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Top Story Compliance Related

12/09/2020

SEC orders BlueCrest to pay $170M to fund investors

The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced it has issued a consent order to UK-based investment adviser BlueCrest Capital Management Limited, which has agreed to pay $170 million to settle charges arising from inadequate disclosures, material misstatements, and misleading omissions concerning its transfer of top traders from its flagship client fund, BlueCrest Capital International. to a proprietary fund, BSMA Limited, and replacement of those traders with an underperforming algorithm. The SEC will distribute the $170 million to harmed investors.

12/09/2020

OFAC actions on Tuesday

Treasury has announced that OFAC has designated Hasan Irlu, an official in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and the Iranian regime’s envoy to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, for acting for or on behalf of the IRGC-QF. OFAC also took action against Iran’s Al-Mustafa International University for facilitating IRGC-QF recruitment efforts and one individual, Yusuf Ali Muraj, who supported the terrorist group’s operations.

Treasury also announced that OFAC designated six entities and identified four vessels related to the transport of North Korean coal.

For identification details on the designated individuals, entities, and vessels, see BankersOnline's OFAC Update

12/08/2020

Nationstar Mortgage settles with CFPB and states

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced it has filed a complaint and proposed stipulated judgment and order against Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, which does business as Mr. Cooper. The Bureau’s action is part of a coordinated effort between the Bureau, a multistate group of state attorneys general, and state bank regulators.

Nationstar is one of the nation’s largest mortgage servicers and the largest non-bank mortgage servicer in the United States. The Bureau alleges that Nationstar violated multiple federal consumer financial laws, causing substantial harm to the borrowers whose mortgage loans it serviced, including distressed homeowners. In its complaint, the Bureau alleges that Nationstar engaged in unfair and deceptive acts and practices in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, and violated the Homeowner’s Protection Act of 1998. Specifically, the Bureau alleges that between January 2012 and January 1, 2016, in numerous instances Nationstar—

  • failed to identify loans on its systems that had pending loss-mitigation applications or trial-modification plans, and as a result failed to honor borrowers’ loan modification agreements
  • foreclosed on borrowers to whom it had promised it would not foreclose while their loss mitigation applications were pending
  • improperly increased borrowers’ permanent, modified monthly loan payments
  • misrepresented to borrowers when they would be eligible to have their private mortgage insurance premiums canceled
  • failed to timely remove private mortgage insurance from borrowers’ accounts
  • failed to timely disburse borrowers’ tax payments from their escrow accounts
  • failed to properly conduct escrow analyses for borrowers during their Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings

The proposed judgment and order, if entered by the court, would require Nationstar to pay approximately $73 million in redress to more than 40,000 harmed borrowers. It would also require Nationstar to pay a $1.5 million civil penalty to the Bureau. Attorneys general from all 50 states and the District of Columbia and bank regulators from 53 jurisdictions covering 48 states and Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia have also settled with Nationstar today and their settlements are reflected in separate actions, concurrently filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

The Bureau’s and states’ proposed judgments and orders, if entered by the court, will yield nearly $85 million in recoveries for consumers to date and over $6 million more in fees and penalties. They are also part of a larger government effort, which also includes assistance from the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) and the United States Trustee Program, to address Nationstar’s alleged unlawful mortgage loan servicing practices.

12/08/2020

Fed indexes reserve requirement tranches for 2021

In a formality required by statute despite its 0 percent reserve requirements, the Federal Reserve Board has announced its annual indexing of the reserve requirement exemption amount and the low reserve tranche in Regulation D for calendar year 2021. Because of the Board's dropping its reserve requirement percentages to 0 percent in March 2020, the mandated indexing will not affect banks.

The reserve requirement exemption amount will be set at $21.1 million, up from $16.9 million in 2020, and is the amount of a depository institution's reservable liabilities that will always be exempt from reserve requirements. The low reserve tranche will be set at $182.9 million, up from $127.5 million in 2020, and is the amount of a depository institution's net transaction accounts that may, under the statute, be subject to a reserve requirement ratio of not greater than three percent (and which may be zero). A depository institution's net transaction accounts greater than the low reserve tranche may, under the statute, be subject to a reserve requirement ratio of not greater than 14 percent (and which may be zero).

12/08/2020

OFAC targets Chinese nationals and updates Iran-related FAQs

OFAC has designated 14 members of China's 12th National People's Congress Standing Committee under OFAC's Hong Kong-related sanctions program in accordance with Executive Order 13936 on Hong Kong Normalization.

For a list of designated individuals and their identification information, see this BankersOnline's OFAC Update.

OFAC also announced it had added two new and updated four Iran-related FAQs. For details, see this BankersOnline's OFAC Update.

12/08/2020

FDIC releases three Outstanding CRA evaluations

The FDIC has released a list of 58 banks recently examined for compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act. Of the banks listed, 54 received a Satisfactory rating for their evaluations. A bank in North Dakota received a "Substantial Noncompliance" rating.

We congratulate these three banks, whose evaluations were rated Outstanding:

12/07/2020

Bureau sues online lender for MLA violations

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has filed a lawsuit against LendUp Loans, LLC. The Bureau alleges that LendUp violated the Military Lending Act in connection with its extensions of credit.

LendUp, which has its principal place of business in Oakland, California, is an online lender that offers single-payment and installment loans to consumers. The Bureau’s complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, seeks an injunction, as well as damages, redress to consumers, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and the imposition of civil money penalties.

The Bureau alleges that since October 2016, LendUp has made over 4,000 single-payment or installment loans to over 1,200 covered borrowers in violation of the MLA. The Bureau claims that LendUp’s violations of the MLA include extending loans with an MAPR that exceeds the MLA’s 36% cap, extending loans that require borrowers to submit to arbitration, and failing to make certain required loan disclosures, including a statement of the applicable MAPR.

The Bureau said that its action against LendUp is part of a sweep of investigations of multiple lenders that may be violating the Military Lending Act.

12/07/2020

Cheesecake Factory settles misleading disclosure charges

The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced it has settled charges against The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated for making misleading disclosures about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its business operations and financial condition. The action is the SEC's first charging a public company for misleading investors about the financial effects of the pandemic.

The SEC's Order states that, in SEC filings in March and April, The Cheesecake Factory stated that its restaurants were "operating sustainably" during the COVID-19 pandemic. But the filings were materially false and misleading, according to the SEC, because the company's internal documents at the time showed that the company was losing approximately $6 million in cash per week and that it projected that it had only 16 weeks of cash remaining. The order finds that although the company did not disclose this internal information in its March 23 and April 3 filings, the company did share this information with potential private equity investors or lenders in connection with an effort to seek additional liquidity.

The SEC's order finds that The Cheesecake Factory violated reporting provisions of the federal securities laws. Without admitting the findings in the order, The Cheesecake Factory agreed to pay a $125,000 penalty and to cease and desist from further violations of the charged provisions.

12/03/2020

OFAC sanctions associate of major fugitive drug lord

The Treasury Department has announced that OFAC has designated Mexican national Lucio Rodriguez Serrano as a Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker in accordance with the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. Rodriguez Serrano engages in various activities on behalf of Rafael Caro Quintero, a major Mexican narcotics trafficker and the mastermind behind the murder of Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in 1985. Caro Quintero remains a fugitive from U.S. justice.

As a result of OFAC’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated individual that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or persons within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.

For further identification information on Rodriguez Serrano and several other OFAC changes, see BankersOnline's OFAC Update.

12/02/2020

OCC reports 14 outstanding CRA evaluations

The OCC has released a list of Community Reinvestment Act performance evaluations that became public during November. Of the 39 evaluations made public last month, 25 are rated Satisfactory, and these 14 institutions' evaluations are rated Outstanding (links are to the banks’ evaluations):

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