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Top Story Compliance Related

06/05/2020

Whistleblower awarded nearly $50M

The SEC announced yesterday a nearly $50 million whistleblower award to an individual who provided detailed, firsthand observations of misconduct by a company, which resulted in a successful enforcement action that returned a significant amount of money to harmed investors. This is the largest amount ever awarded to one individual under the SEC’s whistleblower program.

06/05/2020

FTC Annual Enforcement Report sent to CFPB

The staff of the FTC has provided its 2019 Annual Financial Acts Enforcement Report to the Bureau on its enforcement and related activities regarding the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), Consumer Leasing Act (CLA), and Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA).

The report highlights, among other things, the FTC’s enforcement actions related to automobile purchases and financing, payday lending, credit repair and debt relief, consumer electronics financing, and electronic fund transfers. It also addresses the FTC’s research and policy efforts related to truth in lending, including assessment and review of information from a qualitative study of consumers’ experiences in buying and financing automobiles at dealerships, and a workshop examining small business financing.

The report highlights the agency’s Military Task Force, which comprises a cross-section of FTC representatives and focuses on various initiatives to assist military consumers. The report further outlines the FTC’s consumer and business education efforts on truth in lending, leasing, and electronic fund transfer issues. A copy of the report also has been provided to the Federal Reserve Board.

06/05/2020

FDIC CRA ratings released

The FDIC yesterday issued a list of 78 state nonmember banks recently evaluated for compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The list covers evaluation ratings that the FDIC assigned to institutions in March 2020. Sixty-seven were rated Satisfactory, one Needs to Improve, and the following ten were rated Outstanding:

06/05/2020

OCC proposing regs updates

On Thursday, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced it has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPR) for public comment to update its rules for national bank and federal savings association activities and operations. The agency also released an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) seeking comment on rules on those institutions' digital activities.

The NPR would make various changes to 12 CFR 7 to update or eliminate outdated regulatory requirements that no longer reflect the modern financial system and clarify and codify recent OCC interpretations. Among the significant proposed changes are:

  • incorporating and streamlining OCC interpretations addressing permissible derivatives activities for national banks;
  • codifying OCC interpretations to permit national banks and federal savings associations to engage in certain tax equity finance transactions;
  • codifying OCC interpretations regarding national bank membership in payment systems and clarifying that federal savings associations are subject to the same requirements as national banks;
  • expanding the ability of national banks to choose corporate governance provisions under state law;
  • clarifying the extent to which a national bank may adopt anti-takeover provisions permissible under state corporate governance law;
  • clarifying when national bank participation in a financial literacy program on the premises of, or a facility used by, a school or other organization would not be a branch; and
  • codifying OCC interpretations of the National Bank Act relating to capital stock issuances and repurchases.

The ANPR invites comment on OCC regulations at 12 CFR part 7, subpart E and part 155, and any other banking issues related to digital technology and innovation, including:

  • whether the legal standards in 12 CFR 7, subpart E, and 12 CFR 155 are sufficiently flexible and clear in light of the technological advances that have transformed the financial industry over the past two decades;
  • whether these legal standards create unnecessary hurdles or burdens to innovation by banks;
  • whether there are digital banking activities or issues that are not covered by these rules that the OCC should address (e.g., digital finders’ activities, certain software, and correspondent services);
  • what activities related to cryptocurrencies or cryptoassets are financial services companies or bank customers engaged in and what are the barriers or obstacles to further adoption of crypto-related activities in the banking industry;
  • how is distributed ledger technology used or potentially used in activities related to banking;
  • how are artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques used or potentially used in activities related to banking;
  • what new payments technologies and processes should the OCC be aware of and what are the potential implications of these technologies and processes for the banking industry;
  • what new or innovative tools do financial services companies use to comply with regulations and supervisory expectations (i.e., “regtech”);
  • what issues are unique to smaller institutions regarding the use and implementation of innovative products, services, or processes that the OCC should consider;
  • what other changes to the development and delivery of banking products and services should the OCC be aware of and consider; and
  • whether there are issues the OCC should consider in light of changes in the banking system that have occurred in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Comments on both the NPR and the ANPR are due by August 3, 2020.

06/05/2020

Syria-related sanctions regulations

OFAC has announced it is issuing regulations to implement Executive Order 13894 of October 14, 2019 (“Blocking Property and Suspending Entry of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Syria”). These regulations will take effect upon publication in today’s Federal Register. OFAC intends to supplement the regulations with a more comprehensive set of regulations, which may include additional interpretive and definitional guidance, general licenses, and statements of licensing policy.

06/04/2020

CFPB statement on Reg Z disclosures during pandemic

The CFPB has issued a statement to help consumers receive relief during the pandemic more quickly from their credit card issuer. Regulation Z requires that creditors provide written disclosures to consumers for account-opening and temporary rate or fee reduction. During the pandemic, consumers may seek to open a new account or request a temporary reduction in APR or fees for an existing account or a low-rate balance transfer. The Bureau is providing temporary and targeted flexibility for credit card issuers regarding electronic provision of certain disclosures normally required to be in writing during this pandemic.

Specifically, the Bureau's statement pertains to oral telephone interactions where a card issuer may seek to open a new credit card account for a consumer, to provide certain temporary reductions in APRs or fees applicable to an existing account, or to offer a low-rate balance transfer. In these instances, the Bureau does not intend to cite a violation in an examination or bring an enforcement action against an issuer that during a phone call does not obtain a consumer’s E-Sign demonstrative consent to electronic provision of the written disclosures required by Regulation Z, so long as the issuer during the phone call obtains both the consumer’s oral consent to electronic delivery of the written disclosures and oral affirmation of his or her ability to access and review the electronic written disclosures.

The Bureau has also issued FAQs focusing on existing regulatory flexibilities for open-end credit (that is not home-secured) that may be useful for assisting customers.

06/04/2020

Get ready for the 2020 Summary of Deposits survey

The FDIC has issued FIL-59-2020 announcing its annual survey of branch office deposits as of June 30, 2020. All FDIC-insured institutions, including insured U.S. branches of foreign banks, other than institutions with no branch offices, are required to complete and submit the survey by July 31, and no filing extensions will be granted.

06/04/2020

Electronic filing of CMIR now allowed

FinCEN has posted a link to an electronic filing version of the Currency and Monetary Instrument Report (CMIR). FinCEN and U.S. Customs and Border Protection developed the electronic filing version, which is available via FinCEN's Filing Information webpage (together with FinCEN's fillable PDF version) or directly on the Department of Homeland Security website.

The CMIR is used by persons entering or exiting the United States, and physically transporting $10,000 or more in currency or other monetary instruments at one time. It's also used by each person who receives currency or other monetary instruments in the United States which have been transported, mailed, or shipped from any place outside the United States and each person who transports, mails or ships currency or other monetary instruments from within the U.S. to locations outside the U.S.

The paper version remains available for use, especially by travelers transporting currency or monetary instruments.

06/04/2020

FDIC updates exam-related manuals

The FDIC has posted its May 2020 updates to the agency's Consumer Compliance Examination Manual, with changes to the following sections:

  • II-14.1 - SOURCE Violation Codes were modernized and streamlined
  • III-2.1 - Bank of Anytown (ZIP file of Word Documents). Updated to conform to the new SOURCE Violation Codes and remove the CRA Performance Evaluation example
  • XII - All CRA Performance Evaluation templates were updated to conform to updated writing procedures

The FDIC also updated its Risk Management Manual of Examination Policies as of June 1, 2020, with changes to Section 21.1 (Emergency Planning), including additions to the Examination Profile Script to promote the availability of options for off-site loan review and examiner connectivity, and to address modifications related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

06/03/2020

OCC CRA evaluation ratings

Yesterday the OCC released a list of Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) performance evaluations that became public in May. Of the 17 evaluations listed, 14 were rated Satisfactory and the following three were rated Outstanding as Intermediate Small banks (links are to evaluation reports):

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