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Tips from the Toolbox    Sponsored by: Banker's Toolbox
How often should you perform a program evaluation? The FFIEC manual suggests that your suspicious activity monitoring program should be risk based and evaluated on a regular/periodic basis. This is to ensure that your monitoring program is keeping up with emerging threats and changes to your institutions' risk profile. All institutions are unique and some may need to perform program evaluations more often than others. For more information on regulator's expectations of what's included in your program evaluation and how often it should be updated

February 27, 2015
  • OFAC adds and removes SDNs
    Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control has posted a Specially Designated Nationals List Update adding three individuals as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT) linked to Hizballah. Three related entities were also added. OFAC's notice also announced several deletions from the SDN List.

  • Mortgage rates dipped in January
    The FHFA has announced released its January 2015 Monthly Interest Rate Survey (MIRS), which indicates interest rates on conventional purchase-money mortgages decreased from December 2014 to January 2015.
    • The National Average Contract Mortgage Rate for the Purchase of Previously Occupied Homes by Combined Lenders index was 3.88 percent for loans closed in late January, down 10 basis points.
    • The average interest rate on all mortgage loans was 3.89 percent, down 11 basis points.
    • The average interest rate on conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages of $417,000 or less was 4.06 percent, a decrease of 13 basis points.
    • The effective interest rate on all mortgage loans was 4.04 percent in January, down 11 basis points.
    • The average loan amount for all loans was $291,300 in January, down $7,000.

  • Comment period extended for proposed Capital Surcharge rule
    The Federal Reserve Board has extended the comment period for its proposed rule to implement capital surcharges for the largest, most systemically important U.S. bank holding companies from March 2, 2015, to April 3, 2015. The proposed rule would establish a methodology to identify whether a firm is a global systemically important banking organization and would also establish the size of a firm's risk-based capital surcharge. The proposal is designed to further strengthen the capital positions of these institutions.

  • Second quarter CRA exam schedule
    The FDIC has issued the public list of institutions that it has scheduled for a Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) examination during the second quarter of 2015.

  • Complaints filed against NY abusive debt collectors
    The Federal Trade Commission and the New York State Office of the Attorney General have announced the filing of complaints aimed at shutting down 4 Star Resolution LLC and Vantage Point Services, LLC, two debt collection operations centered in Buffalo, New York, that target consumers nationwide. According to the complaints, the separate enterprises used threats and abusive language, including false threats that consumers would be arrested, to collect more than $45 million in supposed debts.

  • FDIC updates lawsuits data
    The FDIC has updated its Professional Liability Lawsuits webpage to indicate that 14 additional suits were brought in January 2015. From January 1, 2009, through February 25, 2015, the FDIC has authorized suits in connection with 149 failed institutions against 1,195 individuals for D&O liability. This includes 105 filed D&O lawsuits (37 of which have fully settled and one of which resulted in a favorable jury verdict) naming 800 former directors and officers. The FDIC also has authorized 61 other lawsuits for residential mortgage-backed securities, LIBOR suppression, fidelity bond, insurance, accounting malpractice, appraiser malpractice, and attorney malpractice claims. In addition, 72 residential mortgage malpractice and fraud lawsuits are pending, consisting of lawsuits filed and inherited.

February 26, 2015
  • FATF meeting to focus on terrorist financing
    The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has commenced a three-day plenary meeting which brings together representatives from the organization's global network of over 190 countries. This meeting will have a particular focus on the issue of terrorist financing, and the financing of the terrorist organization ISIL.

  • FEMA to suspend communities in 11 states
    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has published a final rule [80 FR 10359] in today's Federal Register identifying communities in Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee, where the sale of flood insurance has been authorized under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that are scheduled for suspension on March 16, 2015, because of noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program.

  • January residential sales report mixed
    HUD and the Census Bureau have released the January 2015 new residential sales report. Sales of new single-family houses in January 2015 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 481,000, which was 0.2% below the revised December 2014 rate, but 5.3% above the January 2014 estimate.

February 25, 2015
  • OFAC Kingpin Act changes
    The Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has announced the addition of five Slovenian nationals and 14 entities to its SDN List. The additions were all made under the Kingpin Act, with the SDNTK designation. OFAC also updated its SDNTK designations by deleting listings of an individual and an entity, and changing the listing of another individual. Details can be found in OFAC's Recent Actions Update.

    Since June 2000, more than 1,700 entities and individuals have been named pursuant to the Kingpin Act for their role in international narcotics trafficking. Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1.075 million per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million. Other individuals could face up to 10 years in prison and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.

  • CFPB proposes one-year suspension of agreement submissions
    The CFPB has announced a proposal to temporarily suspend for one year the obligations of credit card companies to submit consumer credit card agreements to the Bureau. The intent of the proposal is to improve the submission process and enable the data to be provided to consumers and users in a faster and more useable form. During the temporary suspension period, the CFPB will collect consumer credit card agreements from the largest card issuers' public websites and post the agreements to its online consumer credit card agreements database. The proposal is scheduled for publication in the Federal Register tomorrow, February 26, 2015. Comments on the proposal are due March 13, 2015.

  • FTC complaint against payday debt relief operation
    A Federal Trade Commission press release has announced the filing of a complaint in federal district court against Payday Support Center, LLC, (now known as PSC Administrative, LLC), a deceptive debt relief operation, that has targeted consumers with outstanding payday loans. The defendants claimed they could help resolve those debts but then providied little or none of the financial relief they promised. As a result, many consumers stopped making payments to the original lenders and found themselves in even deeper financial trouble, having paid hundreds of dollars in fees for no benefit.

  • Yellen delivers Monetary Policy Report
    Federal Reserve Board Chair Yellen appeared before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs to present the Federal Reserve's Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress and discuss the current economic situation and outlook.

  • Discount rate meeting minutes released
    The Federal Reserve Board has released the minutes of its January 26, 2015, discount rate meeting.

  • G.20 Finance Companies report
    The Federal Reserve has also released the December 2014 G.20 Finance Companies Owned and Managed Receivables Outstanding and Auto Loans: Terms of Credit Report.

  • Regulators issue youth savings program guidance and Q&A
    The FRB, FDIC, FinCEN, NCUA and OCC have announced the availability of guidance to encourage federally insured depository institutions to offer youth savings programs to expand the financial capability of young people. The guidance also provides answers to frequently asked questions related to the establishment of these programs.

  • Insured institutions earnings ups and downs
    The FDIC has released the Quarterly Banking Profile for the Fourth Quarter 2014, a press conference video, and the remarks of Chairman Gruenberg on the report. The profile indicates commercial banks and savings institutions insured by the FDIC reported aggregate net income of $36.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014, down $2.9 billion from earnings reported a year earlier. The decline in earnings was mainly attributable to a $4.4 billion increase in litigation expenses at a few large banks. More than half of the 6,509 insured institutions reporting had year-over-year growth in quarterly earnings. Community banks earned $4.8 billion during the quarter, up $1.0 billion (27.7 percent) from a year earlier. The number of problem banks fell for the 18th consecutive quarter.

February 24, 2015
  • HUD guidance on lending to LGBT Americans
    HUD has issued guidance to better serve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans seeking to obtain a home loan. The guidance will help clarify the Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity Rule (Equal Access Rule). HUD's guidance on program eligibility for HUD assisted and insured housing programs includes an equal access provision making clear that housing that is financed or insured by HUD must be made available without regard to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. In addition, the guidance also makes clear that sexual orientation and gender identity should not and cannot be part of any lending decision when it comes to getting an FHA-insured mortgage.

  • New webpage for FBAR filers
    FinCEN has announced the launch of a new informational web page for those filing a Report of Foreign Bank Account (FBAR). Individuals and institutions can determine if they are required to file a FBAR and also find numerous resources for assistance if a filing is necessary. The FBAR filing deadline is June 30, 2015.

  • Update on check debit transaction changes
    Federal Reserve Financial Services has issued information on the upcoming changes to Part II of the FRB Payment System Risk policy. The changes, which were announced on December 1, 2014, are designed to enhance the efficiency of the payment system, to align posting times with current operations and processing times, and to strategically position the rules for future advancements in the speed of clearing and settlement. These changes will become effective July 23, 2015, in coordination with amendments to Regulation J (12 CFR Part 210) that will become effective the same day.

  • FDIC on regulatory capital reporting changes
    FDIC FIL-10-2015 has been issued concerning the approval of revisions to the reporting of risk-weighted assets in Part II of Schedule RC-R, Regulatory Capital, of the Consolidated Reports of Condition and Income (Call Report). These changes to Schedule RC-R, Part II, incorporate the standardized approach for calculating risk weighted assets under the banking agencies' revised regulatory capital rules. A limited change to Schedule RC-L, Derivatives and Off-Balance Sheet Items, revises the reporting of securities borrowed. Subject to approval by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, these Call Report changes will take effect March 31, 2015. Yesterday's BOL Top Stories reported the scheduling of a teleconference to explain the revisions to Parts I and II of Schedule RC-R and Schedule RC-L tomorrow, February 25, 2015, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. ET.

  • CFPB announces field hearing on arbitration
    A field hearing on arbitration has been scheduled by the CFPB for Newark, New Jersey, on March 10 at 11 a.m. ET. The location of the hearing is to be announced. The event is open to the public but requires an emailed reservation.

  • Bureau blogs on America Saves Week
    "You've got goals for your life—and some of them take money to achieve" is a new article on the CFPB Blog encouraging consumers to plan for their future and include financial goals in their planning.

February 23, 2015
  • OCC January enforcement actions
    The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has published a list of new enforcement actions recently taken against national banks, federal savings associations, and individuals currently and formerly affiliated with national banks and federal savings associations has been released. The actions included a $5,005 Civil Money Penalty (CMP) imposed on an Ohio bank for violations of the Flood Disaster Protection Act (Flood Act). See the BOL Flood Penalties Watch page for more information.

  • Agencies continue regulatory review
    The OCC, FRB, and FDIC have jointly issued a reminder of their continuing review of the regulations they have issued to identify outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome regulations for insured depository institutions. The review is required by section 2222 of the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act of 1996 ("EGRPRA"). The agencies have divided their regulations into 12 categories and requested comments in June 2014 for three categories (Applications and Reporting, Powers and Activities, and International Operations). This notice seeks comment on regulations in three additional categories: Banking Operations, Capital, and the Community Reinvestment Act. Comments will be accepted until May 14, 2015.

  • Teleconference on Call Report changes
    FDIC FIL-6-2015 has been issued to announce that the banking regulatory agencies, under the auspices of the FFIEC, will hold on February 25, 2015, a teleconference for depository institutions that file the Call Report. The program will run from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., EST. The agencies will discuss the revisions to Call Report schedules RC-R part II and RC-L and respond to questions about the regulatory capital reporting changes. Presentation materials for the teleconference will be available on the FFIEC's website the day before the presentation. Participants also are encouraged to have copies of the revised reporting forms and the related instructions available for reference during the teleconference.

  • NCUA Small Business Lending Resource Center launched
    The NCUA has announced the launch of a new webpage from which credit unions can obtain information regarding member business lending. The site provides detailed information about NCUA's member business lending rules and regulations, supervisory guidance, links to the Small Business Administration's loan programs and related articles from The NCUA Report.

  • GAO report on FEMA implementation of Biggert-Waters Act
    The Government Accountability Office has published a report, "Flood Insurance: Status of FEMA's Implementation of the Biggert-Waters Act, as Amended." The report describes (1) FEMA's management of the acts' [Biggert-Waters and the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act] implementation and associated challenges and (2) the status of FEMA's implementation of selected requirements from the acts. GAO analyzed the Biggert-Waters Act and HFIAA; reviewed FEMA information on the prioritization and tracking of implementation efforts in relation to relevant internal control standards; and reviewed data and documentation on FEMA's status in implementing the Biggert-Waters Act, as amended by HFIAA, in relation to established time frames.

February 20, 2015
  • IRS warns preparers of phishing scams
    The Internal Revenue Service has issued a press release alerting tax preparers to illicit emails purporting to come from the IRS seeking personal or professional information. As with other phony emails claiming to emanate from the agency, the latest illicit emails are attempts to steal personal information. The bogus message asks tax professionals to update their IRS e-services portal information and Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs). The links that are provided in the bogus email to access IRS e-services appear to be a phishing scheme designed to capture usernames and passwords, perhaps with an ultimate goal of being able to file, undetected, multiple phony tax returns. The release also includes a link to the agency's "Dirty Dozen" list of IRS tax scams.

  • Branches preferred over mobile
    The FDIC has released the results of a study showing that, despite the increased use of online and mobile banking, brick-and-mortar banking offices continue to be the primary means through which FDIC-insured institutions deliver financial services to their customers. FDIC-insured institutions operated 94,725 banking offices as of June 2014, a decline of just 4.8 percent from the all-time high of 99,550 offices in 2009.

  • NCUA Board Action Bulletin
    A Board Action Bulletin has been issued by the NCUA reporting the actions taken at the February 19, 2015, meeting of its Board.

  • Agencies to host Small Business Lending webinar
    A joint webinar, "Balancing Member Business Loan Portfolios with SBA Guarantees," will be hosted by the NCUA and the SBA on March 4, 2015, at 2 p.m. ET. The 90-minute webinar is the first initiative of the new NCUA-SBA partnership offering a series of educational initiatives during the next three years that include webinars, examiner training on SBA programs, data resources and media outreach.

  • Free credit scores for over 50 million consumers
    The CFPB has announced that more than 50 million consumers now have free and regular access to their credit scores through their monthly credit card statements or online. The agency also released a report, "Consumer voices on credit reports and scores," with results from focus groups of consumers who were checking their credit scores and reports, how they were doing it, and what motivated them to check them. Links were provided to a list of the consumer reporting agencies and a document for consumers, "Check Your Own Credit Report."

  • Term deposit auction results
    The results of the Federal Reserve's February 19, 2015, floating-rate offering of term deposits have been released.

February 19, 2015
  • 2015 CRA/HMDA newsletter
    The FFIEC has posted the 2015 CRA/HMDA Newsletter, which includes articles on:
    • HOEPA changes and new edit changes
    • Calendar year 2014 initial submission deadline
    • Submission errors: invalid file format and invalid timestamp
    • Secured e-mails notice
    • Missing and overdue edit reports

  • Checks from Independent Foreclosure Review to be reissued
    The Federal Reserve Board and OCC have issued a joint press release to announce that checks related to the Independent Foreclosure Review Payments Agreements that have not yet been negotiated are to be reissued. Beginning in April 2013, nearly 4.2 million checks totaling $3.6 billion were issued to borrowers as part of the settlement. As of last month, more than 3.4 million of those checks (over $3.1 billion) had been cashed. The remaining checks have expired. The agencies have directed the paying agent for the settlement to search again for updated addresses, and reissue the expired checks.

  • E-payments directory move rescheduled
    Federal Reserve Financial Services has announced that February 22, 2015, is the revised date for the move of the E-Payments Routing Directory to a new web address. The directory's appearance will also be updated to better match that of

  • Mortgage rule published
    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has published [80 FR 8767] its final rule, announced on January 20, 2015, that delays the deadline to the third business day for revised Loan Estimates resulting from rate locks; adds a Loan Estimate disclosure about revised estimates for some construction loans; makes some technical corrections to the final Integrated Disclosures rule; and adds the Integrated Disclosures to documents requiring loan originators' names and, if issued, NMLSR IDs.

  • Extension of resolution plans deadline
    The Federal Reserve Board and FDIC have announced an extension of the resolution plan submission deadline for American International Group, Inc., General Electric Capital Corporation, Inc., and Prudential Financial, Inc. The three organizations will be required to submit their second annual plans by December 31, 2015, instead of July 1, 2015.

  • FOMC minutes
    The minutes of the January 27–28, 2015, meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee have been released.

  • January 2015 residential construction report
    HUD and the Census Bureau have released the residential construction statistics for January 2015. Building permits and housing starts were down and housing completions were mixed.

  • Indian housing block grants
    HUD has announced Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) allocations of more than $651 million to 586 Native American tribes in 34 states. The allocations are distributed each year to eligible Indian tribes or their tribally designated housing entities for a range of affordable housing activities.

  • Term Deposit Facility (TDF) auction
    The Federal Reserve will conduct today a floating-rate offering of term deposits with an early withdrawal feature through its Term Deposit Facility (TDF). Twenty-one-day term deposits will be offered with a rate set equal to the sum of the interest rate paid on excess reserves (currently 25 basis points) plus a fixed spread of 3 basis points. The maximum tender amount per institution will be $20 billion.

  • Charge-off and delinquency rates reports
    The Federal Reserve has released Fourth Quarter 2014 Charge-Off and Delinquency Rates on Loans and Leases at Commercial Banks reports.

  • February 2015 NCUA Report
    The February 2015 issue of The NCUA Report has been posted.

  • ECOA Report to CFPB
    The Federal Trade Commission has issued a letter with its annual report to the CFPB on the Commission's activities related to the enforcement of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA).

February 18, 2015
  • Narcotics trafficker and scaffolding company added to SDN List
    Treasury has announced the designation of a Mexican national, Francisco Javier Gastelum Serrano, and Andamios Dalmine SA, the Mexico City-based scaffolding company of which he is president, as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNTKs) under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. He is the fifth Serrano brother, all members of the Gastelum Serrano drug trafficking network, to be designated. Details of the listing are included in an OFAC SDN List Update.

  • Sudan General License published
    Treasury also announced that, in consultation and coordination with the Departments of State and Commerce, it is issuing an amended general license relating to the exportation, reexportation, and provision to Sudan of certain hardware, software, and services incident to personal communications. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control also published related Frequently Asked Questions.

February 17, 2015
  • FDIC posts Mortgage Rules video
    The release of the third in a series of three technical assistance videos developed to assist bank employees in meeting regulatory requirements has been announced by the FDIC. This video focuses on the Mortgage Servicing Rules with particular emphasis on those entities that qualify for the "Small Servicer" exemption. The video series addresses compliance with certain mortgage rules issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The first video, released on November 19, 2014, covered the Ability to Repay and Qualified Mortgage Rule. The second video, released on January 27, 2015, covered the Loan Officer Compensation Rule.

  • Georgia bank closed
    The FDIC has announced that Capitol City Bank & Trust Company, Atlanta, Georgia, has been closed by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance. The FDIC, which was appointed receiver, entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company, Raleigh, North Carolina, to assume all of the deposits of Capitol City Bank & Trust Company. This was the third failure of an FDIC-insured institution reported this year, and the first in Georgia.

  • CFPB promotes savings for children
    In conjunction with America Saves Week, an article on the CFPB Blog suggests ways parents or caregivers can help children from toddlers to teens and beyond develop good financial habits.

  • February 2015 FedFlash
    Federal Reserve Bank Services has posted the February 2015 issue of FedFlash,  featuring articles on:
    • New FedReceipt® RTNs
    • Canadian item cash letter deposits
    • Date for FedACH business resumption test
    • 2015 NACHA rules changes
    • FedPayments Reporter Service PDI File

  • New MDIAC members
    The OCC has released the names of four new members of its Minority Depository Institutions Advisory Committee (MDIAC).

  • HUD confirms points and fees limits adjustment
    The Department of Housing and Urban Development has published a final rule [80 FR 8243] to clarify that all annual adjustments to the qualified mortgage points and fees limit at 12 CFR 1026.43(e)(3) issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau apply to HUD's points and fees limit provision at 24 CFR 203.19. HUD's final rule is effective upon publication, and affects single-family residential mortgages that HUD insures, guarantees or administers. Under HUD's qualified mortgage rule, qualified mortgage status attaches at origination and insurance endorsement to those single family residential mortgages insured under the National Housing Act (12 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.), section 184 loans for Indian housing under the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992 (12 U.S.C. 1715z-13a), and section 184A loans for Native Hawaiian housing under the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992 (12 U.S.C. 1715z-13b).

February 13, 2015
  • CFPB takes on mortgage companies for deceptive ads
    The CFPB has announced the filing of a complaint and the issuance of administrative consent orders against three mortgage companies. The Bureau alleges the companies misled consumers with advertisements implying U.S. government approval of their products. A complaint was filed against All Financial Services, a mortgage broker and lender in Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. Consent orders were issued against Flagship Financial Group, LLC, headquartered in Utah and licensed as a mortgage broker or lender in 35 states; and against American Preferred Lending, headquartered in California and a mortgage lender and mortgage broker in California. American Preferred is also a mortgage loan originator in Florida.

  • OCC replaces Comptroller's Handbook booklet
    The OCC has issued Bulletin 2015-13 announcing the addition of the "Deposit-Related Consumer Credit" booklet of the Comptroller's Handbook. The new booklet provides updated guidance and examination procedures that OCC examiners will use to assess a bank's deposit-related consumer credit activities. It replaces the "Check Credit" booklet issued in March 1990.

  • Stress test results release schedule
    The Federal Reserve Board has announced that the results from the latest Dodd-Frank supervisory stress tests will be released on March 5, 2015, and the related results from the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR), will be released on March 11, 2015.

  • Term deposit offering results
    The results of the February 12, 2015, offering of 21-day term floating-rate term deposits have been released by the Federal Reserve.

  • Regulators promote Military Saves and America Saves Week
    A press release has been issued by the FDIC encouraging consumers to use America Saves Week as a time to begin or continue saving towards financial goals. America Saves Week, which runs from February 23–28, 2015, is an annual opportunity for organizations to encourage consumers to make a savings commitment, and then provide access to ideas, tools, and other helpful resources to help consumers develop a plan to achieve their goal. The agency provided educational resources developed by the FDIC to help consumers evaluate savings options to achieve their savings goals.

    The NCUA has announced that a live Twitter chat will be available on February 26, 2015, beginning at 11 a.m. ET, for credit unions and their members to share strategies for developing positive savings behavior during Military Saves and America Saves Week. Credit unions and consumers can follow @MyCUgov and contribute to the conversation using the #NCUAChat hashtag on Twitter.

  • Credit limits management study
    For those of you interested in studies on credit risk management, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank has posted a discussion paper, "A Tale of Two Vintages: Credit Limit Management Before and After the CARD Act and the Great Recession," on its website. The paper examines how the Great Recession and implementation of the CARD Act affected credit card issuers' credit limit management strategies by analyzing tradeline-level credit card data on initial credit limits and early credit limit increases.

February 12, 2015
  • OCC Bulletin on small-loan exemption threshold
    The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has issued Bulletin 2014-15 to remind its supervised banks and savings associations of the revision to its higher-priced mortgage loan (HPML) appraisal rule. The revision adjusts the HPML exemption threshold for smaller loan transactions based on the annual percentage change in a measure of the consumer price index. The revision, which came effective January 1, 2015, was published in the Federal Register on December 30, 2014. The OCC's rule is required by the Dodd-Frank Act, but it tracks section 1026.35(c) of the Bureau's Regulation Z.

  • Federal Advisory Council minutes
    The minutes of the February 6, 2015, meeting of the Federal Advisory Council have been posted by the Federal Reserve Board. The Council, comprising twelve representatives of the banking industry, consults with and advises the Board on all matters within the Board's jurisdiction. The council ordinarily meets four times a year, the minimum number of meetings required by the Federal Reserve Act.

  • Term deposit auction announced
    The Federal Reserve's Term Deposit Facility will conduct a floating-rate offering of term deposits today, February 12, 2015. Twenty-one-day term deposits will be offered with a rate set equal to the sum of the interest rate paid on excess reserves (currently 25 basis points) plus a fixed spread of 3 basis points. Early withdrawal penalties will apply. The maximum tender amount per institution will be $20 billion.

  • Agencies develop tool for calculating capital requirements
    OCC Bulletin 2015-14 and FDIC FIL-7-2015 have announced the development by the OCC, FRB, and FDIC of an automated Excel spreadsheet tool to help banks and savings associations calculate risk-based capital requirements for securitization exposures under the revised capital rule.

  • New members of FDIC Advisory Committee
    The selection of seven new members of the FDIC Advisory Committee on Community Banking has been announced. The Committee provides advice and recommendations to the FDIC on a broad range of community bank policy and regulatory matters. Its members represent a cross-section of community bankers from around the country.

  • NCUA Board meeting video Available
    The video recording of the January 15, 2015, meeting of the NCUA Board has been posted.

February 11, 2015
  • Deceptive mortgage ads and kickbacks earn Bureau action
    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced it has issued a Consent Order against NewDay Financial, LLC for deceptive mortgage advertising and kickbacks. The CFPB found NewDay deceived consumers about a veterans' organization's endorsement of NewDay products and participated in a scheme to pay kickbacks for customer referrals. NewDay will pay a $2 million civil money penalty for its actions. The Order also requires that NewDay may not deceptively market mortgage credit products, may not enter into business relationships involving third-party endorsements inconsistent with FTC guidance, and must make no payments for referrals.

  • OCC revises personal fiduciary activities booklet
    The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has issued Bulletin 2015-12 announcing the publication of a revised "Personal Fiduciary Activities" booklet, a part of the Comptroller's Handbook. The new booklet, which replaces a similarly titled booklet issued in August 2002,
    • updates references to laws and regulations to include those applicable to federal savings associations
    • clarifies and expands guidance applicable to current business practices, particularly when banks act as directed trustees under state trust laws
    • updates risk management guidance
    • updates references
    • provides a sample personal fiduciary activities examination request letter

  • Cordray on proposed mortgage rules amendments
    In prepared remarks at a NCUA Town Hall webinar, CFPB Director Cordray discussed the Bureau's recently proposed amendments to mortgage rules affecting small creditors. The proposal was published [80 FR 7769] this morning in the Federal Register. Comments are due by March 30, 2015.

  • NMLS annual conference agenda
    The NMLS has posted the agenda for its 7th Annual Conference, which will be held in San Diego on February 16–19, 2015.

February 10, 2015
  • Reverse mortgage Consumer Advisory and complaint report
    The CFPB announced its release of a report of 1,200 reverse mortgage complaints received by the agency from December 1, 2011 to December 31, 2014. The Bureau also posted a Consumer Advisory listing three steps a consumer with a reverse mortgage should take:
    1. Verify who is on the loan
    2. If the reverse mortgage is in the name of only one spouse, make a plan for the non-borrowing spouse
    3. Talk to children and heirs—make a plan for any non-borrower family members living in the home
    The Bureau also recommended its Guide to Reverse Mortgages for Older Consumers and their Families for those looking for more information.

  • OCC directors workshop in San Antonio
    The OCC will host a workshop in San Antonio on March 16–18, 2015, for directors of national community banks and federal savings associations. The "Building Blocks for Directors" workshop is geared toward orienting new bank directors and still has a wide enough appeal for all community bank directors.

  • FinCEN to extend requirements
    FinCEN has published in this morning's Federal Register three notices relating to submissions to the Office of Management and Budget for approvals of extensions or renewals without change of current collections of information:
    • 80 FR 7526: Suspicious activity reporting requirements for residential mortgage lenders and originators
    • 80 FR 7527: Registration of Money Services Business, FinCEN Form 107
    • 80 FR 7528: Suspicious activity reporting requirements for money services businesses
    The comment period on each of the requests ends on April 13, 2015.

February 9, 2015
  • FFIEC adds to business continuity booklet
    The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) has released a new Appendix J, "Strengthening the Resilience of Outsourced Technology Services," to the "Business Continuity Planning" booklet of the FFIEC Information Technology Examination Handbook. The new appendix ensures that the booklet aligns with regulatory guidance on third-party relationship risk management and incorporates emerging risks, such as cyber resilience risk concerns.

  • NCUA and SBA to help small businesses get credit
    The NCUA and the SBA have announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding outlining a series of educational initiatives during the next three years that include webinars, examiner training on SBA programs, data resources and media outreach. The primary objective of the collaboration is increasing credit union awareness of SBA programs.

  • OCC Bulletin on revision of CRA asset thresholds
    OCC Bulletin 2015-10 has been issued to remind constituent banks and savings associations of the previously announced revisions to Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations that became effective January 1, 2015. The revisions adjust the asset-size thresholds used to define "small bank," "small savings association," "intermediate small bank," and "intermediate small savings association." The revisions were published in the Federal Register on December 29, 2014, and covered in BOL Top Stories.

  • Consumer credit data posted
    The Federal Reserve Board has posted the G.19 Consumer Credit data for December 2014.

  • Public meeting on proposed CIT Group acquisition
    The Federal Reserve Board and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have announced a joint public meeting on the proposal by CIT Group, Inc., Livingston, New Jersey, to acquire IMB Holdco and its subsidiary, OneWest Bank, National Association, both of Pasadena, California. The proposal also includes the merger of CIT Bank into OneWest Bank. The public meeting will be held at the Los Angeles Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco on February 26, 2015, beginning at 8:00 a.m. PST. All persons wishing to testify at the public meeting must submit a written request no later than 5:00 p.m. PST on February 20, 2015.

February 6, 2015
  • FTC stops mortgage mod 'experts'
    The Federal Trade Commission has announced proposed settlements with a group of Utah-based defendants claiming to be legal experts in loan modifications. The agency filed a complaint in federal district court charging that the defendants broke the law by conning consumers into paying hefty fees for worthless mortgage relief services. The five proposed orders settling the FTC's charges ban the defendants, led by Philip J. Danielson and Danielson Law Group, from offering mortgage assistance relief services and from participating in the debt relief industry. The proposed settlements also impose a $28.6 million judgment against all the defendants, reflecting the total amount of fees taken in by the scheme. The proposed judgment will be suspended as to the individual defendants provided they surrender certain of their assets, including a $200,000 house in Utah, as required by the settlement orders.

  • OCC Risk Governance and Credit Risk workshops
    The OCC will host two workshops on risk governance and credit risk in Morristown, NJ, on March 10-11, for directors of national community banks and federal savings associations. The Risk Governance workshop on March 10 will focus on the OCC's approach to risk-based supervision and major risks in the financial industry. The Credit Risk workshop on March 11 will look at credit risk within the loan portfolio, such as identifying trends and recognizing problems.

  • FSOC changes nonbank designation process
    The Treasury Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) has announced that it voted at its February 4, 2015, meeting to adopt certain changes and formalize certain practices relating to its process for reviewing nonbank financial companies for potential designation. Nonbank financial companies that are designated by the Council are subject to consolidated supervision by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and enhanced prudential standards.

  • NMLS maintenance scheduled
    The NMLS has announced that its Consumer Access portal will be unavailable from 10:00–11:59 p.m. ET on Saturday, February 7, 2015, due to system maintenance.

  • Term deposit offering results
    The Federal Reserve System has announced the results of its February 5, 2015, floating-rate offering of term deposits. There were 87 participants in the offering, and 21-day deposits totalling over $188 billion were accepted. This was the first in a series of offerings that settled on the offering date.

  • Curry on Federal branches and agencies
    In remarks delivered at the Federal Agencies and Branches Outreach meeting in New York, Comptroller Curry discussed the important role federal branches and agencies play in the financial system.

February 5, 2015
  • Subprime credit card company to refund $2.7M
    The CFPB has ordered Continental Finance Company LLC, a Delaware subprime credit card company, to refund an estimated $2.7 million to approximately 98,000 consumers who were charged illegal credit card fees. The agency found that the company's "fee-harvester" subprime credit cards misrepresented certain fees and hit consumers with illegal charges. The order also requires the company to pay a civil penalty of $250,000.

  • U.S. Bank, N.A. to pay Peregrine customers $18M
    The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has announced that a Consent Order imposing a permanent injunction has been entered by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa against U.S. Bank National Association (U.S. Bank), ordering the bank to pay $18 million dollars to be returned to customers of Peregrine Financial Group, Inc. (PFG). The Order also enjoins U.S. Bank from committing future violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and the CFTC's Regulations that prohibit any depository institution, like U.S. Bank, from holding, disposing of, or using funds that belong to customers of an FCM as though they belong to anyone other than the customers, and also prohibit the extension of credit based on such funds to anyone other than the customers. A Complaint filed by the CFTC alleged that PFG and Russell Wasendorf, Sr, its owner, committed fraud by misappropriating customer funds, violated customer fund segregation laws, and made false statements in financial statements filed with the Commission. According to the Complaint, in July 2012 during an NFA audit, PFG falsely represented that it held in excess of $220 million of customer funds when in fact it held approximately $5.1 million.

  • Treasury implements Terrorism Risk Insurance program
    Treasury has announced it has begun implementing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015 (Reauthorization Act), which was signed into law on January 12, 2015. As part of this implementation, Treasury's Federal Insurance Office (FIO) released Interim Guidance. The FIO also released a notice that will be published in the Federal Register seeking public comment regarding potential improvements to the process for certifying an event as an "act of terrorism." These comments will be used by FIO in the completion of a study and report required by the Reauthorization Act, as well as in the formation of final rules related to the certification process.

  • Corrections to CFPB Prepaid Products proposal
    The Bureau has published in this morning's Federal Register a number of technical corrections to its December 23, 2014 (79 FR 77101) proposal that would add significant new consumer protections for prepaid cards to Regulations E and Z. Most of the corrections involve links to documents in the footnotes to the December 23 document and various typographical errors. None of the changes are substantive.

  • Treasury testifies on changes to OFAC Cuba regulations
    Written testimony has been presented to the House Foreign Affairs Committee regarding the key regulatory amendments made by Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to implement changes to U.S. policy toward Cuba announced by the President, as well as the restrictions that remain in place. The changes include easing of travel restrictions and remittances, increasing access to financial services, telecommunications, and discussions to reestablish diplomatic relations.

  • Term deposit offering announced
    The Federal Reserve will conduct on February 5, 2015, a floating-rate offering of term deposits with an early withdrawal feature through its Term Deposit Facility (TDF). Twenty-one-day term deposits will be offered with a rate set equal to the sum of the interest rate paid on excess reserves (currently 25 basis points) plus a fixed spread of 3 basis points. The maximum tender amount per institution will be $20 billion. The operation window will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET, and awarded deposits will settle the same day the operation is executed.

  • CRA ratings released by FDIC
    The FDIC has issued its list of fifty-nine state nonmember banks recently evaluated for compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Six received an outstanding rating, fifty-two received a satisfactory, and one institution received a needs-to-improve rating.

February 4, 2015
  • Bureau announces student loan forgiveness agreement
    The Bureau has announced and posted an article about more than $480 million in forgiveness for borrowers who took out high-cost private student loans from Corinthian College. ECMC Group, the new owner of a number of Corinthian schools, will not operate a private student loan program for seven years and agreed to a series of new consumer protections. The Bureau also published a Special Bulletin for current and former students of schools previously owned by Corinthian Colleges. Inc.

  • Sham credit card company shut down
    The CFPB has asked a federal court to approve a proposed consent order with a Texas-based company that would permanently ban that company from offering any consumer credit products or services, after it duped thousands of consumers into signing up for a sham credit card. In December 2014, the CFPB filed a lawsuit against Union Workers Credit Services alleging that the vast majority of the company's revenue was generated from selling a buying-club membership card that it falsely advertised as a general-purpose credit card. In reality, the card could only be used to buy products from the company. Most consumers never used the membership card but could not recoup their membership fees. The company would also be required to pay a penalty of $70,000.

  • New 314(a) Fact Sheet released
    FinCEN has issued new 314(a) Fact Sheet about the information shared by financial institutions with law enforcement to help locate financial assets and recent transactions by subjects of criminal investigations.

  • FTC settles with cross-border telemarketers
    The FTC has announced that two defendants who participated in an alleged multi-million dollar telemarketing fraud that targeted U.S. seniors and withdrew money from their accounts without authorization have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges. A complaint filed by the FTC contended the defendants established a network of U.S. and Canadian entities to carry out their scam by cold-calling seniors claiming to sell fraud protection, legal protection, and pharmaceutical benefit services. The settlement orders bar them from using remotely created checks drawn on consumers' bank accounts, require them to obtain consumers' consent before debiting their accounts, and prohibit them from misrepresenting any goods or services.

  • Banned Debt Collectors Hall of Shame announced
    The FTC has announced the creation of a "Hall of Shame" list of abusive debt collectors who have been identified by the agency. The crime is second only to identity theft in complaints received by the FTC. Since January 1, 2010, the FTC has sued over 180 companies and individuals who broke the law, banning 63 from the industry, and securing more than $220 million in judgments.

  • CFPB Consumer Advisory Board meeting
    A meeting of the CFPB Consumer Advisory Board with Director Cordray will be held in Washington, D.C. on February 19, 2015 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET. During this meeting, trends and themes related to consumer financial well being and medical debt will be discussed. The meeting is open to the public. Registration is required and a recording will be available after the event. The Bureau posted the meeting agenda and an event flyer with additional information.

  • OCC Minority Depository Advisory Committee meeting
    The OCC has announced it will host a public meeting of the Minority Depository Institutions Advisory Committee (MDIAC) in its Washington, D.C. office on February 18, 2015, beginning at 8:30 a.m. ET. The meeting is open to the public. Attendees should contact the OCC by 5:00 p.m. ET on February 12, 2015 by e-mail or by mail.

February 3, 2015
  • CRA ratings released
    The OCC has released the ratings received by forty-eight national banks and federal savings associations that were recently examined for CRA compliance. Eight were rate outstanding and forty were rated satisfactory.

  • Treasury publishes Ukraine-related general licenses
    Three Ukraine-related general licenses — General License 6, "Noncommercial, Personal Remittances Authorized"; General License 7, "Operation of Accounts Authorized"; and General License 8, "Transactions Related to Telecommunications and Mail Authorized" — have been published by Treasury. These licenses authorize certain transactions that would otherwise be prohibited pursuant to Executive Order 13685 of December 19, 2014, "Blocking Property of Certain Persons and Prohibiting Certain Transactions With Respect to the Crimea Region of Ukraine."

  • Board releases legal interpretations
    The Federal Reserve Board has released six letters granting requests for relief from commitments made in connection with the acquisition of securities issued a part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program's Capital Purchase Program.

  • G.5 foreign exchange rates
    The January 2015 data for the G.5 Foreign Exchange Rates Report has been posted by the Federal Reserve.

  • January 2015 SLOOS published
    The Federal Reserve Board has published the January 2015 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey (SLOOS) on Bank Lending Practices, which addressed changes in the standards and terms on, and demand for, bank loans to businesses and households over the past three months.

  • Fed schedules Term Deposit Facility operations
    The Federal Reserve has announced plans to conduct a series of three overlapping 21-day term deposit operations with an early withdrawal feature beginning in February. Term deposits in this series will settle on the same day as the operation is executed, eliminating the three-day lag between the execution of an operation and settlement in previous tests. The operations will employ a floating-rate format, with the rate set equal to the sum of the interest rate on excess reserves (currently 25 basis points) plus a fixed spread of 3 basis points. The maximum individual award amount per operation will be set at $20 billion. The Term Deposit Facility Resource Center has additional information.

  • NCUA to host fair lending webinar
    The NCUA will host a free webinar, "Fair Lending and HMDA Compliance," on February 20, 2015, beginning at 2 p.m. ET. Representatives of the NCUA Office of Consumer Protection will provide an overview of the agency's fair lending examination program. They will also outline best practices that can help credit unions of all asset sizes better comply with fair lending requirements. In addition, webinar participants will have the opportunity to learn more about reporting requirements under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), as well as the most common reporting errors made by credit unions.

February 2, 2015
  • FDIC December enforcement actions
    The FDIC has released the list of orders of administrative enforcement actions taken against banks and individuals in December 2014. Fifty-three orders and one notice were issued. The orders included: five consent orders; thirteen removal and prohibition orders; eleven section 19 orders; fifteen civil money penalty (CMP) orders (all against individuals); and nine orders terminating consent orders and cease and desist orders. Of the CMPs, four totaling $775,000 involved individuals associated with United International Bank, Flushing, New York, and seven totaling $40,000 involved individuals associated with Voyager Bank, Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

  • FDIC cleaning regulatory house
    The FDIC has published two final rules and two proposed rules relating to regulations transferred from the OTS.
    • Final rule [80 FR 5015] rescinding and removing the former OTS regulation "Possession by Conservators and Receivers for Federal and State Savings Associations," subpart N of 12 CFR Part 390, effective March 2, 2015
    • Final rule [80 FR 5009] rescinding and removing 12 CFR Part 390, subparts B, C, D, and E (former OTS 12 CFR Parts 508, 509, 512 and 513), effective March 2, 2015
    • Proposed rule [80 FR 5069] that would rescind and remove 12 CFR Part 391, subpart C, "Fair Credit Reporting," and amend 12 CFR Part 334, also entitled "Fair Credit Reporting," to extend its scope to include State savings associations and their subsidiaries. The proposal would also amend the definitional portion of its ID Theft Red Flags regulations to conform with the Red Flag Program Clarification Act of 2010, and rescind and remove those portions of its "Fair Credit Reporting" regulations for which the rule writing authority was transferred to the CFPB. Comments are due by March 31, 2015
    • Proposed rule [80 FR 5052] that would rescind and remove 12 CFR Part 391, subpart B ("Safety and Soundness Guidelines and Compliance Procedures") and Appendices A and B to subpart B and Supplement A to appendix B, and make appropriate amendments to 12 CFR Parts 308 and 364 to expand their scopes to include State savings associations and subsidiaries. Comments are due by March 31, 2015

  • Philadelphia credit union liquidated
    The National Credit Union Administration has announced the liquidation of American Bakery Workers Federal Credit Union, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The members, deposits and a majority of the loan portfolio were immediately assumed by TruMark Financial Credit Union of Trevose, Pennsylvania. American Bakery FCU served more than 107,000 members and had assets of nearly $1.6 billion. It was the first federally insured credit union liquidated in 2015.

  • FTC settles complaints with car title lenders
    The Federal Trade Commission has announced that settlements have been reached on two complaints filed against car title lenders. A car title loan is typically a high cost, short-term loan, secured with the consumer's car title. In the administrative complaints issued against the title lenders, First American Title Lending of Georgia, LLC, and Finance Select, Inc., the FTC charged that the companies advertised, both online and in print, zero percent interest rates for a 30-day car title loan without disclosing important loan conditions or the increased finance charge imposed after the introductory period ended. The settlements require the lenders to stop their use of deceptive advertising to market title loans.

January 30, 2015
  • Bureau proposes more changes to mortgage rules
    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced several more proposed changes to its mortgage rules to facilitate responsible lending by small creditors, particularly in rural and underserved areas. If finalized, the latest proposal would increase the number of financial institutions able to offer certain types of mortgages in rural and underserved areas, and help small creditors adjust their business practices to comply with the new rules. The proposed amendments would:
    • Expand the definition of "small creditor"
    • Include mortgage affiliates in calculation of small-creditor status
    • Expand the definition of "rural" areas
    • Provide grace periods for small creditor and rural or underserved creditor status
    • Create a one-year qualifying period for rural or underserved creditor status
    • Provide additional implementation time for small creditors
    The proposal would make several additional minor or technical changes to the rules. The proposed rule [Note: Published 2/11/2015 at 80 FR 7769] will be open for public comment until March 30, 2015.

  • FHA offers reverse mortgage foreclosure alternative
    HUD has issued a press release to publicize FHA Mortgage Letter 2015-03, which announces a new policy under its Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) Program that gives FHA-approved lenders the option to delay calling HECMs with eligible "non-borrowing spouses" due and payable. A delay would postpone foreclosure normally triggered by the death of the last surviving borrower. FHA's new guidance will permit reverse mortgage lenders to assign eligible HECMs to HUD upon the death of the last surviving borrowing spouse, thereby allowing eligible surviving spouses the opportunity to remain in the home despite their non-borrowing status.

  • Regulator guidance on private student loans
    A press release from the federal financial regulatory agencies (OCC, FRB, FDIC, NCUA and the CFPB), in partnership with the State Liaison Committee (SLC) of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, announces the issuance of guidance for financial institutions on private student loans with graduated repayment terms at origination. The guidance provides principles that financial institutions should consider in their policies and procedures for originating private student loans with graduated repayment terms. The OCC also issued Bulletin 2015-7 on the subject.

  • FRB proposes raising small BHC threshold
    The Federal Reserve Board has announced the issuance of a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) that would raise the asset size threshold for determining applicability of the Board's Small Bank Holding Company Policy Statement (Regulation Y, Appendix C) to $1 billion from $500 million and to expand the scope of the Policy Statement to include savings and loan holding companies that also meet the Policy Statement's requirements. Revisions to Reg Y, Reg LL and reporting requirements are also proposed. In addition, the proposal would eliminate quarterly consolidated financial reporting requirements (FR Y-9C) for bank holding companies and savings and loan holding companies that have less than $1 billion in total consolidated assets and meet the qualitative requirements of the Policy Statement, and instead require parent-only financial statements (FR Y-9SP). The proposal would also eliminate regulatory capital reporting for savings and loan holding companies with less than $500 million in total consolidated assets from the FR Y-9SP. Comments on the regulatory reporting changes will be accepted for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

  • OCC Bulletin on credit risk retention requirements
    The OCC has issued Bulletin 2015-8 on the previously announced and published Final Rule to implement the credit risk retention requirements of section 15G of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 USC 78o-11), as added by section 941 of the Dodd-Frank Act. The Final Rule was previously issued and published in the Federal Register [79 FR 77601] by the OCC, FRB, FDIC, SEC, FHFA, and HUD on December 24, 2014 and reported in BOL Top Stories.

  • CFPB looking for ways to help student loan borrowers
    The Bureau Blog features an article reviewing the plight of students who are struggling to manage their student loan debt. The text contains links to various resources that may be of assistance.

  • December mortgage interest rates decline slightly
    The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has released its December 2014 Index, which indicates, according to several indices of new mortgage contracts, nationally interest rates on conventional purchase-money mortgages decreased from November to December 2014.

  • NCUA webinar on underserved market opportunities
    The NCUA will host a webinar, "Opportunities in the Underserved Market," on February 18, beginning at 2 p.m. ET.

January 29, 2015
  • FDIC encourages risk-based approach to customer assessments
    FDIC FIL-5-2015 was issued Wednesday to encourage supervised institutions to take a risk-based approach in assessing individual customer relationships, rather than declining to provide banking services to entire categories of customers without regard to the risks presented by an individual customer or the financial institution's ability to manage the risk.

    The agency included a statement that (1) it is aware that some institutions may be hesitant to provide certain types of banking services due to concerns that they will be unable to comply with the associated requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), and (2) the FDIC and the other federal banking agencies recognize that as a practical matter, it is not possible for a financial institution to detect and report all potentially illicit transactions that flow through an institution. Isolated or technical violations, which are limited instances of noncompliance with the BSA that occur within an otherwise adequate system of policies, procedures, and processes, generally do not prompt serious regulatory concern or reflect negatively on management's supervision or commitment to BSA compliance.

    A new, dedicated toll-free number, 800-756-8854, and dedicated email box ( for the Office of the Ombudsman, have been established for institutions concerned that FDIC personnel are not following FDIC policies on providing banking services. Communications with the ombudsman are confidential.

  • NY AG gets Citibank ChexSystems policy commitment
    New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has announced that Citibank, N.A. has agreed to adopt new policies governing its use of ChexSystems, a consumer reporting agency that is often used to screen people seeking to open checking or savings accounts. Citibank's new policies are expected to allow thousands of additional New Yorkers and consumers nationwide to open bank accounts by March 15, 2015. The change comes amid concerns that screenings by ChexSystems and other consumer reporting agencies, which are used by most of the nation's banks, adversely affect lower-income applicants and force them to turn to high-cost alternative financial services like check-cashing outlets.

    With this agreement, Citibank now joins Capital One as the second bank to commit to overhaul its use of ChexSystems. According to the AG's release, although Citibank will continue screening customers for past fraud, it will revamp its so-called "account-abuse" screening so that applicants are not rejected for isolated or minor banking errors, such as paid debts or a small overcharge.

  • FSR and CFPB to promote financial education
    The Financial Services Roundtable (FSR) has announced it will join the CFPB in a public-private initiative to join forces promoting effective financial education nationwide. The CFPB, through its Office of Financial Education, and the FSR will work together to facilitate the gathering and sharing of information about effective financial education strategies; to encourage adoption of financial education initiatives, especially in K-12 schools and in the workplace; and to protect older Americans from financial exploitation. CFPB and FSR will host a series of working groups and listening sessions at various locations throughout the country to determine best practices and a path forward.

  • FOMC statement released
    The Federal Reserve Board has released the Federal Open Market Committee's statement on its December 2014 meeting. The Committee reaffirmed its view that the current 0 to ¼ percent target range for the federal funds rate remains appropriate. In determining how long to maintain this target range, the Committee will assess progress—both realized and expected—toward its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation. In addition, the Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction.

January 28, 2015
  • CFPB Supervisory Compliance Bulletin
    The CFPB has announced the issuance of Compliance Bulletin 2015-01 to remind supervised financial institutions, including nonbank companies that may be unfamiliar with federal supervision, of existing regulatory requirements regarding confidential supervisory information. The bulletin provides guidance on what types of information constitute confidential supervisory information. The bulletin also explains that disclosure of confidential supervisory information is not allowed, with limited exceptions.

  • Oppenheimer to pay for ongoing AML problems
    The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have announced the assessment of a combined $20 million civil money penalty (CMP) against Oppenheimer & Co., Inc., for willfully violating the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). The regulators contended that Oppenheimer (a securities broker-dealer in New York) conducted suspicious penny stock trading, that pump-and-dump schemes were not flagged, that a foreign correspondent customer was allowed to conduct prohibited activity, and that Oppenheimer failed to file SARs. The firm admitted that it failed to establish and implement an adequate anti-money laundering program, failed to conduct adequate due diligence on a foreign correspondent account, and failed to comply with requirements under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act. Oppenheimer was assessed a $2.8 million CMP in 2005 by FinCEN and the New York Stock Exchange. In 2013, the financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) fined the firm $1.4 million for violations of securities laws and anti-money laundering failures.

  • Financial well-being report released by CFPB
    A CFPB article announces the release of a report on financial well-being and discusses the four elements of financial well-being identified by consumers who participated in the Bureau's study on the subject:
    1. Feeling in control
    2. Capacity to absorb a financial shock
    3. On track to meet goals
    4. Flexibility to make choices
    The Bureau makes the full 48-page report or a digest available.

  • OFAC SDN List changes
    The Department of the Treasury's OFAC Resource Center has posted a notice announcing the addition of two individuals to the SDN Lists under the Kingpin Act and one individual designated as a global terrorist. There were also several listings removed from the Counter Narcotics Designations lists (SDNTK and SDNT).

  • Loan Originator Compensation Rule video available
    The FDIC has released the second in a series of three new technical assistance videos developed to assist bank employees in meeting regulatory requirements. These videos address compliance with certain mortgage rules issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The first video, released on November 19, 2014, covered the Ability to Repay and Qualified Mortgage Rule. The second video covers the Loan Originator Compensation Rule, and the third video, expected to be released in February 2015, will cover the Servicing Rule.

  • Residential sales increase
    HUD and the Census Bureau have released the December 2014 residential sales data. Sales of new single-family houses in December 2014 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 481,000 which was 11.6 percent above the revised November rate and 8.8 percent above the December 2013 estimate. The median sales price of new houses sold in December 2014 was $298,100 and the average sales price was $377,800.

January 27, 2015
  • OCC issues extreme winter weather proclamation
    A proclamation has been issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency allowing national banks and federal savings associations at their discretion to close offices affected by extreme winter weather in the northeast United States.

  • Federal Reserve updates excess balance account FAQs
    Federal Reserve Services has announced the update of the Excess Balance Account (EBA) FAQs. A new section, "Account Management Practices and Sweeping," addresses questions raised by common account management practices between EBA agents and participants. Additional information is available at the Excess Balance Account Resource Center.

  • Federal Reserve releases plan for improvement payments
    The Federal Reserve has issued "Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System," which presents a multi-faceted plan for collaborating with payment system stakeholders, including large and small businesses, emerging payments firms, card networks, payment processors, consumers and financial institutions to enhance the speed, safety and efficiency of the U.S. payment system. The Federal Reserve's strategic direction for financial services focuses on improving the end-to-end speed, safety and efficiency of the payment system. The Federal Reserve undertook an extensive 18-month research program aimed at identifying key gaps and opportunities, gaining industry and end-user perspectives on needs and priorities and defining ways to achieve payment improvements. The Federal Reserve will host a webcast at 1:00 p.m. EST on January 29, to share views on the Federal Reserve's vision for the future U.S. payment system and plans for collaborating with stakeholders to achieve shared goals. In addition, a subsequent series of FedForum teleseminars on February 4 and 10 will present an overview of the strategies and a question-and-answer session. Details on accessing the webcast and registering for the FedForum events are included in an announcement on the FedPayments Improvement website.

  • New resources for consumers to fight ID theft
    The NCUA has announced the addition of new information regarding ways to combat identity theft to, its consumer web site. The site also contains other resources to help credit union members understand and prevent identity theft and other frauds and scams.

  • NCUA TRID rules webinar
    The NCUA will host a free webinar, "Preparing for the New TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures," on February 11, 2015, starting at 2 p.m. ET. The webinar will provide a high-level overview of the significant changes to the disclosures and forms required under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) that are scheduled to go into effect August 1. Online registration is available.

  • Bureau seeks comment on student account scorecard
    The CFPB has published in this morning's Federal Register a notice and request for comment on its draft Safe Student Account Scorecard that would offer information to colleges and universities when soliciting agreements from financial institutions to market safe and affordable financial accounts for their students. Comments are due by March 9, 2015.

January 26, 2015
  • Chicago bank closed
    The Illinois Department of Finance and Professional Regulation, Division of Banking has closed Highland Community Bank, Chicago, Illinois. The FDIC was appointed receiver and all deposits have been assumed by United Fidelity Bank, fsb, Evansville, Indiana.

  • E-Payments Routing Directory change delayed
    Federal Reserve Financial Services has announced that the scheduled move of the Federal Reserve E-Payments Routing Directory has been postponed. The original move date was January 25, 2015. A new effective date for the move is to be determined.

  • CRA ratings released
    The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has released the ratings received by thirty national banks and federal savings associations that were recently examined for compliance with CRA. Two of the institutions listed were rated outstanding, and twenty-eight received satisfactory ratings.

  • FDIC update on professional liability lawsuits
    The FDIC has updated the data on its Professional Liability Lawsuits page to indicate that 14 such suits have been filed thus far in January 2015. As receiver for a failed financial institution, the FDIC may sue professionals who played a role in the failure of the institution in order to maximize recoveries. These individuals can include officers and directors, attorneys, accountants, appraisers, brokers, or others. Professional liability claims also include direct claims against insurance carriers such as fidelity bond carriers and title insurance companies. From January 1, 2009, through January 22, 2015, the FDIC has authorized suits in connection with 149 failed institutions against 1195 individuals for D&O liability.

January 23, 2015
  • Wells and JPMC to pay in mortgage kickback case
    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced action taken by the Bureau and the Maryland Attorney General against Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase for an illegal marketing-services-kickback scheme involving a now-defunct title company. Action was also taken against a former Wells Fargo employee and his wife for their involvement in the scheme. Genuine Title would give the banks' loan officers cash, marketing materials, and consumer information in exchange for business referrals, according to the CFPB's complaint, filed in federal court. The proposed consent orders, which have also been filed with the court for approval, would require $24 million in civil penalties from Wells Fargo, $600,000 from JPMorgan Chase, and $11.1 million in redress to consumers whose loans were involved. The loan officer and his wife would pay a $30,000 penalty, and the loan officer would be barred from the mortgage industry for two years.

    A third financial institution whose loan officers also participated in the Genuine Title kickback scheme self-identified the practice and fired the officers involved (one of whom was the former Wells Fargo officer previously mentioned). It also cooperated with the Bureau's investigation and proactively initiated a remediation plan. As a result, the Bureau resolved its investigation into that institution without an enforcement action.

  • Communities to be suspended from Flood Program
    The Federal Emergency Management Agency has published in this morning's Federal Register three notices identifying communities where the sale of flood insurance has been authorized under the National Flood Insurance Program that are scheduled for suspension from the program due to noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program.
    • The first identifies communities to be suspended on February 4, 2015, in Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin
    • The second identifies communities to be suspended on February 18, 2015, in Indiana, Maryland, Michigan and Virginia
    • The third identifies communities to be suspended on March 2, 2015, in Indiana, Iowa and Virginia

  • Counterfeit cashier's checks
    The OCC has issued Alert 2015-3 concerning counterfeit cashier's checks using the routing number of The Bank, N.A., McAlester, Oklahoma. The checks are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with various Internet-based employment and purchase scams. Two variations of counterfeit checks currently in circulation resemble the bank's authentic checks. Information regarding the counterfeit checks will be posted on the BOL Alerts & Counterfeits pages.

  • NMLS downtime
    The NMLS has announced it has scheduled system downtime from 9:00 pm. ET Friday, January 23 (this evening) until Saturday afternoon, January 24, to install system enhancements. Both the NMLS and Consumer Access systems will be unavailable during the downtime.

  • FHFA index rises
    The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced that U.S. house prices rose in November 2014, up 0.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous month, according to the monthly House Price Index (HPI). The previously reported 0.6 percent change in October was revised downward to a 0.4 percent change.

  • Addition to Comptroller's Handbook
    The OCC has issued Bulletin 2015-5 to announce the addition of a new "Government Securities Act" booklet to the Comptroller's Handbook. As part of the Securities Compliance series, the new booklet consolidates certain guidance from the Comptroller's Handbook for Compliance "Securities Activities" booklet, issued in September 1991, and the Comptroller's Handbook booklet "Investment Securities," issued in March 1990.

  • NCUA announces late-filing penalties
    The NCUA has announced that 31 federally insured credit unions subject to civil money penalties for filing third-quarter 2014 Call Reports late have consented to those penalties. The late filers will pay a total of $12,820 in penalties.

January 22, 2015
  • FTC credit report accuracy follow-up study
    The Federal Trade Commission has issued a follow-up report that found most consumers who previously reported an unresolved error on one of their three major credit reports believe that at least one piece of disputed information on their report is still inaccurate. The original study issued in 2012 found that one in five consumers had an error that was corrected by a credit reporting agency (after it was disputed) on at least one of their three credit reports. The follow-up study announced today focuses on 121 consumers who had at least one unresolved dispute from the 2012 study and participated in a follow-up survey.

  • Texas debt collector sued by FTC
    The FTC has announced the filing of a federal court complaint against Commercial Recovery Systems, Inc. (CRS), a Texas-based debt collector, and its current and former principals for illegally threatening consumers with false claims that unless they pay a debt, they will face legal action or wage garnishment, or otherwise violated the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

  • December residential construction activity rises
    HUD and the Census Bureau have released their report on new residential construction activity in December 2014. The report shows:
    • Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in December were 1.9 percent below the revised November rate, but 1.0 percent above the December 2013 estimate.
    • Privately owned housing starts in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate 4.4 percent above the revised November estimate and 5.3 percent above the December 2013 rate.
    • Single-family housing starts in December were 7.2 percent above the revised November figure.
    • Privately owned housing completions in December 6.3 percent above the revised November estimate and 19.6 percent above December 2013 numbers.
    • Single-family housing completions in December were 9.5 percent above the revised November rate.

  • Lew on the State of the Union
    In remarks at The Brookings Institution, Treasury Secretary Lew discussed the series of proposals presented by the President in his State of the Union address.

January 21, 2015
  • Bureau finalizes tweak to TRID Rule
    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced it has finalized two minor modifications to the TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) Rule that will become effective with applications received on or after August 1, 2015. The changes address when consumers will receive updated disclosures after locking in an interest rate, and how consumers receive information regarding certain construction loans. The final rule announced yesterday will require that a revised Loan Estimate reflecting changes triggered by a rate-lock event be delivered no later than the third business day following the rate lock (consistent with the timing requirements for revised Loan Estimates triggered by other changed circumstances), and will revise the Loan Estimate form to allow a space for a disclosure that an updated Loan Estimate may be provided for certain construction loans that are expected to take over 60 days to settle.

  • CFPB posts new mortgage tool for consumers
    The Bureau has introduced a new interactive tool to help consumers determine their likely mortgage interest rate.

  • SCOTUS scuttles debit interchange fee challenge
    The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge to the "swipe fee" rules issued by the Federal Reserve Board in its implementation of the "Durbin Amendement" to the Dodd-Frank Act, reports Reuters. The SCOTUS refusal to hear the challenge will leave intact the March 2014 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that the 21 cents per transaction fee cap set by the Federal Reserve were appropriate.

  • FRB updates payment system risk data
    The Federal Reserve Board has posted the 2014 Fourth Quarter Payment System Risk data. The report charts the peak and average daylight overdrafts and related fees.

  • OCC schedules director workshop in Miami
    The OCC will host a "Building Blocks for Directors" workshop at the Miami Hyatt Regency, February 23–25, 2015, for directors of national community banks and federal savings associations. Attendance is limited to the first 35 registrants.

  • SAR stats update
    FinCEN has issued the Fourth Quarter 2014 update of SAR Stats (formerly "By the Numbers"). The report is a compilation of numerical data gathered from the FinCEN Suspicious Activity Reports filed by financial institutions.

  • NCUA posts legal opinion on Risk-Based Capital proposal
    The NCUA has posted an opinion from an outside law firm regarding the agency's revised proposed risk-based capital rule . Comments on the revised proposed rule must be received within 90 days of its publication in the Federal Register.

January 20, 2015
  • OCC January 2015 enforcement actions
    The OCC has released the 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. Included were three previously reported Consent Orders for Civil Money Penalties totaling $950 million against three national banks for unsafe or unsound practices related to their foreign exchange operations.

  • FinCEN letter on casino sports gaming
    A letter has been released by FinCEN responding to a request for guidance from the American Gaming Association concerning the application of anti-money laundering (AML) programs for casinos. The letter stated "it has also come to our attention that casinos may be under the impression that unless specifically directed to do so, a casino never has to ask a patron whether he or she is betting on his or her own behalf or on behalf of another party. We are communicating directly with your organization to correct any such misperception and to remind your industry about the importance of applying a risk-based approach with respect to this issue as well as the need to implement reasonably designed AML programs to address among other risks, the risks associated with third-party betting."

  • Online payday lenders pay $21M
    The FTC has announced that AMG Services, Inc., and MNE Services, Inc., two payday lending companies, have settled charges that they violated the law by charging consumers undisclosed and inflated fees. Under the proposed settlement, they will pay $21 million, the largest FTC recovery in a payday lending case, and will waive another $285 million in charges that were assessed but not collected. The settlement also contains broad prohibitions barring the defendants from misrepresenting the terms of any loan product, including the loan's payment schedule, the total amount the consumer will owe, the interest rate, annual percentage rates or finance charges, and any other material facts. The settlement order also prohibits the defendants from violating the Truth in Lending and Electronic Fund Transfer Acts.

  • OFAC adds Kingpin designations
    Treasury has announced the designation of two Indian nationals and one company based in Pakistan as SDNTKs and the additions of their names to the SDN List. The individuals and company were designated due to their ties to D Company, a South Asian criminal organization.

  • HUD Choice Neighborhood Grants announced
    HUD has announced $3.2 million in new Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant awards to seven communities in Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Alabama, and Missouri. The awards will help grantees craft comprehensive, locally driven plans to revitalize and transform distressed neighborhoods.

  • TIC November data posted
    Treasury has released the Treasury International Capital (TIC) data for November 2014. The sum total in November of all net foreign acquisitions of long-term securities, short-term U.S. securities, and banking flows was a monthly net TIC outflow of $6.3 billion. Of this, net foreign private outflows were $2.9 billion, and net foreign official outflows were $3.4 billion.

  • OCC revises Litigation section of Handbook
    The OCC has issued Bulletin 2015-4 announcing the revision of the Litigation and Other Legal Matters booklet of the Comptroller's Handbook. The revised booklet provides guidance to examiners assessing a bank's litigation exposures, associated risks, and risk management practices. The revision replaces information issued on February 2000.

  • Florida bank closed
    The OCC has closed the First National Bank of Crestview, Crestview, Florida. The FDIC was appointed receiver and all deposits have been assumed by First NBC Bank, New Orleans, Louisiana.

  • Applications open for CFPB Advisory Board and Councils
    The Bureau has announced it is accepting applications for its Consumer Advisory Board (10 seats), Community Bank Advisory Council (7 seats) and Credit Union Advisory Council (8 seats). The seats become vacant in the fall of 2015.

January 16, 2015
  • OFAC amends Cuban Assets Control Regulations
    Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has published in today's Federal Register a final rule [80 FR 2291] amending the Cuban Assets Control Regulations to implement policy changes announced by the President on December 17, 2014, to further engage and empower the Cuban people. The amendments facilitate travel to Cuba for authorized purposes, facilitate the provision by travel agents and airlines of authorized travel services and the forwarding by certain entities of authorized remittances, raise the limit on certain categories of remittances to Cuba, allow U.S. financial institutions to open correspondent accounts at Cuban financial institutions to facilitate the processing of authorized transactions, authorize certain transactions with Cuban nationals located outside of Cuba, and allow a number of other activities related to, among other areas, telecommunications, financial services, trade, and shipping. The amendments also implement certain technical and conforming changes. The amendments are effective upon today's publication. Treasury also published a fact sheet on the amendments.

  • Counterfeit cashier's checks alert
    The OCC has issued Alert 2015-2 regarding counterfeit cashier's checks using the routing number of First National Bank, Fort Pierre, South Dakota. Counterfeit checks presented to date have contained a remitter name of Taylor Andrew and have been made payable in the amounts of $1,985, $2,485, $2,890, or $2,985. Information regarding the counterfeit cashier's checks has been posted on the BOL Alerts & Counterfeits pages.

  • Resolution plans for firms under $100B released
    A joint press release from the Federal Reserve Board and the FDIC has announced the release of the public portions of resolution plans (commonly called "living wills") for firms with generally less than $100 billion in qualifying nonbank assets, as required by the Dodd-Frank Act. The plans can be reviewed on the websites of the Board and the FDIC.

  • January FedFlash
    FRB Services has posted the January 2015 issue of FedFlash. Featured articles include:
    • Reminder to File a Current Board Resolution and Official Authorization List
    • New Check Adjustments Webinar
    • E-Payments Routing Directory Moving Effective January 25, 2015
    • Continuation of the America the Beautiful Quarters program
    • New Operating Hours for National Settlement Service

  • Failing Bank Acquisitions webpage
    The FDIC has issued FIL-4-2-15 to announce the launch of a Failing Bank Acquisitions webpage to provide information on how the regulator markets failing institutions.

  • NCUA Board action
    An NCUA Board Action Bulletin has been issued to announce the results of the Board's January 15, 2015, meeting. The NCUA Board also announced its approval of the payment of up to $50,000 for costs associated with a data breach at Palm Springs Federal Credit Union of Palm Springs, California.

January 15, 2015
  • CFPB proposes Safe Student Account Scorecard
    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced it is seeking input on a "Safe Student Account Scorecard." The scorecard would help colleges access upfront information about fees, features, and sales tactics before agreeing to a sponsorship with a financial institution to offer checking and prepaid accounts. A Request for Information (RFI) seeking comment on the proposed scorecard from the public, including student and parent consumers, institutions of higher learning and financial institutions, has been issued. The scorecard specifically would ask financial institutions to provide schools:
    • a clear description of product fees and features;
    • full disclosure about the financial institution's marketing practices;
    • information on how much the financial institution earns from the accounts; and
    • an annual summary of fees collected.
    CFPB Director Cordray issued prepared remarks on the Student Accounts Press Call announcing the proposed scorecard.

  • SDN List updated
    Treasury has announced the designation of a Palestinian individual as an SDGT and the corresponding update of the SDN List.

  • FHFA 2015 Scorecard released
    The 2015 Scorecard has been released by Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Specific priorities for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and their joint venture, Common Securitization Solutions, LLC, are listed. They include:
    • Maintenance, in a safe and sound manner, of credit availability and foreclosure prevention activities for new and refinanced mortgages to foster liquid, efficient, competitive and resilient national housing finance markets;
    • Reduction of taxpayer risk through increasing the role of private capital in the mortgage market; and
    • Building of a new single-family securitization infrastructure for use by the Enterprises and adaptable for use by other participants in the secondary market in the future.

  • More EGRPRA outreach meetings scheduled
    A joint press release from the OCC, FDIC and FRB has announced an outreach meeting will be held on February 4, 2015, at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas as part of the agencies' regulatory review under the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act of 1996 (EGRPRA). Details on the Dallas meeting, including registration information, the webcast link, and the agenda, are available on the EGRPRA website. Additional meetings are currently scheduled in Boston on May 4, Chicago on October 19, and Washington on December 2. The agencies also plan to hold an outreach meeting focused on rural banks. The meetings may be viewed live online.

  • OCC 2015 Directors Workshop schedule
    The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has announced its 2015 schedule of workshops for directors of national community banks and federal savings associations.

  • Comptroller's Handbook revisions
    Bulletin 2015-2 (Retail Nondeposit Investment Products) and Bulletin 2015-3 (Conflicts of Interest) have been issued by the OCC to announce revisions to the Comptroller's Handbook.

  • FTC to host Tax ID Theft Awareness Week
    A series of events will be hosted by the FTC during the week of January 26–30 to raise consumer awareness about the threat posed by tax identity theft.

  • FDIC Board meeting notice
    The notice of the January 21, 2015, open meeting of the FDIC Board of Directors has been posted.

  • Matz and Cordray to host town hall webinar
    The NCUA has announced that Chairman Matz will host a ninety-minute free town hall webinar meeting with CFPB Director Cordray on February 10, at 3 pm. ET. This will be the fourth annual joint webinar to discuss NCUA and CFPB regulatory issues. Registration for the event is open.

  • NCUA Board meeting video
    The video of the December 11, 2014, open meeting of the NCUA Board is now available for viewing online.

  • Beige Book published
    The Federal Reserve Board has published the January 2015 issue of the Beige Book. The report is published eight times per year and contains information on current economic conditions in the twelve districts through reports from bank and branch directors and interviews with key business contacts, economists, market experts, and other sources.

January 14, 2015

  • SCOTUS resolves rescission suit debate
    In a unanimous opinion released yesterday, the Supreme Court settled the question of whether a consumer must file a lawsuit to exercise an extended right to rescind a mortgage transaction, or simply notify the lender in writing. The Court held that 15 U.S.C. 1635 (the applicable portion of the Truth in Lending Act) requires only that the consumer provide a written notice to the lender. Previously, rulings in the First, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Circuits had held that the consumer had to file suit. The Syllabus of yesterday's court decision in Jesinoski et ux. v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., et al. has been paraphrased on BOL's CourtWatch page.

  • Pakistani added to SDN List
    Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has announced it has designated a Pakistani as an SDGT and added his name to the SDN List.

  • Discount rate meetings minutes
    The Federal Reserve Board has released the minutes of its November 24 and December 15, 2014, discount rate meetings.

  • OCC paper on community bank collaboration
    The OCC has published a paper, "An Opportunity for Community Banks: Working Together Collaboratively." The paper describes how community banks can pool resources to obtain cost efficiencies and leverage specialized expertise. It also explores the benefits of collaboration, outlines how community banks can structure collaborative arrangements, and emphasizes the need for effective oversight of collaborative arrangements.

  • Webinar on proposed risk-based capital rule
    The NCUA will host a webinar on its revised proposed risk-based capital rule on January 21, beginning at 2 p.m. ET.

  • NCUA Report
    The January 2015 issue of The NCUA Report has been posted.

January 13, 2015
  • Bureau: Many don't shop mortgages
    The CFPB has posted an article and issued a news release about what most mortgage lenders would call the obvious: almost half of recent mortgage borrowers don't shop around for home mortgages. The releases report on a survey of individuals who obtained mortgages in 2013, which reveals that:
    • Almost half of borrowers seriously consider only one lender or broker before making an application
    • 77 percent of borrowers apply with a single lender or broker, rather than making multiple applications to seek the best deal
    • 70 percent of borrowers used lenders and brokers as a primary source of mortgage information, and 30 percent sought the information from real estate agents
    • Borrowers who were confident of their knowledge of available interest rates were twice as likely to shop for mortgages as consumers who knew little about rates
    The Bureau also promoted its new Owning a Home interactive resources designed to help borrowers approach the mortgage shopping process with more information.

January 12, 2015
  • Impact of debts on military careers
    The CFPB has posted an article on the negative impact personal debt may have on military duty status, potential promotions and careers. The article includes tips and information for military personal regarding management of debts, expenses, income and other personal finance matters.

  • Federal Reserve System income data released
    The Federal Reserve Board has announced that preliminary unaudited results indicate the Reserve Banks provided payments of approximately $98.7 billion of their estimated 2014 net income to the U.S. Treasury. The residual earnings of each Federal Reserve Bank are distributed to the Treasury, after providing for the costs of operations, payment of dividends, and the amount necessary to equate surplus with capital paid-in.

January 9, 2015
  • FHA reduces annual insurance premiums
    HUD Secretary Castro has announced that the FHA will reduce the annual premiums new borrowers will pay by one-half of a percent. The reduction is projected to save FHA homeowners an average of $900 annually. The new annual premium prices are expected to take effect towards the end of the month. The FHA will publish a mortgagee letter detailing its new pricing structure.

  • NMLS Ombudsman meeting scheduled
    An open meeting with the NMLS Ombudsman will be held on Monday, February 16, 2015, from 2:00–5:00 pm. PST, in conjunction with the 2015 NMLS Annual Conference & Training in San Diego, California. Conference registration is not required to attend the meeting. The meeting will be in-person only. Additional information on the NMLS Annual Conference has been made available.

  • November consumer credit report
    The Federal Reserve posted the November 2014 G.19 Consumer Credit Report. Consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5 percent. Revolving credit decreased at an annual rate of 1¼ percent, while nonrevolving credit increased at an annual rate of 7½ percent.

  • January FedFocus
    The January 2015 issue of FedFocus has been posted by Federal Reserve Bank Services. The feature story reports how a bank enhanced its business continuity plan by ordering a backup VPN device. There are also articles on:
    • How to stay informed during FedCash Services disruptions
    • The number of Federal Reserve notes ordered for 2015
    • The 2015 America the Beautiful Quarters Program
    • The new registration process for FEDucation opportunities

  • EGRPRA outreach program notice
    OCC Bulletin 2015-1 has announced that the second in a series of outreach meetings on the interagency effort to reduce regulatory burden as required by the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act of 1996 (EGRPRA) will be held in Dallas on February 4, 2015. Individuals wishing to attend the outreach meeting in Dallas must register, and participation is limited. Online registrations are accepted through January 28, 2015, or until all seats are filled.

  • NCUA Board to meet
    The agenda for the January 15, 2015, meeting of the NCUA Board has been posted.

January 8, 2015
  • Federal Open Market Committee releases
    The statement and minutes of the December 16-17, 2014, meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee have been released by the Federal Reserve Board.

  • New NCUA cyber fraud video
    A new two-part video on how to recognize, avoid and report cyber fraud has been released by the National Credit Union Administration. The video is available on the NCUA YouTube channel.

  • Bureau to launch demo on financial education
    The CFPB published a Notice and Request for Comment [80 FR 1027] in today's Federal Register in which it reports that the Bureau will, beginning in the winter of 2015, launch a multi-site financial education demonstration project to provide one-on-one and group financial counseling/coaching services to individuals with disabilities transitioning into the workplace or already employed.

January 7, 2015
  • California bank reports counterfeit cashier's checks
    The OCC has issued its Alert 2015-1 about counterfeit cashier's checks using the routing number for Simplicity Bank, Covina, California. The counterfeit checks do not resemble Simplicity's authentic checks. Information regarding the counterfeit checks has been posted on the BOL Alerts & Counterfeits page.

  • FDIC Call Report advisory
    The FDIC has issued FIL-3-2015 reminding its supervised institutions of the December 31, 2014, Consolidated Reports of Condition and Income (Call Report). The FIL indicates:
    • This Call Report does not require institutions to report any new or revised data items.
    • The Call Report forms and an instruction book update for December 2014 are available on the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council's website at and the FDIC's website at
    • Banks should review FIL-1-2015 and its accompanying Supplemental Instructions for further information on the fourth quarter 2014 Call Report.
      • This quarter's Supplemental Instructions include guidance on the applicability for Call Report purposes of a new accounting standard that allows institutions to elect whether or not to apply pushdown accounting in certain business combinations.
      • This guidance also provides that an institution's primary federal regulator reserves the right to require, or prohibit, the institution's use of pushdown accounting based on an evaluation of whether the election appears not to be supported by the facts and circumstances of the business combination.

  • Dean named FDIC Regional Director
    The FDIC has announced that it has appointed Michael J. Dean as Regional Director for the agency's Atlanta Region. Dean has been the Acting Regional Director for that office since April 2014. He oversees the FDIC's bank supervisory and compliance activities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. The Atlanta Region supervises 819 institutions with combined assets of over $454 billion.

January 6, 2015
  • New SDN List format released
    Treasury has announced OFAC's release of a new format for the SDN List. The format was jointly developed with the United Nations and the Wolfsberg Group of International Banks to create a universal sanctions list format that can be efficiently used by governments worldwide and enhances sanctions compliance. The enhancements include:
    • new metadata, including specific labels for name parts that go beyond the standard "Last name, First name" style of current sanctions lists
    • language scripts beyond the standard Latin script used in many sanctions lists
    • a data dictionary of all valid look-up values in the header of the file
    • a flexible "feature identifier" functionality that augments the normal identification look-up values that are currently available in the SDN List formats
    FAQs on using the new format were also released. There are no current plans to replace any of the current OFAC file formats with the new, enhanced XML product.

  • Brokered deposits guidance
    The FDIC has issued FIL-2-2015 with guidance in the form of "Frequently Asked Questions" or "FAQs" to promote consistency by insured depository institutions in identifying, accepting, and reporting brokered deposits.

  • CRA ratings released
    The FDIC has issued a list of state nonmember banks recently evaluated for compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Of the 91 institutions listed, seven were rated outstanding and 84 received satisfactory ratings.

January 5, 2015
  • Call Report FIL
    FIL-1-2015 has been issued by the FDIC regarding the Consolidated Reports of Condition and Income for the Fourth Quarter, 2014. With the exception of reports by institutions with more than one foreign office, the Call Reports must be filed and pass validation checks by January 30, 2015.

  • Sanctions against North Korea
    An Executive Order (E.O.) has been signed by President Obama authorizing the imposition of sanctions against the Government of North Korea and the Workers' Party of Korea in response to the Government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's numerous provocations, particularly the recent cyber-attack targeting Sony Pictures Entertainment and the threats against movie theaters and moviegoers. Pursuant to the authorities of the E.O., Treasury has designated three entities and 10 individuals for being agencies or officials of the North Korean government. Their names have been added to the SDN List with the DPRK2 identifier.

  • NCUA loans and grants notices
    The National Credit Union Administration has published notices in this morning's Federal Register announcing access to two Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives (OSCUI) programs for small credit unions:
    • A Notice of Funding Opportunity [80 FR 260] inviting eligible credit unions to submit applications for participation in the OSCUI Loan Program
    • A Notice of Funding Opportunity [80 FR 263] inviting eligible credit unions to submit applications for participation in the OSCUI Grant Program
    Participation in these programs is subject to funding availability.

  • Exchange rates
    The G.5A 2014 Annual and G.5 December 2014 exchange rates data have been posted by the Federal Reserve Board.

January 2, 2015
  • Prohibition orders issued
    The NCUA has issued six orders prohibiting designated individuals from participating in the affairs of any federally insured financial institution.

  • Consumer Compliance Outlook
    The Fourth Quarter 2014 issue of the Federal Reserve's Consumer Compliance Outlook newsletter has been released, with featured articles on "Transitioning from an Intermediate Small Bank to a Large Bank Under the Community Reinvestment Act" and "Managing Compliance Risk Through Consumer Compliance Risk Assessments."

  • Treasury FIO reinsurance report
    The Treasury Department's Federal Insurance Office (FIO) has issued its report on the global reinsurance market and its role in supporting insurance in the U.S. The report, which is required by Title V of the Dodd-Frank Act, summarizes the history of reinsurance as a product and an industry, and outlines its various functions.

  • Board releases Discount Window lending data
    The Fourth Quarter 2012 Discount Window lending data have been released by the Federal Reserve Board.

  • 2015 currency and reserve bank budgets
    The Federal Reserve Board's Freedom of Information Office has released the Currency and Reserve Bank budgets for 2015.

  • 2015 HMDA and CRA data entry software
    The FFIEC has announced the availability of the 2015 versions of HMDA and CRA data entry software.

    Today we begin anew our collection of the Top Stories affecting banks and banking, with the start of a new year. For our archive of stories back to the year 2000, click the drop-down list near the top or bottom of this page.

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