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are good times, said Chris Williston, president and CEO of the organization. and IBAT made a stop Tuesday morning on the 16th floor of the Amarillo National Bank Plaza One. It is part of their 18 city statewide tour to meet with community bankers to discuss industry issues both at the state and federal levels and address concerns about local economies.

The IBAT crew was in Wichita Falls and Fort Worth on Monday, and later Tuesday they were expected to be in Lubbock and Midland during the organization 23rd year of its Tour de Texas Regional Meetings.

One piece of legislation that Williston is touting as progress for community banks is Senate Bill 2155, which was recently passed by the Senate Banking Committee. The legislation that provides regulatory relief for community banks might clear the full Senate next month and be passed by Memorial Day, Williston said. Of course, there are many possible hurdles before that, but IBAT leaders are hopeful.

quite optimistic that we finally see a good bill, Williston said. are a lot of great things (in the bill) for community banks. Hopefully, it will be to the president desk soon. bankers and customers will benefit from the bill relaxation of mortgage rules and the elimination of excessive paperwork, Williston said.

IBAT leaders are also excited about the makeup of some of the new regulatory agencies in the Trump administration. for a long,
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long time. not all is rosy.

A disturbing trend that began in 2010 appears to be continuing this year. About 1,700 banks nationwide have closed during that time, with 10 percent of those being in Texas, Williston said.

Speakers at a recent seminar in Phoenix predicted that 2018 will be the biggest year of bank mergers and acquisitions in the past 15 years, he added.

we going to see continued consolidation, which is disturbing not from the standpoint of losing banks but losing our grassroots power, Williston said. a bank is no longer in a community, a community dries up. It nothing more than a reflection of the economy of that community.

devastating, to a large extent, but, that being said,
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it going to create pockets of opportunity where we might see some (new) banks being chartered again.