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Top Story Compliance Related

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

12/24/2020

NCUA proposes amendment of SAR regs

The National Credit Union Administration Board has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would amend the agency’s Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) regulation. The proposed regulation would permit the NCUA to issue, on a case-by-case basis, exemptions from SAR filing requirements to federally insured credit unions, when the exemption is consistent with safe and sound practices and can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of Bank Secrecy Act reporting. The proposed rule would also make it possible for the NCUA to grant exemptions, in conjunction with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, to federally insured credit unions that develop innovative solutions to meet Bank Secrecy Act requirements.

Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted for 30 days following its publication in the Federal Register.

12/24/2020

OCC issues final Activities and Operations rule

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has issued a final rule to amend its regulations in 12 CFR 7, “Activities and Operations of National Banks and Federal Savings Associations.” The final rule updates or eliminates outdated regulatory requirements that no longer reflect the modern financial system, clarifies and codifies recent OCC interpretations, integrates certain regulations for national banks and federal savings associations, and makes other technical and conforming changes. The amendments are effective April 1, 2021.

12/24/2020

OFAC targets more Belarusian regime actors

OFAC has designated and individual and four entities for their roles in the fraudulent August 9, 2020, presidential election in Belarus and the subsequent violent crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy protests. These designations, pursuant to Executive Order 13405, target individuals and entities who are responsible for, or have participated in, actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in Belarus. OFAC targeted—

  • Henadz Arkadzievich Kazakevich
  • The Minsk Special Purpose Police Unit
  • The Main Internal Affairs Directorate of the Minsk City Executive Committee
  • KGB Alpha
  • The Central Commission of the Republic of Belarus on Elections and Holding Republican Referenda

For identification information, see BankersOnline's OFAC Update.

12/23/2020

Marketing Rule for Investment Advisors updated

The SEC has announced it has finalized reforms under the Investment Advisers Act to modernize rules that govern investment adviser advertisements and payments to solicitors. The amendments create a single rule that replaces the current advertising and cash solicitation rules. The final rule is designed to comprehensively and efficiently regulate investment advisers’ marketing communications.

The rule replaces the current advertising rule’s broadly drawn limitations with principles-based provisions designed to accommodate the continual evolution and interplay of technology and advice, and includes tailored requirements for certain types of advertisements. For example, the rule will require advisers to standardize certain parts of a performance presentation in order to help investors evaluate and compare investment opportunities, and will include tailored requirements for certain types of performance presentations. Advertisements that include third-party ratings will be required to include specific disclosures to prevent them from being misleading. The rule will also permit the use of testimonials and endorsements, which include traditional referral and solicitation activity, subject to certain conditions.

The changes will be effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

12/23/2020

Agencies revise statement on status of certain investment funds

The OCC, FRB, and FDIC yesterday issued a revised statement to supersede the "Statement Regarding Status of Certain Investment Funds and Their Portfolio Investments for Purposes of Regulation O and Reporting Requirements under Part 363 of FDIC Regulations" issued on December 27, 2019, and set to expire on January 1, 2021.

The revised interagency statement explains that the agencies will continue to exercise discretion not to take action against banks, or against certain asset managers that become principal shareholders of banks (principal shareholder fund complexes), with respect to certain extensions of credit by banks to portfolio companies of the principal shareholder fund complex (fund complex-controlled portfolio companies) that otherwise would violate Regulation O, 12 CFR 215, provided certain eligibility criteria are satisfied. The agencies are providing this temporary relief while the Board, in consultation with the other agencies, considers whether to amend Regulation O to address this issue. This temporary relief will apply until January 1, 2022, unless amended, extended, or superseded in writing before that time.

12/23/2020

Credit Suisse enforcement action

The Federal Reserve Board announced yesterday a written agreement has been executed among Credit Suisse Group AG, Zurich, Switzerland; Credit Suisse AG, Zurich, Switzerland; Credit Suisse Holdings (USA), Inc. ("CS USA"), New York, New York; Credit Suisse AG, New York Branch, New York, New York; the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; and the New York State Department of Financial Services. Following an examination of the Branch conducted by the Reserve Bank in 2019, the Reserve Bank identified deficiencies in CS USA’s compliance risk management program, including deficiencies with the BSA/AML compliance function administered by Credit Suisse Services, LLC, to the Branch and various entities within the U.S. Operations.

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