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Top Story Compliance Related

01/08/2021

OCC releases CRA evaluations

The OCC has released a list of Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) performance evaluations that became public during the month of December. Of the 23 evaluations listed, 16 are rated satisfactory, and the evaluations of the following seven banks are rated outstanding:

01/07/2021

French bank settles potential OFAC CMPs

OFAC announced Wednesday a settlement with Union de Banques Arabes et Françaises (“UBAF”), a bank based in France that facilitates trade finance between Europe and the Middle East, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia. UBAF agreed to remit $8,572,500 to settle its potential civil liability for 127 apparent violations of Syria-related sanctions. UBAF processed the payments on behalf of sanctioned Syrian financial institutions with the majority of the apparent violations involving UBAF’s processing of internal transfers on behalf of Syrian entities that were followed by corresponding funds transfers through the U.S. financial system.

01/07/2021

Acting Comptroller responds to CFPB Taskforce report

Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian P. Brooks issued a statement yesterday upon the release of the CFPB's taskforce report endorsing the need for federal charters for financial technology (fintech) companies.

in response to the taskforce's recommendation that the CFPB be empowered to issue federal charters to fintech companies, Brooks said, "Under the law, the agency that grants national charters to companies engaged in lending, payments, or deposit-taking is the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which has the responsibility for prudential supervision to ensure these chartered institutions operate in a safe, sound, and fair manner. In its wisdom, Congress in the Dodd-Frank Act separated chartering and prudential supervision from consumer protection enforcement, assigning chartering authority to the OCC and specific consumer protection enforcement authority to the CFPB."

01/07/2021

Agencies publish rule announced in October

The interagency rule to reduce the impact of large bank failures that was announced in October 2020 has been published in the January 6, 2021, Federal Register.

01/07/2021

HMDA filing platform open for 2020 data

The CFPB opened the filing period for HMDA data collected in 2020 on January 1, 2021. The deadline for timely filing 2020 data is March 1, 2021. Financial institutions can access the HMDA Platform to begin the filing process for data collected in 2020 at https://ffiec.cfpb.gov/filing/.

The Beta Testing Platform, found at https://ffiec.beta.cfpb.gov/filing/, will remain available on an ongoing basis for filers wishing to test their submissions. The Beta Testing Platform is for testing purposes only, and data entered on the Beta Testing Platform will not be considered a HMDA submission for compliance with HMDA data reporting requirements.

01/06/2021

CFPB releases Taskforce report

The CFPB has announced that its Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law has released a report in two volumes [Volume I; Volume II] with recommendations on how to improve consumer protection in the financial marketplace. The Taskforce Report uses five interrelated principles that serve as the foundation for proposed systematic changes to the current legal and regulatory framework: consumer protection, information and education, competition and innovation, regulatory modernization and flexibility, and inclusion and access.

In its report, the Taskforce makes approximately 100 recommendations to the Bureau, Congress, and state and federal regulators to strengthen consumer protection. Among the Taskforce recommendations are:

  • Authorize the Bureau to issue licenses to non-depository institutions that provide lending, money transmission, and payments services;
  • Expand access to the payment system by unbanked and underbanked consumers and ensure consistent treatment by applying the same rules to similar financial products;
  • Identify competitive barriers and make appropriate recommendations to policymakers and regulators for expanding access to the payments systems by non-bank providers;
  • Research and develop policies tailored to the unique challenges of formerly incarcerated people, and work with state and federal authorities to improve protection of this population;
  • Research and develop policies to address problems of financial inclusion in rural communities;
  • Facilitate creditor access to immigrants’ credit information prior to their arrival in the United States in order to use that information in credit decisions;
  • Research consumer reporting issues that arise in connection with a consumer’s bankruptcy;
  • Consider the benefits and costs of preempting state law where conflicts can impede the provision of valuable products and services, such as the regulation of FinTech companies engaged in money transmission;
  • Identify opportunities to coordinate regulatory efforts. For example, the Bureau and prudential regulators should eliminate overlapping examination subject areas and reconcile inconsistent examination standards that unnecessarily expend multiple resources and can cause confusion;
  • Continue to increase dialogue with state regulators to bridge knowledge gaps and streamline regulation;
  • Work with other agencies to create a unified regulatory regime for new and innovative technologies providing services similar to banks;
  • Establish independent review of the Bureau’s regulatory cost-benefit analyses by staffing an office of cost-benefit analysis at the Bureau and or by submitting its analyses to OIRA for review;
  • Evaluate any positive or negative effect on inclusion as part of the Bureau’s cost-benefit analyses as appropriate;
  • Exercise caution (a recommendation for the Bureau, Congress, and other federal and state regulators) in restricting the use of nonfinancial alternative data, which can be very useful indicators of creditworthiness.
  • Clarify the obligations of CRAs and furnishers with respect to disputes under the FCRA;
  • Assess periodically the accuracy and completeness of consumer credit reports.

01/06/2021

OFAC targets key actors in Iran's steel sector

OFAC has designated a China-based supplier of graphite electrodes, a key element in steel production, as well as twelve Iranian producers of steel and other metals products, and three foreign-based sales agents of a major Iranian metals and mining holding company. This action was taken pursuant to Executive Order 13871, which imposes sanctions on several sectors of the Iranian economy, including Iran’s steel sector, that continue to generate significant revenue for the Iranian regime.

In concurrent actions, the State Department has sanctioned entities and an individual, Majid Sajdeh, under the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 (IFCA).

The names and identification information on the sanctioned individual and entities are list in BankersOnline's OFAC Update.

OFAC also updated its CAATSA FAQs yesterday.

01/05/2021

OFAC issues Venezuela-related license and updates FAQ

OFAC has posted a Notice of Recent Actions announcing it has issued General License 31A, "Certain Transactions Involving the IV Venezuelan National Assembly, the Interim President of Venezuela, and Certain Other Persons Authorized" (replacing and superseding General License 31, dated August 5, 2019). In addition, OFAC has amended related Frequently Asked Question 679.

01/05/2021

OCC proposes rule on permissible bank premises

The OCC has issued and invited comments on a proposed rule to codify permissibility standards for real estate used a national bank or federal savings association premises. The proposed rule would clarify standards for determining when real estate is necessary for the transaction of an institution's business. Comments on the proposal will be accepted for 45 days following its Federal Register publication.

01/04/2021

2019 Terrorist Assets Report

OFAC has released the 2019 Terrorist Assets Report. This is the 28th annual report to Congress on assets in the U.S. relating to terrorist countries and organizations engaged in international terrorism.

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