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Few banks breeze through call report process

Asthe banking industry has pushed back against regulatory reform, one key area offocus has been reducing the requirement of their quarterly call reports.

Industryplayers argue that call reports have become overly for community banks that don'tengage in complicated businesses, and are an unnecessary compliance burden forthose companies.

Thereporting requirements have "put a larger burden over the years on smallerinstitutions ... it has become more challenging," said Dan Shumovich, aprincipal at RSM and former OCC examiner, bank auditor and chief creditadministrator. Regulators spent much of last year weighing changesto the quarterly report process for banks with less than $1 billion in assets,and eventually approved the revisions earlier this month. Some of thosechanges will be effective starting Sept. 30 of this year, while others willtake effect at the end of the first quarter next year.

Despitethose challenges, some banks manage each quarter to file their call report onthe first day they can submit it. According to an analysis by S&P GlobalMarket Intelligence, five banks did so for their second-quarter reports. Overthe last nine quarters, that number has ranged from a high of nine institutionsin one period to just a single first-day filer for the fourth quarter of 2015,and these institutions have tended to be rural-based and have smaller balancesheets.

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Onebanker whose institution was a first-day filer, Chairman andPresident Sam Hunter III, has made that filing speed a point of pride."I'm trying to see if I can beat my record each quarter," Huntersaid, adding "I've been doing this for thirty years ... I know the balancesheet like the back of my hand."

Huntersaid he "is a big believer in automation" and credited softwareprogrammed for the reporting process for his speedy compilation of the callreport. He said that he did most of the work for his report last quarter athome on his iPad. Still,the fact that only a handful of the thousands of depository institutions in theU.S. are able to compile their call reports so quickly speaks to the challengethe process represents — and the desire for even more aggressive changes to theprocess. Further reductions to call reporting requirements are among thecommunity bank relief measures included by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) andother Republicans as part of their sweeping Dodd-Frank rollback . FDIC Vice Chair ThomasHoenig has also targeted call reports in his own for changes to banksupervision.

Eventhough he manages the process smoothly, Hunter says there is room for change."It should be simplified," Hunter agreed, adding that there were anumber of unnecessary data required from smaller banks, as well as informationthat is duplicated across the reporting requirements.

Thechanges finalized earlier this month will be a marginal help, Shumovich said.He noted, however, that while some reporting requirements were eliminated anumber of new required data points were introduced into the process. "Iwouldn't say it's a dramatic shift ... it's a slow process but the industry ishappy it's happening," Shumovich said.

Call report filings for banks and thrifts can be accessed in the Documents section of a company Briefing Book page on the SNL website.

Users can retrieve the date that regulatory filings were last updated with KeyField 225979 in SNL Office.