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Top Story Compliance Related

12/10/2021

OFAC adds sanctions on Anti-Corruption Day

The Treasury Department yesterday announced that OFAC has targeted fifteen individuals and entities across several countries in Central America, Africa, and Europe. Yesterday’s actions were taken under authority of Executive Order 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of corruption and serious human rights abuse. OFAC’s actions were complemented by the U.S. Department of State’s announcement of visa restrictions under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, targeting several corrupt current and former officials, as well as their immediate family members, and making them ineligible for entry into the United States.

International Anti-Corruption Day has been observed annually on December 9 since the United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption on October 31, 2003, to raise public awareness of the importance of anti-corruption initiatives in countering corruption and preventing it from undermining democratic institutions, eroding governmental stability, and slowing economic development.

For the names and identification information of the seven individuals and eight entities designated, and one previously designated party whose listing was updated yesterday, see the December 9, 2021, BankersOnline OFAC Update.

12/09/2021

Hsu's remarks on reforming overdraft programs

On Wednesday, Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael J. Hsu spoke at the Consumer Federation of America's 34th Annual Financial Services Conference on the topic "Reforming Overdraft Programs to Empower and Promote Financial Health."

In concluding his remarks, Hsu shared several features of bank overdraft programs that the OCC staff have identified that could support consumer financial health, including banks:

  • requiring consumer opt-in to the overdraft program.
  • providing a grace period before charging an overdraft fee.
  • allowing negative balances without triggering an overdraft fee.
  • offering consumers balance-related alerts.
  • providing consumers with access to real-time balance information.
  • linking a consumer’s checking account to another account for overdraft protection.
  • collecting overdraft or NSF fees from a consumer’s next deposit only after other items have been posted or cleared.
  • not charging separate and multiple overdraft fees for multiple items in a single day and not charging additional fees when an item is re-presented.

12/09/2021

OFAC settles with individual for $134K

OFAC has issued an Enforcement Release announcing a U.S. person has agreed to pay $133,860 to settle their potential civil liability for apparent violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations. The apparent violations were committed between February 2016 and March 2016 when the U.S. person accepted payment in the United States on behalf of an Iran-based company selling Iranian-origin cement clinker (a cement precursor) to another company for a project in a third country. The U.S. person coordinated and further facilitated the sale of the clinker with a family member working at the Iranian cement company by relaying logistical and shipping information to the purchasing company.

The U.S. person had previously submitted a license request to OFAC to authorize other transactions with Iran and had been denied, receiving a list of details of prohibitions involving Iran.

12/09/2021

CFPB reports finding wide-ranging law violations in 2021

The CFPB on Wednesday announced that its Fall 2021 Supervisory Highlights report, issued Wednesday, reveals legal violations identified in the Bureau's examinations in the first half of 2021. Key violations listing in the report include:

  • Mortgage servicers charging improper fees, including late fees and default-related fees, to borrowers enrolled in CARES Act forbearance, and in some cases failed to refund fees until almost a year later.
  • Violations of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act by mortgage lenders who discriminated against African American and female borrowers in the granting of pricing exceptions. In these cases, examiners found the lender lacked oversight and control over how loan officers granted pricing exceptions. Examiners also found lenders who improperly considered small business applicants’ religion in their credit decisions. For religious institutions applying for small business loans, some lenders improperly utilized a questionnaire that contained explicit inquiries about an applicant’s religion.
  • Payday lenders improperly debiting or attempting to debit consumers’ bank accounts. In some instances where consumers called to authorize a loan payment by debit card, lenders’ systems erroneously indicated the transactions did not process, resulting in the improper debiting of additional, identical amounts or unauthorized attempts.
  • Remittance transfer providers failing to investigate whether deductions imposed by some foreign banks constituted a fee that the institutions were required to refund to the sender as part of the error resolution process when a sender filed a claim that funds were not delivered to designated recipients by disclosed availability dates.

12/09/2021

OFAC targets corruption networks linked to TNOs

On Wednesday, Treasury reported that OFAC had targeted 16 individuals and 24 entities across several countries in Europe and the Western Hemisphere. The actions were taken under the authority of Executive Order 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, and targets perpetrators of corruption and serious human rights abuse. The designations targeted the nexus between public corruption and organized crime.

For the names and identification information of the individuals and entities added to OFAC's SDN List, see the December 8, 2021, BankersOnline OFAC Update.

12/08/2021

Treasury targets repression and undermining of democracy

Treasury announced on Tuesday that OFAC has designated 15 actors across three countries in connection with serious human rights abuse and repressive acts targeting innocent civilians, political opponents, and peaceful protestors. In addition, OFAC designated two entities and two individuals that the Department of State has identified as responsible for certain gross violations of human rights in Iran.

For identity information on the individuals and entities designated, see the December 7, 2021, BankersOnline OFAC Update.

12/08/2021

FinCEN proposes Beneficial Ownership Reporting Rule

FinCEN has announced it has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to implement the beneficial ownership information reporting provisions of the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA). The proposed rule is designed to protect the U.S. financial system from illicit use and impede malign actors from abusing legal entities, like shell companies, to conceal proceeds of corrupt and criminal acts. Such abuses undermine U.S. national security, economic fairness, and the integrity of the U.S. financial system.

The proposed rule addresses, among other things, who must report beneficial ownership information, when they must report, and what information they must provide. Collecting this information and providing access to law enforcement, financial institutions, and other authorized users will diminish the ability of malign actors to hide, move, and enjoy the proceeds of illicit activities. The proposed rule also reflects stated concerns in the newly released U.S. Government Strategy on Countering Corruption, which addresses the money laundering risks posed by anonymous shell companies as well as the need to protect the international financial system from abuse by corrupt and other illicit actors. It is also consistent with the efforts of the Financial Action Task Force and G7 and G20 leaders to curtail the ability of illicit actors to hide wealth behind anonymous shell companies.

FinCEN will engage in additional rulemakings to (1) establish rules for who may access BOI, for what purposes, and what safeguards will be required to ensure that the information is secured and protected; and (2) revise FinCEN’s customer due diligence rule following the promulgation of the BOI reporting final rule. In addition, FinCEN is developing the infrastructure to administer these requirements, such as the beneficial ownership information technology system.

The proposal was published on December 8, 2021, in the Federal Register, with comments due by February 7, 2022.

12/08/2021

Bureau issues final rule Facilitating the LIBOR Transition

The CFPB has published in today's Federal Register a Final Rule and official interpretations amending Regulation Z, generally to address the anticipated sunset of LIBOR, which is expected to be discontinued for most U.S. Dollar (USD) tenors in June 2023.

The Bureau is amending the open-end and closed-end provisions to provide examples of replacement indices for LIBOR indices that meet certain Regulation Z standards. The Bureau also is amending Regulation Z to permit creditors for home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and card issuers for credit card accounts to transition existing accounts that use a LIBOR index to a replacement index on or after April 1, 2022, if certain conditions are met.

The final rule also addresses change-in-terms notice provisions for HELOCs and credit card accounts and how they apply to accounts transitioning away from using a LIBOR index. In addition, the Bureau is amending Regulation Z to address how the rate reevaluation provisions applicable to credit card accounts apply to the transition from using a LIBOR index to a replacement index.

The Bureau is reserving judgment about whether to include references to a 1-year USD LIBOR index and its replacement index in various comments; the Bureau will consider whether to finalize comments proposed on that issue in a supplemental final rule once it obtains additional information.

The final rule effective and mandatory compliance date is generally effective April 1, 2022; changes to two sample forms in Appendix H will be effective October 1, 2023. The mandatory compliance date for two open-end change-in-terms notice requirements is October 1, 2022.

The Bureau also update its LIBOR Transitions FAQs to reflect the new final rule.

Editor's Note: BankersOnline's Regulation Z pages, except for those in Appendix H, have been updated with the final rule.

12/07/2021

FDIC Office of Supervisory Appeals opens

The FDIC’s new Office of Supervisory Appeals became fully operational yesterday and will begin to consider and decide appeals of material supervisory determinations. The new Office will enhance the independence of the FDIC’s supervisory appeals process and further the FDIC’s goal of ensuring consistency and accountability in the examination process.

The FDIC's Guidelines for Appeals of Material Supervisory Determinations also took effect yesterday.

12/07/2021

OCC report on effects of COVID-19 and risks

The OCC has issued a report on the key issues facing the federal banking system and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the federal banking industry in its Semiannual Risk Perspective for Fall 2021.

Banks are weathering the COVID-19 crisis with resilience and satisfactory credit quality and strong earnings, but weak loan demand and low net interest margins continue to weigh on performance. The OCC highlighted operational, credit, compliance, and strategic risks, among the key risk themes in the report.

Highlights from the report include:

  • Operational risk is elevated as banks respond to an evolving and increasingly complex operating environment and cyber risks.
  • Credit risk is moderate as widespread government programs and appropriate risk management limited the potential credit impact, though some areas warrant continued attention.
  • Compliance risk is heightened, driven by regulatory changes and policy initiatives that continue to challenge risk management.
  • Strategic actions taken by banks to offset earnings impacts of low yields and net interest margin compression remain a risk.

The report also highlights an OCC initiative to act on the risk that climate change presents to the federal banking system.

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