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CFPB launches pilot advisory opinion program

The CFPB has announced it has launched pilot advisory opinion (AO) program to publicly address regulatory uncertainty in the Bureau’s existing regulations. The pilot AO program will allow entities seeking to comply with regulatory requirements to submit a request where uncertainty exists. The Bureau will then select topics based on the program’s priorities and make the responses available to the public. The pilot program will focus on four key priorities:

  • Ensuring consumers are provided with timely and understandable information to make responsible decisions
  • Identifying outdated, unnecessary or unduly burdensome regulations in order to reduce regulatory burdens
  • Consistency in enforcement of federal consumer financial law in order to promote fair competition
  • Ensuring markets for consumer financial products and services operate transparently and efficiently to facilitate access and innovation

In addition to the pilot, the Bureau also announced that the public can comment on the proposed AO program, which the Bureau plans to fully implement after it completes a review of comments received following the pilot program.


FDIC Enforcement Actions Manual updated

The FDIC has issued FIL-61-2020 announcing the update of its Formal and Informal Enforcement Actions Manual for the assessment of mandatory civil money penalties (CMPs) for certain pattern and practice violations of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968. The manual provides direction for FDIC staff related to the work needed to pursue formal and informal enforcement actions. It is also intended to support the work of field office, regional office, and Washington office staff involved in processing and monitoring enforcement actions.


OFAC targets sanctions evasion network

Yesterday, OFAC designated three individuals and eight foreign entities, and identified two vessels as blocked property for their activities in or associated with a network attempting to evade United States sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector.

For identification of those targeted by OFAC, see BankersOnline's OFAC Update.


FEMA suspending communities from flood program today

In what appears to be another "catch-up" on required publication of community suspensions from the National Flood Insurance Program, FEMA has published at 85 FR 37019 in today's Federal Register a notice it has scheduled suspensions of communities in Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Washington today, June 19, 2020, for noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program:

  • Idaho: Garden City, Meridian, and unincorporated areas of Ada County
  • Iowa: Charles City, Floyd, Leland, Nora Springs, Rockford, Russ, Scarville, Thompson, and unincorporated areas of Floyd and Winnebago Counties
  • Michigan: Bedford, Berlin, Erie, Estral Beach, Frenchtown, LaSalle, Luna Pier, and Monroe
  • North Carolina: Alliance, Bath, Bayboro, Bridgeton, Chocowinity, Emerald Isle, Greenville, Grimesland, Havelock, Kill Devil Hills, Mesic, Minnesott Beach, Nags Head, New Bern, North Topsail Beach, Oriental, River Bend, Southern Shores, Stonewall, Swansboro, Washington, and unincorporated areas of Carteret, Craven, Currituck, Hyde, Pamlico, and Washington Counties
  • Texas: Unincorporated areas of Denton County
  • Utah: Alpine, American Fork, Bluffdale, Genola, Lehi, Orem, Payson, Salem, Saratoga Springs, Spanish Fork, Springville, and unincorporated areas of Utah County
  • Washington: Bothell, Brier, Bucoda, Darrington, Edmonds, Everett, Gold Bar, Index, Lake Stevens, Lynwood, Marysville, Mill Creek, Monroe, Mountlake Terrace, Mukilteo, Stanwood, Sultan, Tenino, and unincorporated areas of Snohomish and Thurston Counties

If a designated community completed the steps to return to compliance with the floodplain requirements before today, it will not be suspended. Lenders should verify the status of any of the listed communities in which they may be taking real estate as security for a loan before proceeding with the transaction.


OCC: Banks' response to COVID-19 governed by federal standards

OCC Bulletin 2020-62 reminds national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign banks that, even though federal, state, and local governments have taken many actions to respond to the economic disruption caused by the spread of COVID-19, OCC-supervised institutions are governed primarily by uniform federal standards that preempt state law. The Bulletin lists types of state laws and regulations that do not apply to OCC-supervised institutions:

  • State law limitations on terms of credit, disbursements and repayments; and processing, origination, and servicing mortgages
  • State law and regulations on interest and non-interest fees
  • State actions limiting banks' ability to foreclose on defaulted loans and take possession of collateral beyond what is provided for in the CARES Act
  • Attempts to require banks to report to state and local officials

The OCC recommends that banks it supervises should consult with legal counsel to determine the applicability of any particular state or local law. Banks and their counsel may also contact the OCC with questions.


OCC explains how to use LTD ratios

The OCC has issued Bulletin 2020-61 to inform national banks about how the host loan-to-deposit (LTD) ratios issued by the OCC, Fed, and the FDIC on June 2, 2020, are used to determine compliance with section 109 of the Riegle–Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act of 1994 (IBBEA).


CFPB updates Remittance Transfers compliance guide

The CFPB has released version 5.0 of its Remittance Transfers Small Entity Compliance Guide. This version includes the increase in the "safe harbor" exemption threshold from 100 to 500 remittance transfers in the prior and current calendar year, the sunset of the temporary conditional exception allowing insured depository institutions to disclose estimates, and the addition of two new permanent conditional exceptions allowing insured institutions to use estimates. The Bureau also designated this version of the Compliance Guide as a "Compliance Aid."

The latest version of the Compliance Guide is available on the CFPB's Remittance Transfers Compliance and Guidance webpage.

Remittance Rule Changes

Join BankersOnline's John Burnett on June 23 for a special one-hour webinar covering the July 21 Remittance Rule changes.


OFAC sanctions investors supporting Assad regime

On Wednesday, OFAC sanctioned 24 individuals and entities who are actively supporting the corrupt reconstruction efforts of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. These designations include the Treasury Department’s first implementation of sanctions pursuant to the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 (Caesar Act). The Caesar Act, named in honor of the brave photographer who smuggled thousands of pictures out of Syria documenting atrocities committed by the Syrian regime in its prisons, promotes accountability for those who continue to support the Assad regime and its treatment of the Syrian people.

Concurrent with the OFAC designations, the State Department designated 15 persons pursuant to Section 2 of Executive Order (E.O.) 13894, focused on those obstructing, disrupting, or preventing a ceasefire or a political solution to the Syrian conflict.

For identification information on the OFAC- and State Department-designated individuals and entities, see BankersOnline's OFAC Update.


CFPB issues FAQs on credit reporting and CARES Act

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released a Compliance Aid in the form of ten Consumer Reporting FAQs Related to the CARES Act and COVID-19 Pandemic.

In addition to summarizing the Bureau's April 1, 2020, statement on supervisory and enforcement practices regarding the FCRA and Regulation V in light of the CARES Act, the FAQs address the credit reporting requirements of the CARES Act, including considerations for furnishers when reporting consumers as current as required by the CARES Act.

The FAQs also clarify that reporting that a consumer is affected by a natural or declared disaster is not a substitute for complying with the CARES Act credit reporting requirements. In addition, the FAQs address the Bureau’s guidance that provides temporary and targeted flexibility in the event CRAs or the furnisher experiences challenges as a result of the pandemic in investigating consumer disputes.


OFAC sanctions Nigerians for scams targeting U.S. victims

The Treasury Department announced on Tuesday that OFAC, in an action coordinated with the Justice Department, took action against six Nigerian nationals for conducting an elaborate scheme to steal over six million dollars from victims in the United States. The individuals designated have targeted U.S. businesses and individuals through deceptive global threats known as business email compromise (BEC) and romance fraud.

Tuesday's action includes the designation of six individuals conforming to Executive Order 13694, as amended by Executive Order 13757, which targets malicious cyber-enabled activities, including those related to the significant misappropriation of funds or economic resources for private financial gain.

As a result of Tuesday’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated persons that are in the possession or control of U.S. persons or within or transiting the United States are blocked, and U.S. persons generally are prohibited from dealing with them.

For information on the identities of the designated individuals, see BankersOnline's OFAC Update.


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