Skip to content

Exception Tracking Spreadsheet (TicklerTrax™)
Downloaded by more than 1,000 bankers. Free Excel spreadsheet to help you track missing and expiring documents for credit and loans, deposits, trusts, and more. Visualize your exception data in interactive charts and graphs. Provided by bank technology vendor, AccuSystems. Download TicklerTrax for free.

Click Now!

Top Story Compliance Related


FinCEN Exchange on ransomware

FinCEN has announced it will convene a FinCEN Exchange in August 2021 with representatives from financial institutions, other key industry stakeholders, and federal government agencies to discuss ongoing concerns regarding ransomware, as well as efforts by the public and private sectors. The FinCEN Exchange will build upon FinCEN’s November 2020 event on ransomware. FinCEN anticipates that this FinCEN Exchange will assist its government and private sector partners to inform next steps to address ransomware and focus resources to mitigate the threat. This announcement is part of a government-wide effort to combat ransomware.

According to FinCEN, ransomware attacks are a growing concern for the financial sector, given that financial institutions can be targeted by ransomware attacks as well as reputational and financial integrity concerns about the role financial institutions might play in the processing of ransom payments. Efforts to detect and report ransomware payments are vital to prevent and deter ransomware attacks, and to hold these attackers accountable for their crimes. In October 2020, FinCEN issued Advisory FIN-2020-A006 to alert financial institutions to predominant trends, typologies, and potential indicators of ransomware and associated money laundering activities. In addition, in June 2021, FinCEN highlighted ransomware as a particularly acute cybercrime concern in its issuance of the first government-wide priorities for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism policy.


SEC takes action against teachers' retirement plan

The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced that TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services LLC (TC Services), a subsidiary of Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA), will pay $97 million to settle charges of inaccurate and misleading statements and a failure to adequately disclose conflicts of interest to thousands of participants in TIAA record-kept employer-sponsored retirement plans (ESPs).

According an order filed by the SEC, from January 1, 2013, through March 30, 2018, TC Services and its Wealth Management Advisers (WMAs) did not adequately disclose the full nature and extent of their conflicts of interest in recommending to clients that they roll over their retirement assets into a managed account program called “Portfolio Advisor.” The order finds that TC Services failed to adequately disclose compensation practices that incentivized the firm and its WMAs to recommend Portfolio Advisor for reasons other than a client’s particular investment needs. Further, TC Services trained its WMAs to make, and its WMAs made, representations that they offered “objective” and “non-commissioned” advice, “put the client first,” and acted in the client’s best interest while holding themselves out as fiduciaries. TC Services simultaneously applied continual pressure to compel WMAs to prioritize the rollover of ESP assets into Portfolio Advisor over lower cost alternatives. The order also finds that TC Services failed to adopt and implement written policies and procedures reasonably designed to prevent violations of the Investment Advisers Act in connection with rollover recommendations.

Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, TC Services agreed to cease and desist from committing or causing any future violations of these provisions, be censured, and pay disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and a civil penalty totaling $97 million that will be distributed to investors through a Fair Fund. The $97 million will be distributed to investors affected by the misconduct and settles both the SEC’s case and a parallel action announced yesterday by the Office of the New York Attorney General


Agencies propose risk management guidance for 3rd-party relationships

The federal bank regulatory agencies (Board of Governors, FDIC, and OCC) on Tuesday requested public comment on proposed guidance designed to help banking organizations manage risks associated with third-party relationships, including relationships with financial technology-focused entities. The proposed guidance is intended to assist banking organizations in identifying and addressing the risks associated with third-party relationships and responds to industry feedback requesting alignment among the agencies with respect to third-party risk management guidance.

Banking organizations that engage third parties to provide products or services or to perform other activities remain responsible for ensuring that such outsourced activities are conducted in a safe and sound manner and in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, including consumer protection laws.

Comments must be received within 60 days of the proposed guidance's publication in the Federal Register.


CFPB hits fintech GreenSky with $11.9M consent order

The CFPB announced Monday it had taken action against GreenSky LLC, a fintech non-bank institution in Atlanta, Georgia, for enabling contractors and other merchants to take out loans on behalf of thousands of consumers who did not request or authorize them. The CFPB issued a consent order against GreenSky requiring the company to refund or cancel up to $9 million in loans for customers harmed by its illegal conduct, pay a $2.5 million civil penalty, and implement new procedures to prevent future fraudulent loans.

GreenSky used merchants, primarily those providing home improvements, to promote and offer financing to customers before making on-the-spot lending decisions based on criteria provided by its partner banks. Proceeds from GreenSky’s loans, ranging from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, bypass consumers and are disbursed directly to merchants following the merchants’ application for payment. Some consumers complained that they never applied for a loan or even heard of GreenSky before receiving billing statements, collection letters, and calls from the company.

The CFPB found that GreenSky engaged in unfair practices against their customers in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (CFPA). For additional details and a link to the CFPB's consent order, see "GreenSky pays $11.9 million for unauthorized consumer loans," in BankersOnline's Penalty pages.


FTC charges two companies for aiding student loan relief scammers

The Federal Trade Commission on Monday announced two Florida companies and their CEO will be permanently barred from offering payment-processing services to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that they aided a criminal student debt relief scam that bilked $62 million from thousands of students and their families.

According to the FTC’s complaint, Moneta Management, LLC, Moneta Management, Inc., and their CEO Michael Todd Greene knowingly provided false or deceptive information to credit card and ACH processors to obtain merchant processing for the scam operated by Brandon Frere and his three companies. Frere and his companies reached a settlement with the FTC in November 2020 and also pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges in 2019.

Greene and his companies submitted payment processing applications that concealed Frere’s scam, denied that Frere and his companies were offering consumers prohibited debt relief services, and ignored repeated warnings and direct evidence that Frere’s scam was defrauding consumers and violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule, according to the complaint. The accounts that Greene and his companies helped create for Frere’s scam allowed the processing of credit card and debit payments from consumers.

As part of the settlement with the FTC, Greene and his two companies will be barred from payment processing, acting as a sales agent or independent sales organization, and from assisting and facilitating unfair and deceptive trade practices. The proposed final order also imposes a monetary judgment of $28.6 million on Greene and his companies, which will be partially suspended after payment of $20,493 due to their inability to pay the full amount. They will be required to pay the full amount if they are found to have misrepresented their finances.


New OFAC Venezuela-related license

OFAC announced yesterday it had issued Venezuela-related General License 40 and two related FAQs.


IRS on its taxpayer information resources

The IRS on Friday issued a press release listing a number of IRS information tools providing taxpayers with the answers they need.

In addition to 24/7 access to tax forms and instructions, the IRS site allows taxpayers to:

  • Use the File tab on the IRS home page for most federal income tax needs.
  • Access the Interactive Tax Assistant tool that can answer many tax law questions.
  • See their tax account with the View Your Account tool. With this, they can find information such as a payoff amount, the balance for each tax year owed, up to 24 months of their payment history and key information from their current tax year return as originally filed.
  • Use the Get Transcript tool to view, print or download their tax transcripts after the IRS has processed the return.
  • Find the most up-to-date information about tax refunds using the Where's My Refund? tool on and on the official IRS mobile app, IRS2Go. Taxpayers can start checking on the status of their refund 24 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of an e-filed return.


President continues national Hong Kong and TCO emergencies

Administrative Orders from President Biden continuing the national emergencies with respect to Hong Kong and with respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations were published in the July 9, 2021, Federal Register. The national emergencies were each extended for an additional year, through July 14, 2022, and July 24, 2022, respectively.


Fed CRA evaluations

The Federal Reserve Banks released CRA evaluation ratings for 18 banks in June. Twelve of those banks received Satisfactory evaluation ratings.

We congratulate the six banks that earned Outstanding ratings:


Company and two execs charged by SEC for misleading disclosures

The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced charges against Parallax Health Sciences Inc. for making misleading statements about its efforts to fight COVID-19. The SEC also charged Parallax’s chief executive officer Paul Arena and its chief technology officer Nathaniel Bradley for their roles in the statements. Each party has offered to settle the charges. The SEC temporarily suspended trading in Parallax’s common stock on April 10, 2020, due to questions about the accuracy of the company’s statements.

According to the SEC’s complaint, Parallax issued a series of press releases in March and April 2020 falsely claiming that its purported COVID-19 screening test would be “available soon” and that it had medical and personal protective equipment (PPE) for “immediate sale.” The complaint alleges that Parallax’s insolvency prevented it from developing the screening test, and that the company’s projections showed that, even if the company had the funds, it would take more than a year to develop the test.

The complaint also alleges that Parallax never had the medical equipment or PPE it offered for sale and that several factors prevented the company from acquiring the equipment, including that it did not have enough money to purchase the equipment and that it lacked the Food and Drug Administration registrations required to import and sell the equipment. Additionally, the complaint alleges that Arena drafted the misleading press releases to boost Parallax’s declining stock price, and that the company’s stock price increased after they were disseminated.

Without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations, Parallax, Arena, and Bradley consented to judgments permanently enjoining them from future violations of the charged provisions and requiring them to pay penalties of $100,000, $45,000, and $40,000, respectively. Arena also agreed to be prohibited for five years from acting as a public company officer or director and from participating in an offering of penny stock. Bradley, who assisted Arena in drafting two of the misleading press releases, agreed to be prohibited for three years from participating in an offering of penny stock. The settlements are subject to court approval.


Training View All

Penalties View All

Search Top Stories