention can go a long way.”

Working with an insurance carrier is also recommended. Insurance providers can work with banks to:

  • Help identify and assess exposures;
  • Develop loss control strategies and improvements to minimize the frequency and severity of slip, trip and fall incidents;
  • Provide training to help with slip, trip and fall prevention efforts.

If an accident does take place, be sure that it is documented and reported. This information can help prevent future incidents, and may be essential if a claim is filed against the bank. A standard, printed incident report is helpful in ensuring that all details are recorded. Documenting the details of the incident, collecting the names and a brief statement from the injured party and any witnesses, even taking photographs of the incident site can help. Slips, trips and falls rarely “just happen.”

Implementing effective slip, trip and fall improvement requires the right tools, people and communications. The right insurance carrier can help your slip, trip and fall prevention team define and document the policies, procedures, roles and responsibilities needed to effectively reduce these incidents. They also can help your team develop the tools and communication materials needed to implement this process.

Travelers is committed to managing and mitigating risks and exposures, and does so backed by financial stability and a dedicated team – from underwriters to claim professionals – whose mission is to insure and protect a company’s assets. For more information, visit


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                    July 23, 2019

Idaho Bankers Association (208-342-8282)
Trent Wright, President and CEO


Boise Ron Johnson, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, The Bank of Commerce in Idaho Falls, was recently elected as the 2019/2020 Chair of the Board of Directors for the Idaho Bankers Association at its Annual Business Meeting.  The meeting was held during the IBA Annual Convention. He succeeds Tracy Silver, Wealth Management Division Director, of U.S. Bank.

Ron is a native of Eastern Idaho and currently serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for the Bank of Commerce. He additionally served for many years as the Bank’s Chief Operating Officer. In November he completes his 33rd year with the Bank. He has served on the Board of Directors and as the Chairman of the following non-profit organizations: The Idaho Independent Bankers Association, Idaho Advertising Federation, Development Workshop Inc. and the Western Independent Bankers Service Corporation.  Prior to his election as Chair, Ron served as Vice Chair of the IBA Board of Directors.

Ron has been newly appointed by Governor Brad Little to serve on the Lava Hot Springs Foundation. He also serves on the City of Idaho Falls Board of Adjustments and as a member of the Eastern Idaho Energy, Technology and Environment Working Group. He has served on the Monticello Montessori Public Charter School Board. He also enjoys his participation as an Angel Investor for the Eastern Idaho Innovation Center. In 1995 Ron was presented the Extra Miler Award by the Grand Teton Council, Boy Scouts of America, for outstanding service to boyhood.

Other Newly Elected Officers and Directors of the 2019/2020 IBA Board of Directors include:

Chair-Elect:  Lori Dizes, Senior Vice President, Region Manager, U.S. Bank

Treasurer:  Bruce Lowry, President & Chief Executive Officer, Ireland Bank

Immediate Past Chair:  Tracy Silver, Wealth Management Division Director, U.S. Bank 


J.V. (John) Evans, III, Executive Vice President/Regional Credit Officer, D.L. Evans Bank

Harlan Levy, Senior Vice President, Government Relations & Public Policy, Wells Fargo Bank

Don Melendez, Idaho Regional President, Wells Fargo

Jason Meyerhoeffer, President & CEO, First Federal Savings Bank

Toni Nielsen, Western Idaho Regional President, Zions Bank

Kingsley Osei-Boateng, Business Sales Consultant, Wells Fargo Bank

Dan Price, Community Banking President, Mountain West Bank, Division of Glacier Bank

Justin Smith, Regional President, U.S. Bank

The Idaho Bankers Association is a statewide bankers’ trade association that represents all charter types and sizes of banks operating in Idaho.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                              July 23, 2019

Idaho Community Bankers Association (208-342-8282)
Trent Wright, President and CEO


Boise Jason Meyerhoeffer, President and CEO of First Federal Bank in Twin Falls, was recently elected as the 2019-2020 Chair of the Board of Directors for the Idaho Community Bankers Association (“ICBA”) at its Annual Business Meeting. The meeting was held during the Idaho Bankers Association Annual Convention. He succeeds Daniel Prohaska, Chairman and CEO of Idaho Trust Bank in Boise.

Jason has been actively involved in the southern-Idaho business community for over twenty-five years and currently serves on the boards of Business Plus, Inc. and the Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization. He is a two-time recipient of the Twin Falls Area Chamber of Commerce “Small Business Financial Services Advocate of the Year” award.

Jason is also a leader within the banking industry. In addition to ICBA, he also serves on the Board of Directors of the Idaho Bankers Association, and he is a newly elected board member of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines. He is a past member of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council and American Bankers’ Association Government Relations Council.

Other Newly Elected Officers and Directors of the ICBA Board of Directors include:

Immediate Past President: Daniel Prohaska, Chief Executive Officer, Idaho Trust Bank


Mike Morrison, Executive Vice President & Chief Credit Officer, Bank of Commerce

Dan Price, Community Banking President, Mountain West Bank, Division of Glacier Bank

Cheryl Sorensen, Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Ireland Bank

Jerry Lyon, North Idaho Market President, First Interstate Bank

Wes Veach, President and CEO, bankcda

Jeff Newgard, President and CEO, Bank of Idaho

Nathan Christensen, Vice President & Senior Commercial Lender, Citizens Community Bank, Division of Glacier Bank

The Idaho Community Bankers Association (ICBA) is organized as an affiliate of the Idaho Bankers Association (IBA) representing community banks in the state of Idaho.


Economic Outlook by Alan Blinder

November 2017
Alan S. Blinder

Vice Chairman and Co-Founder, Promontory Interfinancial Network
Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Princeton University

Did anyone really expect the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to raise interest rates on November 1, or even to make news with its statement? If they did, they were sorely—and predictably—disappointed.

The Fed is in no rush to raise rates. (Why should they be? Inflation is still below target.) And the Committee appears to be on track to move up another 25 basis points in December. Besides, Janet Yellen, her colleagues, every Fed watcher, and anyone else who pays attention to the Fed were all eagerly awaiting President Trump’s announcement, due the next day, of his pick to lead the central bank after February. Why, at such a delicate time, would Yellen want to rock the boat?

She didn’t, of course. Almost the only words that changed from the September 20 FOMC statement to the November 1 FOMC statement pertained to the economic impacts of the hurricanes. The Committee needed to show it was awake and sentient—and knew it was November, not September.

President Trump’s expected announcement did indeed come the next day. He selected Jerome (“Jay”) Powell to succeed Yellen. There can be little doubt that Powell will be confirmed by the Senate though I, for one, would not want to predict how long this will take. What can we expect from the new Fed chair?

Regarding bank regulation, Chairman Powell will probably have a lighter touch than Chair Yellen. Everyone is saying this, but don’t exaggerate the differences. Just as she was not a fanatic regulator, he will not be a fanatic deregulator. We are talking about shades of difference, not black vs. white.

Regarding monetary policy, it will be hard to see any differences at all between the outgoing and incoming Fed chairs. As a governor for five years, Powell’s monetary policy was straight Bernanke and then straight Yellen. Expect that attitude to continue as Powell assumes the top spot. Furthermore, Yellen leaves office with the FOMC already moving along a gradual path to higher interest rates and a very gradual path to a smaller balance sheet. Expect those two trends to continue, too.

If there is going to be a difference between Yellen-led monetary policy and Powell-led monetary policy, we won’t see it until something about the economic outlook changes. Almost by definition, no such thing is on the horizon now.