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Top Story Compliance Related

02/26/2021

FFIEC BSA/AML Exam Manual updates

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) has released updates to four sections of the FFIEC Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) Examination Manual:

The updates should not be interpreted as new instructions or as a new or increased focus on certain areas; instead, they offer further transparency into the examination process and support risk-focused examination work.

The Manual provides instructions to examiners for assessing the adequacy of a bank’s or credit union’s BSA/AML compliance program and its compliance with BSA regulatory requirements. The Manual itself does not establish requirements for banks; such requirements are found in statutes and regulations.

02/26/2021

FATF Plenary Meeting report

The Treasury Department has announced that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) concluded its second plenary meeting during the German FATF presidency, its third virtual plenary since the start of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The FATF advanced its work on several important issues, including finalizing a non-public report on terrorist financing and agreeing to seek public comment on updated guidance documents on virtual assets and proliferation finance.

02/25/2021

OCC CRA evaluation schedules announced

The OCC has released its schedule of Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) evaluations to be conducted in the second and third quarters of 2021.

02/25/2021

Discrimination charge against PA housing provider

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced charges against Perry Homes, Inc., and Whittington and Whittington, doing business as Perry Homes, with violating the Fair Housing Act by refusing to allow assistance animals in rental properties in Harmony, Cranberry Township, and Zelienople, Pennsylvania. HUD's charge specifically alleges that rental agents for Perry Homes told fair housing testers posing as prospective tenants with disabilities that they could accept service animals but were not permitted to accept “emotional support” animals.

02/25/2021

FinCEN issues advisory on crimes targeting EIPs

FinCEN has issued Advisory FIN-2021-A002, on Financial Crimes Targeting COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments [a/k/a "Stimulus Payments"]. The Advisory contains descriptions of EIP fraud, associated red flag indicators, and information on reporting suspicious activity. It is part of a series published by FinCEN on COVID-19-related frauds and criminal activity. Additional COVID-19-related information is located on FinCEN’s website at https://www.fincen.gov/coronavirus.

02/24/2021

CFPB reconsidering QM rules

The Bureau has released a statement [scheduled for Federal Register publication on 2/26/2021] on the mandatory compliance date of the General QM Final Rule and possible reconsideration of that rule and the Seasoned QM Final Rule.

The Bureau is considering whether to initiate a rulemaking to revisit the Seasoned QM Final Rule. If the Bureau decides to do so, it expects that it will consider in that rulemaking whether any potential final rule revoking or amending the Seasoned QM Final Rule should affect covered transactions for which an application was received during the period from March 1, 2021, until the effective date of such a final rule.

The Bureau also expects to issue shortly a proposed rule that would delay the July 1, 2021, mandatory compliance date of the General QM Final Rule. If such a proposed rule were finalized, creditors would be able to use either the current General QM loan definition or the revised General QM loan definition for applications received during the period from March 1, 2021, until the delayed mandatory compliance date. Furthermore, the Bureau anticipates that the Temporary GSE QM loan definition will remain in effect until the new mandatory compliance date, except that the Temporary GSE QM loan definition would expire with respect to a GSE if that GSE ceases to operate under conservatorship prior to the new mandatory compliance date.

The Bureau will consider at a later date whether to initiate another rulemaking to reconsider other aspects of the General QM Final Rule. Acting Director Dave Uelio discussed the two rules and the Bureau's plans in a Bureau Blog post yesterday.

The CFPB also posted an update of its small entity compliance guide for the ATR/QM rule, to include the latest amendments to the rule.

02/24/2021

FDIC releases fair lending assistance videos

The FDIC's FIL-10-2021 has announced the release of nine technical assistance videos on fair lending. The information in the videos is intended as a high-level overview to help FDIC-supervised institutions assess and mitigate fair lending risk, and to understand how FDIC examiners evaluate fair lending compliance. The videos range in length from approximately 10 to 28 minutes and are available on the FDIC Banker Resource Center.

  • Video 1 provides an overview of the federal fair lending laws and regulations and is intended for bank directors and senior managers.
    Video 2 focuses on how a bank’s compliance management system can mitigate fair lending risk and is intended for bank management and compliance staff.
  • Video 3 discusses how FDIC examiners evaluate fair lending risk during a consumer compliance examination and is intended for bank management and compliance staff.
  • Videos 4-9 discuss specific fair lending risk factors, as provided in the interagency fair lending examination procedures: overt discrimination, underwriting, pricing, steering, redlining, and marketing. These six videos are intended for bank management and compliance staff.

02/23/2021

Regulators' supervisory practices following Texas storms

The OCC, FRB, FDIC, NCUA, and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors issued a statement Monday that they recognize the serious impact of Texas winter storms on the customers and operations of many financial institutions and will provide appropriate regulatory assistance to affected institutions subject to their supervision. The agencies encourage institutions operating in the affected areas to meet the financial services needs of their communities. A complete list of the affected disaster areas can be found HERE.

02/23/2021

U,S. targets members of Burma's administration

The Treasury Department has announced that OFAC has sanctioned two individuals connected to the military apparatus responsible for the coup in Burma. OFAC took these actions in response to the Burmese security forces’ killing of peaceful protestors, imposing the sanctions under Executive Order 14014, the new Burma-focused sanctions authority President Biden issued on February 11. For identification details, see this BankersOnline OFAC Update.

OFAC also posted updates to CAATSA–Russia-related SDN listings, which can be seen in this BankersOnline OFAC Update.

02/23/2021

Bureau and 3 states sue Libre for predatory immigrant scam

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced that, in partnership with the attorneys general of Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia, it is suing Libre by Nexus, Inc. and its owners for a predatory immigrant-services scam that traps victims into paying expensive, long-term fees. The CFPB alleges in the complaint that Libre preys on immigrants, primarily Hispanics, who speak little or no English and are being held in federal detention centers, desperate to return to their families. Libre lures its victims through a series of false and misleading statements about its programs, pressuring them to sign abusive, English-only contracts that bind the immigrants to years of exorbitant monthly payments.

According to the CFPB investigation, Libre’s business model preys on detainees and their families desperate to get the detainees out of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers where they have been held, sometimes for months, while awaiting resolution of their immigration cases. In exchange for securing a bond, Libre requires the immigrants to pay a huge upfront fee equal to 25 to 30 percent of the bond plus $420 per month to “lease” GPS-tracking ankle monitors until their case is resolved, usually years later. Unlike a fully-paid bond, these fees are never refunded. In the end, the CFPB alleges, the immigrants often end up paying far more in non-refundable Libre fees than they would have paid for their refundable ICE bond.

The complaint also alleges that Libre:

  • Coerces vulnerable non-English speakers to sign predatory financial contracts in English
  • Deceives consumers about its relationship with immigration authorities
  • Strong-arms detainees with false debt collection threats
  • Incentivizes its employees to deceive and threaten

In its lawsuit, the CFPB is seeking an injunction, damages or restitution to consumers, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and the imposition of civil money penalties.

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