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SRC Insights: Second Quarter 2012

The End of an Era: SRC Insights Closes Its Pages

Although it's been a long journey, covering nearly 17 years of banking supervision matters, SRC Insights is closing its pages with this issue. This publication has provided insight into so many varied topics over the years, and it has received a great response from its esteemed readers. The Federal Reserve System recognizes the importance of outreach initiatives like this one, so you will soon receive a new publication in place of SRC Insights. Community Banking Connections is a new quarterly Systemwide publication focused on community banks that will be published in the third quarter of 2012. An expanded website will also be available soon. Although it won't be dedicated specifically to Philadelphia's Third District, it will provide robust information and perspectives on supervision and regulation matters that affect community banking institutions across the country. We are certain that you will find it to be a valuable addition to your reading, and we encourage you to provide the editors with any feedback you may have on the publication or content.

Before we close this chapter, though, we wanted to take a look back on where we've been in our journey of Insights. Before it all began, in the fall of 1995, interviews were held with bankers as part of a Systemwide effort to enhance the Federal Reserve's supervisory processes for the 21st century. Feedback from these interviews included a desire to enhance the communication and outreach efforts from the regulators to the banks. Therefore, in the third quarter of 1996, SRC Insights was created to provide new perspectives on current events affecting the financial services industry.

The first few volumes were purposefully lighter on content, encouraging ideas from bankers on what they wanted to hear from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and the Supervision, Regulation, and Credit Department (SRC). However, each issue did, and still does, contain a “Supervision Spotlight” article from our senior leader, originally Senior/Executive Vice President Michael Collins and now Senior Vice President Bill Lang. This has been the perfect venue for the SRC senior leader to provide insight to bankers on some of the things they've seen, heard, or just wanted to discuss in greater detail. In addition to this recurring feature, authors have continually written about topics they found, not just in the news or community, but in discussions with bankers regarding issues they face during their day-to-day activities.

In 2001, we introduced Compliance Corner, a section of SRC Insights dedicated to consumer compliance and CRA issues at state member banks and bank holding companies. Compliance Corner addressed all things compliance, including regulations, consumer complaints, payday lending issues, fair lending, and much more. Like SRC Insights, Compliance Corner evolved into a new Systemwide publication in 2008. Consumer Compliance Outlook is now your source for compliance information.

It's hard to remember a time when you couldn't just go to the Internet to search for information on any topic. When SRC Insights began, the Internet was just picking up speed, but we've since printed many articles related to technology, including online banking, Internet fraud prevention, and more. One of our first issues, the fourth quarter of 1996, discussed how the Internet is a rapidly-growing network and what its effects might be on banking. During the second quarter issue of 1997, a special feature was included to reveal the results of a survey conducted by the Third District on institutions' interest and participation in emerging technologies. At the time, only 50 percent of state member banks surveyed had a home page on the Internet, while 17 percent planned to implement a home page. While we can only assume that the remaining 33 percent have implemented full websites by now, it's interesting to note how quickly things change and how important emerging technologies are to the way we do business. Technology will always be a pertinent subject with big impact, and the article, “Technology and the Competitive Edge for Community Banks” in this issue discusses it as well.

Other timely and interesting articles throughout the years included contingency planning for Y2K, subprime lending in 2001 and again in 2008, and preparing for the avian influenza (bird flu) pandemic in 2006. Additionally, new regulations have provided great subject matter for our authors. Many new regulations were highlighted and explained in articles, such as Regulation W in 2002, Sarbanes-Oxley in 2003, Basel II in 2004, and Dodd-Frank in 2011. Many of these subjects seem far away in the annals of history, but at the time they brought very current concerns to light, and our articles attempted to clarify and inform our readers to limit any concerns.

While some of our topics have changed in accordance with the times, many have remained relevant throughout the years. From 1996 through today and beyond, certain themes will always be important. Some of these repeat topics include the following: interest rate risk, applications, commercial real estate lending, subprime lending, credit risk, Bank Secrecy Act, balancing risk and innovation, trust-preferred securities, allowance for loan and leases losses, and more. Explaining new guidance, especially, has been a key goal in many issues of SRC Insights.

We have also tried to keep the look and feel of the publication current and appealing by including more graphs and illustrations over the years, even providing a crossword puzzle in some of our 2001 editions. To keep up with changing graphics and layout styles, we've redesigned the covers and added color and illustrations to various articles over the years.

So although this is the end of an era for Insights, we hope we've provided value to our audience as we've all navigated this ever-changing environment. We're thankful to our bankers for the interest and questions you have provided throughout the years. And we are very thankful to our authors and contributors—the past 17 years would not have been possible without your contributions and hard work. We consider this a great success and hope you enjoy the Federal Reserve System's new publication, Community Banking Connections.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and are not necessarily those of this Reserve Bank or the Federal Reserve System.