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Top Stories

02/19/2020

Bureau blogs on Social Security scams

The CFPB has posted a blog article, "Five ways to recognize a Social Security scam." These scams are the most commonly reported type of fraud, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The Office of the Inspector General at the Social Security Administration is warning the public about scammers making phone calls and following up with emails with falsified documents in attempts to get people to pay for fictitious government claims or fees to reinstate or increase benefits. The Bureau lists five symptoms of scams that can help protect people from becoming victims:

  1. Threats of arrest or legal action
  2. Emails or texts with personally identifiable information
  3. Misspellings and grammar mistakes
  4. Requests for payment by gift or pre-paid card, cash, or wire transfer
  5. Offers to increase benefits in exchange for payment

Anyone who believes they have been victimized by a Social Security scam should report it to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint and to the SSA Office of Inspector General Fraud at oig.ssa.gov.

02/19/2020

FinCEN adjusts penalty caps

FinCEN is publishing [85 FR 9370] in the February 19, 2020, Federal Register, a final rule to make inflation adjustments to its civil monetary penalties (“CMPs”) as mandated by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended. The amendments update Table 1 in §1010.821 of FinCEN regulations at 31 CFR Part 1010, effective on publication. BankersOnline's Regulations page for §1010.821 has been updated.

02/19/2020

Russian oil brokerage targeted for support of Maduro regime

The Treasury Department has announced that OFAC has designated Rosneft Trading S.A., the Swiss-incorporated, Russian-controlled oil brokerage firm under the authority of Executive Order (E.O.) 13850, as amended, for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy. OFAC also designated the chairman of the board of directors and president of Rosneft Trading S.A., Didier Casimiro, for purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Rosneft Trading S.A.

OFAC also issued a general license authorizing certain transactions and activities that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of transactions involving Rosneft Trading S.A.

For identification of the designated individual and entity, and information on the general license, see BankersOnline's OFAC Update.

02/18/2020

Industrial production declines

The Federal Reserve Board has released January G.17 Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization data, which indicate industrial production declined 0.3 percent in January, as unseasonably warm weather held down the output of utilities and as a major manufacturer significantly slowed production of civilian aircraft. The index for manufacturing edged down 0.1 percent in January; however, excluding the production of aircraft and parts, factory output advanced 0.3 percent. The index for mining rose 1.2 percent. At 109.2 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production was 0.8 percent lower in January than it was a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector fell 0.3 percentage point in January to 76.8 percent, a rate that is 3.0 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2019) average.

02/18/2020

Nebraska bank closed

The FDIC has announced that Ericson State Bank in Ericson, Nebraska, was closed Friday by the Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Farmers and Merchants Bank in Milford, Nebraska, to assume all of the deposits of Ericson State Bank.

As of December 31, 2019, Ericson State Bank had approximately $100.9 million in total assets and $95.2 million in total deposits. In addition to assuming all of the deposits, Farmers and Merchants agreed to purchase approximately $9.6 million of Ericson State Bank’s assets. The FDIC will retain the remaining assets for later disposition.

02/18/2020

2020 stress test scenarios

The FDIC has announced its release of the hypothetical economic scenarios for use in the upcoming stress tests for covered institutions with total consolidated assets of more than $250 billion. The supervisory scenarios include baseline and severely adverse scenarios. The baseline scenario is in line with a survey of private sector economic forecasters. The severely adverse scenario is not a forecast, rather, it is a hypothetical scenario designed to assess the strength and resilience of financial institutions. Each scenario includes 28 variables—such as gross domestic product, the unemployment rate, stock market prices, and interest rates—covering domestic and international economic activity.

02/18/2020

Report on 'credit invisibility' problem

A joint study by HUD and the Policy and Economic Research Council (PERC) examined how reporting rent payments made by thousands of HUD-assisted households to nationwide consumer reporting agencies would impact the credit ratings of these families. The study also sought to determine whether reporting rent payments to consumer credit reporting companies would overcome the problem of "credit invisibility."

The results of this preliminary research show that including rental history in credit reports could increase the proportions of tenant with scoreable credit histories and with good credit scores, but the change could be detrimental to credit scores for a subset of tenants.

02/14/2020

Fed terminates enforcement actions

The Federal Reserve Board has announced the termination of enforcement actions regarding Discover Financial Services, Riverwoods, Illinois; JPMorgan Chase & Co., New York, New York; Deutsche Bank AG, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; The Royal Bank of Scotland PLC, Edinburgh, Scotland; and RBS Securities Inc. (n.k.a NatWest Markets Securities Inc.), Stamford, Connecticut.

02/14/2020

Business coaching scammers pay FTC $17M

The Federal Trade Commission has announced that the key perpetrators of a massive international business coaching scheme known as My Online Business Education (MOBE) have agreed to pay more than $17 million as part of settlements with the Commission.

The FTC filed a complaint in 2018 alleging that MOBE, a Malaysian company, lured consumers to join its online coaching program by promising a pathway to online entrepreneurship and vast riches on the internet, but then charged those consumers tens of thousands of dollars for worthless program membership upgrades. According to the complaint, MOBE used online ads, social media, and live events to target U.S. consumers and swindled hundreds of millions of dollars, which the company then transferred to its various offshore bank accounts.

02/13/2020

Romance scams in the spotlight

The Federal Trade Commission's Division of Consumer and Business Education has posted a blog article, "It's not true love if they ask for money," on the growing threat of "romance scams." FTC data indicates that the number of romance scams reported to the Commission has nearly tripled since 2015, and reported losses from those scams in 2019—$201 million—is six times higher than five years ago.

The article, which would be good to share with any customers who show signs of being involved in one of these scams, describes how the scams develop and what someone who thinks they've targeted should do.

02/13/2020

2020 Guide to HMDA Reporting

The FFIEC has posted the 2020 Guide to HMDA Reporting, (HMDA GIR) a resource for assisting all institutions in their HMDA reporting. It includes a summary of responsibilities and requirements, directions for assembling the necessary tools, and instructions for reporting HMDA data. The 2020 edition reflects updates to incorporate content from the HMDA Rule issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in October 2019. It addresses reporting due March 1, 2021, of application and loan data for calendar year 2020

02/13/2020

NMLS Ombudsman meeting agenda

The agenda for the NMLS Ombudsman Meeting has been posted on the NMLS Resource Center. The meeting will be held Thursday, February 20, from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PT in Continental 4-5 (Ballroom Level) at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, during the 2020 NMLS Annual Conference & Training.

02/13/2020

NY Fed announcement on SOFR averages and index

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has issued an Operating Policy Statement regarding publication of Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) averages and a SOFR Index. Publication of 30-, 90-, and 180-day SOFR Averages as well as a SOFR Index will begin March 2, 2020, in order to support a successful transition away from U.S. dollar (USD) LIBOR. The new SOFR Averages will be referred to as “30-day Average SOFR”, “90-day Average SOFR” and “180-day Average SOFR.”

The statement revealed the calculation method to be used to determine the SOFR averages and index and illustrated how they will appear on a dedicated page on the NY Fed's website when published.

02/12/2020

Fed amends Reg D interest rates

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System has published a final rule [85 FR 7855] amending the rates of interest paid on required and excess reserve balances, increasing both rates by five basis points to 1.60 percent. The change is effective today, February 12, 2020.

02/12/2020

NMLS: MSB Call Report due date extended

The NMLS has posted a notice that the due date for Money Services Businesses (MSB) Call Reports filed for the fourth quarter has been extended. Formerly, the due date for any MSB Call Report filing was 45 days after the end of the filing quarter. Under that policy, the due date for any fourth quarter call report was February 14.

The new due date for fourth quarter MSB Call Reports is March 31. The new due date is effective for fourth quarter 2019 filings. Due dates for first, second and third quarters remain unchanged. If a company is licensed in a state with a different deadline defined by statute or regulation, the company is still required to file the full MSB Call Report within that state’s deadline.

The notice affects MSBs licensed in states that use the Nationwide Licensing System operated by the NMLS.

02/12/2020

Monetary Policy Report presented to Congress

Yesterday, Fed Chair Powell presented the Federal Reserve Board's semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the House Committee on Financial Services.

Powell first reviewed the current economic situation and noted that the current economic expansion, which is the longest on record, is in its 11th year. Job gains averaged 200,000 per month in the second half of last year, and an additional 225,000 jobs were added in January. The gross domestic product rose at a moderate rate over the second half of last year. Growth in consumer spending moderated toward the end of the year following earlier strong increases, but the fundamentals supporting household spending remain solid. Residential investment turned up in the second half, but business investment and exports were weak, largely reflecting sluggish growth abroad and trade developments.

He addressed monetary policy and reported that over the second half of 2019, the FOMC shifted to a more accommodative stance of monetary policy to cushion the economy from weaker global growth and trade developments and to promote a faster return of inflation to our symmetric 2 percent objective. The Fed Board and FOMC lowered the federal funds target range at its July, September, and October meetings, bringing the current target range to 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 percent.

02/12/2020

Regs proposed to update tax withholding rules

Treasury and the IRS have announced they have issued proposed regulations updating the federal income tax withholding rules to reflect changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and other legislation. The changes, which are designed to accommodate the redesigned Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate, to be used starting in 2020, and the related tables and computational procedures in Publication15-T, Federal Income Tax Withholding. The proposed regulations and related guidance do not require employees to furnish a new Form W-4 solely because of the redesign of the Form W-4.

Comments on the proposal are due by April 13, 2020.

02/12/2020

FinCEN making more changes to CTR filing instructions

FinCEN ruling FIN-2020-R001, dated Monday, announced Tuesday and effective April 6, 2020 (September 1, 2020 for e-filing batch filers), makes significant changes in CTR filing requirements for transactions involving sole proprietorships and legal entities operating under a "doing business as" (DBA) name. FinCEN states that the changes are being made "to both enhance regulatory efficiency and provide complete and accurate CTR data to law enforcement."

    Sole proprietorships

    • When a sole proprietorship is involved, items 4 through 7 and item 17 (name, gender and date of birth) are those of the individual owner.
    • In states that allow spouses to jointly operate a sole proprietorship, identify the individual whose SSN is attached to the sole proprietorship
    • If the sole proprietor does business in his/her own name, the rest of Part I should reflect the individual owner's information.
    • If the individual owner operates the business under a different name (a DBA name), the DBA name appears in item 8 (alternate name), and complete the rest of Part I (other than items 4-6, 7 and 17) with reference to the DBA name and location of that business
    • If more than one DBA business is involved in the sole proprietor's reported transactions, list only one DBA name in item 8 and complete a separate Part I for each involved DBA business
    • The amount and account number(s) in Items 21 and/or 22 will be the amount an account number(s) associated with the specific location for the reported transaction.

    Legal entities

    • When a CTR is prepared on a legal entity such as a partnership, corporation, or LLC , etc., the Part I section should reflect home office/headquarters data (address, phone number, ID number, etc.) of the entity.
    • When multiple entity locations are involved, a separate Part I section should be prepared for each location involved.
    • Those additional Part I sections should include the entity's legal name in item 4 and alternative name, if any, in item 8.
    • Only one DBA name per Part I. If multiple DBAs are involved, use a separate Part I for each DBA and no DBA name should appear on the Part I for the home office/headquarters.
    • Each of the additional Part I sections will identify the location's address along with other entity data applicable to that location (phone number, etc.)
    • The initial Part I section on the entity home office will show total amount and all account numbers involved in item 21 or 22. The Part I entries for multiple locations will show account number(s) and amounts associated with that location only.

    The new ruling rescinds and replaces FIN-2006-R003 and FIN-2008-R001, both of which were based on the old CTR Form 104.

    02/11/2020

    2021 HUD budget proposed

    President Trump yesterday announced the release of the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget, “A Budget for America’s Future.” The FY21 budget seeks to provide the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with $47.9 billion in funding to assist the fight to end homelessness, boost the promotion of healthy homes, and help America’s low-income families pay rent.

    02/11/2020

    Bowman addresses community bankers

    In a presentation at the ABA Conference for Community Bankers, Federal Reserve Board Governor Michelle W. Bowman discussed the interaction between innovation and regulation for community banks. Ms Bowman discussed clearing a path for innovation, and creating the right regulatory environment. Governor Bowman concluded, “I believe that we can create a regulatory environment in which community banks are empowered to innovate, in which supervisors leverage their own knowledge to help banks understand what to look for in a service provider. It's a regulatory environment in which guidance is clear and supervisors are appropriately flexible, and due diligence and third-party evaluations are appropriately scaled. Every bank must decide for itself whether and how to adapt their business models to new technologies, but supervisors and regulators can facilitate innovation at a few key milestones on that path forward.”

    02/11/2020

    Supplement to FDIC Procedures Manual issued

    With FIL-8-2020, the FDIC has announced the release of a supplement to its Deposit Insurance Application Procedures Manual that addresses deposit insurance applications involving unique or complex proposals. The FDIC has also released updated versions of the Procedures Manual and the publication, "Applying for Deposit Insurance – A Handbook for Organizers of De Novo Institutions."

    02/11/2020

    FTC update on fake check scams

    The Federal Trade Commission has issued a Consumer Protection Data Spotlight with an update showing that fake check scams led to reported individual median losses of $1,980 – losses far higher than on any other of the top ten scams reported to the Commission. According to the new data analysis, consumers in their twenties are more than twice as likely as people 30 and older to report losing money to these scams. The FTC's Data Spotlight, drawing on complaints submitted from consumers across the country, calls attention to the growing prevalence of fake check scams. According to the spotlight, complaints about fake checks are up 65 percent since 2015.

    02/11/2020

    SSA final rule on advance designation of rep payees

    The Social Security Administration has published [85 FR 7661] a final rule with amendments to its regulations providing for the designation of representative payees. The revisions, which will become effective February 25, 2020, specify the information Social Security beneficiaries and applicants must provide to designate individuals as possible representative payees in advance of the SSA's determination that the beneficiary needs a representative payee. The rule also sets forth how the SSA will consider an individual's advance designation when selecting a representative payee.

    02/10/2020

    OFAC targets Venezuelan national airline

    Treasury has announced that, on Friday, OFAC identified the Venezuelan state-owned airline Consorcio Venezolano de Industrias Aeronauticas y Servicios Aereos, S.A. (Conviasa) as subject to sanctions as part of the Government of Venezuela, under the authority of Executive Order 13884. Friday’s action also identified the Conviasa fleet of aircraft as blocked property of the Government of Venezuela pursuant to E.O. 13884. Conviasa and its fleet have been blocked since the issuance of E.O. 13884 of August 5, 2019, and were added to OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals List to ensure strengthened compliance with U.S. sanctions.

    For identification information relating to Friday's OFAC action, see this BankersOnline OFAC Update.

    02/10/2020

    Fed releases Consumer Credit data

    The Federal Reserve Board has released its G.19 data on Consumer Credit for the month of December 2019. In 2019, consumer credit increased 4-3/4 percent, with revolving and nonrevolving credit increasing 4-1/4 percent and 4-3/4 percent, respectively. Consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5 percent in the fourth quarter and at a rate of 6-1/4 percent in December.

    02/10/2020

    $51M for homes for low-income seniors

    HUD has announced its award of $51 million in housing assistance to non-profit organizations across the country to finance more affordable housing construction, provide rental assistance, and facilitate supportive services delivery for very low-income seniors.

    02/10/2020

    FDIC publishes brokered depsits proposal

    The FDIC has published [85 FR 7453] its previously announced (see our 12/13/2019 Top Story) proposal to revise its regulations at 12 CFR parts 303 and 337 relating to the brokered deposits restrictions that apply to less than well capitalized insured depository institutions. The proposed rule would create a new framework for analyzing certain provisions of the “deposit broker” definition, including “facilitating” and “primary purpose.” The proposed rule would also establish an application and reporting process with respect to the primary purpose exception. The application process would be available to insured depository institutions and third parties that wish to utilize the exception. The 60-day comment period ends April 10, 2020.

    02/07/2020

    Kraninger signals CFPB plans

    In oral and written testimony given yesterday before the House Financial Services Committee, CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger reported that the Bureau plans to move away from the 43 percent debt-to-income ratio requirement in the qualified mortgage rule, and will propose an alternative such as pricing thresholds to better ensure that responsible, affordable mortgage credit remains available for consumers. The Bureau expects to issue a proposal on changes to the QM rule in May 2020.

    Kraninger reported that the Bureau is evaluating comments received on its proposal to rescind the underwriting portions of its Payday Lending rule. She also reported progress on the Bureau's evaluation of comments relating to the EGRRCPA requirement that the Bureau prescribe regulations under the Truth in Lending Act for residential property assessed clean energy (PACE) loans. Also under review are approximately 100 comments received on the Bureau's proposed amendments to the Remittance Rule (subpart B of Regulation E), and comments on the Bureau's proposed rule to implement the requirements applicable to debit collectors under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

    02/07/2020

    2020 hypothetical stress test scenarios released

    The Federal Reserve and the OCC have released the hypothetical scenarios for the 2020 stress test exercises, which ensure that large banks have adequate capital and processes so that they can continue lending to households and businesses, even during a severe recession. The harshest scenario includes a severe global recession with heightened stresses in corporate debt markets and commercial real estate, and for banks with large trading operations, additional pressure on leveraged loans.

    02/07/2020

    Mali Sanctions regulations published

    OFAC has published regulations [85 FR 7223, 2/7/2020] to implement Executive Order 13882 of July 26, 2019, "Blocking Property and Suspending Entry of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Mali."

    02/07/2020

    Additional HUD funding for public housing authorities

    HUD Secretary Ben Carson has announced an additional $258,606 in funding for HUD's new Foster Youth to Independence Initiative. Seven housing authorities will receive this funding, continuing HUD's efforts to assist young adults transitioning out of foster care and who are at risk of homelessness.

    02/07/2020

    2020 national illicit finance strategy announced

    Treasury has issued the 2020 National Strategy for Combating Terrorist and Other Illicit Financing, which provides a roadmap to modernize the U.S. anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime to make it more effective and efficient. The strategy identifies key threats, vulnerabilities, and priorities for disrupting and preventing illicit finance activities within and transiting the U.S. financial system, and builds upon and updates the 2018 National Strategy for Combating Terrorist and Other Illicit Financing, pursuant to the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 (CAATSA).

    02/07/2020

    Virginia bank pays flood penalty

    The Federal Reserve Board has announced the assessment of a $9,500 civil money penalty against the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Craig County, New Castle, Virginia, for unspecified violations of the National Flood Insurance Act.

    02/06/2020

    CFPB proposing settlement with Think Finance

    The CFPB has announced a proposed settlement with Think Finance, LLC, formerly known as Think Finance, Inc., and six subsidiaries, to resolve the lawsuit the Bureau filed on November 15, 2017 (see our 11/16/2017 Top Story). The Bureau alleged that the Think Finance Entities engaged in unfair, deceptive, and abusive acts and practices in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act in connection with the illegal collection of loans that were void in whole or in part under state laws governing interest rate caps, the licensing of lenders, or both.

    In 2018, the Bureau filed its first amended complaint, alleging that the Think Finance Entities operated as a common enterprise that affiliated with tribal lenders in the offering and collection of online installment loans and online lines of credit to consumers nationwide. The Think Finance Entities, the Bureau alleged, made deceptive demands and illegally took money from consumers’ bank accounts for debts that consumers did not actually owe because the loans were either partially or completely void under the law of 17 states. The Bureau also alleged that the Think Finance Entities provided substantial assistance to two debt collection companies that were also engaged in the illegal collection of loans.

    If the proposed stipulated final consent order is entered by the court, it would, among other things, prohibit the Think Finance Entities from offering or collecting on loans to consumers in any of the 17 states if the loan violates state lending laws and from assisting others in engaging in that conduct. The proposed order would also impose a $1 civil money penalty for each of the seven Think Finance Entities.

    The proposed settlement is part of a global resolution of the Think Finance Entities' bankruptcy proceeding, which includes settlements with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office and private parties in a class action suit. Consumer redress will come from a fund created as part of the global resolution, which is anticipated to have over $39 million available for distribution and may increase.

    02/06/2020

    Fannie and Freddie transitioning away from LIBOR

    The Federal Housing Finance Agency has issued a press release announcing additional steps Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are taking as they transition away from the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) benchmark.

    • New language will be required for single-family Uniform Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) instruments closed on or after June 1, 2020;
    • All LIBOR-based single-family and multifamily ARMs must have loan application dates on or before September 30, 2020 to be eligible for acquisition; and,
    • Acquisitions of single-family and multifamily LIBOR ARMs will cease on or before December 31, 2020.

    Additional information is available on the FHFA's LIBOR Transition page.

    02/06/2020

    Court halts scheme deceiving consumers about government services

    The Federal Trade Commission has announced that a court has granted the Commission's request to preliminarily halt a scheme in which the defendants operated hundreds of websites that promised a quick and easy government service, such as renewing a driver’s license, or eligibility determinations for public benefits. Following an evidentiary hearing, the court held that the FTC was likely to prevail in proving that “the websites were patently misleading.”

    The FTC’s complaint in the case alleges that consumers provided their information because they believe the websites will actually provide these services. Instead, consumers received only a PDF containing publicly available, general information about the service they sought.

    An ex parte motion filed by the FTC alleges that the defendants’ sites employed similar branding, language, and functionality to induce consumers to relinquish their credit card information, personal data, or both.

    02/06/2020

    OCC CRA evaluations released

    The OCC has announced its release of a list of Community Reinvestment Act performance evaluations that were made public in January. Of the 28 evaluations listed, 21 are rated Satisfactory and seven are rated Outstanding. Our congratulations to those receiving Outstanding ratings (links are to their performance evaluations):

    02/05/2020

    Fed Board bars Goldman Sachs exec from banking

    The Federal Reserve Board has announced it is permanently barring Andrea Vella, a senior executive at Goldman Sachs, from the banking industry for his role in Goldman's financing of a defrauded Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.

    02/05/2020

    Fed bars and fines former Mississippi bank employee

    The Federal Reserve Board has announced it has issued an order of prohibition and for restitution and a civil money penalty against a former teller and vault custodian for Farmers & Merchants Bank, Baldwyn, Mississippi, for embezzlement of funds. The order directed the former employee to make restitution to the bank in the amount of $20,264.27, and to pay a civil monetary penalty of $10,067. For further information, see the BankersOnline Penalty Page, "Former Mississippi teller banned and fined."

    02/05/2020

    FDIC lists banks examined for CRA compliance

    The FDIC has released a list of 74 banks examined for compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act whose evaluation ratings were assigned in November 2019. Sixty-nine of the banks received ratings of "Satisfactory." Two were rated "Needs to Improve." Our congratulations to the following three banks, which received a rating of "Outstanding" (links are to their evaluation reports):

    02/05/2020

    Fed CRA evaluation ratings

    Our monthly check of the Federal Reserve Board's CRA evaluation ratings reveals that the Board made public 20 ratings in January, including one "Substantial Non-Compliance" rating for a bank in West Memphis, Arkansas, and 17 ratings of "Satisfactory." Our congratulations to the following two banks, which received "Outstanding" ratings (links are to their evaluations):

    02/05/2020

    NMLS industry reports

    The Nationwide Multistate Licensing System and Registry (NMLS) has released its Mortgage Industry Report for the Third Quarter 2019. Updates to the Money Services Business Fact Sheet and Debt Collection Fact Sheet were also posted.

    02/04/2020

    January SLOOS

    The Rederal Reserve Board's January 2020 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey (SLOOS) on Bank Lending Practices addressed changes in the standards and terms on, and demand for, bank loans to businesses and households over the past three months, which generally corresponds to the fourth quarter of 2019.

    Banks in the January survey indicated that, on balance over the fourth quarter, they left standards on commercial and industrial loans basically unchanged, while demand weakened from firms of all sizes. Also, banks reported that lending standards and demand were unchanged for all commercial real estate loan categories except construction and land development loans, for which standards tightened and demand weakened over the fourth quarter of 2019.

    For loans to households, banks reportedly left their lending standards unchanged for all types of residential real estate loans over the fourth quarter, while demand strengthened for most categories of closed-end mortgage loans and weakened for home equity lines of credit. However, banks reportedly tightened their lending standards on credit card and auto loans, while demand remained unchanged for credit cards and weakened for auto loans

    02/04/2020

    Leveraged loans risk remains elevated

    A joint release by the FDIC, Federal Reserve, and OCC reports the share and amount of loan commitments with the lowest supervisory ratings rose slightly between 2018 and 2019, according to the Shared National Credit (SNC) Program Review. Total commitments with low ratings remain elevated compared to lows reached during prior periods of strong economic performance. The agencies conduct SNC reviews in the first and third calendar quarters with some banks receiving two reviews and others receiving a single review each year.

    02/04/2020

    Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day

    The OCC, in an effort to make more eligible working families aware of the benefits of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), promoted the 14th annual EITC Awareness Day on January 31. The OCC encouraged national banks and federal savings associations to work in their communities to educate the public about, and to promote the EITC and free tax assistance programs. The OCC also encouraged banks and savings associations to:

    • promote and provide low-cost bank products and services that enable tax refund recipients to deposit their income tax refunds directly into their accounts.
    • encourage the use of tax refunds in bank-sponsored savings match programs, also known as Individual Development Accounts.
    • sponsor IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs in branches and support employees who volunteer as tax preparers in low- and moderate-income communities.

    02/04/2020

    Comprehensive history of risk-based FDIC assessments

    The FDIC has issued the first of a series of staff studies to be released to the public, a comprehensive history of how the agency assessed banks to build FDIC's now 85-year-old Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) and help achieve its mission of protecting depositors and resolving failed banks. A History of Risk-Based Premiums at the FDIC chronicles the evolution of how the agency has set premiums that reflect the risk banks pose to the DIF, without relying upon taxpayer support.

    02/04/2020

    FDIC webinar on CBLR capital framework

    The FDIC has announced it will host a webinar on Tuesday, February 25, 2020, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. ET, to address the optional Community Bank Leverage Ratio (CBLR) capital framework prior to the completion of the first quarter 2020 reporting period for qualifying FDIC-supervised institutions.

    02/04/2020

    FHFA engages financial advisor

    Houlihan Lokey Capital, Inc. (Houlihan Lokey) has been selected as a financial advisor by the Federal Housing Finance Agency to assist in the development and implementation of a roadmap to responsibly end the conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. While developing the roadmap, Houlihan Lokey will consider business and capital structures, market impacts and timing, and available capital raising alternatives, among other items.

    02/04/2020

    Six credit unions to pay late-filing penalties

    The NCUA has posted its Second Quarter Late Call Report Filers List, which indicates six federally insured credit unions were subject to civil money penalties for filing late Call Reports in the second quarter of 2019 and have agreed to penalties totaling $2,259. Each of the six credit unions had filed a late Call Report previously. All six had total assets below $50 million, four with assets of $10 million or less.

    02/04/2020

    CFPB and ED ink MOU to better serve student loan borrowers

    The CFPB has announced that the Bureau and the U.S. Department of Education have announced a new coordination agreement in order to better serve student loan borrowers. Under the newly signed Memorandum of Understanding, the agencies will share complaint information from borrowers and meet quarterly to discuss observations about the nature of complaints received, characteristics of borrowers, and available information about resolution of complaints. The MOU also provides for the sharing of complaint data analysis, recommendations, and analytical tools.

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