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The Comm




t seems as if there is an inverse correlation between

the volume of new mortgage lending rules and the

number of new customers eligible to borrow. In other

words, new consumer rules are restricting the avail-

ability of mortgage products for consumers.

We all know that community banks are the best

place to go for a mortgage if you are not a W2 wage

earner. Community bankers are able to analyze the

ebbs and flows of irregular income and determine a

customer’s Ability To Repay (ATR). By the way, I’m

looking forward to the day when we can write entire

sentences with acronyms… But now we are finding it

necessary to escrow for borrowers because somebody

up the line has determined that our customers are

incapable of making their insurance and tax payments on their


Most community banks aren’t set up to escrow for mort-

gages. This is a labor intensive process and the cost of making

a mistake is onerous. While the process can be outsourced, un-

less the bank is doing large volumes, this can also be a costly


Congressional leaders are attempting to right this wrong

with the CLEAR Act, which among other things exempts

community banks from escrow requirements. If you haven’t

already done so, please reach out to your Senators today to

encourage them to support S. 1349, aka the CLEAR Act. The

acronym translates Community Lending Enhancement And

Regulatory Relief.

ast month I spent two very hard days in my high

school and college home town, Lexington, Virginia. I

joined several hundred friends and family in laying

to rest the VACB Vice Chairman and my friend of 43

years, David Grist. David was the President/CEO of

CornerStone Bank.

A few glimmers of hope survived the gaping

tragedy, on multiple levels, caused by aggressive

cancer taking down a man of but 57 years. One ray

of hope is the assurance that our good works are

rewarded. Attendance at the funeral was estimated

at 600. The night before, nearly 1000 people braved

the sub-freezing temperature for an opportunity to

visit with David’s family at the visitation, which was held in

the lobby of the bank. For more than three hours, hundreds

of mournful friends slowly followed a path made through the

sanctuary of the Grace Presbyterian Church next door, to be

kept warm while awaiting the chance to be led across Nelson

Street for the opportunity to visit with Sharon and the rest of

David’s family.

What would cause that kind of extraordinary response?

A loyal community responding to the tragic loss of a com-

munity banker who cared deeply for them. David was rightly

honored as a man of faith who loved his family more than

anything, but every eulogist also noted that he was nearly as

passionate about community banking and very passionate

about Lexington.

This is the opportunity each of us has. More than worry-

ing about compliance, fuming over public policy and getting

caught up in administrative hassle, we have the opportunity to

touch lives deeply on a day-in, day-out basis with the sharing

of our knowledge and the willingness to help our neighbors

achieve their goals and dreams.

VACB will be your strong partner as you battle the per-

sistent problems I have mentioned above, and this issue of The

Community Banker provides further evidence thereof. But

you are the only person who can passionately serve the com-

munity in which you live, with the unique skills you possess.

Thank you for your willingness and commitment to

be this positive force in your community. We pledge to be

equally passionate in our support for you.

Chairman’s Message


President’s Message



By Jeff Dick

VACB Chairman

By Steve Yeakel, CAE

VACB President & CEO

New Rules for Mortgage Products

Thank You for your Commitment and Support