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State Street to pay $115M for overcharging clients

State Street Corporation, Boston, Massachusetts, has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement and agreed to pay a $115 million criminal penalty to resolve charges that it engaged in a scheme to defraud a number of the bank’s clients by secretly overcharging for expenses related to the bank’s custody of client assets, according to a May 13 press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts.

According to State Street’s admissions, between 1998 and 2015, bank executives conspired to add secret markups to “out-of-pocket” (OOP) expenses charged to the bank’s clients while letting clients believe that State Street was billing OOP expenses as pass-through charges on which the bank was not earning a profit. These markups were charged on top of fees that the clients had agreed to pay the bank, and despite written agreements that caused clients to believe the expenses would be passed through to them without a mark-up. State Street executives also took steps to conceal the mark-ups from clients, including by not disclosing the details underlying OOP expenses on invoices and by misleading clients when they inquired about what they were being charged for OOP-related activities. Through this scheme, State Street defrauded its clients out of more than $290 million.

State Street also agreed to fully reimburse the victims of the overcharges, and the Deferred Prosecution Agreement states that State Street had paid about $88 million in connection with a settlement with the SEC, and paid civil penalties to state regulators in the amount of $8.575 million. For further information and links to court documents in the case, see "State Street to pay $115M in overcharge case," in BankersOnline's Penalties pages.


NCUA cyberattacks webinar

The NCUA has announced it will host a “Critical Security Controls and Cyber Hygiene” webinar on Wednesday, May 26, to provide credit unions with important information about protecting their organizations and their members from cyberattacks. The webinar is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Eastern and will run for approximately 60 minutes. Participants will be able to log into the webinar and view it on their computers or mobile devices using the registration link and should allow pop-ups from this website to ensure easier access to the webinar.


Broker-dealer charged with failure to file SARs

The SEC has settled charges against GWFS Equities Inc., a Colorado-based registered broker-dealer and affiliate of Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, for violating the federal securities laws governing the filing of suspicious activity reports. GWFS provides services to employer-sponsored retirement plans.

According to the order filed by the SEC, from September 2015 through October 2018, GWFS was aware of increasing attempts by external bad actors to gain access to the retirement accounts of individual plan participants. The order further finds that GWFS was aware that the bad actors attempted or gained access by, among other things, using improperly obtained personal identifying information of the plan participants, and that the bad actors frequently were in possession of electronic login information such as user names, email addresses, and passwords.

The order stated that GWFS failed to file approximately 130 SARs, including in cases when it had detected external bad actors gaining, or attempting to gain, access to the retirement accounts of participants in the employer-sponsored retirement plans it serviced. Further, for nearly 300 SARs that GWFS did file, the order finds that GWFS did not include the “five essential elements” of information it knew and was required to report about the suspicious activity and suspicious actors, including cyber-related data such as URL addresses and IP addresses.

Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, GWFS agreed to a settlement that imposes a $1.5 million penalty, a censure, and an order to cease and desist from future violations.


NCUA small-dollar loan program webinar

Credit unions are invited to learn more about the Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund’s Small-Dollar Loan Program during a webinar scheduled for Thursday, May 27, beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern. Staff from the NCUA and the CDFI Fund will describe the program and discuss eligibility and permissible uses of these funds. A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation. Online registration for the 60-minute webinar, co-hosted by the National Credit Union Administration and the CDFI Fund, is open now. Participants will be able to log into the webinar and view it on their computers or mobile devices using the registration link.


Ninth batch of EIP3 payments disbursed

Yesterday, the IRS announced it had disbursed nearly one million payments in the ninth batch of Economic Impact Payments from the American Rescue Plan. That brings the total disbursed so far to approximately 165 million payments, with a total value of approximately $388 billion, since these payments began rolling out to Americans in batches in March.

The ninth batch began processing May 7, with an official payment date of May 12. It included more than 960,000 payments totaling more than $1.8 billion. Nearly 500,000 of the payments were made as direct deposits totaling $946 million.


Indiana housing providers charged by HUD

HUD has charged Bloomington, Indiana’s Burnham Rentals, LLC, Burnham Place Apartments, LLC, two of their employees, and others with violating the Fair Housing Act’s bar on disability discrimination. HUD’s charge alleges that the housing providers refused to permit a rising Indiana University graduate student, who has depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, to keep an assistance animal in an apartment. In addition, HUD’s charge alleges that the housing providers used the building’s “no pets” policy as justification to deny the student’s request to live with her assistance animal, effectively denying her access to the housing.


Treasury identifies Sinaloa-based drug trafficker and network

The Treasury Department announced on Wednesday that OFAC has identified Jesus González Peñuelas and the González Peñuelas Drug Trafficking Organization as Significant Foreign Narcotics Traffickers in accordance with the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. OFAC also designated today six individuals and one entity as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers pursuant to the Kingpin Act for their links to the González Peñuelas DTO.

As a result of yesterday’s OFAC action, all property and interests in property of the identified or designated persons 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.

Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1,548,075 per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million. Other individuals could face up to 10 years in prison and fines under Title 18 of the United States Code for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.

For identification information on the individuals and entities designated by OFAC in this action, see this BankersOnline OFAC Update.


Treasury targets Hizballah finance official and shadow bankers

Treasury has announced that OFAC has designated seven individuals in connection with Hizballah and its finance firm, Al-Qard al-Hassan (AQAH). Ibrahim Ali Daher serves as the Chief of Hizballah’s Central Finance Unit, which oversees Hizballah’s overall budget and spending, including the group’s funding of its terrorist operations and killing of the group’s opponents. The other six individuals designated today used the cover of personal accounts at certain Lebanese banks, including U.S.-designated Jammal Trust Bank (JTB), to evade sanctions targeting AQAH and transfer approximately half a billion U.S. dollars on behalf of AQAH.

For identification of the seven individuals designated by OFAC, together with other OFAC changes, see this BankersOnline OFAC Update.


$51M for lead paint hazards clean-up

HUD has announced its award of nearly $51.4 million to 25 public housing agencies in 19 states to identify and reduce lead-based paint hazards in thousands of older public housing units. Provided through HUD’s Public Housing Capital Fund, these grants will be targeted to public housing units currently occupied by families with young children.


HUD takes over Michigan housing authority

HUD has announced that it has taken possession of the Highland Park (Michigan) Housing Commission's programs, projects, and assets to reverse years of financial mismanagement, increase occupancy rates, and improve physical conditions. Citing a decade of neglect, a high number of unit vacancies, poor physical condition of units and properties, and un-auditable financials and records, HUD will help the housing commission get on the right path and improve the quality of life for its residents.

Starting on May 10, a HUD Recovery Administrator began serving as the housing commission's board, and will make decisions needed to ensure decent and safe housing by:

  • Taking over fiduciary responsibilities, establishing internal controls, procurement actions, and repositioning strategies
  • Working with the existing third-party management agent, Continental Management, to perform day-to-day operations for its public housing program
  • Assessing options to reposition Highland Park Housing Commission’s public housing


FDIC's 2021 risk review of banking system

The FDIC has published its 2021 Risk Review, a comprehensive summary of emerging risks in the U.S. banking system. The FDIC began reporting key banking sector risks in its Risk Review publication in 2019, and this year’s report expands coverage of key risks during a time of heightened uncertainty.


Umpqua pays UDAP CMP for collection practices

Umpqua Bank, Roseburg, Oregon, has agreed to the FDIC's issuance of an order that the bank pay a civil money penalty of $1,800,000 following the FDIC's determination that "the Bank has engaged in violations of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (“Section 5”), 15 U.S.C. § 45(a)(1), in the commercial finance and leasing products issued by its wholly owned subsidiary, Financial Pacific Leasing, Inc. (FinPac), by engaging in deceptive and/or unfair practices related to certain collection fees and collection practices involving excessive or sequential calling, disclosure of debt information to nonborrowers, and failure to abide by requests to cease and desist continued collection calls."

The FDIC said that FinPac's collection fee practices were unfair and deceptive, because FinPac charged various undisclosed collection fees to borrowers whose accounts were past due, such as collection call and letter fees and third-party collection fees. The FDIC also said that FinPac engaged in excessive and sequential collection calls to customers, even when customers requested that FinPac stop these calls. FinPac also disclosed information about the customers’ debts to third parties. FinPac also advised borrowers FinPac would report delinquencies on commercial debt to the consumer reporting agencies, when its policy and practice was not to make such reports.

The FDIC's Order indicates that Umpqua Bank neither admitted nor denied any violation of law or regulations.


Coronavirus recovery funds launched

Treasury has announced the launch of the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, established by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, to provide $350 billion in emergency funding for state, local, territorial, and tribal governments. Treasury also released details on the ways funds can be used to respond to acute pandemic-response needs, fill revenue shortfalls among state and local governments, and support the communities and populations hardest-hit by the COVID-19 crisis. Eligible state, territorial, metropolitan city, county, and tribal governments will be able to access funding directly from the Treasury Department in the coming days to assist communities as they recover from the pandemic.


Registration deadline for FinCEN virtual program extended

FinCEN has extended the registration deadline for its special monthly virtual Innovation Hours Program on June 10, 2021. The program will focus on the important role of underserved groups in developing technology to fight illicit financial activity and protect the nation’s security. FinCEN encourages participation by financial technology (FinTech) and regulatory technology (RegTech) companies, venture capital and investment firms, and financial institutions majority founded, owned, or managed by underserved groups.

This event will highlight the important contributions that underserved groups provide to responsible innovation efforts and will ensure that FinCEN learns from an increasingly diverse audience. Interested companies should submit a request online no later than May 24, 2021, and provide applicable background information about their firm’s business and innovative products.


Prohibition notice issued by NCUA

The National Credit Union Administration has announced it issued a prohibition notice in April 2021 to LaBrandi N. Wilson, a former member of Alaska Air Group Federal Credit Union in SeaTac, Washington, who had been sentenced on the charges of falsifying business records and larceny/embezzlement in connection with her employment at the credit union.

NCUA prohibition and administrative orders are searchable by name, institution, city, state, and year at the NCUA’s Administrative Orders webpage. The webpage also provides links to the federal enforcement actions of federal banking agencies against other institutions or their affiliated parties.


Consumer credit increases

The Federal Reserve has released the March 2021 G.19 Consumer Credit Report, which shows that credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.1 percent during the first quarter. Revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 2.4 percent, while nonrevolving credit increased at an annual rate of 5.9 percent. In March, consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 7.4 percent.


Comments invited on proposed debit card routing changes

The Federal Reserve Board is inviting public comment on proposed changes to Regulation II (Debit Card Interchange Fees and Routing) to clarify that debit card issuers should enable, and allow merchants to choose from, at least two unaffiliated networks for card-not-present debit card transactions, such as online purchases. The Board views these clarifications of Regulation II's existing requirements as necessary in light of information indicating that often only one network is enabled for such transactions.

Regulation II implements section 920 of the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA). Among other things, the regulation requires that there be at least two unaffiliated payment card networks enabled on a debit card to process debit card transactions. At the time the Board promulgated Regulation II, the market had not developed solutions to broadly support multiple networks over which merchants could choose to route card-not-present transactions. Although technology has subsequently evolved to address these barriers, data collected by the Board and information from industry participants indicate that two unaffiliated networks are often not available to process card-not-present debit card transactions because some issuers do not enable two networks for those transactions. The absence of at least two unaffiliated networks for card-not-present transactions forecloses the ability of merchants to choose between competing networks when routing such transactions, an issue that has become increasingly pronounced because of continued growth in online transactions, particularly in the COVID-19 environment.

Comments on the Board's proposed rule will be accepted for 60 days following Federal Register publication.

  • UPDATE on publication and comment period: The proposal has been submitted for Federal Register publication on 5/13/2021. Comments will be accepted through 7/12/2021.

    The Board also published a report on debit card transactions in 2019, including information on volume and value, interchange fee revenue, certain issuer costs, and fraud losses. The report is the sixth in a series published every two years as prescribed by section 920 of the EFTA and summarizes information collected from debit card issuers subject to the interchange fee standard in Regulation II and payment card networks.


$21.6 billion more for rental assistance

Treasury, the White House American Rescue Plan Implementation Team, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, have announced the allocation of an additional $21.6 billion under the American Rescue Plan for emergency rental assistance, which will help prevent evictions and ensure basic housing security for millions of Americans impacted by the affordable housing challenges exacerbated by COVID-19. A Fact Sheet was released with the announcement.


Kansas homeowners association charged with discrimination

HUD has announced it has charged The Apollo Gardens Homes Association, Inc. in Mission, Kansas, and its board president with violating the Fair Housing Act for allegedly refusing to allow a resident with a mobility impairment to expand her own sidewalk at her own expense. The requested modification would have enabled the resident to use her walker and have more stability. HUD’s charge also alleges that, rather than granting the requested accommodation from Association restrictions, Apollo Gardens retaliated against the resident by removing her from a position on the Association board and denying her reinstatement request.


FDIC receiverships terminated

The FDIC published [86 FR 24865] a notice this morning that it terminated its receiverships of the following banks on May 1, 2021:

  • Cooper Star Bank, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Tifton Banking Company, Tifton, GA
  • Bartow County Bank, Cartersville, GA
  • McIntosh State Bank, Jackson, GA
  • High Trust Bank, Stockbridge, GA
  • The First State Bank, Stockbridge, GA
  • Central Bank of Georgia, Ellaville, GA


FEMA schedules community suspensions from flood program

FEMA has published [86 FR 24739] in the May 10, 2021, Federal Register a notice identifying communities in Colorado, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania, that are scheduled for suspension from the National Flood Insurance Program on May 18, because of noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program, unless the community meets the required floodplain management measures prior to that date.

  • Colorado: Fort Morgan, Morgan County (unincorporated areas), and Otis
  • Iowa: Clermont, Elgin, Fayette, Fayette County (unincorporated areas), Maynard, Oelwein, Waucoma, and West Union
  • Oklahoma: Hammon (town) and Roger Mills County (unincorporated areas)
  • Pennsylvania: Barry, Eldred, Foster, Frackville, Grandville, Mahanoy, Middleport, Minersville, New Castle, North Union, Norwegian, Pottsville, Reilly, Schuykill, Shenandoah, Tower City, Tremont (Borough), Tremont (Township), Union, and Wayne


Hsu to become Acting Comptroller

The Department of the Treasury has announced that Michael J. Hsu will become Acting Comptroller of the Currency on May 10, 2021, as designated by Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen. Prior to joining the OCC, Mr. Hsu served as an associate director in the Division of Supervision and Regulation at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. There, he led the Large Institution Supervision Coordinating Committee (LISCC) Program, which supervises the global systemically important banking companies operating in the United States. His career has included serving at the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Fed issues financial stability report

The Federal Reserve Board has issued its May 2021 Financial Stability Report, which summarizes the Board's framework for assessing the resilience of the U.S. financial system and presenting the Board's current assessment.

In a statement accompanying the release of the report, Governor Lael Brainard said "With investors ebullient on expectations for a strong rebound, it is important to closely monitor risks to the system and ensure the financial system is resilient. With valuations and risk appetite at elevated levels, strong microprudential safeguards and macroprudential tools such as the Countercyclical Capital Buffer will be important to address risks to financial stability and enable monetary policy to focus on its maximum employment and average inflation goals."


CFPB issues annual report on servicemember affairs

The CFPB and its Office of Servicemember Affairs have issued their eighth annual report regarding their commitment to educating and empowering servicemembers, veterans, and military families, monitoring their complaints, and coordinating with other state and federal agencies to ensure their financial concerns are given the attention they deserve.

In 2020 the Bureau received over 40,000 complaints from servicemembers. These complaints are examined within the report in addition to narratives from servicemembers that discuss some of the emerging issues and continuing trends for military consumers in the financial marketplace.


FHFA RFI on short-term rental units

A Request for Input (RFI) has been issued by the Federal Housing Finance Agency on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's eligibility requirements for mortgages in condo, co-op, and planned unit development projects where a large portion of units are offered for short-term rental (30 days or less) or are used primarily for the purpose of vacation or recreational lodging. These projects are often informally referred to as "condotels" or resort condominiums. The information that FHFA is requesting through the RFI will help the agency determine whether changes or clarifications to Enterprise policies are necessary to ensure more accurate and consistent project eligibility assessments.

Comments should be submitted within 60 days of Federal Register publication, but no later than July 5, 2021.


COVID-19 challenges for mortgage borrowers

The CFPB has released two reports showing that more work needs to be done to help mortgage borrowers coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. "Characteristics of Mortgage Borrowers During the COVID-19 Pandemic" documents that Black and Hispanic mortgage borrowers are much more likely to be delinquent or in a forbearance program than white borrowers. In its May 2021 "Complaint Bulletin," the CFPB reports that overall mortgage complaints to the CFPB have risen to their highest level in three years and complaints mentioning forbearance or related terms have reached their highest average since March and April of 2020.


Proposed guidelines for access to Fed accounts and services

The Federal Reserve Board is inviting public comment on proposed guidelines to evaluate requests for accounts and payment services at Federal Reserve Banks. Institutions with novel banking charters have requested access to the Reserve Banks system to facilitate provision and delivery of new financial products. The Board is proposing Account Access Guidelines for Reserve Banks to evaluate such requests, to help achieve the goal of applying a transparent and consistent process for all access requests, as well as considering the ramifications for the broader financial system.

Under the proposed guidelines, the Fed will consider:

  • whether the institution is legally eligible to maintain an account at a Federal Reserve Bank and has a “well-founded, clear, transparent and enforceable legal basis for its operations”
  • whether the provision of an account and services would present or create undue credit, operational, settlement, cyber or other risks to the Reserve Bank, or to the broader payments system
  • whether the provision of an account and services would create undue risk to U.S. financial stability
  • whether the provision of an account and services would create undue risk to the economy by facilitating illicit activities

UPDATE on publication and comment period: Scheduled for 5/11/2021 publication in the Federal Register. Comments will be accepted for 62 days, through 7/12/2021.


Federal Reserve CRA ratings

The Federal Reserve Banks publicly released the Community Reinvestment Act evaluations of 21 state-chartered member banks in March and April. Eighteen of those banks received "Satisfactory" ratings. We congratulate the three banks that earned "Outstanding" ratings:


Eighth batch of EIP3 payments disbursed

The IRS announced yesterday it has disbursed more than 1.1 million payments in the eighth batch of Economic Impact Payments from the American Rescue Plan. That brings the total disbursed so far to approximately 164 million payments, with a total value of approximately $386 billion. The eighth batch of payments began processing on Friday, April 30, with an official payment date of May 5, with some people receiving direct payments in their accounts earlier as provisional or pending deposits.


Victims of student loan debt relief scheme to receive refunds

The FTC is sending more than $273,500 in refunds to people who lost money to a student loan debt relief scheme that charged them illegal upfront fees and tricked them into believing their student loan payments would be permanently lowered or eliminated. A complaint filed by the Commission in September 2019 indicated Manhattan Beach Venture deceptively marketed payment relief and loan forgiveness programs to people looking for help with their student loans. Consumers were charged up to $1,400 in upfront fees and led to believe it went toward their student loans. MBV then funneled consumers into financing this fee through a high-interest loan with third-party lender Equitable Acceptance Corporation, another defendant in the scheme. The FTC is sending checks to 2,889 people, averaging about $95 each.


New Jersey credit union chartered

The NCUA announced yesterday that it has issued a charter to the Maun Federal Credit Union, in Kendall Park, New Jersey, to serve a local Islamic community. The charter became effective April 26, and the credit union expects to open in June. Maun Federal Credit Union will be an Islamic-faith-based, no-interest credit union whose not-for-profit, cooperative business model will fill a need for affordable, federally insured financial services among members of its community. The credit union will serve employees and members of the New Brunswick Islamic Center in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and employees and members of the Islamic Society of Central Jersey in Monmouth Junction, New Jersey.


FDIC and OCC release CRA evaluation ratings

The FDIC has released its May 2021 list of banks recently examined for CRA compliance. Of the 56 banks listed, one was rated "Needs to Improve," 52 were rated "Satisfactory," and three earned "Outstanding" ratings. Here are the banks that garnered the "Outstanding" ratings, with links to their evaluation reports:

The OCC also released CRA evaluations that became public in April for 15 national banks and federal savings associations. Twelve of these evaluations were rated "Satisfactory." The three banks listed below (with links to their evaluation reports) received "Outstanding" ratings:


PPP funds nearly depleted

The ABA Banking Journal has reported that the Paycheck Protection Program ran out of funding on Tuesday afternoon and has stopped accepting most new applications. About $8 billion is still available through a set-aside in the law for community financial institutions, and those institutions will be permitted to process applications until that money has been exhausted. Other lenders should be receiving a message through the SBA origination portal that loans are no longer available. Sources have also reported that funds remain for lenders to finish pending applications that are "on hold."


TCH and core providers offer MDIs access to RTP Network has reported The Clearing House, Fiserv, FIS, and Jack Henry & Associates have announced they are jointly funding the onboarding fees of minority-owned depository institutions (MDIs) that agree to join the RTP Network in 2021. The fees will be covered for MDIs using Fiserv’s core processing solutions, Jack Henry’s JHA PayCenter or the FIS Open Payment Framework (OPF).

The RTP Network is the real-time payments network operated by The Clearing House. The Clearing House reports that the RTP Network's real-time payment capabilities reach approximately 60% of U.S. demand deposit accounts. The Federal Reserve System is developing a second real-time payments service that would compete with the RTP Network beginning in 2023.


CFPB and FTC alert landlords to tenants' pandemic rights

On Monday, CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio and FTC Acting Chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter sent notification letters to the nation’s largest apartment landlords, which collectively own more than 2 million units. The letters reminded those landlords of federal protections in place to keep tenants in their homes and stop the spread of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has extended until June 30 a temporary moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent.

The letters also noted that the CFPB has issued an interim final rule, which took effect Monday, establishing new notice requirements under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Landlords should ensure that any FDCPA-covered debt collectors (including attorneys) working on their behalf notify tenants of their rights under federal law (as required by the interim final rule).


SEC charges sports apparel manufacturer

Under Armor Inc., a sports apparel manufacturer, has been charged by the SEC. with misleading investors as to the bases of its revenue growth and failing to disclose known uncertainties concerning its future revenue prospects. Under Armour has agreed to pay $9 million to settle the action.

According to the SEC's order instituting cease-and-desist proceedings, by the second half of 2015, Under Armour's internal revenue and revenue growth forecasts for the third and fourth quarters of 2015 began to indicate shortfalls from analysts' revenue estimates. The order finds, for example, that the company was not meeting internal sales projections for North America, and warm winter weather was negatively impacting sales of Under Armour's higher-priced cold weather apparel. The order further alleges that in response, for six consecutive quarters beginning in the third quarter of 2015, Under Armour accelerated, or "pulled forward," a total of $408 million in existing orders that customers had requested be shipped in future quarters. The SEC found that Under Armour misleadingly attributed its revenue growth during this period to various factors without disclosing to investors material information about the impacts of its pull-forward practices. The Commission also found that Under Armour failed to disclose that its increasing reliance on pull-forwards raised significant uncertainty as to whether the company would meet its revenue guidance in future quarters. According to the order, using these undisclosed pull-forwards, Under Armour was able to meet analysts' revenue estimates.

Under Armour has also agreed to cease and desist from committing future violations.


$20M from HUD to fight housing discrimination

HUD has announced that it is making $20,229,156 available to fair housing organizations across the nation working to fight housing discrimination. The funds will support a variety of activities, including fair housing testing, education and outreach, and capacity building, and are being provided through the Department’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP). Categories of grants include:

  • Education and Outreach Initiative (EOI) – $7,223,649 - EOI grants help groups develop and implement tester training and education and outreach programs.
  • Fair Housing Organizations Initiative (FHOI) – $2,250,000 - FHOI grants provide funds to non-profit fair housing organizations to build their capacity and effectiveness to conduct enforcement related activities.
  • Private Enforcement Initiative (PEI) – $10,755,507 - PEI grants help non-profit fair housing enforcement organizations carry out investigations and other enforcement activities to prevent or eliminate discriminatory housing practices.

Applicants who are interested in applying for funding should go to to obtain a copy of the specific Notice of Funding Opportunity, forms, instructions, and other application materials. Applications must be received by June 14, 2021.


FHFA final rule on GSE resolution planning

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has issued a final rule, published at 86 FR 23577 in the May 4 Federal Register, that requires Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) to develop credible resolution plans, also known as “living wills." These resolution plans would facilitate a rapid and orderly resolution of the Enterprises should FHFA in the future be appointed their receiver per the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA).

Under the final rule, the Enterprises must demonstrate how core or important business lines would be maintained to ensure continued support for mortgage finance and stabilize the housing finance system, without extraordinary government support, to prevent an Enterprise from being placed in receivership, indemnify investors against losses, or fund the resolution of an Enterprise.

The FHFA also released a Fact Sheet on the rule. The rule will be effective July 6, 2021.


FDIC March enforcement actions released

The FDIC has released a list of enforcement actions taken against banks and individuals in the month of March. Among the 12 administrative actions listed were five prohibition orders and three civil money penalty orders.

  • A civil money penalty of $40,500 was assessed on Oriental Bank, San Juan, Puerto Rico, for 27 violations of flood insurance requirements
  • FirstBank, Nashville, Tennessee, was assessed a $172,500 civil money penalty for 196 violations of flood insurance requirements
  • William Derek Martin, formerly a vice president and loan officer of Anderson Brothers Bank, Mullins, South Carolina, was ordered to pay a civil money penalty of $15,000 and issued an order of prohibition
  • Orders of prohibition were issued to:
    • William Weisbrod, a former of Lincoln 1st Bank, Lincoln Park, New Jersey
    • Erica E. Franklin, former treasury services supervisor of Bank of Labor, Kansas City, Kansas
    • Mark Wong, formerly employed by Bank of the West, San Francisco, California
    • Gina Champion-Cain, formerly a director of Endeavor Bank, San Diego, California


Alabama and Kentucky severe storms relief

The FDIC has issued two financial institution letters announcing steps to provide regulatory relief to financial institutions and facilitate recovery.

  • FIL-31-2021 concerning areas of Kentucky affected by severe storms, slooding, landslides, and mudslides
  • FIL-32-2021 with regard to areas of Alabama affected by severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes


CA mortgage mod service charged with fair housing violations

HUD has announced that it is charging the owners and employees of a business known as The House Lawyer, which operated in Redwood City, California, with violating the Fair Housing Act by targeting Hispanic homeowners with illegal and unfair mortgage modification services. HUD’s charge alleges, among other things, that the company collected fees from Hispanic borrowers for loan modification services prior to the completion of those services, in violation of California law, while encouraging them to withhold their mortgage payments, putting them at risk of foreclosure.


Nine public housing authorities in new HUD program

HUD has announced awards to nine lead public housing authorities that will participate in HUD’s new Housing Choice Voucher Mobility Demonstration, which will receive $45.7 million in total funding. Through this demonstration, the PHAs will provide over 10,000 families with children better access to low-poverty neighborhoods with high-performing schools and other strong community resources. Participating regions represent diverse housing markets, population sizes, local laws regarding source-of-income nondiscrimination, and experiences implementing housing mobility programs.

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