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Top Story Compliance Related

12/18/2020

OCC proposes SAR filing exemptions

The OCC has invited comment on a proposed rule that would modify the requirements for national banks and federal savings associations to file suspicious activity reports. The proposal would amend the agency’s SAR regulations to allow the agency to issue exemptions from the requirements of those regulations. The OCC would be able to grant relief to national banks or federal savings associations that develop innovative solutions intended to meet Bank Secrecy Act requirements more efficiently and effectively. For exemption requests from the OCC’s SAR regulation that would also require an exemption from FinCEN’s SAR rules, the request would have to be filed with both the OCC and FinCEN.

Comments will be accepted for 30 days following publication in the Federal Register.

12/18/2020

OCC November enforcement actions

The OCC has released a list of enforcement actions taken in November, which included:

12/18/2020

Fed and FDIC adjust CRA thresholds

The Federal Reserve Board and FDIC have jointly announced the annual adjustment to the asset-size thresholds used to define small bank and intermediate small bank under their Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations. Financial institutions are evaluated under different CRA examination procedures based upon their asset-size classification. Those meeting the small and intermediate small institution asset-size thresholds are not subject to the reporting requirements applicable to large banks unless they choose to be evaluated as a large institution. The definitions of small and intermediate small institutions for CRA examinations will change on January 1, 2021, as follows:

  • "Small bank" means an institution that, as of December 31 of either of the prior two calendar years, had assets of less than $1.322 billion.
  • "Intermediate small bank" means a small institution with assets of at least $330 million as of December 31 of both of the prior two calendar years and less than $1.322 billion as of December 31 of either of the prior two calendar years.

12/17/2020

FATF updates COVID-19 report

The FATF issued a report in May 2020 highlighting COVID-19-related money laundering and terrorist financing risks and policy responses. Yesterday it released an update to the report, highlighting the latest developments.

Using input from the FATF Global Network of over 200 countries and jurisdictions, and from private and public sector webinars in July and September, the update details how criminals continue to exploit the crisis. A selection of case studies illustrates how the risks have evolved as the pandemic has progressed, and how authorities have dealt with them. These include mounting cases of counterfeiting medical goods, cybercrime, investment fraud, charity fraud and abuse of economic stimulus measures.

To respond to evolving risks, FATF urged authorities and the private sector need to take a risk-based approach, as required by the FATF Standards. This means mitigating the money laundering and terrorist financing risks without disrupting essential and legitimate financial services or driving financial activities towards unregulated service providers.

12/17/2020

Supporters of Iranian petrochemical sales sanctioned

The Treasury Department has announced that OFAC has designated four entities for facilitating the export of Iranian petrochemical products by Triliance Petrochemical Co. Ltd., an entity designated by Treasury in January 2020. These China- and United Arab Emirates-based companies have provided Triliance with critical shipping services or conducted financial transactions on behalf of the company, enabling Triliance to continue brokering and moving Iranian petrochemical exports.

The State Department concurrently imposed sanctions on Vietnam Gas and Chemicals Transportation Corporation in connection with significant transactions for the transport of petroleum products from Iran, and on the company’s Managing Director, Vo Ngoc Phung, for serving as a principal executive officer of the company.

Identification information for the entities and individual designated by OFAC and the State Department can be found in BankersOnline's OFAC Update.

12/16/2020

Proposal to permit additional SAR filing exemptions

FDIC FIL-114-2020, issued yesterday, announced the FDIC Board of Directors has authorized publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking that would amend the FDIC’s Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) regulation [12 CFR Part 353] to permit the FDIC to issue additional, case-by-case exemptions from SAR filing requirements to FDIC-supervised institutions. The FDIC expects that the amendments to the SAR regulation will reduce regulatory burden on financial institutions and encourage technological innovation in the banking sector.

The FDIC’s current SAR regulation allows exemptions from SAR filing requirements for physical crimes (robberies and burglaries) and lost, missing, counterfeit, or stolen securities. The proposed amendments would allow the FDIC, in conjunction with FinCEN, to grant exemptions to FDIC-supervised institutions that develop innovative solutions to otherwise meet Bank Secrecy Act requirements more efficiently and effectively. The FDIC is proposing this rule as a proactive measure to address the likelihood that FDIC-supervised institutions will leverage existing or future technologies to report, share, or disclose suspicious activity in a different manner.

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

12/15/2020

OFAC announces new sanctions list

OFAC has announced it has made a new Non-SDN Menu Based Sanctions (NS-MBS) List available. The NS-MBS is designed as a reference tool that identifies persons subject to certain non-blocking menu-based sanctions that have been imposed under statutory or other authorities, including certain sanctions described in Section 235 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) and the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014, as amended by CAATSA. When blocking is chosen as a menu-based sanction and imposed on a person, that person is identified solely on the OFAC SDN List. Any other menu-based sanctions imposed on that person are also identified on the SDN List.

In addition, the names of Ismail DEMIR, Mustafe Alper DENIZ, Serhat GENCOGLU, and Faruk YIGIT were added to the SDN List. For identification information, see BankersOnline's OFAC Update.

12/15/2020

NCUA Board meeting agenda

The National Credit Union Administration has published notices of meetings of its Board on December 17 and 18, 2020. On Thursday, December 17, the published agenda includes consideration of NCUA rules and regulations on:

  • Regulatory relief in response to COVID-19
  • Mortgage servicing rights
  • Overdraft policy
  • Subordinated debt

The agenda in the notice for the December 18 meeting includes consideration of:

  • NCUA's Rules and Regulations - Annual operating fee assessment
  • NCUA's 2021-2022 budget
  • Board briefing on NCUA's operating fee schedule and overhead transfer rate

The remainder of the December 18 meeting will be closed to the public.

12/15/2020

FEMA suspending communities in two states on Thursday

FEMA has published a notice at 85 FR 81142 in today's Federal Register identifying communities in Iowa and Wisconsin authorized for the sale of flood insurance under the National Flood Insurance Program that are now scheduled for suspension from the program on December 17 because of noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program.

  • IA: Aplington, Aredale, Butler County (unincorporated areas), Clarksville, Dumont, Greene, New Hartford, Parkersburg, Sheldon, and Shell Rock.
  • WI: Argyle, Belmont, and South Wayne

FEMA's notice reminds the public that notices of scheduled suspensions will no longer be published in the Federal Register as of June 2021, but will be available at www.fema.gov.

12/15/2020

2019 CRA data available

The OCC, Federal Reserve and FDIC have jointly announced the availability of data on small business, small farm, and community development lending reported by certain commercial banks and savings associations, in accordance with the Community Reinvestment Act.

An FFIEC disclosure statement on the reported 2019 CRA data, in electronic form, is available for each reporting commercial bank and savings association. The FFIEC also prepared aggregate disclosure statements of small business and small farm lending for all of the metropolitan statistical areas and non-metropolitan counties in the United States and its territories. These statements are available for public inspection on the FFIEC website (www.ffiec.gov/cra).

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