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Top Story Compliance Related

04/30/2021

FinCEN renews GTOs

FinCEN yesterday announced the renewal of its Geographic Targeting Orders (GTOs) that require U.S. title insurance companies to identify the natural persons behind shell companies used in all-cash purchases of residential real estate. The GTOs are identical to those issued in November 2020. The purchase amount threshold remains $300,000 for each covered metropolitan area. The terms of this Order are effective beginning May 5, 2021 and ending October 31, 2021.

04/30/2021

Fed announces enforcement actions

The Federal Reserve Board has announced the execution of two enforcement actions:

  • Consent order to cease and desist and pay a $25,000 civil money penalty against Peter Little, a former employee of Barclays Bank PLC, New York, New York, for engaging in manipulative and collusive foreign exchange trading practices
  • Consent order of prohibition against Raul Cavazos, a former employee of Texas Community Bank, Laredo, Texas, for misappropriation of bank funds

04/30/2021

MoneyGram and SAP settle with OFAC

OFAC has announced settlements with MoneyGram and SAP SE:

  • MoneyGram Payment Systems, Inc., a global payments company based in Dallas, Texas, that allows people to send money in more than 200 countries and territories, agreed to remit $34,328.78 to settle its potential civil liability for 359 apparent violations of multiple sanctions programs. MoneyGram provided services to blocked individuals incarcerated in U.S. federal prisons without a license from OFAC, processed transactions on behalf of an additional blocked person, and processed transactions for individuals who initiated commercial transactions involving Syria.
  • SAP SE, a software company located in Walldorf, Germany, has agreed to settle its potential civil liability for 190 apparent violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560, by remitting $2,132,174 to OFAC. Between approximately 2013 and 2018, SAP engaged in the export, re-export, sale, or supply of technology or services from the United States to companies in third countries with knowledge or reason to know the software or services were intended specifically for Iran, and sold cloud-based software subscription services accessed remotely through SAP’s cloud businesses in the United States to customers that made the services available to their employees in Iran. OFAC determined that SAP voluntarily self-disclosed the apparent violations, and that these apparent violations constitute a non-egregious case.
  • 04/29/2021

    CFPB issues consumer complaint bulletin

    The CFPB announced it has issued a Complaint Bulletin with a county-level demographic overview of consumer complaints.

    Among other key findings in this bulletin:

    • From 2019 to 2020, consumer complaints increased across all demographic groups. Complaints increased at a greater rate in predominantly minority counties compared to predominantly white, non-Hispanic counties.
    • Consumers living in predominantly minority counties submitted more complaints on a per capita basis in nearly every one of the 11 product categories about which the Bureau accepts complaints.
    • Credit or consumer reporting appears to cause significantly more issues for consumers in predominantly minority counties.

    The Bureau plans to enhance its complaint form to give consumers the option to provide household size and household income when submitting a complaint. It will also begin exploring what additional information it may need to help better understand the experiences of diverse communities that submit complaints.

    04/29/2021

    Landlord charged for rental refusal due to assistance animal

    HUD has announced that it is charging an owner of an apartment complex in Florence, Alabama, with violating the Fair Housing Act by refusing to rent a unit to a prospective tenant with disabilities who uses an assistance animal. According to the HUD charge, a woman who uses an assistance animal filed a complaint with HUD after she was denied the opportunity to rent an apartment she saw online because of the owner’s “no-pets” policy. When the woman called to inquire about the unit, the owner allegedly asked if she had a pet, and when the woman stated she had an assistance animal, the owner told her that she did not allow pets or animals and terminated the call.

    04/28/2021

    CFPB responds to claims of Mr. Cooper unauthorized withdrawals

    CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio has issued a statement in response to apparent unauthorized withdrawals made by a mortgage servicer, Nationstar Mortgage LLC, d/b/a Mr. Cooper. Unauthorized duplicate-payment drafts by Mr. Cooper appear to have resulted in hundreds of thousands of consumers’ bank accounts being debited for multiples of their mortgage payments. Affected consumers have reported being charged overdraft fees and likely suffered additional harm as a result of these unauthorized withdrawals.

    “The CFPB is taking immediate action to understand and resolve the situation that has affected hundreds of thousands of consumers. The CFPB will use all appropriate tools at our disposal to help ensure harmed consumers receive relief. Consumers affected by the incident should monitor their accounts and may contact Mr. Cooper directly. Consumers can submit complaints to the CFPB at www.consumerfinance.gov or call toll-free at 855-411-2372."

    National Mortgage News reported on Monday that Mr. Cooper was working on reversing unauthorized payment drafts from some of its borrowers' bank accounts. Mr. Cooper said in a blog post that "All duplicate transaction requests have been stopped. We are actively working with the banks involved and the payments vendor [where the errors reportedly originated] to correct the issue and prevent recurrence."

    [Financial institutions holding deposit accounts affected by the apparent unauthorized transactions are likely to receive error claims under Regulation E, and must follow the requirements of the regulation in processing those claims. Part of their investigation of these claims should be checking to see if the duplicate debits have been reversed. Any bank-imposed fees (such as overdraft and return item fees) triggered by the duplicate debits will have to be reversed. - Editor]

    04/28/2021

    CFPB action against reverse mortgage lender

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has taken action against Nationwide Equities Corporation for sending deceptive loan advertisements to hundreds of thousands of older borrowers. The Bureau found that advertisements from Nationwide Equities misled consumers concerning how much money they could receive from a reverse mortgage, the fees and costs associated with the products, and the consequences of nonpayment. The advertisements violated the Mortgage Acts and Practices Advertising Rule (MAP Rule), the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), and the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (CFPA). The CFPB is ordering the company to—

    • pay a $140,000 civil money penalty,
    • cease its illegal conduct, and
    • implement a compliance plan to affirmatively review every advertisement to ensure they do not violate federal law.

    Nationwide Equities is a mortgage broker and direct lender that offers and originates reverse mortgage loans, primarily home equity conversion mortgage loans and private jumbo reverse mortgage loans. The company, headquartered in Mahwah, New Jersey, is one of the largest reverse mortgage lenders in the United States, is licensed in 17 states and the District of Columbia, and operates three retail branches across the country.

    04/28/2021

    FATF risk-based supervision webinar

    The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has announced it will hold a webinar on Risk-Based Supervision on May 6, 2021, from 12:00-13:00 CEST/GMT-2 [6 - 7 a.m. EDT]. The session will be held on Zoom and will also be live streamed.

    04/28/2021

    Somalia sanctions regulations amended

    OFAC has amended and reissued in their entirety the Somalia Sanctions Regulations, replacing regulations that were published in abbreviated form on May 5, 2010. The final rule was published at 86 FR 22346 in today's Federal Register.

    04/27/2021

    OFAC sanctions two Guatamalans for corruption

    The Treasury Department on Monday announced that OFAC had sanctioned one current and one former Guatemalan government official for their roles in corruption in Guatemala. This action targets Gustavo Adolfo Alejos Cambara, the former Chief of Staff for the Alvaro Colom presidential administration, and Felipe Alejos Lorenzana, an elected delegate to the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala.

    These individuals were designated pursuant to Executive Order 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world. These sanctions reinforce actions taken last year by the U.S. Department of State to publicly designate both individuals, and their immediate family members, under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act due to their involvement in significant corruption.

    Identification information for Alejoz Cambara and Alejos Lorenzana can be found in this BankersOnline OFAC Update.

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