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Top Story Compliance Related

01/05/2021

OCC proposes rule on permissible bank premises

The OCC has issued and invited comments on a proposed rule to codify permissibility standards for real estate used a national bank or federal savings association premises. The proposed rule would clarify standards for determining when real estate is necessary for the transaction of an institution's business. Comments on the proposal will be accepted for 45 days following its Federal Register publication.

01/04/2021

2019 Terrorist Assets Report

OFAC has released the 2019 Terrorist Assets Report. This is the 28th annual report to Congress on assets in the U.S. relating to terrorist countries and organizations engaged in international terrorism.

12/31/2020

OCC publishes CMP inflation adjustments

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has published at 85 FR 86795 in this morning's Federal Register a notice of its maximum civil money penalties as adjusted for inflation. The inflation adjustments are required to implement the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended. The adjusted penalty amounts are applicable to penalties assessed on or after January 1, 2021, for conduct occurring on or after November 2, 2015. Selected common penalties from the list include:

  • Flood insurance: $2,252 per violation
  • Appraisal independence requirements: $11,906 for first violation; $23,811 for subsequent violations
  • Reporting requirements violations: Tier 1 $10,366; Tier 2 $51,827; Tier 3 lesser of $2,073,133 or 1 percent of total assets

12/31/2020

Bureau issues approval order for dual usage credit cards

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced it has issued a compliance assistance sandbox (CAS) approval order to Synchrony Bank regarding their proposal to develop a “dual-feature credit card.”

The card is designed for consumers with a limited or damaged credit history as a tool that can be used to establish or reestablish a favorable credit history. Synchrony intends to offer a lower rate on secured use with the opportunity for eligible accountholders to graduate to unsecured use after 12 months. The terms of both secured use and unsecured use will be disclosed at the opening of the dual-feature credit card account. The terms will then be redisclosed with the opportunity to opt-in to unsecured use.

A CAS approval offers an entity confronting regulatory uncertainty a “safe harbor” from liability under specified legal provisions. Entities are offered safe harbor for specified conduct that the Bureau finds compliant with those legal provisions, subject to good faith compliance with the terms of the approval. The Synchrony CAS approval order implements the existing safe harbor approval mechanisms provided under the Truth in Lending Act, and is valid for three years.

12/31/2020

CFPB issues approval order for earned wage access product

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued a compliance assistance sandbox (CAS) approval order to PayActiv, Inc. covering specific aspects of some of its earned wage access (EWA) products, which allow employees access to their earned but unpaid wages prior to payday. A CAS approval offers an entity confronting regulatory uncertainty a “safe harbor” from liability under specified legal provisions. Entities are offered safe harbor for specified conduct that the Bureau finds compliant with those legal provisions, subject to good faith compliance with the terms of the approval. In this case, the CAS approval order implements the existing safe harbor approval mechanisms provided under the Truth in Lending Act, and is valid for two years.

12/31/2020

OFAC targets two Venezuelan officials

On Wednesday, the Treasury Department announced that OFAC has designated Venezuelan judge Lorena Carolina Cornielles Ruiz and Venezuelan prosecutor Ramon Antonio Torres Espinoza, the Venezuelan government officials who presided over and prosecuted the November 2020 trial and sentencing of six U.S. persons in Venezuela. The six U.S. persons, known as the “Citgo 6,” are Citgo executives who were imprisoned in Venezuela in November 2017 after being lured to Caracas under false pretenses.

For identity information on Cornielles Ruiz and Torres Espinoza, see BankersOnline's OFAC Update.

12/29/2020

FinCEN issues COVID-19 scam alert

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued Notice FIN-2020-NTC4 yesterday to alert financial institutions about the potential for fraud, ransomware attacks, or similar types of criminal activity related to COVID-19 vaccines and their distribution. The notice also provides specific instructions for filing Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) regarding such suspicious activity related to COVID-19 vaccines and their distribution.

12/29/2020

OFAC adds FAQs on Chinese military companies

OFAC has posted a Notice of Recent Actions to announce new Frequently Asked Questions related to Executive Order 13959, "Addressing the Threat from Securities Investments that Finance Communist Chinese Military Companies," issued on November 12, 2020. OFAC also published a list of entities identified in or in accordance with E.O. 13959 as Communist Chinese military companies, with identifying information.

12/29/2020

Saudi bank settles violations of sanctions regs

OFAC has announced a settlement with the National Commercial Bank (NCB), a bank headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. NCB agreed to remit $653,347 to settle its potential civil liability for 13 apparent violations of the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations, or section 2(b) of Executive Order 13582 of August 17, 2011, “Blocking Property of the Government of Syria and Prohibiting Certain Transactions With Respect to Syria."

This settlement amount reflects OFAC's determination that NCB's apparent violations were non-egregious, and NCB's cooperation during OFAC's investigation and improvement of its sanctions controls. For more information, see "Saudi bank settles with OFAC," in BankersOnline's Penalty pages.

12/29/2020

OCC issues interpretation of preemption standards

The OCC has issued an interpretation of 12 U.S.C. 25b, which codifies preemption standards and established procedural requirements for certain preemption actions by the agency. Federal preemption permits national banks and federal savings associations, many of which operate across state lines, to operate under a uniform set of rules to support nationwide banking. The OCC concluded that the federal banking system, and its customers, would benefit from a comprehensive interpretation of these provisions, which sets out a consistent framework for compliance.

The OCC's Interpretive Letter 1173, issued on December 18, 2020, discusses, among other topics:

  • Standards for preemption of state consumer financial laws
  • State law preemption no requiring a statutory "preemption determination"
  • Preemption determinations under the Barnett standard
  • Preservation of powers related to charging interest
  • Deference
  • The OCC Framework for Compliance

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