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Top Story Compliance Related

09/28/2021

Wash trading scheme halted by SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced it has charged a Florida resident and his friend for engaging in a fraudulent scheme designed to collect liquidity rebates from exchanges by wash trading put options of certain "meme stocks" in early 2021.

According to the SEC's complaint, starting in late February 2021, Suyun Gu became aware of the increased market volume and volatility driven by so-called "meme stocks" – stocks that were being actively promoted on social media platforms. Gu allegedly then devised a scheme to take advantage of the "maker-taker" program offered by exchanges by trading options of these stocks with himself.

Under the maker-taker program, a trade order that is sent to an exchange and executes against a subsequently received order makes liquidity and generates a rebate from the exchange. In contrast, an order that immediately executes against a pre-existing order takes liquidity and is charged a fee.

09/28/2021

FTC bans bogus debt collectors

An Atlanta-based debt collection company and its owners will be permanently banned from the debt collection industry under the terms of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. In its complaint against Critical Resolution Mediation, LLC, along with Brian Charles McKenzie and Tracy Dottrice Warren, the FTC alleged that the defendants and their agents threatened consumers with arrest and imprisonment and tried to collect debts that consumers did not actually owe. Critical Resolution’s collectors regularly posed as law enforcement officers, attorneys, mediators, or process servers, lending credence to their threats about supposed unpaid debts. In many cases, the defendants were attempting to collect on so-called “phantom” debt—debts that either were never owed—or debts that were no longer owed.

In addition to banning all of the defendants from the debt collection industry, the settlement also prohibits the defendants from misrepresenting whether they are attorneys or affiliated with a law firm or whether a consumer owes a debt of any kind. They are also prohibited from making any misleading claims while selling a product or service. The settlement also requires the defendants to destroy all consumer information they have within 30 days and prevents them from profiting in any way from that information.

The defendants are required to pay more than $266,000 to the Commission as part of the settlement. The total monetary judgment of more than $3 million is partially suspended upon that payment due to the defendants’ inability to pay. If the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition, then the full amount of the judgment will be immediately due.

09/28/2021

Two companies settle with OFAC

OFAC has announced a $1,423,766 settlement with Cameron International Corporation, a Houston, Texas-based supplier of goods and services for the oil and gas industries; and a $160,000 settlement with Schlumberger Rod Lift, Inc. (now d/b/a Lufkin Rod Lift) a subsidiary of Schlumberger Limited of Curaçao, Netherlands.

09/27/2021

Drought-related sellers of livestock get time for replacements

Farmers and ranchers who were forced to sell livestock due to drought may have an additional year to replace the livestock and defer tax on any gains from the forced sales, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

To qualify for relief, farmers or ranchers must have sold livestock on account of drought conditions in an applicable region (a county or other jurisdiction designated as eligible for federal assistance plus counties contiguous to it). The relief generally applies to capital gains realized by eligible farmers and ranchers on sales of livestock held for draft, dairy or breeding purposes. Sales of other livestock, such as those raised for slaughter or held for sporting purposes, or poultry, are not eligible. More information on how the one-year extension works can be found in Notice 2006-82.

09/24/2021

OCC virtual workshops for community bank directors

The OCC has announced its fall and winter schedule of free, virtual workshops for boards of directors of community national banks and federal savings associations.

The workshops are:

  • Building Blocks: Keys to Success for Directors and Senior Management,
  • Risk Governance: Improving Director Effectiveness,
  • Credit Risk: Directors Can Make a Difference, and
  • Operational Risk: Navigating Rapid Changes.

To view the schedule of virtual workshops and register online, visit the OCC's website.

09/24/2021

CFPB report on consumer complaint submissions

The CFPB on Thursday announced its release of its first in-depth report analyzing complaint submission patterns by U.S. Census tract. Titled "Consumer complaints throughout the credit life cycle, by demographic characteristics,” the report finds that the complaints from wealthier communities and communities with higher percentages of white, non-Hispanic residents were more frequently about loan origination and performing servicing, while the complaints from communities of color and lower income communities were more frequently about credit reporting, identity theft, and delinquent servicing.

The findings are based on the nearly 1 million consumer complaints submitted to the CFPB between 2018 and 2020. The report classifies complaints by matching the relevant consumers to census tract-level U.S. Census demographic data. Yesterday’s report highlights the value of consumer complaint data for understanding the varied experiences of consumers using consumer financial products and services.

The report finds that consumers from lower income and predominantly Black and Hispanic communities submitted credit reporting and delinquent servicing complaints at a higher rate per resident than consumers from higher-income and predominantly white, non-Hispanic communities, who were more likely to submit complaints related to loan origination and performing servicing. Asian American and Pacific Islander communities had higher rates of submitting credit reporting complaints than predominantly white, non-Hispanic communities; however, they also had a lower share of delinquent servicing complaints.

09/24/2021

FinCEN starts process for new antiquities trade regs

FinCEN has announced it has issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to solicit public comment on a range of questions related to the implementation of amendments to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) regarding the trade in antiquities. This ANPRM is the first in a series of regulatory actions that FinCEN will undertake to implement Section 6110 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (AML Act), which became law on January 1, 2021.

Section 6110 of the AML Act amended the BSA by including as a type of financial institution a person engaged in the trade of antiquities, including an advisor, consultant, or any other person who engages as a business in the solicitation or the sale of antiquities. Section 6110 requires the Secretary of the Treasury to issue proposed rules to carry out the amendment.

Comments on the ANPRM are due by October 25, 2021.

09/23/2021

IRS hires private collection agencies

The IRS has announced it has awarded new contracts to three private-sector collection agencies for collection of overdue tax debts. The new contracts begin Thursday following today's expiration of the old contracts.

Beginning Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, taxpayers with unpaid tax bills may be contacted by one of the following three agencies:

  • CBE Group, Inc.
  • Coast Professional, Inc.
  • ConServe

The IRS will always notify a taxpayer before transferring their account to a private collection agency (PCA). First, the IRS will send a letter to the taxpayer and their tax representative informing them that their account was assigned to a PCA and giving the name and contact information for the PCA. This mailing will include a copy of Publication 4518, What You Can Expect When the IRS Assigns Your Account to a Private Collection Agency. Following IRS notification, the PCA will send its own letter to the taxpayer and their representative confirming the account transfer. To protect the taxpayer's privacy and security, both the IRS letter and the PCA's letter will contain information that will help taxpayers identify the tax amount owed and assure taxpayers that future collection agency calls they may receive are legitimate.

The private firms are authorized to discuss payment options, including setting up payment agreements with taxpayers. But as with cases assigned to IRS employees, any tax payment must be made directly to the IRS. A payment should never be sent to the private firm or anyone besides the IRS or the U.S. Treasury. Checks should only be made payable to the United States Treasury.

09/23/2021

CFPB announces new Advisory Committee members

CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio has announced the appointment of new members to the Consumer Advisory Board, Community Bank Advisory Council, Credit Union Advisory Council, and Academic Research Council. These committee members will advise Bureau leadership on a broad range of consumer financial issues and emerging market trends.

The committee members include experts in consumer protection, financial services, consumer lending, economic justice, and consumer financial products and services as well as representatives of community banks and credit unions. Committee members serve two-year terms.

Consumer Advisory Board (CAB)

  • Leigh Phillips (Chair), President and CEO, SaverLife (San Francisco, CA)
  • Joaquin Altoro, Chief Executive Officer, Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority (Madison, WI)
  • Lorray Brown, Attorney/Consumer Law Attorney/Co-Director, Michigan Poverty Law Program (Ypsilanti, MI)
  • Louis Caditz-Peck, Director, Public Policy, LendingClub (San Francisco, CA)
  • Stephanie Carroll, Directing Attorney, Consumer Rights & Economic Justice, Public Counsel (Los Angeles, CA)
  • David Ehrich, Executive Director, AIR - Alliance for Innovative Regulation (Washington, DC)
  • Laurie Goodman, Director, Housing Finance Policy Center, Urban Institute (Washington, DC)
  • Margaret Libby, Founder and CEO, MyPath (San Francisco, CA)
  • Andres Navarrete, Executive Vice President, External Affairs, Capital One (McLean, VA)
  • Beverly Ruggia, Financial Justice Program Director, New Jersey Citizen Action (Newark, NJ)
  • Faith Schwartz, President, Housing Finance Strategies, LLC (Austin, TX)
  • Ky Tran-Trong, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Visa (Washington, DC)
  • Pete Upton, Executive Director, Native360 Loan Fund, Inc. (Grand Island, NE)
  • Mae Watson Grote, Founder and CEO, Change Machine (Brooklyn, NY)

Community Bank Advisory Council (CBAC)

  • John Buhrmaster (Chair), President and CEO, First National Bank of Scotia (Scotia, NY)
  • Barry Anderson, President - Chief Operations Officer, F&M Bank (Edmond, OK)
  • Mary Buche, Senior Vice President/Consumer Lending Relationship Manager, Bank of Labor (Olathe, KS)
  • Ronette Hauser-Jones, Mortgage Division President, Great Plains Bank (Oklahoma City, OK)
  • Todd McDonald, Senior Vice President/Board Director, Liberty Bank & Trust Company (New Orleans, LA)
  • Rebecca Melton, Senior Vice President/Chief Credit Officer, The National Bank of Blacksburg (Blacksburg, VA)
  • Kristina Schaefer, General Counsel & Chief Risk Officer, Fishback Financial Corporation/First Bank & Trust (Brookings, SD)
  • Michael Tucker, Chief Executive Officer, Greenfield Cooperative Bank (Greenfield, MA)

Credit Union Advisory Council (CUAC)

  • Jose Iregui (Chair), Vice-President of Consumer Lending, Langley Federal Credit Union (Newport News, VA)
  • Michael Daugherty, President, Community Plus Federal Credit Union (Rantoul, IL)
  • Monica Davis, Senior Vice President Risk Management, Union Square Credit Union (Wichita Falls, TX)
  • Michelle Dwyer, President/CEO, Franklin First Federal Credit Union (Greenfield, MA)
  • Jeff Ivey, President/CEO, River City Federal Credit Union (San Antonio, TX)
  • Jeremiah Kossen, President/CEO, Town and Country Credit Union (Minot, SD)
  • Michael Levy, General Counsel, Travis Credit Union (Vacaville, CA)
  • Deborah Wreden, EVP, Product & Delivery Strategy, Virginia Credit Union (Richmond, VA)

Academic Research Council (ARC)

  • Vicki Bogan (Chair), Associate Professor, Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)
  • Mathieu Despard, Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Greensboro (Greensboro, NC)
  • Eric Johnson, Norman Eig Professor of Business, Columbia University (New York, NY)
  • Michael Staten, Professor and Associate Dean, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ)
  • Anthony Yezer, Professor of Economics, George Washington University (Washington, DC)

09/23/2021

OCC updates Handbook booklets

The OCC has issued Bulletin 2021-44 announcing the agency has issued versions 1.0 of the "Earnings" and "Regulatory Reporting" booklets of the Comptroller's Handbook.

The revised "Earnings" booklet replaces and rescinds the "Analytical Review of Income and Expense" booklet issued in March 1990 (with examination procedures issued in March 1998). The revised "Regulatory Reporting" booklet replaces and rescinds the "Review of Regulatory Reports" booklet also issued in March 1990.

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