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Top Story Compliance Related

05/06/2021

Federal Reserve CRA ratings

The Federal Reserve Banks publicly released the Community Reinvestment Act evaluations of 21 state-chartered member banks in March and April. Eighteen of those banks received "Satisfactory" ratings. We congratulate the three banks that earned "Outstanding" ratings:

05/06/2021

COVID-19 challenges for mortgage borrowers

The CFPB has released two reports showing that more work needs to be done to help mortgage borrowers coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. "Characteristics of Mortgage Borrowers During the COVID-19 Pandemic" documents that Black and Hispanic mortgage borrowers are much more likely to be delinquent or in a forbearance program than white borrowers. In its May 2021 "Complaint Bulletin," the CFPB reports that overall mortgage complaints to the CFPB have risen to their highest level in three years and complaints mentioning forbearance or related terms have reached their highest average since March and April of 2020.

05/05/2021

FDIC and OCC release CRA evaluation ratings

The FDIC has released its May 2021 list of banks recently examined for CRA compliance. Of the 56 banks listed, one was rated "Needs to Improve," 52 were rated "Satisfactory," and three earned "Outstanding" ratings. Here are the banks that garnered the "Outstanding" ratings, with links to their evaluation reports:

The OCC also released CRA evaluations that became public in April for 15 national banks and federal savings associations. Twelve of these evaluations were rated "Satisfactory." The three banks listed below (with links to their evaluation reports) received "Outstanding" ratings:

05/04/2021

CFPB and FTC alert landlords to tenants' pandemic rights

On Monday, CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio and FTC Acting Chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter sent notification letters to the nation’s largest apartment landlords, which collectively own more than 2 million units. The letters reminded those landlords of federal protections in place to keep tenants in their homes and stop the spread of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has extended until June 30 a temporary moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent.

The letters also noted that the CFPB has issued an interim final rule, which took effect Monday, establishing new notice requirements under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Landlords should ensure that any FDCPA-covered debt collectors (including attorneys) working on their behalf notify tenants of their rights under federal law (as required by the interim final rule).

05/04/2021

SEC charges sports apparel manufacturer

Under Armor Inc., a sports apparel manufacturer, has been charged by the SEC. with misleading investors as to the bases of its revenue growth and failing to disclose known uncertainties concerning its future revenue prospects. Under Armour has agreed to pay $9 million to settle the action.

According to the SEC's order instituting cease-and-desist proceedings, by the second half of 2015, Under Armour's internal revenue and revenue growth forecasts for the third and fourth quarters of 2015 began to indicate shortfalls from analysts' revenue estimates. The order finds, for example, that the company was not meeting internal sales projections for North America, and warm winter weather was negatively impacting sales of Under Armour's higher-priced cold weather apparel. The order further alleges that in response, for six consecutive quarters beginning in the third quarter of 2015, Under Armour accelerated, or "pulled forward," a total of $408 million in existing orders that customers had requested be shipped in future quarters. The SEC found that Under Armour misleadingly attributed its revenue growth during this period to various factors without disclosing to investors material information about the impacts of its pull-forward practices. The Commission also found that Under Armour failed to disclose that its increasing reliance on pull-forwards raised significant uncertainty as to whether the company would meet its revenue guidance in future quarters. According to the order, using these undisclosed pull-forwards, Under Armour was able to meet analysts' revenue estimates.

Under Armour has also agreed to cease and desist from committing future violations.

05/04/2021

$20M from HUD to fight housing discrimination

HUD has announced that it is making $20,229,156 available to fair housing organizations across the nation working to fight housing discrimination. The funds will support a variety of activities, including fair housing testing, education and outreach, and capacity building, and are being provided through the Department’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP). Categories of grants include:

  • Education and Outreach Initiative (EOI) – $7,223,649 - EOI grants help groups develop and implement tester training and education and outreach programs.
  • Fair Housing Organizations Initiative (FHOI) – $2,250,000 - FHOI grants provide funds to non-profit fair housing organizations to build their capacity and effectiveness to conduct enforcement related activities.
  • Private Enforcement Initiative (PEI) – $10,755,507 - PEI grants help non-profit fair housing enforcement organizations carry out investigations and other enforcement activities to prevent or eliminate discriminatory housing practices.

Applicants who are interested in applying for funding should go to www.Grants.gov to obtain a copy of the specific Notice of Funding Opportunity, forms, instructions, and other application materials. Applications must be received by June 14, 2021.

05/03/2021

FDIC March enforcement actions released

The FDIC has released a list of enforcement actions taken against banks and individuals in the month of March. Among the 12 administrative actions listed were five prohibition orders and three civil money penalty orders.

  • A civil money penalty of $40,500 was assessed on Oriental Bank, San Juan, Puerto Rico, for 27 violations of flood insurance requirements
  • FirstBank, Nashville, Tennessee, was assessed a $172,500 civil money penalty for 196 violations of flood insurance requirements
  • William Derek Martin, formerly a vice president and loan officer of Anderson Brothers Bank, Mullins, South Carolina, was ordered to pay a civil money penalty of $15,000 and issued an order of prohibition
  • Orders of prohibition were issued to:
    • William Weisbrod, a former of Lincoln 1st Bank, Lincoln Park, New Jersey
    • Erica E. Franklin, former treasury services supervisor of Bank of Labor, Kansas City, Kansas
    • Mark Wong, formerly employed by Bank of the West, San Francisco, California
    • Gina Champion-Cain, formerly a director of Endeavor Bank, San Diego, California

05/03/2021

Alabama and Kentucky severe storms relief

The FDIC has issued two financial institution letters announcing steps to provide regulatory relief to financial institutions and facilitate recovery.

  • FIL-31-2021 concerning areas of Kentucky affected by severe storms, slooding, landslides, and mudslides
  • FIL-32-2021 with regard to areas of Alabama affected by severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes

04/30/2021

Company pays $20M to settle FTC charges

The Federal Trade Commission has announced that smart-home security and monitoring company Vivint Smart Homes Inc. has agreed to pay $20 million to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that the Utah-based firm misused credit reports to help unqualified customers obtain financing for the company’s products and services. Vivint will pay a $15 million civil penalty and an additional $5 million to compensate injured consumers. The complaint filed by the Department of Justice on behalf of the FTC alleged that Vivint violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by improperly obtaining credit reports in order to qualify potential customers for financing for its smart home monitoring and security products.

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.

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