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Top Story Compliance Related

01/06/2022

CFPB zings national credit reporting agencies

The CFPB yesterday took aim at the "Big Three" consumer credit reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, releasing a new analysis that reveals how changes in complaint responses provided by nationwide consumer reporting companies resulted in fewer meaningful responses and less consumer relief. In 2021, reports the CFPB, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion together reported relief in response to less than 2% of covered complaints, down from nearly 25% of covered complaints in 2019.

According to the CFPB—

  • Consumers submitted more than 700,000 complaints to the CFPB regarding Equifax, Experian and TransUnion from January 2020 through September 2021, which represented more than 50% of all complaints received by the agency for that period.
  • Consumers submit more complaints about inaccurate information on their credit and consumer reports than about any other problem.
  • Consumers most frequently assert that the inaccurate information belongs to someone else, and consumers often describe being victims of identity theft.

The CFPB forwards consumer complaints about Experian, Equifax and TransUnion to the companies when the consumer appears to have previously attempted to fix the problem with the companies directly. The companies are then required to report their determinations and actions for these complaints to the CFPB. The Bureau's report shows—

  • Equifax most often promised to open investigations and send the results to the consumers at later dates, but it would fail to provide the CFPB with the outcomes of the investigations.
  • TransUnion made similar promises and frequently failed to provide the outcomes of investigations to the CFPB. It often stated it would take no action on complaints because it believed the complaints were submitted by third parties.
  • For many complaints, Experian frequently stated it would take no action because it believed the complaints were submitted by third parties, however, it did respond to the remaining complaints with substantive responses.
  • Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion relied heavily on template complaint responses instead of providing meaningful and thorough responses to consumers, despite having up to 60 calendar days to respond.
  • Beginning in early 2020, Experian and TransUnion stopped providing substantive responses to consumers’ complaints if they suspected that a third-party was involved in submitting a complaint.
  • In many instances, Equifax and TransUnion promised to investigate but failed to provide the outcomes of their investigations to the CFPB and instead stated that they would forward the complaints to their “dispute channel.”

Related link:
CFPB Annual report of credit and consumer reporting complaints

01/06/2022

OFAC sanctions Milorad Dodik and media outlet

Yesterday, OFAC designated Milorad Dodik, a member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as one entity under his control, Alternativna Televizija d.o.o. Banja Luka, his personal media outlet, in response to Dodik’s corrupt activities and continued threats to the stability and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This is OFAC's first action under Executive Order 14033 (June 8, 2021).

For identification specifics, see yesterday's BankersOnline OFAC Update.

01/05/2022

President lists nominees

The White House Briefing Room has issued a statement listing presidential nominations sent to the Senate. Among those listed were:

  • Alvaro M. Bedoya, of Maryland, to be a Federal Trade Commissioner for the term of seven years from September 26, 2019.
  • Lael Brainard, of the District of Columbia, to be Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for a term of four years.
  • Todd M. Harper, of Virginia, to be a Member of the National Credit Union Administration Board for a term expiring April 10, 2027. (Reappointment)
  • Jerome H. Powell, of Maryland, to be Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for a term of four years. (Reappointment)
  • Sandra L. Thompson, of Maryland, to be Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency for a term of five years.

01/05/2022

FDIC lists CRA evaluation ratings

The FDIC on Tuesday released a list of state nonmember banks recently evaluated for compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act whose evaluation ratings were assigned in October 2021.

Of the 41 banks listed, 38 received evaluation ratings of Satisfactory. We congratulate the three banks that earned Outstanding evaluation ratings:

01/04/2022

OCC releases CRA evaluation ratings

The OCC on Monday released a list of 23 Community Reinvestment Act performance evaluations that became public in December 2021. The evaluations were of national banks, federal savings associations, and insured federal branches of foreign banks.

Of the 23 evaluations, 16 were rated Satisfactory, and the evaluations of these seven institutions received Outstanding ratings:

01/04/2022

Airbnb Payments settles with OFAC

Airbnb Payments, Inc., a registered money services business incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in San Francisco, California, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Airbnb, Inc., has agreed to pay $91,172.29 to settle its potential civil liability for apparent violations of sanctions against Cuba administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control. This activity included payments related to guests traveling for reasons outside of OFAC’s authorized categories as well as a failure to keep certain required records associated with Cuba-related transactions. The settlement amount reflects OFAC’s determination that Airbnb Payments’ apparent violations were voluntarily self-disclosed and were non-egregious.

01/03/2022

FDIC November enforcement actions announced

The FDIC has released a list of orders of administrative enforcement actions taken against banks and individuals in November 2021. Among those orders were:

  • an order that Renasant Bank, Tupelo, MS, pay a civil money penalty of $132,000 for violations of the Flood Disaster Protection Act
  • an order that Nebraska State Bank, Oshkosh, NE, pay a civil money penalty of $6,500 for violations of the Flood Disaster Protection Act
  • an order that William P. Durell, formerly a vice president and commercial lender of South State Bank, Columbia, South Carolina (now South State Bank, National Association, Winter Haven, Florida), pay a $2,500 civil money penalty for having downloaded files with sensitive bank information from the banks systems and removed them from the bank, causing the bank to incur more than minimal expenses to recover the information.
  • a removal and prohibition order issued to Susan W. Wright, a former office manager of Summit Community Bank, Moorfield, WV, after a finding that she processed 14 unauthorized withdrawals from two customers' accounts and failed to file records of the withdrawals, resulting in a loss of $26,380 to the bank.
  • a removal and prohibition order issued to Shelley M. Bayless, a former teller at Balboa Thrift and Loan Association, Chula Vista, CA, after a finding she had misappropriated funds from two certificates of deposits of a bank customer.

12/30/2021

OCC adjusts CRA bank size definitions

Today, OCC Bulletin 2021-67 announced revisions to the asset-size threshold amounts used to define “small bank or savings association” and “intermediate small bank or savings association” under the OCC's Community Reinvestment Act regulations. The thresholds—which apply to any national bank, federal savings association, or state savings association ("banks")—become effective January 1, 2022. Bulletin 2021-67 adjusts the threshold amounts based on the annual percentage change in a measure of the consumer price index and updates the thresholds included in the OCC’s 2021 CRA final rule.

Beginning January 1, 2022, a bank that, as of December 31 of either of the prior two calendar years, had assets of less than $1.384 billion is a “small bank or savings association” under the CRA regulations. A “small bank or savings association” with assets of at least $346 million as of December 31 of both of the prior two calendar years and less than $1.384 billion as of December 31 of either of the prior two calendar years is an “intermediate small bank or savings association” under the CRA regulations.

12/29/2021

National origin discrimination claims settled

HUD has announced it has reached a Conciliation/Voluntary Compliance Agreement with National Community Renaissance; National Community Renaissance of California; Desert Meadows Housing Partners, LP; Victorville Housing Partners L.P.; and Cathedral Family Housing Partners, L.P., management agents and owners of four HUD-subsidized apartment complexes in southern California, resolving allegations that the property managers refused to rent to or provide adequate language services for applicants with limited English proficiency (LEP).

The case came to HUD’s attention when Inland Fair Housing and Mediation Board, a HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program agency, filed four complaints after it conducted fair housing tests allegedly showing that on-site managers at the properties refused to rent to LEP persons and told Spanish speaking prospective tenants that they needed to speak English in order to be added to properties’ waiting lists. LEP prospective tenants were also allegedly told that they had to provide their own interpreters.

Under the agreement, the management agents and owners of the properties will pay $9,000 to Inland Fair Housing and Mediation Board, submit documentation attesting to completion of fair housing training, and comply with HUD’s LEP Guidelines entitled “Final Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons.”

12/29/2021

Employee benefit plan report forms rule finalized

The Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration has published [86 FR 73976] in today's Federal Register final revisions to the instructions for the Form 5500 Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan and Form 5500-SF Short Form Annual Return/Report of Small Employee Benefit Plan effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2021. These final revisions to the instructions were included in a broader proposal of form and instruction changes published on September 15, 2021. The limited number of instruction changes in this document implement annual reporting changes for multiple-employer plans (including pooled employer plans) that result from statutory provisions in section 101 of the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act). The other changes to the Form 5500 Annual Return/Report included in the September 2021 proposal will be the subject of one or more separate and later final notices.

The Form 5500 Annual Return/Report for the 2021 plan year generally is not required to be filed until seven months after the end of the 2021 plan year, e.g., July 2022 for calendar year plans, and a 2½-month extension is available.

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