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Nacha approves contact registry rule

Nacha has issued a supplement to its Operating Rules to require participants to provide contact information for an ACH Contact Registry, beginning July 1, 2020, with a deadline for completion of registration of October 30, 2020. Distribution of Supplement #1-2020 is restricted to those who have purchased or have been provided with the 2020 edition of of the Nacha Operating Rules & Guidelines or access to the 2020 Nacha Operating Rules online resource. Nacha will have enforcement authority for the registration requirement beginning August 1, 2021.


NCUA Board announces approvals

The National Credit Union Administration Board has announced it has unanimously approved:

  • a proposed rule to permit low-income-designated credit unions, complex credit unions, and newly chartered federal credit unions to issue subordinated debt.
  • a proposed rule that provides greater clarity on the regulations governing transactions where a federally insured credit union proposes to assume liabilities from or merge with another institution that is not a credit union.
  • the 2020 Annual Performance Plan, which outlines the strategies and initiatives the NCUA will use to achieve the performance measures and outcomes described in the 2018–2022 Strategic Plan.
  • an extension of the current 18-percent interest ceiling on most federal credit union loans until September 2021.


OCC acts against former Wells Fargo Bank management

The OCC announced Thursday it has issued a notice of charges against five former senior executives of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and announced settlements with the bank’s former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and other members of the bank’s operating committee. These actions stem from the executive's role in the bank's systemic sale practices misconduct (see "Incentive program costs Wells Fargo $185 M in CMPs," 9/9/2016).

The current or former executives charged and the relief sought by the notice of charges include:

  • Carrie Tolstedt, head of Wells Fargo's Community Bank -- Prohibition order and $25 million civil money penalty (CMP)
  • Claudia Russ Anderson, Community Bank group risk officer -- Prohibition order and $5 million CMP
  • James Strother, general counsel, Cease & Desist (C&D) order and $5 million CMP
  • David Julian, chief auditor -- C&D order and $2 million CMP
  • Paul McLinko, executive audit director -- C&D order and $500,000 CMP

The OCC stated the notice of charges alleges those executives failed to adequately perform their duties and responsibilities, which contributed to the bank’s systemic problems with sales practices misconduct from 2002 until October 2016, and the misconduct of those individuals allowed the practices to continue for years, affecting millions of bank customers and thousands of lower level bank employees. Additionally, the notice states that Ms. Russ Anderson also made false and misleading statements to the OCC and actively obstructed the OCC’s examinations of the bank’s sales practices. Under federal law, each of those individuals may request a hearing challenging the allegations and relief sought.

The OCC's press release also announced it had issued consent orders against three former Wells Fargo executives for their roles in the bank's sales practices misconduct:

for their roles in the bank’s sales practices misconduct.


TCH increasing RTP payment cap to $100,000

The Clearing House has announced it will increase the general transaction value limit on its RTP® (real time payments) network from $25,000 to $100,000, effective February 1, 2020. Under the new rules, depository institutions on the RTP network are required to accept payments up to $100,000. However, individual participants may set a lower value limit for payments they originate.


Treasury targets network supporting Iran

The Treasury Department has announced that OFAC took action Thursday against four international petrochemical and petroleum companies that have collectively transferred the equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of exports from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), an entity instrumental in Iran’s petroleum and petrochemical industries, which helps to finance Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and its terrorist proxies. Treasury stated that Iran’s petroleum and petrochemical industries are major sources of revenue for the Iranian regime and funds its malign activities throughout the Middle East, and the entities targeted Thursday facilitate Iran’s petrochemical and petroleum exports in contravention of U.S. economic sanctions.

Concurrently with the U.S. Department of Treasury’s designations, the U.S. Department of State designated several companies and senior executives pursuant to E.O. 13846 in connection with significant transactions for the transport of petrochemical products from Iran, on or after November 5, 2018.

All property and interests in property of the persons designated Thursday subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. In addition, foreign financial institutions that knowingly facilitate significant transactions for, or persons that provide material or certain other support to, the persons designated today risk exposure to sanctions that could sever their access to the U.S. financial system or block their property and interests in property under U.S. jurisdiction.

For identifying information on the individuals and entities designated, see BankersOnline's OFAC Update


Agencies publish rule on measuring derivatives contracts risk

The Federal Reserve, OCC and FDIC have published [85 FR 4362] their final rule, announced in November, to implement a new approach—the standardized approach for counterparty credit risk (SA-CCR)—for calculating the exposure amount of derivative contracts under these agencies' regulatory capital rule.


Small business lending and the Great Recession

The CFPB has posted an article announcing the Bureau's release of a data point report on the evolution of small business lending before, during, and following the Great Recession (2004-2017) that shows how small businesses' access to credit from traditional sources has declined during the Great Recession and has recovered somewhat and unevenly since the end of the Great Recession.

The report utilizes data from the Community Reinvestment Act on small business lending at the county level from 2004-2017 and Census data on the number of employer and non-employer firms.Some of the primary findings from the report are:

  • Following the Great Recession period, small business lending has increased, but lenders in the median county still made only one-half the number of small business loans per business in 2017 that they had made in 2004.
  • After the Great Recession, there was an increase in small business lending but there has been substantial variation by county and state, unlike the uniform decrease in such lending during the Great Recession.
  • Following the Great Recession, there were regional differences in increases in small business lending—states on the East Coast and in the South recovered at a faster rate than states in the Great Plains and West.
  • From before the Great Recession through 2017, the total number of thrifts, community banks, and large banks engaged in small business lending has declined. However, the number of credit unions offering small business lending products has increased since the beginning of the Great Recession.


1.7 million fraud reports to FTC in 2019

The Federal Trade Commission has reported it received almost !.7 million fraud reports in 2019, and Commission actions in 2019 resulted in more than $232 million in refunds to consumers. The most common type of fraud reported to the FTC in 2019 was imposter scams; government imposter scams, in particular, were the most frequently reported, and up more than 50 percent since 2018. Of all reports received, the top categories were identity theft, imposter scams, telephone and mobile services, online shopping, and credit bureaus.


SEC to return $63M to defrauded investors

The SEC has announced that it has obtained a court order authorizing the distribution of over $63 million to investors in connection with a previously filed action. This amount represents the full return of funds to those who invested. A complaint filed by the SEC in May 2019 alleged that Robert C. Morgan, a New York residential and commercial real estate developer, and two of his entities, Morgan Mezzanine Fund Manager LLC and Morgan Acquisitions LLC, engaged in a fraudulent real estate investment scheme. As alleged, Morgan financed his real estate development projects through, among other ways, the sales of securities to more than 200 retail investors, many of whom invested through their retirement accounts. Morgan represented to investors that their money would be used to improve multifamily properties. Instead, as alleged in the complaint, Morgan and his entities diverted investor funds to facilitate payments to earlier investors and made misrepresentations to later investors about prior fund performance.

Upon filing this action, the SEC sought and obtained certain emergency relief, including the appointment of a receiver responsible for maximizing the monetary recovery for investors. Since filing, Morgan voluntarily liquidated certain assets to generate funds for collection by the receiver. On January 21, 2020, the court approved the receiver’s plan to distribute over $63 million to harmed investors.


House prices up in November

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has posted its November 2019 House Price Index, which indicates U.S. house prices were up 0.2 percent from October and rose 4.9 percent from November 2018 to November 2019. The previously reported 0.2 percent increase for October 2019 was revised upward to 0.4 percent. For the nine census divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly house price changes from October 2019 to November 2019 ranged from -0.1 percent in the Mountain division to +0.8 percent in the East North Central division. The 12-month changes were all positive, ranging from +3.8 percent in the New England and the West South Central divisions to +6.3 percent in the Mountain division.


OFAC adds Venezuela designations

The Treasury Department has announced that OFAC has identified fifteen aircraft as blocked property of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) pursuant to Executive Order 13884, which blocks the property and interests in property of the Government of Venezuela. Identification of those aircraft is provided in BankersOnline's OFAC Update.


Marijuana scheme halted by SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced it has filed charges against Guy S. Griffithe, Robert W. Russell, and three companies they controlled, for an alleged scheme that defrauded investors, who thought they were purchasing interests in a Washington-licensed recreational cannabis company, out of approximately $4.85 million. The SEC's complaint, filed in federal court in California, charges Griffithe, Russell, Renewable, SMRB, and Green Acres Pharms LLC with violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. In addition, the complaint charges Griffithe, Renewable, and Green Acres Pharms with violating the registration provisions of federal securities laws. Russell's wife, Sonja Marie Russell, is named as Relief Defendant in the complaint.


FHFA adjusts cap on community financial institutions

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has posted a notice [85 FR 3680] in today's Federal Register adjusting the cap on average total assets that is used in determining whether a Federal Home Loan Bank member qualifies as a “community financial institution” to $1,224,000,000. The change took effect on January 1, 2020.


FEMA to suspend communities in 3 states today

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has published a notice [85 FR 3548] in today's Federal Register announcing the suspension, effective today, of communities in Kansas, Missouri, and Texas from the National Flood Insurance Program for noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program.

  • Kansas: Unincorporated areas of Butler County
  • Missouri: City of Maryville
  • Texas: Bee Cave, Creedmoor, Gonzales, Lakeway, Mustang Ridge, Point Venture, Rollingwood, San Leanna, The Hills, Volente, West Lake Hills, and unincorporated areas of Gonzales County

In the event that any of the named communities adopt and submit required documentation of legally enforceable floodplain management measures prior to actual suspension, those communities will not be suspended.


OCC levies $18 million Flood Act penalty

The OCC announced Tuesday it has assessed a $17,998,510 civil money penalty against Citibank, N.A., Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for violations of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 and the OCC's implementing regulations.

The OCC found the bank engaged in a pattern or practice of violating 42 U.S.C. § 4012a(e) and 12 C.F.R. § 22.7(a). Specifically, the bank failed to purchase regulatory required flood insurance on behalf of borrowers with loans secured by buildings and mobile homes located in special flood hazard areas where flood insurance is available in a timely manner. The failure to purchase the required flood insurance in a timely manner resulted from Citibank’s deficient FDPA policies and procedures, which allowed the bank’s third-party service provider to extend the 45-day notification period after the initial borrower notification.


Amended Venezuela-related general licenses

On Friday, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued amended Venezuela-related General License 5B "Authorizing Certain Transactions Related to the Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. 2020 8.5 Percent Bond on or After April 22, 2020" and General License 8E "Authorizing Transactions Involving Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) Necessary for Maintenance of Operations for Certain Entities in Venezuela."


Operators of credit repair scheme banned

The Federal Trade Commission has announced the operators of a bogus credit repair scheme have been banned from the credit repair business and are subject to a wide array of other requirements under settlement terms with the Commission. The settlements relate to an FTC complaint filed in June 2019 alleging that the defendants targeted consumers with false promises of substantially improving consumers’ credit scores by claiming to remove all negative items and “hard” credit inquiries (which can often change a consumer’s credit score) from consumers’ credit reports. In addition, the FTC alleged the defendants illegally charged upfront fees for their services and advised consumers to mislead credit bureaus and lenders, as well as threatening consumers with lawsuits when they complained or disputed charges.


Industrial production declines

December 2019 G.17 Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization data have been released by the Federal Reserve System indicating that industrial production declined 0.3 percent in December, as a decrease of 5.6 percent for utilities outweighed increases of 0.2 percent for manufacturing and 1.3 percent for mining. The drop for utilities resulted from a large decrease in demand for heating, as unseasonably warm weather in December followed unseasonably cold weather in November. For the fourth quarter as a whole, total industrial production moved down at an annual rate of 0.5 percent. At 109.4 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production was 1.0 percent lower in December than it was a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector fell 0.4 percentage point in December to 77.0 percent, a rate that is 2.8 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2018) average.


FDIC purging duplicative rules

The FDIC published in today's Federal Register three final rules removing transferred OTS regulations relating to requirements for state savings associations.

  • 85 FR 3250, rescinding and removing subpart T of 12 CFR part 390, which included duplicative rules regarding accounting requirements
  • 85 FR 3247, rescinding and removing subpart R of 12 CFR part 390, which included duplicative regulatory reporting requirements
  • 85 FR 3232, rescinding and removing subpart S of 12 CFR part 390, which included duplicative rules on operations, and making conforming changes to cross references and technical changes in 12 CFR parts 303, 326, 337, and 353.

All of the amendments will be effective February 20, 2020.


OCC enforcement actions announced

The OCC has released new enforcement actions against its supervised institutions and individuals currently or formerly associates with its supervised institutions.

Formal Agreements were made with United Trust Bank, Palos Heights, Illinois, and Texas Citizens Bank, National Association, Pasadena, Texas.

A Decision on Entry of Default and Order of Prohibition was issued to Walter F. Mills, former personal banking representative at Santander Bank, N.A., Wilmington, Delaware. The OCC found that, between March 2012 and February 2014, Mills made or directed at least 17 withdrawals totaling $46,027 on the bank's customers' accounts that were neither requested nor authorized by the customers, and deposited or attempted to deposit the proceeds of the withdrawals in his personal account at another bank.


HUD proposes rule to encourage new housing

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced it is proposing a new rule that would recognize additional sets of standards and model building code editions that, when followed in the design and construction of new multifamily housing, will ensure compliance with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act. Under the proposed rule, HUD will incorporate more recent editions of currently recognized safe harbor standards and model building codes. HUD will amend its regulations to include the 2009 edition standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), as well as the 2009, 2012, 2015, and 2018 editions of the International Building Code, as safe harbors for compliance with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act.


Money Smart modules updated

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) have released two updates to the popular Money Smart for Small Business curriculum. The updated modules focus on banking and credit, and are now available for banks and small business development organizations to use to help small business owners succeed.

The updated version of Money Smart for Small Business is a valuable resource that the FDIC and the SBA have produced to help ensure entrepreneurs are fully equipped to compete in and contribute to the nation's economy," said Allen Gutierrez, Associate Administrator for the SBA's Office of Entrepreneurial Development.

The updated Banking Services module now includes a discussion of traditional banking products, non-bank financing options and sources, and how to avoid fraud and scams. Similarly, the updated Building Strong Credit module explains how a business owner's personal credit history can impact their business, how business credit reporting works, and how a potential lender evaluates the overall creditworthiness of a small business.

A case study brings both modules together and asks participants to put from industry experts and other practitioners, including more than two dozen organizations that have used previous versions of the Money Smart materials.


Heightened cybersecurity risk considerations

In response to the heightened cybersecurity risk facing the financial services industry and other critical business sectors, the FDIC and the OCC have issued an interagency statement on heightened cybersecurity risk. The statement focuses on risk management principles that can reduce the risk of a cyber-attack and minimize business disruptions. FIL-3-2020 has also been issued by the FDIC.

The Department of Homeland Security has indicated there is heightened risk of cyber-attack against U.S. targets because of increased geopolitical tension. The current environment provides an opportunity for banks to re-evaluate the adequacy of safeguards to protect against various types of cybersecurity risk. The Heightened Cybersecurity Risk document highlights principles previously articulated by the FDIC and other banking regulators including: business resilience, authentication, system configuration, security tool, data protection, and employee training. Banks can apply cybersecurity risk management principles and risk mitigation techniques to reduce the risk of a cyber attack's success and minimize the negative impacts of a disruptive and destructive cyber attack


Fed updates BHCPR user guide

The Federal Reserve Board has posted an update of its User's Guide for the Bank Holding Company Performance Report. which provides definitions of the financial ratios and items presented on each page of the report.


U.S. issuing new 20-year bond

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has announced it plans to issue a 20-year nominal coupon bond in the first half of calendar year 2020. Treasury believes that there will be strong demand from investors for a 20-year bond, which will increase Treasury’s financing capacity over the long term. Additional information regarding the launch of the 20-year bond will be provided in Treasury’s quarterly refunding statement on Wednesday, February 5, 2020.


November 2019 TIC data

Treasury has released Treasury International Capital (TIC) data for November 2019. The sum total in November of all net foreign acquisitions of long-term securities, short-term U.S. securities, and banking flows was a net TIC inflow of $73.1 billion. Of this, net foreign private inflows were $105.7 billion, and net foreign official outflows were $32.5 billion. Foreign residents increased their holdings of long-term U.S. securities in November; net purchases were $7.3 billion. Net purchases by private foreign investors were $16.0 billion, while net sales by foreign official institutions were $8.7 billion. U.S. residents decreased their holdings of long-term foreign securities, with net sales of $15.6 billion.


Disaster relief funds for Puerto Rico

HUD has announced an additional $8.2 billion available for Puerto Rico disaster recovery. Secretary Ben Carson said that HUD will soon publish a Federal Register notice to provide Puerto Rico with the guidelines for establishing its plan to use these long-term mitigation funds appropriated by Congress.


FHFA announces Giancarlo as chairman of CSS

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has announced that J. Christopher “Chris" Giancarlo, former Chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, will serve as independent, non-executive chairman of the board of directors of Common Securitization Solutions LLC (CSS) and that CSS will amend the structure of its board of directors. This amended structure provides Anthony Renzi, appointed in December 2019 as CSS CEO, a seat on the board and also allows the FHFA to appoint up to three additional independent directors. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will each retain their two current board seats. There will be up to nine board members in total. CSS, a joint venture between the Enterprises, built and runs the technology platform that supports the Uniform Mortgage-Backed Security (UMBS). Both Enterprises began using the CSS Common Securitization Platform in June of 2019.


January 2020 Beige Book

The Federal Reserve Board has posted the January 15, 2020, Beige Book, which was prepared at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York based on information collected on or before January 6, 2020. This document summarizes comments received from contacts outside the Federal Reserve System and is not a commentary on the views of Federal Reserve officials. The Beige Book discusses overall economic activity, employment and wages, prices, and highlights by Federal Reserve District.


$2.2B in HUD grants for homeless programs

HUD Secretary Ben Carson announced yesterday nearly $2.2 billion in grants to support thousands of local homeless assistance programs across the nation. HUD's Continuum of Care grants will provide critically needed support to 6,593 local programs on the front lines, serving individuals and families experiencing homelessness.


Fed announces members of CDIAC

The Federal Reserve Board has announced the members of its Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council (CDIAC) and the president of the council for 2020. The CDIAC advises the Board on the economy, lending conditions, and other issues of interest to community depository institutions. Members are selected from representatives of commercial banks, thrift institutions, and credit unions serving on local advisory councils at the 12 Federal Reserve Banks. One member of each of the Reserve Bank councils serves on the CDIAC, which meets twice a year with the Federal Reserve Board in Washington.


Fed posts Tailoring Rules FAQs

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System has issued FAQs in response to questions from institutions regarding the final rules to tailor certain prudential standards for large domestic and foreign banking organizations to more closely match their risk profiles (tailoring rules). The guidance applies to bank holding companies, savings and loan holding companies, and U.S. intermediate holding companies with $100 billion or more in total consolidated assets as well as to certain depository institutions.


Call Report information

FIL-1-2020, issued Monday on behalf of the FDIC, OCC and Federal Reserve Board, provides instructions and guidance on filing Call Reports for the Fourth Quarter of 2019. Except for institutions with more than one foreign office, completed Call Reports must be received by Thursday. January 30, 2020.

The FIL explains which institutions may take advantage of the new FFIEC 051 Call Report format and indicates where Call Report forms may be found for downloading and printing.


OFAC sanctions entities for facilitating exportation of workers from North Korea

OFAC has announced two North Korea-related designations focusing on the Government of North Korea’s continued supply of illicit labor to overseas markets. Tuesday's action targets a North Korean trading corporation and a China-based North Korean lodging facility that facilitate North Korea’s practice of sending laborers abroad. Identification information for Korea Namgang Trading Corporation and Beijing Sukbakso can be found in BankersOnline's OFAC Update.


FDIC and Fed publish CMP inflation adjustments

The FDIC has published a Federal Register notice [85 FR 2132, January 14, 2020] providing notice of its maximum civil money penalties as adjusted for inflation. The adjusted maximum amounts of civil money penalties in the notice are applicable to penalties assessed after January 15, 2020, for conduct occurring on or after November 2, 2015.

The Federal Reserve Board also published its notice [85 FR 2007] of inflation adjustments for civil money penalties under its jurisdiction today.


CFPB Advisory Committees applications

The Bureau has announced that it is accepting applications for membership on all four of its advisory committees. Applications are invited from individuals who can provide insight and advice to carry out its work. The CFPB also posted a Federal Register notice [85 FR 1806] with the announcement.

The Bureau has an application page with instructions. Applications will be accepted through February 27, 2020.


Federal Reserve Section 19 prohibition letters

The Federal Reserve Board has posted three Section 19 letters that prohibit the recipients from becoming or continuing as an institution-affiliated party of a financial institution during the fourth quarter of 2019. The letters, which notified individuals who have entered into a pretrial diversion or similar program in connection with the resolution of a criminal complaint that charged them with a crime involving dishonesty or breach of trust, were issued to former institution-affiliated parties of:


HOME program online training available

HUD has announced the launch of its new Building HOME online training series for its HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program, an interactive, self-paced online training which guides grantees through 12 modules, providing a foundation of the regulatory requirements of the program and practical advice for implementing all HOME activities at the state and local levels. The training presents real-world scenarios and includes challenge questions and exams. The launch includes 8 of the 12 training modules. Four additional modules will be launched in the next few months to complete the Building HOME online training series.

The HOME program provides formula grants to states and localities that communities use in partnership with local nonprofit groups to fund a wide range of affordable housing activities. This includes building, buying, or rehabilitating affordable housing for rent or homeownership. HOME also provides direct rental assistance to low-income people. It’s the largest federal block grant to state and local governments designed exclusively to create affordable housing for low-income households.


Former FinCEN staffer pleads guilty to conspiring to disclose SARs

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York announced yesterday that Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a//k/a "Natalie Sours," "Natalie May Edwards," or "Natalie Edwards," a former senior adviser at the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), pled guilty yesterday to conspiring to unlawfully disclose SARs.

Beginning in approximately October 2017, and lasting until her arrest in October 2018, Edwards unlawfully disclosed numerous SARs to a reporter, the substance of which were published over the course of approximately 12 articles by a news organization for which the reporter worked. The illegally disclosed SARs pertained to, among other things, Paul Manafort, Richard Gates, the Russian Embassy, Mariia Butina, and Prevezon Alexander. Edwards had access to each of the pertinent SARs and saved them – along with thousands of other files containing sensitive government information – to a flash drive provided to her by FinCEN. In addition to disseminating SARs to the reporter, Edwards sent or described to the reporter internal FinCEN emails or correspondence appearing to relate to SARs or other information protected by the BSA, and FinCEN nonpublic memoranda, including investigative memos and intelligence assessments published by the FinCEN Intelligence Division, which contained confidential personal information, business information, and/or security threat assessments.

Edwards pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to unlawfully disclose SARs, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.


Venezuelan officials targeted in OFAC action

On Monday, Treasury announced that OFAC had designated seven Venezuelan government officials who, on behalf of former Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, led a failed attempt to illegitimately seize control of the National Assembly and block interim President Juan Guaidó and other deputies from participating in a constitutionally required election of National Assembly leadership. The following individuals have been designated as current or former officials of the Government of Venezuela for their actions undermining democracy: Luis Eduardo Parra Rivero; Jose Gregorio Noriega Figueroa; Franklyn Leonardo Duarte; Jose Dionisio Brito Rodriguez; Conrado Antonio Perez Linares; Adolfo Ramon Superlano; and Negal Manuel Morales Llovera.

For identifying information, see BankersOnline's OFAC Update.


CFPB issues no-action letter to Bank of America

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) has issued a no-action letter to Bank of America, N.A. regarding the bank’s funding arrangements with housing counseling agencies certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


FATF forum on supervision of virtual assets

On January 9, the Financial Action Task Force held a supervisor’s forum in Paris, France, to discuss how to supervise and regulate virtual assets and virtual asset service providers (VASPs). This meeting was the first opportunity for supervisors to discuss how to implement these new measures since the FATF finalized them in June 2019. Supervisors play an important role in ensuring that regulated entities, such as banks and financial institutions, implement the FATF’s standards to detect and prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. The FATF Supervisors’ Forum is an initiative of the Chinese Presidency of FATF to promote more effective supervision by national authorities.


Fair lending and internet marketing

The Federal Reserve System has published its third 2019 issue of Consumer Compliance Outlook, which features an article on the fair lending implications of targeted internet marketing.


Unemployment remains low - labor market tight

New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) monthly Employment Situation Report indicates the labor force remains tight, wages are rising, and people are coming off the sidelines to find work, The unemployment rate remained at 3.5 percent, matching the lowest rate since May 1969; nonfarm job gains were 145,000, bringing 2019’s total to 2.1 million; the U-4, U-5, and U-6 alternative measures of labor underutilization were all at series lows; and the employment-population ratio for prime-age women increased 0.3 percentage points to 74.4 percent, which is 3.1 percentage points above the November 2016 rate.


Iranian regime senior officials, companies, and vessel designated

The Treasury Department has announced that OFAC took action on Friday against eight senior Iranian regime officials who have advanced the regime’s destabilizing objectives, as well as the largest steel, aluminum, copper, and iron manufacturers in Iran, who collectively generate billions of dollars annually. The action includes the designations of Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council; Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, the Deputy Chief of Staff of Iranian armed forces; and Gholamreza Soleimani, the head of the Basij militia of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). In addition, Treasury designated 17 Iranian metals producers and mining companies; a network of three China- and Seychelles-based entities; and a vessel involved in the purchase, sale, and transfer of Iranian metals products, as well as in the provision of critical metals production components to Iranian metal producers.

These actions took place in conjunction with the president's signing of a new Executive Order that targets additional sources of revenue used by the Iranian regime to fund and support its nuclear program, missile development, terrorism and terrorist proxy networks, and malign regional influence. Specifically, this E.O. authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to impose sanctions against persons operating in or transacting with additional sectors of the Iranian economy, including construction, mining, manufacturing, and textiles.

For identification information on the individuals, entities and vessel designated on Friday, see BankersOnline's OFAC Update.


Reserve Banks paid $54.9 billion to Treasury in 2019

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System has announced preliminary 2019 results indicating that the Reserve Banks provided for payments of approximately $54.9 billion to the U.S. Treasury. The 2019 audited Reserve Bank financial statements are expected to be published in March and may include adjustments to these preliminary unaudited results.


NCUA assistance for Puerto Rico CUs

The NCUA has announced that, in the wake of the recent earthquakes in Puerto Rico, it will be ready to assist the seven federally insured credit unions on the island with maintaining or restoring operations, if necessary. The NCUA’s Office of Credit Union Resources and Expansion can provide urgent needs grants up to $7,500 to low-income credit unions that experience sudden costs to restore operations interrupted by the storm.


Reserve Banks' 2020 leadership announced

The Federal Reserve Board on Friday announced the Chairs and Deputy Chairs of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks for 2020. Each Reserve Bank has a nine-member board of directors. The Board of Governors in Washington appoints three of these directors and each year designates one of its appointees as Chair and a second as Deputy Chair.

  • Boston - Phillip L. Clay, professor emeritus of city planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, renamed Chair. Christina Hull Paxson, president, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, renamed Deputy Chair.
  • New York - Denise Scott, executive vice president, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, New York, New York, renamed Chair. Rosa M. Gil, founder, president, and chief executive officer, Comunilife, Inc., New York, New York, renamed Deputy Chair.
  • Philadelphia - Phoebe Haddon, chancellor, Rutgers University - Camden, Camden, New Jersey, named Chair. Madeline Bell, president and chief executive officer, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, named Deputy Chair.
  • Cleveland - Dawne S. Hickton, president and chief operating officer, Jacobs Aerospace, Technology, and Nuclear, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, renamed Chair. Dwight E. Smith, president and chief executive officer, Sophisticated Systems, Inc., Columbus, Ohio, renamed Deputy Chair.
  • Richmond - Kathy J. Warden, chairman, president, and chief executive officer, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Falls Church, Virginia, renamed Chair. Eugene A. Woods, president and chief executive officer, Atrium Health, Charlotte, North Carolina, named Deputy Chair.
  • Atlanta - Myron A. Gray, president, U.S. operations (retired), United Parcel Service, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia, renamed Chair. Elizabeth A. Smith, executive chair, Bloomin' Brands, Inc., Tampa, Florida, renamed Deputy Chair.
  • Chicago - E. Scott Santi, chairman and chief executive officer, Illinois Tool Works Inc., Glenview, Illinois, named Chair. Wright L. Lassiter, III, president and chief executive officer, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, Michigan, named Deputy Chair.
  • St. Louis - Suzanne Sitherwood, president and chief executive officer, Spire Inc., St. Louis, Missouri, named Chair. James M. McKelvey, Jr., founder and chief executive officer, Invisibly, Inc., St. Louis, Missouri, named Deputy Chair.
  • Minneapolis - Srilata Zaheer, dean, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, named Chair. Harry D. Melander, president, Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council, St. Paul, Minnesota, renamed Deputy Chair.
  • Kansas City - Jim Farrell, president, Farrell Growth Group LLC, Omaha, Nebraska, named Chair. Edmond Johnson, president and owner, Premier Manufacturing, Inc., Frederick, Colorado, named Deputy Chair.
  • Dallas - Greg L. Armstrong, chairman and chief executive officer (retired), Plains All American Pipeline L.P., Houston, Texas, renamed Chair. Thomas J. Falk, chairman and chief executive officer (retired), Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Dallas, Texas, named Deputy Chair.
  • San Francisco - Barry M. Meyer, chairman and chief executive officer (retired), Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., and chairman and founder, North Ten Mile Associates, Los Angeles, California, renamed Chair. Rosemary Turner, president north California district (retired), United Parcel Service, Inc., Oakland, California, renamed Deputy Chair.


Fed discount rate meetings reports

The Federal Reserve Board has released the minutes of its interest rate meetings on November 4 and December 11, 2019.


Texas bank ordered to improve BSA/AML program

The Federal Reserve Board has issued a Cease and Desist Order to the United Bank of El Paso del Norte, El Paso, Texas. A recent examination of the bank conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and the Texas Department of Banking identified significant deficiencies in the bank’s risk management and compliance with applicable laws, rules, and regulations relating to anti-money laundering compliance, including the Bank Secrecy Act.


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