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Tips from the Toolbox    Sponsored by: Banker's Toolbox
Do you know what to look for and how to catch tax cheats? With the start of a new tax season firing up at the beginning of the New Year, it is important to educate yourself on what is considered to be one of the most prevalent economic crimes. Tax evasion can be conducted by businesses or individuals. Everyone from Wesley Snipes to your local handyman could be guilty of tax crimes. To learn more about tax evasion, tax fraud and what you need to keep an eye out for in the upcoming tax season (click here).

July 30, 2015
  • Web services importer pays OFAC penalty
    OFAC has announced that Blue Robin, Inc. has been issued an $82,260 penalty for violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR). Blue Robin violated the ITSR when it conducted 33 transactions in which it imported Web development services from an Iranian company called PersiaBME. OFAC determined that Blue Robin voluntarily self-disclosed the violations and that the violations constituted a non-egregious case. The statutory maximum civil monetary penalty for the alleged violations was $8,250,000 and the base penalty amount for the violations was $102,825. OFAC considered six aggravating factors and three mitigating factors in setting the adjusted penalty amount.

  • FOMC statement
    The Federal Reserve Board has released the July 29, 2015 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement.

  • HMDA data to include principal city information
    The FFIEC has announced that, resuming with calendar year 2014 HMDA data, the Census Bureau Data will be updated to include principal city information.

  • Payday loans video for consumers
    The NCUA has posted an educational consumer video, "Understanding Payday Loans," on its YouTube channel. The video, which is part of the NCUA's Consumer Report series, explains how payday loans work and highlights important features of these loans that consumers should understand.

  • CFPB issues Spanish version of Home Loan Tool Kit
    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued Su conjunto de herramientas para préstamos hipotecarios, the Spanish-language version of its Home Loan Tool Kit, the replacement for the "Shopping for Your Home Loan: Settlement Cost Booklet" that will be provided by lenders in connection with purchase-money mortgage loans beginning October 3, 2015.

July 29, 2015
  • Deceived consumers to receive $33.4M
    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced that action has been taken against Paymap Inc. and LoanCare, LLC for deceiving consumers with advertisements for "Equity Accelerator Program," a mortgage payment program that promised tens of thousands of dollars in interest savings from more frequent mortgage payments. The Bureau found consumers were lured with deceptive promises of savings and misled about when their payments would be applied. Under the terms of consent orders, Paymap will return $33.4 million in fees to approximately 125,000 consumers and pay a $5 million civil penalty to the CFPB, and LoanCare will pay a $100,000 civil penalty.

  • Counterfeit cashier's checks alert
    The OCC has issued an Alert regarding counterfeit cashier's checks using the routing number of First National Bank of Bastrop, Bastrop, Texas. Information regarding the counterfeit cashier's checks has been posted on the BOL Alerts & Counterfeits page.

  • FDIC professional liability lawsuits update
    The latest data available on the number of professional liability lawsuits authorized by the FDIC Board of Directors and the total monetary value of these claims have been updated.

  • Agencies issue guidance for certain resolution plans
    The Federal Reserve Board and the FDIC have announced they have issued guidance to 119 firms that in December 2015 will be filing updated resolution plans. Based on a review of their plans submitted late last year, the agencies are tailoring the requirements for the submissions. Some firms will receive individual feedback on areas for improvement. An updated tailored resolution plan template was also released. A tailored resolution plan focuses on the nonbanking operations of the firm and on the interconnections and interdependencies between the nonbanking and banking operations.

  • Nonbank resolution plan feedback
    The Federal Reserve and FDIC have issued feedback to three nonbank financial companies (American International Group, Inc., Prudential Financial, Inc., and General Electric Capital Corporation) on their initial resolution plans and guidance to the firms for their upcoming filings. The companies will submit the second version of their annual resolution plans on or before December 31, 2015.

  • OFAC posts Ukraine licenses
    OFAC has published [80 FR 45276] in this morning's Federal Register General Licenses 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, issued under the Ukraine-related sanctions program.

  • FinCEN Special Measure rule published
    FinCEN has published its final rule [80 FR 45057] imposing "special measure five" — a prohibition on correspondent accounts and special due diligence requirements — against FBME Bank, Ltd. The rule, which will be effective August 28, 2015, adds section 1010.658 to FinCEN's Chapter X rules. BOL's Read A Regs pages have been updated with the new rule.

July 28, 2015
  • FTC stops scheme targeting seniors' accounts
    The Federal Trade Commission has announced settlement orders with two individuals and their companies who falsely promised senior consumers new Medicare cards in order to obtain their bank account numbers and debit their accounts. The orders will ban Benjamin Todd Workman and Glenn Erickson and their companies from selling healthcare-related products and services. The settlements resolve charges filed by the Commission in 2014. They impose a judgment of more than $1.4 million, which will be suspended upon payment of $35,000 by Workman and the surrender of certain bank accounts. The defendants also are banned from selling identity theft protection-related products and creating or depositing remotely created checks or remotely created payment orders, which are used to make bank account debits. They also are prohibited from billing or charging consumers without their consent, misrepresenting material facts about any product or service, violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and selling or otherwise benefiting from customers' personal information.

  • Receivables and auto loans report
    The Federal Reserve Board has released the May 2015 G.20 Owned and Managed Receivables Outstanding and Auto Loans: Terms of Credit Report.

  • Treasury Retail Services contact information update
    FRB Financial Services has posted an update of mailing addresses and phone numbers for Treasury Retail Securities. Some addresses have been consolidated. Savings bonds materials must now be sent to one site, creating a common customer experience and improving customer service. The changes were effective yesterday, July 27, 2015.

July 27, 2015
  • FEMA to suspend communities from NFIP
    The Federal Emergency Management Agency has published a final rule [80 FR 44297] in today's Federal Register listing communities where the sale of flood insurance has been authorized under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that are scheduled for suspension on August 17, 2015, because of noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program. Included are communities in:
    • Sullivan County, New York
    • Wicomico County, Maryland
    • Beaver County, Pennsylvania
    • Perry County, Indiana
    • Jefferson County, Nebraska
    • Navajo County, Arizona
    Ironically, the name of the one New York community on the list is Neversink.

  • Tulsa firm in OFAC settlement
    The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control has announced a settlement with Great Plains Stainless Co., of Tulsa, Oklahoma, for alleged violations of Executive Order 13382 and the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions regulations. The firm agreed to pay $214,000 to settle potential civil liability for the infractions.

  • Curry discusses risk and opportunities
    Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry spoke Friday on interest rate risk, compliance risk, cybersecurity and the roll collaboration can play in mitigating those risks, along with opportunities to improve business operations and customer service, at a meeting of the New England Council, in Boston.

  • June residential sales report
    HUD and the Census Bureau have released data on June 2015 residential home sales. Sales of new single-family houses in June 2015 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 482,000, 6.8 percent below the revised May rate of 517,000 and 18.1 percent above the June 2014 estimate of 408,000.

  • Board releases FOMC data
    After first announcing that it had mistakenly included Board staff economic projections for the June 16–17, 2015, meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee in a computer file posted on its public website, the Federal Reserve Board supplemented its announcement Friday evening with an announcement that the data posted earlier that day differed from the actual Board staff projections for the meeting, and provided an updated table of those data.

July 24, 2015
  • Foreign bank denied access to US financial system
    FinCEN has issued a Final Rule authorized by the USA PATRIOT Act that imposes "special measure five" against FBME Bank Ltd. (FBME), Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, formerly known as the Federal Bank of the Middle East. Special measure five prohibits U.S. financial institutions from opening or maintaining correspondent accounts or payable through accounts for or on behalf of FBME. Last year FinCEN found FBME to be of primary money laundering concern under the USA PATRIOT Act, and issued a related notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), which proposed the imposition of special measure five against FBME. The rule will be effective 30 days following publication in the Federal Register.

  • OFAC North Korean designations and updates
    OFAC has announced the designation of one individual and one company, and identified as blocked property a vessel in which the company has an interest. The individual and the company designated are linked to Ocean Maritime Management Company (OMMC), a North Korean shipping company that OFAC had previously designated. In addition to these designations, OFAC also updated the entries on OFAC's Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List) to include known aliases. Details on the designations and updates are provided in OFAC's July 23, 2015, SDN List Update.

  • Student financial aid servicer to pay $5.2 million plus $1
    The CFPB has announced the filing of a complaint and stipulated final judgment and order against Student Financial Aid Services, Inc., for illegal sales and billing practices. The Bureau alleges that the company, which until recently operated, lured in consumers with misleading information about the total cost of its subscription financial services and hit them with undisclosed and unauthorized automatic recurring charges. Under the proposed order, the company would halt illegal practices and pay $5.2 million, which would be distributed by the Bureau to harmed consumers. The company would also be required to pay a civil penalty of $1 to the CFPB's Civil Penalty Fund. The Bureau is not seeking a larger penalty because of the company's limited financial resources after repaying harmed consumers. By requiring the company to pay a $1 penalty, victims of the company's illegal practices may be eligible for additional relief from the CFPB Civil Penalty Fund in the future, although that determination has not yet been made.

  • NCUA board action
    The NCUA has issued a Board Action Bulletin reporting actions taken at the July 23, 2015, open meeting of its Board. The following actions were approved:
    • A final rule providing regulatory relief to more than 3,800 federal credit unions by removing the 5-percent aggregate limit on fixed-asset investments.
    • Adjusting the agency's 2015 operating budget with a net reduction in overall expenditures of more than $1.3 million for the remainder of the year.
    • A final rule amending the agency's capital planning and stress testing rule to set new deadlines for various activities in the annual planning and testing cycle.

  • Matz testifies on NCUA operations and budget
    In testimony before the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, NCUA Chairman Matz reviewed the actions taken by the agency to rectify the problems faced by corporate and consumer credit unions in the wake of the Great Recession. Matz also discussed fiscal discipline, transparency and communications along with the NCUA 2015 operating budget.

July 23, 2015
  • $140M in CMPs for BSA/AML violations
    The FDIC has announced it has joined with the California Department of Business Oversight (CDBO) to order Banamex USA, Century City, California, to pay civil money penalties for violations of BSA/AML violations. The CDBO ordered the payment of $40 million. The FDIC assessed a penalty of $140 million, $40 million of which will be satisfied by payment of the CDBO's assessment. The FDIC determined that the bank failed to implement an effective BSA/AML Compliance Program over an extended period of time. The institution failed to retain a qualified and knowledgeable BSA officer and sufficient staff, maintain adequate internal controls reasonably designed to detect and report illicit financial transactions and other suspicious activities, provide sufficient BSA training, and conduct effective independent testing.

  • Discover Bank penalized for student loan servicing practices
    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced it has issued a an order requiring Discover Bank, an Illinois based financial institution, and its affiliates, The Student Loan Corporation, and Discover Products, Inc., to refund $16 million to consumers, pay a $2.5 million penalty, and improve its billing, student loan interest reporting, and collection practices. The CFPB found that Discover overstated the minimum amounts due on billing statements and denied consumers information they needed to obtain federal income tax benefits. The company also engaged in illegal debt collection tactics, including calling consumers early in the morning and late at night.

  • House prices up
    The FHFA House Price Index (HPI) for May 2015 has been released. U.S. house prices rose 0.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from April. The previously reported 0.3 percent change in April was revised upward to reflect a 0.4 percent change. The FHFA HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. From May 2014 to May 2015, house prices were up 5.7 percent. The U.S. index is 1.8 percent below its March 2007 peak and is roughly the same as the April 2006 index level.

  • Consumer lending online lead generation workshop
    The Federal Trade Commission will hold a free workshop in Washington, D.C., on October 30, 2015, to explore the growing use of online lead generation in various industries, including consumer lending and education. Lead generators identify or cultivate consumer interest in a product or service, and sell the consumer "lead" information to third parties. For example, as consumers search the Internet for goods and services, they may express interest in specific topics, such as educational programs, mortgages, or small-dollar loans, and submit their personal information to the lead generator. The consumer leads sometimes contain sensitive personal and financial information that may travel through multiple online marketing entities before reaching the desired business. The session will cover:
    • How online lead generation works and its variations, depending on the industry,
    • What types of lead generation conduct may be unlawful under the FTC Act's prohibition against unfair or deceptive practices,
    • Best practices for entities that generate and sell consumer leads, and
    • How consumers can avoid unlawful conduct in the online marketplace.

  • CUs assessed late-filing penalties
    The NCUA has announced that thirteen credit unions have consented to be assessed fees for their late filing of Call Reports. The thirteen CUs will pay a total of $5,107 in penalties, ranging from $45 to $943.

  • The NCUA Report
    The July 2015 edition of The NCUA Report has been posted.

July 22, 2015
  • DoD issues final MLA rule
    The Department of Defense announced yesterday and published today the final Military Lending Act (MLA) rule [80 FR 43559]. The rule applies the protections of the Military Lending Act to all forms of payday loans, vehicle title loans, refund anticipation loans, deposit advance loans, installment loans, unsecured open-end lines of credit, and credit cards. The implementing regulation provides several significant protections extended to active duty service members and their families, including:
    • A 36 percent Military Annual Percentage Rate (MAPR) limit. This cap covers all interest and fees associated with the loan. The limit now includes charges for most ancillary "add-on" products such as credit default insurance and debt suspension plans.
    • The MLA prohibits creditors from requiring service members to: submit to mandatory arbitration and onerous legal notice requirements; waive their rights under the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act; provide a payroll allotment as a condition of obtaining credit (other than from relief societies); be able to refinance a payday loan; or be able to secure credit using a post-dated check, access to a bank account (other than at an interest rate of less than 36 percent MAPR), or a car title (other than with a bank, savings association or credit union).
    • The changes to definitions of credit in the final rule bring any closed or open-end loan within the scope of the regulation, except for loans secured by real estate or a purchase-money loan, including a loan to finance the purchase of a vehicle.
    The final rule will be effective beginning October 1, 2015, with staggered compliance dates beginning October 3, 2016.

  • It's official: TRID postponed to October 3
    The CFPB announced yesterday afternoon its final rule postponing the effective date of the Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule, also called the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures or TRID rule, to October 3, 2015. The final rule also includes technical corrections to two provisions of the TRID rule (1) affecting the amount in the Final Adjustments and Credits item for the Calculating Cash to Close table and (2) including Lender Credits in the amount disclosed as Closing Costs Paid at Closing in the Summary of Borrower's Transaction, both changes affecting amounts on the Closing Disclosure. The changed effective date and other changes included in this final rule have been posted in the BOL Read A Reg pages for Regulation X and Regulation Z. [Published in the Federal Register on July 24, 2015, at 80 FR 43911]

  • Citibank add-ons to cost $700M in refunds and $70M in CMPs
    The OCC has announced the assessment of a $35 million penalty against Citibank, N.A., Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and its affiliate, Department Stores National Bank, Sioux Falls, South Dakota (collectively, the Bank), and ordered the Bank to identify and make restitution to harmed customers. The OCC found that the bank's billing and marketing practices violated the Federal Trade Commission Act, which prohibits unfair and deceptive acts or practices. A Consent Order requires the Bank to improve governance of third-party vendors associated with add-on consumer products, develop a risk management program for add-on consumer products marketed or sold by the bank or its vendors, develop a consumer compliance internal audit program for add-on consumer products, and conduct an add-on product review to, among other things, identify and remediate consumer harm and any program weaknesses.

    The OCC action was coordinated with the CFPB, which issued a separate order against the Bank based, in part, on unfair billing for identify theft protection products and deceptive telemarketing and sales practices for debt protection products. The CFPB also ordered the bank to pay a $35 million civil money penalty and ordered approximately $700M in restitution be paid to harmed consumers.

  • OFAC counter-terrorism and Syrian designations
    OFAC has announced the designation and addition of the names of three individuals to the SDN List and the updating of one existing designation. Details on the designations and update are provided in OFAC's July 21, 2015, SDN List Update.

  • Enforcement action affects Chinese bank
    The Federal Reserve Board has announced the execution of a Written Agreement with China Construction Bank Corporation, Beijing, China, and its New York City branch, regarding deficiencies in risk management and compliance with Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering regulations.

  • Community Developments Investments newsletter
    The July 2015 issue of the OCC's Community Developments Investments electronic newsletter, has been posted. The issue features an article entitled "Hardest Hit Fund: State Programs to Improve Loan Modification Sustainability and Stabilize Communities."

  • NCUA cybersecurity webinar
    The NCUA will host a 90-minute webinar, "An Introduction to the New Cybersecurity Assessment Tool for Credit Unions," on July 29, beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern.

  • Terrorist financing and gold
    The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has issued a money laundering report on terrorist financing vulnerabilities associated with gold. The report provides a series of case studies and red flag indicators to raise awareness of the key vulnerabilities of gold and the gold market, particularly with anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) practitioners and companies involved in the gold industry.

July 21, 2015
  • GSIB choice: more capital or shrink
    The Federal Reserve Board has announced its approval of a final rule that will require the largest, most systemically important U.S. bank holding companies to further strengthen their capital positions. Under the rule, a firm that is identified as a "global systemically important bank holding company" (GSIB) will have to hold additional capital to increase its resiliency in light of the greater threat it poses to the financial stability of the United States, or shrink its system footprint to avoid being subject to the rule. Eight U.S. firms are currently expected to be identified as GSIBs under the final rule: Bank of America Corporation; The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation; Citigroup, Inc.; The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.; JPMorgan Chase & Co.; Morgan Stanley; State Street Corporation; and Wells Fargo & Company. The rule will be phased in beginning January 1, 2016, becoming fully effective three years later.

  • Flood rules published
    The previously announced (Top Stories, June 23, 2015) interagency final rule on Loans in Areas Having Special Flood Hazards has been published in this morning's Federal Register, at 80 FR 43215. Sections of the rule mandating escrows for flood insurance premiums (with limited exceptions) will be effective January 1, 2016. Other sections of the rule will become effective October 1, 2015.

  • Federal Reserve report on pre-paid cards
    The Federal Reserve Board has delivered its annual report to Congress on the use of general-use prepaid cards in federal, state, and local government-administered payment programs, and on the interchange fees and cardholder fees charged with respect to the use of those cards.

  • FinCEN issues international AML/CFT advisory
    FinCEN has issued FIN-2015-A002, an advisory on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) update of the list of jurisdictions with strategic AML/CFT (Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing) deficiencies. Financial institutions should consider these changes when reviewing their enhanced due diligence obligations and risk-based policies, procedures, and practices with respect to the jurisdictions identified by the FATF.

  • CFPB warns companies selling to servicemembers
    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports that it has sent letters to several companies that sell retail goods to military servicemembers, advising them to review their websites and other advertising for potentially misleading marketing and to review other practices related to payment by military allotment. Active-duty servicemembers are not permitted to use allotments to pay for personal property such as vehicles, appliances, and consumer electronics. The CFPB is concerned that companies that are still advertising repayment by way of military allotment may potentially be violating federal consumer financial protection laws.

  • CFPB financial tools for consumers
    A Bureau Blog article reminds consumers they have the right to free, unbiased financial information. Summaries of three CFBP tools for consumers are discussed: Owning a Home, Paying for College, and Ask CFPB.

  • Morgan Drexen customer refund information
    The CFPB has also posted an article on its Blog with steps former customers of Morgan Drexen should be taking. Morgan Drexen was a debt settlement company that has shut down. It was sued by the Bureau for collecting illegal "upfront fees" for debt settlement services and for running deceptive advertisements. Former customers will receive a letter and an email explaining how they can protect their rights now that Morgan Drexen is no longer in business. Their options may include the payment of debts that were not settled or a refund of funds in a settlement account.

July 20, 2015
  • Proposed revision of capital and stress test rules
    The Federal Reserve Board has announced a proposed rule that would modify its capital planning and stress testing regulations. The proposed rule would modify the timing for several requirements that have yet to be integrated into the stress testing framework. The proposed changes would take effect for the 2016 capital plan and stress testing cycles. Comments will be accepted through September 24, 2015. [80 FR 43637]

  • OCC enforcement actions
    The OCC has released a list of new enforcement actions taken against national banks, federal savings associations, and individuals currently and formerly affiliated with national banks and federal savings associations. One of the orders is a previously reported (Top Stories, July 9) consent order for a $30 million civil money penalty against JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., JPMorgan Bank and Trust Company, N.A. and Chase Bank USA, N.A. for unsafe and unsound practices related to their non-home loan debt collection litigation practices and their Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) compliance practices. There was also a $180,720 civil money penalty assessed against the First National Bank of Pennsylvania for violations of the Flood Act, which will be posted to the BankersOnline Flood Penalties Watch page.

  • New residential construction report mixed
    The June New Residential Construction Report has been released by HUD and the Census Bureau. Building permits for privately owned housing units and single-family authorizations were up. Privately owned housing starts were up with single-family housing starts down. Both privately owned housing completions and single-family housing completions were down.

  • EGRPRA outreach meeting in Kansas City
    The OCC, FRB, and FDIC will hold, on August 4 in Kansas City, the fourth in a series of outreach meetings as part of the interagency effort to reduce regulatory burden as required by the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act of 1996 (EGRPRA). Individuals wishing to attend the outreach meeting in Kansas City should register through the EGRPRA website.

  • Indiana CU Liquidated
    The NCUA has announced the liquidation of Lakeside Federal Credit Union, Hammond, Indiana, and the purchase of its loan portfolio and assumption of its former members by Teachers Credit Union, South Bend, Indiana. Lakeside's most recent Call Report indicated the credit union had 2,280 members and assets of approximately $8.9 million. It was the fifth federally insured credit union to be liquidated in 2015. Teachers CU's latest Call Report reflects 269,362 members and assets of $2.6 billion.

July 17, 2015
  • Treasury asks about online marketplace lenders
    The Department of the Treasury has announced it will publish a Request for Information (RFI) for public input on the growing online marketplace lending industry. The RFI seeks responses that will allow policymakers to study the various business models and products offered by online marketplace lenders, the potential for such lending to expand access to credit to historically underserved borrowers, and how the financial regulatory framework should evolve to support the safe growth of this industry. Comments may be submitted for 45 days beginning on July 20, 2015.

  • Communities to be suspended from Flood Program
    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has published [80 FR 42404] a final rule in today's Federal Register that identifies communities in California, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia where the sale of flood insurance has been authorized under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that are scheduled for suspension as of July 16, 2015, because of noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program.

  • TIC data released
    Treasury has released the Treasury International Capital (TIC) data for May 2015.

  • NMLS system downtime
    The NMLS has announced its systems will be unavailable beginning this evening and through Saturday evening due to the installation of system enhancements.

  • Financial holding companies
    The list of bank holding companies that have elected to become or be treated as financial holding companies as of July 16, 2015, has been released by the Federal Reserve Board.

  • Second quarter Call Report materials
    The FDIC has issued FIL-30-2015 with instructions and forms for filing of the second quarter 2015 Call Report.

  • CFPB posts blog articles
    The CFPB Blog has new articles discussing how a consumer can remove an outdated bankruptcy from a credit report and ways that the Bureau can help resolve credit card debt collection complaints.

  • Bureau Save the Date notice
    The CFPB has posted a save the date notice for a "Know Before You Owe" forum on "eClosings" in Washington, D.C. scheduled for August 5, 2015, beginning at 1 p.m. ET. The event is open to be public, but emailed reservations are required. A video of the event will be live-streamed.

  • CFPB 'Complaint Snapshot' launched
    The CFPB has announced the first in a new series of monthly reports to highlight key trends from consumer complaints submitted to the Bureau. The monthly report will spotlight a particular product and location and provide complaint data on company performance, complaint volume, state and local information, and product trends. The first edition features debt collection complaints and complaints from consumers in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area.

July 16, 2015
  • CFPB marking 4th birthday
    The CFPB Blog will feature articles on the Bureau's activities this week leading up to its fourth birthday on July 21. "Four years working for you," a summary of the agency's activities, leads off the series.

  • Yellen presents monetary policy to Congress
    In testimony before the House Committee on Financial Affairs, Federal Reserve Board Chair Yellen presented the Board's semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress. Dr. Yellen discussed current economic situations and outlook, monetary policy, and Federal Reserve transparency and accountability.

  • Industrial production and capacity
    The Federal Reserve has released the July 15, 2015, G.17 industrial Production and Capacity Utilization Report. Industrial production increased 0.3 percent in June but fell at an annual rate of 1.4 percent for the second quarter of 2015. Manufacturing output was unchanged: The output of motor vehicles and parts fell 3.7 percent, but production elsewhere in manufacturing rose 0.3 percent. The indexes for mining and utilities advanced 1.0 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. At 105.7 percent of its 2007 average, total industrial production in June was 1.5 percent above its year-earlier level.

  • Beige Book
    The July 2015 issue of the Beige Book has been published by the Federal Reserve Board.

  • July 2015 FedFlash
    The Board has also posted the July 2015 issue of FedFlash, featuring articles on:
    • The final rule amending Reg D
    • Change in case submission requirements for PAID ITYP
    • Posting rule changes for commercial check and ACH
    • September 1 change in processing items drawn on retired routing numbers
    • Freeze period for Check Services
    • Check availability posted on fee schedules
    • New FedReceipts RTNs
    • The introduction of myRA

July 15, 2015
  • FHFA OMWI strategic plan
    The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced the release of a strategic plan for its Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) that reflects the agency's commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion. The strategic plan covers fiscal years 2016–2018 and describes how OMWI will support the diversity and inclusion mandates included in both the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and the Dodd-Frank Act.

  • Final revisions to risk-based capital rule
    The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board), and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) have published [80 FR 41409] a final rule to clarify, correct, and update aspects of the regulatory capital framework applicable to certain large, internationally active banking organizations. The revisions correct technical and typographical errors and clarify certain requirements of the advanced approaches risk-based capital rule based on observations made by the agencies during the parallel run review process of advanced approaches banking organizations. The corrections also enhance consistency of the agencies' advanced approaches risk-based capital rule with relevant international standards. The rule, which amends regulations at 12 CFR Part 3 (OCC), 12 CFR Part 217 (FRB Regulation Q) and 12 CFR Part 324 (FDIC), will be effective October 1, 2015.

  • CFPB and DOJ act on Honda auto loan pricing
    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has announced that Consent Orders have been filed by the CFPB and Department of Justice (DOJ) concerning American Honda Finance Corporation discretionary auto loan pricing and compensation practices. A joint CFPB and DOJ investigation began in April 2013 of Honda's indirect auto lending compliance with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which prohibits creditors from discriminating against loan applicants in credit transactions on the basis of characteristics such as race and national origin. The investigation concluded that Honda's policies resulted in thousands of minority borrowers paying higher dealer markups of from $150 to over $250 more for auto loans. Under the CFPB order, Honda must substantially reduce or eliminate entirely dealer loan pricing discretion, pay $24 million in damages for consumer harm, and administer the distribution of those funds to victims. Under the DOJ Order, Honda will also pay $1 million to fund a consumer financial education program focused on consumer auto finance that is designed to benefit African-American, Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander populations.

  • Written agreement with New Mexico holding company
    The Federal Reserve Board has announced the execution of a Written Agreement with Raton Capital Corporation, Raton, New Mexico, a bank holding company that owns and controls International Bank, Raton, New Mexico.

  • Discount rate meeting minutes
    The minutes of the June 15, 2015, discount rate meeting of the Federal Reserve Board have been released.

July 14, 2015
  • FinCEN issues order targeting South Florida check cashers
    The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has announced it has issued a Geographic Targeting Order (GTO) for South Florida check cashers to combat stolen identity tax refund fraud. Check cashing businesses in Broward and Miami-Dade counties will, from August 3, 2015, through January 30, 2016, when cashing a U.S. Treasury tax refund check or a Refund Anticipation Loan check in excess of $1,000, be required to obtain:
    • a copy of the customer's valid government-issued photo ID, issued in the same name as that of the original payee of the check;
    • a clear digital photo of the customer taken at the time of the transaction that matches the photo on the identification (surveillance photos don't qualify);
    • the customer's phone number; and
    • a clear original thumbprint of the customer, recorded on the check.
    Records of compliance with the GTO must be maintained by the check casher for five years from the end of the Order's effective period (including any extension).

  • Equal Access Rule guidance issued
    The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced guidance to help clarify the Equal Access to Housing in Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity Rule (Equal Access Rule), which was issued in January 2012.

  • FRB Government in the Sunshine meeting notice
    The Federal Reserve Board has posted a notice of an open meeting of the Board to be held in Washington, D.C. on July 20, 2015, at 1:00 PM EDT. A webcast of the meeting will be available on the Board's website. Matters to be considered include:
    • A final rule to establish Risk-Based Capital Surcharges for Systemically Important Bank Holding Companies.
    • A final order applying Enhanced Prudential Standards to General Electric Capital Corporation under Section 165 of the Dodd-Frank Act.

  • OCC Wichita workshops
    The OCC will host two workshops in Wichita, Kansas on August 18 and 19 for directors of national community banks and federal savings associations.

  • Outlook Live webinar scheduled
    The Federal Reserve's "Outlook Live" audio conference series continues with a webinar on Common Violations and Hot Topics on Wednesday, July 29 at 2 p.m. EDT. Senior Federal Reserve staff will focus on areas where substantive and/or common violations occur, including:
    • Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (Regulation C)
    • Equal Credit Opportunity Act (Regulation B) - Spousal Signatures
    • Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973
    • Unfair and Deceptive Acts or Practices Act (UDAP)
    Registration for the session is required.

July 13, 2015
  • Denver bank closed
    The FDIC has announced that Premier Bank, Denver, Colorado, has been closed by the Colorado Division of Banking, which appointed the FDIC as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with United Fidelity Bank, fsb, Evansville, Indiana, to assume all of the deposits of Premier Bank. This is the sixth failure of an FDIC-insured institution this year, and the first in Colorado.

  • Pennsylvania CU liquidated
    The NCUA has announced the liquidation of Trailblazer Federal Credit Union of Washington, Pennsylvania, and the assumption of its members and deposits by Chrome Federal Credit Union of Washington, Pennsylvania. This is the fourth federally insured credit union liquidation in 2015.

  • FDIC proposes assessment change
    The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has published proposed amendments to its regulation on Assessments at 12 CFR Part 327 to refine the deposit insurance assessment system for small insured depository institutions that have been federally insured for at least 5 years (established small banks) by:
    • revising the financial ratios method so that it would be based on a statistical model estimating the probability of failure over three years;
    • updating the financial measures used in the financial ratios method consistent with the statistical model; and
    • eliminating risk categories for established small banks and using the financial ratios method to determine assessment rates for all such banks (subject to minimum or maximum initial assessment rates based upon a bank's CAMELS composite rating).
    Comments on the proposal will be received through September 11, 2015.

  • Yellen on economic outlook
    In a speech at the City Club of Cleveland, Federal Reserve Board Chair Yellen discussed recent developments and the outlook for the economy. Topics addressed included the recovery from the great recession, current conditions in the labor market, recent inflation developments, the outlook for the economy, implications for monetary policy, and long-run economic growth.

  • Teleconference on youth savings programs
    FDIC FIL-29-2015 announces a teleconference to be held on July 30, 2015, from 2-3:30 EDT, that will focus on youth savings programs. FDIC staff will discuss ways that banks can link financial education efforts to the opening of saving accounts for school-aged children and share early observations from the FDIC's Youth Savings Pilot. Staff members also will discuss the February 2015 Interagency Guidance to Encourage Financial Institutions' Youth Savings Programs and address related frequently asked questions.

  • Auto loan relief scammer
    The Federal Trade Commission has announced that Regency Financial Services, Inc., and its CEO Ivan Levy have agreed to a permanent ban on telemarketing and the advertising, marketing, or sale of any debt relief products or services to settle FTC charges that they falsely promised consumers auto loan modifications and refunds if they failed to obtain the loan reductions. A complaint filed by the FTC alleged that Regency and Levy violated the FTC Act and Telemarketing Sales Rule by promising consumers services to stop the repossession of their vehicles, and to obtain lower interest rates and monthly auto loan payments for an upfront fee of $499. The complaint also alleged the company failed to honor its "money-back guarantee."

  • OFAC posts Venezuela regulations
    The Office of Foreign Assets Control has announced the publication of regulations [80 FR 39676] (31 CFR Part 591) to implement the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-278) and Executive Order 13692 of March 8, 2015 ("Blocking Property and Suspending Entry of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Venezuela").

July 10, 2015
  • Bureau weighs in on faster payments
    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced it has issued an outline of guiding principles for protecting consumers as new and faster payment systems are developed and deployed. The Bureau stated that it wants to ensure that any new systems are secure, transparent, accessible and affordable to consumers, with robust protections relating to fraud and error resolution.

  • Removals from SDN List
    The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control has posted a Specially Designated Nationals List update identifying eight listings with Burma and Balkans sanctions tags that are being removed from the SDN List.

  • $4 million in consumer refunds coming
    The Federal Trade Commission has announced that it is sending, via its refund administrator, Analytics Consulting, LLC, nearly $4 million in refunds to people harassed by Asset & Capital Management Group. Checks being sent out over the next several days must be cashed by August 29, 2015.

  • $2M money laundering scheme put on 'ICE'
    An investigation by ICE has resulted in multiple arrests and "freezing" of a scheme to launder more than $2 million of proceeds from what the targets thought to be a penny stock fraud scheme. An undercover law enforcement agent posed as a criminal stock promoter as part of a sting operation and provided money to three executives of a Panamanian corporation and aviation company. The agent represented himself as a middleman working with corrupt stock brokers who artificially inflated prices for worthless stock in exchange for high commissions. In exchange for a 13% to 15% fee, the defendants agreed to launder $2,600,000.

  • Cordray on GAO Workplace Financial Literacy report
    CFPB Director Cordray has issued a statement on the release of a Government Accountability Office report on financial literacy in the workplace, which summarized a forum of employers, federal government agencies, and academic researchers who discussed the role of employers in improving employees' financial well-being.

  • Money management for newcomers
    The CFPB posted an article announcing the availability of a collection of Newcomer's Guides to Managing Money in English and Spanish to provide recent immigrants with straightforward information about basic money decisions. Current titles include—
    • Ways to receive your money
    • Checklist for opening an account
    • Ways to pay your bills
    • Selecting financial products and services

July 9, 2015
  • JPMorgan Chase to pay for debt collection practices
    The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has announced a $30 million civil money penalty (CMP) has been assessed against JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., JPMorgan Bank and Trust Company, N.A. and Chase Bank USA, N.A. (Chase) for unsafe or unsound practices related to their non-home loan debt collection litigation practices and their Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) compliance practices. The CMP follows a 2013 OCC enforcement action. A Statement was also issued by Comptroller Curry. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), along with 47 states and the District of Columbia, also took separate actions, which were reported on the Bureau Blog. The Bureau ordered Chase to refund at least $50 million to consumers (inclusive of amounts already refunded), stop collecting on 528,000 accounts, and include specific information when filing debt collection lawsuits in the future. Chase must also pay $136 million in penalties and payments to the CFPB and states.

  • HUD municipal Fair Housing rule announced
    HUD has announced a final rule to equip communities that receive HUD funding with data and tools to help them meet long-standing fair housing obligations in their use of HUD funds. HUD will also provide additional guidance and technical assistance to facilitate local decision-making on fair housing priorities and goals for affordable housing and community development. The final rule clarifies and simplifies existing fair housing obligations for HUD grantees to analyze their fair housing landscape and set locally-determined fair housing priorities and goals through an Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH). An Executive Summary of the final rule, additional resources for grantees, and an AFH Fact Sheet were also released.

  • Consumer credit report
    The G.19 Consumer Credit Report for May 2015 has been released by the Federal Reserve Board. Consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5¾ percent. Revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 2 percent, while nonrevolving credit increased at an annual rate of 7 percent.

  • FOMC minutes released
    The minutes of the June 16–17, 2015, meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) have been released.

  • Distressed and Underserved Geographies list
    The Federal Reserve, OCC and FDIC have announced the availability of the 2015 list of distressed or underserved nonmetropolitan middle-income geographies [136-page PDF], where revitalization or stabilization activities will receive Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) consideration as community development.

  • Debt collection scam targeted Spanish-speaking consumers
    The Federal Trade Commission has announced that the operators of a fraudulent debt collection scheme have agreed to be banned from the debt collection business and telemarketing, to settle charges that they bilked millions of dollars from Spanish-speaking consumers throughout the country by demanding that they pay bogus debts. The Commission filed a complaint in 2014 against defendants Centro Natural Corp., Sumore LLC, Carolina Orellana, Damian Biondi, Jessica Anzola, Javier Sumbre, and Susana Sumbre, alleging that they threatened consumers with lawsuits, arrest and immigration status investigations if they failed to make payments on phony debts. The complaint also names Bionore Inc., Jager International Inc., Allianza Inmobiliaria Corp. and Jorge Sumbre as relief defendants who profited from the scheme.

July 8, 2015
  • CRA ratings released
    The OCC has released a list of the ratings received by 21 national banks, federal savings associations, and insured federal branches of foreign banks recently evaluated for compliance with the CRA. Included were eight institutions rated outstanding, twelve judged satisfactory, and one issued a needs to improve rating.

  • Written Agreement with BHC
    The Federal Reserve Board has announced the execution of a Written Agreement with Santander Holdings USA, Inc., a registered bank holding company that owns and controls Santander Bank, N.A., Wilmington, Delaware, and various nonbank subsidiaries, including Santander Consumer USA Inc., Dallas, Texas.

  • Payday loan fraud stopped by FTC
    The Federal Trade Commission has announced that the operators of a payday lending scheme have executed settlement agreements with the commission that will ban them from the consumer lending business. The FTC filed actions in 2014 alleging that Timothy A. Coppinger, Frampton T. Rowland III, and their companies targeted online payday loan applicants and, using information from lead generators and data brokers, deposited money into those applicants' bank accounts without their permission. The defendants then withdrew reoccurring "finance" charges without any of the payments going to pay down the principal owed.

  • Assets of debt relief scammers frozen
    Responding to a complaint filed by the FTC and the State of Florida, a federal court has frozen the assets of a nationwide debt relief telemarketing scam that bilked millions of dollars from consumers. The defendants allegedly violated the FTC Act, the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule, and the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

  • Servicemembers face student loan challenges
    The CFPB has posted an article announcing the release of a report, "Overseas & Underserved: Student Loan Servicing and the Cost to Our Men and Women in Uniform," which indicates servicemembers face continued challenges from student loan servicers. The report highlights servicers' continued mistakes handling servicemembers' student loan repayments, resulting in improper denials of legal benefits, negative credit reporting, and shoddy follow-through on legal protections for military families. In an effort to educate military consumers and the advisors seeking to assist them, the CFPB has developed a guide for servicemembers with student loans, FAQs and an online web tool (Repay Student Debt).

July 7, 2015
  • Smugglers indicted for structuring and money laundering
    U. S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) has announced that four individuals have been indicted in federal court for allegedly smuggling counterfeit Sony and Apple products from China for sale in the U. S. The individuals were charged in an eight-count indictment with importing and trafficking in counterfeit goods, smuggling, structuring and international money laundering. The proceeds from the sales of the goods were funneled back to the defendants' accounts in Florida and New Jersey via structured cash deposits, broken into multiple deposits of less than $10,000 each to avoid bank reporting requirements. The defendants also made more than 100 illegal wire transfers totaling more than $1.1 million to Hong Kong accounts to facilitate their criminal activity.

  • Outlook Live TRID webinar video available
    The CFPB has announced that a video of the fifth and final webinar in the Bureau's Outlook Live series on the TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule has been posted. Recordings of the first four TRID-related webinars are also available.

  • FHA proposes lenders insurance claim deadline
    The Federal Housing Administration has announced and published in the Federal Register a proposal to establish a maximum time period for lenders to file insurance claims and to revise its policy on reimbursement of eligible expenses and debenture interest when foreclosure and claim filing deadlines are missed. The proposal would require lenders to submit claims three months from the point at which they obtain marketable title to the property or successfully sell the property to a third party. This new deadline will ensure FHA can effectively manage and process timely claims. It would also eliminate the requirement that lenders/servicers forfeit reimbursement for eligible expenses and debenture interest after missing a foreclosure or claim filing deadline. The comment due date is September 4, 2015.

  • EGRPRA outreach meeting on banking rules
    An interagency press release has announced that an outreach meeting will be held on Tuesday, August 4, 2015, at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City as part of the FRB-OCC-FDIC regulatory review under the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act of 1996 (EGRPRA). The meeting will focus on rural banking issues and will feature panel presentations by industry participants and consumer and community groups. Interested persons may also present their views on any of the 12 categories of regulations listed in a June 2014 Federal Register notice that started the EGRPRA public comment process. Details on the meeting, including registration information and the agenda, are available on the EGRPRA website.

  • A dozen 'Living wills' posted
    The Federal Reserve Board and FDIC have announced their posting of the public portions of annual resolution plans for twelve large financial firms on their websites. Each plan must describe the reporting company's strategy for rapid and orderly resolution under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the event of material financial distress or failure of the company.

  • Matz on recommended NCUA vendor exam authority
    NCUA Chairman Matz has issued favorable comments on the Government Accountability Office's (GAO) recommendation to Congress that NCUA be granted enhanced examination authority over third-party technology service providers.

July 6, 2015
  • SDN List changes
    Treasury has announced the designation of South Sudan military commander Gabriel Jok Riak and opposition commander Simon Gatwech Dual as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) for threatening the peace, security, or stability of South Sudan and for expanding or extending the conflict or obstructing peace talks or processes in South Sudan. In an unrelated action, an existing designation was updated. Details on the designations and update are provided in OFAC's July 2, 2015, SDN List update.

  • FRB enforcement actions
    The Federal Reserve Board has announced the execution of Written Agreements with Cooperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank B.A., Utrecht, Netherlands, and Rabobank Nederland New York Branch, New York, New York, and with Seaway Bancshares, Inc., Chicago, Illinois.

  • July FedFocus released
    The July 2015 issue of FedFocus has been released, featuring articles on:
    • Gordon Werkema's appointment as Payments Strategy Director
    • a Small Business Payments toolkit
    • Special events impact on FedCash services

  • CRA ratings released
    The FDIC has released a list of the ratings received by 78 state nonmember banks that were recently evaluated for compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Nine banks were rated outstanding, 66 received satisfactory ratings, two earned needs to improve evaluations and one bank was found to be in substantial non-compliance.

July 2, 2015
  • FEMA to suspend communities
    The Federal Emergency Management Agency has published a final rule [80 FR 37996] that identifies communities in Missouri and Virginia where the sale of flood insurance has been authorized under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that are scheduled for suspension on August 3, 2015, because of noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program.

  • Dodd-Frank aggregate consolidated liabilities report
    The Federal Reserve Board has released its first determination of the aggregate consolidated liabilities of all financial companies in accordance with section 622 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which prohibits any financial company from combining with another company if the resulting company's liabilities exceed 10 percent of the aggregate consolidated liabilities of all financial companies. As of December 31, 2014, aggregate financial sector liabilities was equal to $21,632,232,035,000. Aggregate financial sector liabilities generally equal the sum of the financial sector liabilities of all financial companies.

  • 2015 census data products and geocoding system update
    The FFIEC has released the 2015 Census Data Products and an update of the Geocoding System.

  • NCUA compliance webinar
    A free 90-minute compliance webinar, "Fine Tuning Your Compliance Program,” will be hosted by the NCUA on July 21, beginning at 2 p.m. EDT. A panel will discuss how credit unions can navigate common compliance issues and examine various compliance areas of interest.

  • Federal contracting event for minority and women business owners
    The NCUA has announced that a technical assistance event for minority and women-owned businesses interested in contracting with the federal government will be held on August 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. EDT at George Mason University, Arlington, Virginia. The event will offer information and networking sessions to help businesses respond to federal contracting opportunities. The event will include presentations on the basics of government contracting, federal proposal writing and successful collaboration. The event is co-hosted by the NCUA, OCC, FRB, CFPB, Treasury, FDIC, FHFA, and the SEC.

  • CFPB requests comments on consumer complaint database
    The Bureau has issued a Notice [80 FR 37237] requesting feedback on best practices for "normalizing" the raw complaint data it makes available via the Consumer Complaint Database so they are easier for the public to use and understand. Specific suggestions from market participants, consumers, and other stakeholders on data normalization and its proper implementation within the Database. Written comments must be received on or before August 31, 2015, to be assured of consideration.

  • Credit card add-on vendors penalized
    The CFPB has announced that complaints have been filed against two credit card add-on product vendors — Affinion Group Holdings, Inc., and Affinion's affiliated companies, and Intersections Inc. — for unfairly charging consumers for credit card add-on benefits they did not receive. Under the proposed consent orders, Affinion would pay approximately $6.8 million in monetary relief for eligible consumers who have not yet received refunds and $1.9 million in civil money penalties, while Intersections would pay approximately $55,000 in monetary relief to eligible consumers who have not yet received refunds and $1.2 million in civil money penalties.

  • NMLS enhancements and system updates scheduled
    The NMLS has announced that it has scheduled Release 2015.3, containing general enhancements, along with system maintenance updates, for installation on July 20, 2015.

  • Foreign exchange rates
    The June 2015 G.5 Foreign Exchange Rates report has been posted by the Federal Reserve.

  • June SCOOS posted
    The Federal Reserve Board has posted the results of the June 2015 Senior Credit Officer Opinion Survey (SCOOS).

July 1, 2015
  • Revised interagency exam procedures for TILA, RESPA, and TRID Rule
    FIL-27-2015 has been issued by the FDIC to announce the release of revised interagency examination procedures for the new Truth in Lending Act (TILA) - Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) Integrated Disclosure Rule (TRID Rule), as well as amendments to other provisions of TILA Regulation Z and RESPA Regulation X. FDIC examiners will use the updated interagency examination procedures to evaluate financial institutions' compliance with residential mortgage loan rules, including these new or amended rules:
    • TRID Rule â€" replaces the requirements to provide the RESPA Good Faith Estimate and HUD-1 Settlement Statement and Truth in Lending disclosures for most closed-end mortgage loans with two documents: the Loan Estimate and the Closing Disclosure. (Proposed Effective Date October 3, 2015)
    • Mortgage Servicing Rules â€" provide an alternative definition of the term "small servicer" for certain nonprofit entities.
    • Ability-to-Repay / Qualified Mortgage Rule â€" amended to provide creditors or assignees meeting certain requirements a limited period of time in which to review a transaction and "cure" excess points and fees for purposes of maintaining QM status.

  • FHFA annual guarantee fee report
    The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has released its annual report on the single-family guarantee fees charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The report tracks adjustments from 2009 through 2014, and shows how guarantee fees have increased over this period. It also reflects the impact of guarantee fee policy changes in previous years and analyzes guarantee fees by product type and volume.

  • OCC report on risks facing its supervised institutions
    The OCC has announced the release of its Semiannual Risk Perspective for 2015, which covers risks facing national banks and federal savings associations based on data through the end of 2014. Report highlights include:
    • Evolving cyber threats and information technology vulnerabilities require heightened awareness and appropriate controls to identify and mitigate the associated risks.
    • Compliance risks remain high, as banks work to comply with new mortgage lending requirements and manage Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering risks.
    • Competition for limited lending opportunities is intensifying and resulting in loosening underwriting standards and layering of risk, particularly in indirect auto lending, asset-based lending, commercial real estate (CRE) lending, and commercial and industrial loans.
    • Many banks continue to re-evaluate their business models and risk appetites to generate returns against the backdrop of low interest rates.
    • The prolonged low interest rate environment continues to lay the foundation for future vulnerability. Banks that extend asset maturities to pick up yield could face significant earnings pressure and capital erosion depending on the severity and timing of interest rate moves.
    • Several risks have the potential to develop into broader, systemic issues. These risks include exposures to oil- and gas-related industries, rising CRE concentrations coupled with easing of underwriting standards, and exposures to nonbank mortgage servicer companies.
    • Almost half of outstanding home equity lines of credit balances will transition from draw period to repayment between 2015 through 2017. For most borrowers, monthly payments will change from interest-only to amortizing, which may pose interest rate risk from concentrated resets and rising market rates, payment shock from additional principal payments, and refinancing difficulties because of lower property values and conservative lending underwriting standards.

  • Financial Capability Council final report
    The President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans has published its final report to the President and Secretary of the Treasury on ways to build the financial knowledge and skills of the nation's young people. The report includes recommendations for government, individual commitments to action, and best practices for improving financial capability.

  • FFIEC cybersecurity assessment tool
    The FFIEC has released a Cybersecurity Assessment Tool (Assessment) to help institutions identify their risks and assess their cybersecurity preparedness. In addition to the Assessment, the FFIEC has made an executive overview, a user's guide, an online presentation explaining the Assessment, and appendices mapping the Assessment's baseline maturity statements to the FFIEC Information Technology Examination Handbook. The OCC has issued Bulletin 2015-31 regarding the Assessment. The OCC will implement the Assessment as part of the bank examination process over time to benchmark and assess bank cybersecurity efforts. While use of the Assessment is optional for financial institutions, OCC examiners will use the Assessment to supplement exam work to gain a more complete understanding of an institution's inherent risk, risk management practices, and controls related to cybersecurity. OCC examiners will begin incorporating the Assessment into examinations in late 2015.

  • NCUA prohibition orders
    Four orders have been issued by the NCUA prohibiting individuals from participating in the affairs of any federally insured financial institution:
    • Jane Dearth, a former employee of Riverview Credit Union in Belpre, Ohio, who earlier pleaded guilty to the charge of theft and was sentenced to 90 days in prison and three years of supervised release. She also was ordered to pay court costs and restitution in the amount of $37,000.
    • Teresa Humphries, a former employee of Lynrocten Federal Credit Union in Lynchburg, Virginia, who earlier pleaded guilty to the charges of theft and embezzlement and was sentenced to 40 months in prison and five years of supervised release. She also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $11,733,683.30.
    • Debra M. Walker, an institution-affiliated party of Petrowax Federal Credit Union in Smethport, Pennsylvania, who consented to the issuance of an order of prohibition to avoid the time and expense of administrative litigation.
    • Jessica M. Yeaw, a former employee of Horizons Federal Credit Union in Binghamton, New York, earlier convicted of petty theft and sentenced to probation and restitution.

  • Victims of scheme to receive $4M
    The FTC has announced the mailing of almost 95,000 checks totaling approximately $4 million to consumers who lost money to a debt collection operation that extorted payments from them using false threats. The funds are the result of a settlement the FTC reached with Asset Capital And Management Group, which, under various names, illegally extracted payments from consumers for credit card debt the defendants had purchased from creditors. Consumers who receive the checks from Analytics Consulting LLC, the FTC's refund administrator for this matter, should deposit or cash them within 60 days of the mailing date.

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