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04/13/2021

Freddie and Fannie to limit loan eligibility to new QM rule

Fannie Mae, in Lender Letter LL-2021-09, and Freddie Mac, in Guide Bulletin 2021-13, announced that any loans purchased by the GSEs after July 1, 2021, must conform to the requirements outlined in the CFPB’s recently finalized QM final rule. Both GSEs clarified that they will continue to buy loans that fall under the "GSE patch" that have application dates on or before June 30 and settlement dates before September 1, and are purchased as whole loans before September 1, or in mortgage-backed securities pools with an issue date on or before August 1.

04/12/2021

Agencies' statement and RFI on BSA model risk management guidance

The federal banking agencies, in consultation with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and the National Credit Union Administration, on Friday issued a joint statement addressing how risk management principles described in the "Supervisory Guidance on Model Risk Management" relate to systems or models used by banks to assist in complying with the requirements of Bank Secrecy Act laws and regulations. The statement further notes that it does not alter existing BSA/AML legal or regulatory requirements or establish new supervisory expectations, and that no specific model risk management framework is required.

The agencies, along with the National Credit Union Administration and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, also announced a request for information on the extent to which the principles discussed in the guidance support compliance by banks and credit unions with BSA/AML and Office of Foreign Assets Control requirements. The agencies are seeking comments and information to better understand bank practices and determine whether additional explanation or clarification may be helpful.

Comments to the RFI will be accepted for 60 days, through June 11, 2021.

04/12/2021

HUD awards $13.7M for emergency safety and security

HUD has announced it has awarded $13.7 million to public housing authorities throughout the country to make needed capital improvements in public housing developments that serve to enhance safety and security for residents.

The funds are awarded through HUD’s Capital Fund Emergency Safety and Security Program, which supports public housing authorities as they address the safety of public housing residents. These grants may be used to install, repair, or replace capital equipment or systems that contribute to a safer living environment for residents, including security systems/surveillance cameras, fencing, lighting systems, emergency alarm systems, window bars, deadbolt locks, doors, and carbon monoxide detectors.

04/12/2021

President’s priorities for discretionary funding

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas issued a statement Friday on the president's priorities for fiscal year 2022 discretionary spending, which have been submitted to Congress. The budget invests in key DHS missions, including repairing a broken immigration system, better managing the border with advanced technology, protecting civil rights, and bolstering cyber defenses and resilience. The discretionary request also includes investments to address the root causes of domestic terrorism, combat climate change, and increase funding for research and development.

04/12/2021

FDIC request for input on revision of official sign and ad requirements

The FDIC is renewing its February 2020 request for input regarding potential modernization of the official FDIC sign and advertising rules (12 C.F.R. Part 328) to reflect changes in deposit-taking via physical branch, digital, and mobile banking channels. The FDIC last significantly updated the rules in 2006. Last year's request for input was postponed in April 2020 due to shifted priorities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FDIC encourages comments from all interested parties. The comment period closes on May 24th.

  • FIL-26-2021
  • 04/09/2021

    Missouri bank assessed $11,000 flood penalty

    The Federal Reserve Board has announced its assessment of an $11,000 civil money penalty on a Missouri bank for violations of the National Flood Insurance Act.

    04/09/2021

    SBA opens Shuttered Venue Operators Grant portal

    The U.S. Small Business Administration officially opened the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) application portal yesterday, April 8, 2021, at 12 p.m. EDT for operators of live venues, live performing arts organizations, museums and movie theatres, as well as live venue promoters, theatrical producers and talent representatives to apply for critical economic relief, as those eligible entities are some of the first that had to shutter their doors a year ago in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The SVOG program was appropriated more than $16.2 billion for grants via the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act and the American Rescue Plan Act. Of these funds, at least $2 billion is reserved for eligible SVOG applications with up to 50 full-time employees. Eligible applicants may qualify for grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue up to a maximum amount of $10 million for a single grant.

    04/09/2021

    HUD allocates $5B in American Rescue Plan funds

    HUD has announced the allocation of nearly $5 billion in American Rescue Plan funds to help communities across the country create affordable housing and services for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. The supplemental funding is allocated through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program to 651 grantees, including states, insular areas, and local governments.

    04/09/2021

    Fed proposes to automate routine Fed stock adjustments

    The Federal Reserve Board has announced it is requesting public comment on a proposal to automate non-merger-related adjustments to member banks' subscriptions to Federal Reserve Bank capital stock. The automated process would eliminate the need for member banks to file applications to adjust their stock subscriptions—except in the context of mergers—and would significantly reduce the annual reporting burden.

    Regulation I, which governs the issuance and cancellation of capital stock by the Reserve Banks, currently requires that a member bank apply to adjust its stock subscription at least annually and sometimes quarterly. A member bank determines its required stock subscription based on its capital and surplus (or total deposit liabilities for a mutual savings bank) as reported in the member bank's most recent Call Report. The Reserve Banks are developing software that will automatically pull the information needed to calculate member banks' required stock subscriptions from Call Reports and thereby automate the stock adjustment process. Further, the Board proposes that a Reserve Bank would adjust a member bank's stock subscription each time the member bank files a Call Report.

    The proposal would also make certain other technical changes to the regulation. Comments will be accepted for 60 days following publication of the proposal.

    PUBLICATION AND COMMENT PERIOD UPDATE: Scheduled for publication on 4/13/2021, with comments due by 6/14/2021.

    04/09/2021

    Fed issues consent prohibition order

    The Federal Reserve Board has issued a Consent Order of Prohibition against Blake King, a former loan officer of Farmers Bank of Northern Missouri, Unionville, Missouri, for making internal transfers, deposits, and cash withdrawals totaling over $45,390 from a bank customer’s account for his personal benefit and without authorization.

    04/09/2021

    Burmese gems enterprise sanctioned

    Yesterday, OFAC designated Myanma Gems Enterprise, a Burmese state-owned entity that is responsible for all gemstone activities in Burma. Gemstones are a key economic resource for the Burmese military regime that is violently repressing pro-democracy protests in the country and that is responsible for the ongoing lethal attacks against the people of Burma, including the killing of children. These sanctions are not directed at the people of Burma.

    Myanma Gems Enterprise was designated under Executive Order 14014, “Blocking Property with Respect to the Situation in Burma,” for being a political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of the Government of Burma.

    Further identification information on Myanma Gems Enterprise can be found in BankersOnline's OFAC Update.

    04/09/2021

    FDIC Minority Depository Institutions subcommittee meets Monday

    An open meeting of the FDIC Minority Depository Institutions (MDI) Subcommittee to the Advisory Committee on Community Banking will be held Monday, April 12, at 1 p.m. EDT. During the public portion of the meeting, the MDI Subcommittee members will share insights into key challenges and opportunities facing their communities and financial institutions. During the MDI Spotlight feature, Robert James II, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Board Member of Carver State Bank in Savannah, Georgia, will discuss collaboration best practices by a group of Black MDIs that came together to syndicate a $35 million loan to refinance the Atlanta Hawks Emory Sports Medicine Complex. Following the public meeting, MDI Subcommittee members will provide feedback on the FDIC’s strategies to preserve and promote MDIs. Topics include the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s new Emergency Capital Investment Program.

    The subcommittee meeting will be webcast live at http://fdic.windrosemedia.com/.

    04/08/2021

    CFPB proposes delay of debt collection rules

    The CFPB announced on Wednesday a proposed rule that would delay by 60 days the effective dates of its two recent rules amending Regulation F under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The two rules are to become effective November 30, 2021. The proposal would postpone the effective date of those rules to January 29, 2022, to give affected parties more time to comply due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

    The first debt collection rule, issued in October 2020, focuses on the use of communications related to debt collection, and clarifies prohibitions on harassment and abuse, false or misleading representations, and unfair practices by debt collectors when collecting consumer debt.

    The second debt collection rule, issued in December 2020, clarifies disclosures debt collectors must provide to consumers at the beginning of collection communications. The rule also prohibits debt collectors from making threats to sue, or from suing, consumers on time-barred debt. The rule requires debt collectors to take specific steps to disclose the existence of a debt to consumers before reporting information about the debt to a consumer reporting agency.

    Comments on the proposal to delay the effective date to January 29, 2022, will be accepted for 30 days following its publication in the Federal Register.

    04/08/2021

    February Consumer Credit data posted

    The Federal Reserve has posted February 2021 G.19 Consumer Credit data. Consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 7.9 percent. Revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 10.1 percent, while nonrevolving credit increased at an annual rate of 7.3 percent.

    04/08/2021

    25 million payments in fourth EIP3 batch

    On Wednesday, the Treasury Department reported that more than 25 million payments were disbursed in the fourth batch of EIP3 payments, bringing the total disbursed so far to more than 156 million payments valued at about $372 billion. The fourth batch of payments began processing on Friday, April 2, with an official payment date of Wednesday, April 7, although some people received access to direct deposited payments earlier.

    The payments in the fourth batch went to Social Security (retirement, survivor or disability) recipients who didn't file a 2019 or 2020 tax return and didn't use the Non-Filers tool last year; to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries; and to Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) beneficiaries. Also included were more than a million "plus-up" payments, and another million payments to people for whom the IRS did not previously have information for issuing a payment, but recently filed a tax return, qualified for a payment, and provided the needed information.

    Approximately 85% of the EIP3 round of payments have been made by direct deposit, up from 74% of EIP1 payments and 77% of EIP2 payments. Over 3.1 million Direct Express cardholders have received EIP3 payments electronically, more than a half-million more than in previous rounds. Making most of these payments to Direct Express cards enables cardholders, many of whom are unbanked, to receive their Economic Impact Payment the same way they typically receive their federal benefits.

    Payments to non-tax-filing VA benefit recipients are scheduled to go out at the end of this week with an official payment date of Wednesday, April 14. The IRS "Get My Payment" tool should have VA beneficiary payment information available by April 10.

    Treasury's press release also noted that some federal benefits recipients may need to file a 2020 tax return by May 17, even if they don't usually file, to get EIP3 payments for a qualified dependent. Other non-filers, such as the homeless, rural poor and others, may also qualify for an EIP payment if they file a 2020 return, and may also be eligible for the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit.

    04/08/2021

    Vets business outreach center application deadline extended

    The SBA has announced that private organizations, colleges and universities, private sector firms, nonprofit organizations, and state, local or tribal governmental agencies in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Northern California, and Nevada have an extended deadline to apply for funding no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 25, 2021. This grant opportunity assists with training and counseling to aspiring and existing veteran small business owners as a Veterans Business Outreach Center.

    The grant awardees will provide training to service members and military spouses through the Boots to Business entrepreneurship training program, which is part of the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program. Additionally, applicants will provide counseling, technical and financial skill development, comprehensive business assessments, and mentoring services to veterans, transitioning and active-duty service members, Reserve, National Guard, and military spouses interested in starting or growing a small business.

    04/08/2021

    Made in America Tax Plan Report released

    Treasury has released the Made in America Tax Plan Report to provide additional depth on the plan announced last week as a part of President Biden's American Jobs Plan, a comprehensive proposal aimed at increasing investment in infrastructure, the production of clean energy, the core economy, and other priorities.

    04/08/2021

    March FOMC minutes posted

    The Federal Reserve Board has released the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting held March 16–17, 2021.

    04/08/2021

    OFAC sanctions human smuggling organization

    Yesterday, OFAC designated Pakistani national Abid Ali Khan and the Abid Ali Khan Transnational Criminal Organization in accordance with Executive Order 13581, “Blocking Property of Transnational Criminal Organizations.”

    The Abid Ali Khan TCO is a human smuggling organization based in Nowshera, Pakistan, that has facilitated the unlawful smuggling of foreign nationals, including foreign nationals who may pose a national security risk to the United States or its interests, into the United States using various travel routes through Latin America since at least 2015.

    OFAC also designated three other individuals and one entity associated with the Abid Ali Khan TCO.

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

    04/07/2021

    OFAC sanctions violent cartel members and facilitator

    On Tuesday, OFAC designated Carlos Andres Rivera Varela and Francisco Javier Gudino Haro, who are violent members of the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG). These two individuals have allegedly helped orchestrate assassinations using high-powered weaponry on behalf of CJNG, a Mexico-based organization that is responsible for trafficking a significant proportion of the fentanyl and other deadly drugs that enter the United States.

    Also today, OFAC designated travel agent Alejandro Chacon Miranda, who facilitates travel that is often related to illicit activities for senior CJNG members and their allies. Additionally, OFAC designated two businesses located in Mexico.

    For identification information on the three designated individuals and the two businesses, see BankersOnline's OFAC Update.

    04/07/2021

    CFPB issues consent order to debt collector

    The CFPB announced Tuesday it had issued a consent order against a debt collector and its owner for harassing consumers, falsely threatening them with legal action. The CFPB found that Yorba Capital Management, LLC (Yorba) and its former owner, Daniel Portilla, Jr., violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (CFPA) and that Yorba violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The consent order permanently bans both Yorba and Portilla from the debt collection business, and orders restitution and penalties. Yorba and Portilla agreed to the order without admitting or denying any of the findings of fact, conclusions of law, or wrongdoing.

    The order calls for Yorba and Portilla to make consumer redress of $860,000, but that provision is suspended based on a purported inability to pay, except that any reimbursement or indemnification they receive, whether under an insurance policy, as a tax deduction or tax credit, or otherwise, must be transferred in full to the CFPB. The CFPB will use any such funds for consumer redress or will pay them to the U.S. Treasury. The order also requires Yorba and Portilla to pay a $2,200 civil money penalty.

    04/07/2021

    $689M for Housing Trust Fund from HUD

    HUD yesterday announced the allocation of $689,565,492.92 through the nation’s Housing Trust Fund (HTF) for affordable housing. The Housing Trust Fund is capitalized through the contributions made by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This year’s allocation is a significant increase in funding from last year’s allocation of $322,564,267.66. This program is specifically focused on housing for some of our most vulnerable populations. HUD annually allocates HTF funds by formula. A state must use at least 80 percent of each annual grant for rental housing; up to 10 percent for homeownership; and up to 10 percent for the grantee's reasonable administrative and planning costs. HTF funds may be used for the production or preservation of affordable housing through the acquisition, new construction, reconstruction, and/or rehabilitation of non-luxury housing with suitable amenities. All HTF-assisted units will be required to have a minimum affordability period of 30 years.

    04/07/2021

    COVID-19 as a stress test of regulatory framework

    The Federal Reserve Board has posted an article in its Finance and Economics Discussion Series (FEDS) that considers the economic damage caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The widespread economic damage caused by the pandemic poses the first major test of the bank regulatory reforms put in place following the global financial crisis. This study assesses this framework, with an emphasis on capital and liquidity requirements. Leading up to the COVID-19 crisis, banks were well-capitalized and held ample liquid assets, reflecting in part heightened requirements. Capital requirements were comparable across major jurisdictions, despite differences in the implementation of the international Basel standards. The overall robust capital and liquidity levels resulted in a resilient banking system, which maintained lending through the early stages of the pandemic. Furthermore, trading activity was a source of strength for banks, reflecting in part a prudent regulatory approach. Areas for potential improvement include addressing the cyclicality of requirements.

    04/07/2021

    SEC initiates emergency asset freeze

    The SEC announced yesterday it had obtained an asset freeze and other emergency relief in an emergency enforcement action against Los Angeles-based actor Zachary Horwitz and his company, 1inMM (one in a million) Capital, LLC in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme that raised over $690 million.

    Horwitz and 1inMM allegedly told investors that they were buying film rights, purportedly to resell them to Netflix and HBO; in fact, 1inMM actually had no business relationship with either company. According to the complaint filed by the SEC, Horwitz falsely claimed to have a track record of successfully selling movie rights to Netflix and HBO when, in fact, neither Horwitz nor 1inMM had ever sold any movie rights to, or done any business with, HBO or Netflix. Horwitz allegedly showed investors fabricated agreements and emails regarding the purported deals with HBO and Netflix. The complaint alleges that Horwitz and 1inMM promised investors returns in excess of 35%, and for many years paid supposed returns on earlier investments using funds from new investments. The complaint further alleges that Horwitz misappropriated investor funds for his personal use, including the purchase of his multi-million dollar home, trips to Las Vegas, and to pay a celebrity interior designer.

    04/07/2021

    HUD awards $36M+ in ROSS grant funds

    HUD has awarded $36.9 million to public housing authorities, public housing resident associations, Native American tribes, and nonprofit organizations across the nation. Grantees will use these Resident Opportunity and Self-Sufficiency (ROSS) grant funds to hire and/or retain Service Coordinators to help public and Native American housing families meet their professional, financial, health, and educational goals. In so doing, ROSS Service Coordinators will help remove barriers so that residents can improve their economic mobility, health outcomes, and overall quality of life.

    04/06/2021

    FDIC launches #GetBanked campaign

    Yesterday. the FDIC launched a public awareness program about the benefits of opening a bank account. The FDIC's #GetBanked campaign will focus on the Houston and Atlanta areas, where research finds Black and Hispanic households are disproportionately unbanked. The goal of this targeted, pilot campaign is to support financial empowerment by encouraging consumers to consider opening a checking account that can result in access to safer and lower-cost financial products.

    04/06/2021

    $1.3 billion in IRS refunds unclaimed

    The IRS has posted a notice that unclaimed income tax refunds worth more than $1.3 billion await an estimated 1.3 million taxpayers who did not file a 2017 Form 1040 federal income tax return. "The IRS wants to help taxpayers who are due refunds but haven't filed their 2017 tax returns yet," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. "Time is quickly running out for these taxpayers. There's only a three-year window to claim these refunds, and the window closes on May 17. We want to help people get these refunds, but they will need to quickly file a 2017 tax return." The IRS estimates half of the refunds are more than $865 and half are less.

    04/06/2021

    $5M for lead hazard reduction and weatherization

    HUD yesterday awarded $5 million in demonstration grants to five local government and non-profit organizations to help households with young children or seniors promote energy efficiency and healthy housing. The funding announced today promotes the coordinated delivery of services by local HUD-funded Lead Hazard Reduction and Weatherization Assistance Programs funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). This model will provide additional benefits to low-income households in the form of lower energy costs and a reduction in residential health and safety hazards.

    04/06/2021

    Nacha Same Day ACH limit to grow again

    Nacha members have approved an increase in the Next Day ACH per-payment maximum from the current $100,000 to $1 million effective March 18, 2022. It will apply to all eligible Same Day ACH payments, including credits and debits for both businesses and consumers. Nacha's news release said the $1 million limit "will be beneficial for many types of payments, from insurance claim payments and payroll funding, to business-to-business and tax payments, and many more."

    04/06/2021

    Proposed mortgage servicing changes to mitigate foreclosure surge

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Monday announced it has proposed a set of rule changes intended to help prevent avoidable foreclosures as COVID-19 emergency federal foreclosure protections expire. The CFPB’s proposal, if finalized, would:

    • Give borrowers time: To make sure borrowers aren’t rushed into foreclosure when a potentially unprecedented number of borrowers exit forbearance at around the same time this fall, the proposed rule would provide a special pre-foreclosure review period that would generally prohibit servicers from starting foreclosure until after December 31, 2021. The CFPB is seeking public input on that date, as well as whether there are more limited ways to achieve the same purpose. For example, the CFPB is considering whether to permit earlier foreclosures if the servicer has taken certain steps to evaluate the borrower for loss mitigation or made efforts to contact an unresponsive borrower. This provision, like the rest of the proposal, would only apply to loans secured by a borrower’s principal residence.
    • Give servicers options: The proposed rule would permit servicers to offer certain streamlined loan modification options to borrowers with COVID-19-related hardships based on the evaluation of an incomplete application. Normally, with certain exceptions, Regulation X requires servicers to review a borrower for all available options at once, which can mean borrowers have to submit more documents before a servicer can make a decision. Allowing this flexibility could allow servicers to get borrowers into an affordable mortgage payment faster, with less paperwork for both the servicer and the borrower. This provision would only be available for modifications that do not increase a borrower’s monthly payment and that extend the loan’s term by no more than 40 years from the modification’s effective date.
    • Keep borrowers informed of their options: The CFPB also proposes temporary changes to certain required servicer communications to make sure that, during this crisis, borrowers receive key information about their options at the appropriate time.

    The proposed rule would only apply to a mortgage loan that is secured by a property that is a borrower's principal residence. It would not apply to small servicers as defined in section 1026.41(e)(4) of Regulation Z. If finalized as proposed, the rule would be effective on August 31, 2021. Comments will be accepted through May 10, 2021.

    04/05/2021

    Blanco leaving FinCEN Friday

    FinCEN Director Kenneth A. Blanco announced on Friday that he will depart FinCEN on April 9, after serving as the organization’s director since December 2017. Michael Mosier, former FinCEN Deputy Director and current Counselor to the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, will return to FinCEN as Acting Director beginning April 11. AnnaLou Tirol, former Associate Director of FinCEN’s Strategic Operations Division, is serving as FinCEN Deputy Director.

    Also on Friday, Bloomberg reported that Citigroup Inc., hired Blanco as chief compliance officer of its newly created financial crimes unit. Citigroup announced last year it would create the financial crimes unit, integrating its anti-money laundering, sanctions, and anti-bribery teams.

    04/05/2021

    March 2021 Call Report instructions

    The FDIC has issued FIL-25-2021 with supplemental instructions for the Consolidated Reports of Condition and Income (Call Report) for the March 31, 2021, report date. Depository institutions are urged to complete as early as possible the preparation, editing, and review of their Call Report data and the submission of these data to the agencies’ Central Data Repository (CDR). Starting the preparation early will help identify and resolve any edit exceptions before the submission deadline. If it's later discovered that any information needs to be revised, institutions are advised to make the appropriate changes to the Call Report data and promptly submit the revised data file to the CDR.

    04/05/2021

    FDIC releases CRA evaluation ratings

    The FDIC has issued its list of 51 state nonmember banks recently evaluated for compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The list covers evaluation ratings that the FDIC assigned to institutions in January 2021. Forty-eight evaluations were rated Satisfactory. The evaluations of these three banks were rated Outstanding:

    04/05/2021

    CFPB blog article on Economic Impact Payments

    The CFPB has posted a blog article, "Your Guide to Economic Impact Payments," with information on all three EIP programs and strategies to benefit from each of them. The blog provides the information in a series of answers to frequently-asked questions on the programs, and a warning about scams:

    • How much could I receive?
    • How do I know if I’m eligible?
    • How will I receive my payments?
    • What can I do if I haven’t received my payment or if I’m eligible to receive more?
    • What do I do if my bank or credit union has charged my account fees when I got the EIP?
    • How do I check the status of my payment?
    • Beware of scammers pretending to be the IRS

    The article includes links to EIP information in Spanish, Chinese (traditional and simplified), Vietnamese, Korean, and Tagalog languages.

    04/02/2021

    FinCEN works toward new beneficial ownership rule

    FinCEN has announced an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to solicit public comment on a wide range of questions related to the implementation of the beneficial ownership information reporting provisions of the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA).

    This ANPRM is the first in a series of regulatory actions that FinCEN says it will undertake to implement the CTA, which is included within the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (AML Act). The AML Act is part of the FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which became law on January 1, 2021.

    The CTA amended the Bank Secrecy Act to require corporations, limited liability companies, and similar entities to report certain information about their beneficial owners (the individual natural persons who ultimately own or control the companies). FinCEN says the new reporting requirement will enhance the national security of the United States by making it more difficult for malign actors to exploit opaque legal structures to launder money, finance terrorism, proliferate weapons of mass destruction, traffic humans and drugs, and commit serious tax fraud and other crimes that harm the American people.

    The CTA requires FinCEN to maintain the reported beneficial ownership information in a confidential, secure, and non-public database. Furthermore, the CTA authorizes FinCEN to disclose beneficial ownership information subject to appropriate protocols and for specific purposes to several categories of recipients, such as federal law enforcement. Finally, the CTA requires FinCEN to revise existing financial institution customer due diligence regulations concerning beneficial ownership to take into account the new direct reporting of beneficial ownership information.

    The ANPRM is scheduled for Federal Register publication on April 5, 2021. Comments on the ANPRM should be submitted by May 5, 2021.

    04/02/2021

    CFPB bulletin warns mortgage servicers of coming surge in homeowners needing help

    The CFPB announced Thursday it has issued Compliance Bulletin 2021-02 to warn mortgage servicers to take all necessary steps now to prevent a wave of avoidable foreclosures this fall. Millions of homeowners currently in forbearance will need help from their servicers when the pandemic-related federal emergency mortgage protections expire this summer and fall. The Bureau said that servicers should dedicate sufficient resources and staff now to ensure they are prepared for a surge in borrowers needing help. The CFPB also said it will closely monitor how servicers engage with borrowers, respond to borrower requests, and process applications for loss mitigation. The CFPB will consider a servicer’s overall effectiveness in helping consumers when using its discretion to address compliance issues that arise.

    In its oversight of mortgage servicers, the CFPB is focused on preventing avoidable foreclosures. The CFPB will pay particular attention to how well servicers are:

    • Being proactive. Servicers should contact borrowers in forbearance before the end of the forbearance period so they have time to apply for help.
    • Working with borrowers. Servicers should work to ensure borrowers have all necessary information and should help borrowers in obtaining documents and other information needed to evaluate the borrowers for assistance.
    • Addressing language access. The CFPB will look carefully at how servicers manage communications with borrowers with limited English proficiency and maintain compliance with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and other laws.
    • Evaluating income fairly. Where servicers use income in determining eligibility for loss mitigation options, servicers should evaluate borrowers’ income from public assistance, child-support, alimony or other sources in accordance with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act’s anti-discrimination protections.
    • Handling inquiries promptly. The CFPB will closely examine servicer conduct where hold times are longer than industry averages.
    • Preventing avoidable foreclosures. The CFPB will expect servicers to comply with foreclosure restrictions in Regulation X and other federal and state restrictions in order to ensure that all homeowners have an opportunity to save their homes before foreclosure is initiated.

    Provided that servicers are demonstrating effectiveness in helping consumers, in accord with the compliance bulletin, the CFPB will continue to evaluate servicer activity consistent with the Joint Statement on Supervisory and Enforcement Practices Regarding the Mortgage Servicing Rules in Response to the COVID-19 Emergency and the CARES Act on April 3, 2020, which provides flexibility on certain timing requirements in the regulations.

    Publication update: Bulletin 2021-02 has been scheduled for Federal Register publication on 4/17/2021.

    04/02/2021

    2020 HMDA data available

    The CFPB recently announced the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) Modified Loan Application Register (LAR) data for 2020 were published on the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s HMDA Platform for approximately 4,400 HMDA filers. The published data contain loan-level information filed by financial institutions, modified to protect privacy.

    Annual loan-level LAR data for each HMDA filer are made available online by March 31st. Previously, users could obtain LAR data only by making requests to specific institutions for their annual data. To allow for easier public access to all LAR data, the Bureau’s 2015 HMDA rule required that the data be available electronically for all institutions. The data are now made available through the FFIEC’s HMDA Platform.

    Later this year, the 2020 HMDA data will be available in other forms to provide users insights into the data, including a nationwide loan-level dataset. That dataset will provide all publicly available data from all HMDA reporters, aggregate and disclosure reports with summary information by geography and lender, and the HMDA Data Browser to allow users to create custom datasets and reports. The Bureau will also publish a Data Point article highlighting key trends in the annual data.

    04/02/2021

    Harper to chair FFIEC

    The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) has announced NCUA Chairman Todd M. Harper has been named Chairman of the FFIEC.

    04/02/2021

    More EIP3 payments disbursed

    Treasury, the IRS, and the Bureau of the Fiscal Service have announced they are disbursing several million more payments in the third batch of Economic Impact Payments from the American Rescue Plan. This brings the total disbursed so far to more than 130 million payments worth approximately $335 billion.

    • This batch includes the first of ongoing supplemental payments for people who earlier in March received payments based on their 2019 tax returns but are eligible for a new or larger payment based on their recently processed 2020 tax returns. These “plus-up” payments could include a situation where a person’s income dropped in 2020 compared to 2019, or a person had a new child or dependent on their 2020 tax return, and other situations.
    • Also included are payments for people for whom the IRS previously did not have information to issue a payment but who recently filed a tax return and qualify for an Economic Impact Payment. Payments to this group -- and the “plus-up” payments noted above -- will continue on a weekly basis going forward, as the IRS continues processing tax returns from 2020 and 2019.
    • In total, this third batch includes more than 4 million payments, with a total value of more than $10 billion. There are more than two million direct deposit totaling more than $5 billion, and about two million paper check payment worth nearly $5 billion.

    04/02/2021

    OCC publishes interest rate risk statistics

    OCC Bulletin 2021-18 announces the OCC's publication of the Spring 2021 edition of the semiannual Interest Rate Risk Statistics Report. The report presents interest rate risk data gathered during examinations of OCC-supervised midsize and community banks and federal savings associations. The statistics are for informational purposes only and do not represent OCC-suggested limits or exposures. The report provides statistics on interest rate risk exposures and risk limits for different midsize and community bank populations, including—

    • all OCC-supervised midsize and community banks with reported data
    • banks by asset size
    • banks by charter type
    • minority depository institutions

    04/02/2021

    OCC promotes April as National Financial Capability Month

    The OCC encourages national banks and federal savings associations to support financial literacy education year-round but especially during National Financial Capability Month, which runs through April 30. Banks can promote financial literacy by supporting programs that expand financial literacy, economic empowerment, and access to capital and credit for all consumers, including those who are underserved or without access to traditional banking services.

    Acting Comptroller of the Currency Blake Paulson stated “National Financial Capability Month reminds everyone of the importance of taking charge of your personal finances. Banks play an important role in supporting their communities’ financial capabilities, particularly underserved and low-income communities where expanded access to credit and capital are most needed.”

    In addition, the OCC founded Project REACh to promote greater participation in the U.S. financial system by enhancing financial capability and inclusion and by reducing barriers to access among minority and underserved populations.

    04/01/2021

    CFPB offers help to consumers with housing insecurity

    CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio is featured in a Bureau vlog, "The CFPB is here to help consumers facing housing insecurity."

    04/01/2021

    Fed Board adopts final rule on use of supervisory guidance

    The Federal Reserve Board has adopted a final rule outlining and confirming the use of supervisory guidance for regulated institutions. The final rule generally codifies a statement issued in September 2018 clarifying the differences between regulations and guidance and is substantially similar to the proposal issued last year. Unlike a law or regulation, supervisory guidance does not have the force and effect of law, and the agencies do not take enforcement actions based on supervisory guidance. Rather, guidance outlines expectations and priorities, or articulates views regarding appropriate practices for a specific subject. The rule will be effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register and mirrors the rules issued earlier by the CFPB, the FDIC, the NCUA, and the OCC.

    04/01/2021

    Federal Reserve FAQs on longstanding regulations

    The Federal Reserve Board has announced it has published frequently asked questions (FAQs) comprising existing legal interpretations related to a number of the Board's longstanding regulations. The FAQs are intended to increase transparency and enhance accessibility to Board and Board staff legal interpretations. The FAQs include legal interpretations that have been formulated over time in response to specific requests related to each regulation. Each set includes significant existing interpretations of the regulation, including those found in Board orders, letters to specific requestors, and other sources, as well as those not previously available in written form.

    There are currently separate pages of FAQs for regulations H, K, L, O, W and Y. An FAQs table of contents provides a list of the FAQs with the date of their most recent update, and links to the individual FAQ pages.

    04/01/2021

    FDIC Consumer Compliance Supervisory Highlights

    The FDIC has issued FIL-22-2021 to announce the release of the latest issue of the FDIC’s Consumer Compliance Supervisory Highlights, which provides an overview of consumer compliance issues identified through the FDIC’s supervision of state non-member banks and thrifts in 2020. This edition includes:

    • A summary of the FDIC’s supervisory approach in response to COVID-19;
    • A description of the most frequently cited violations and other consumer compliance examination observations;
    • Information on regulatory developments; and
    • A summary of consumer compliance resources and information available to financial institutions

    A table of most frequently cited violations highlights the numbers of Level 2 and Level 3 violations (there are three levels of concern from 1 to 3, with Level 1 representing the lowest level of concern), indicating that the most frequently cited violations (representing approximately 74 percent of the total violations cited in 2020) involve: the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), Truth in Savings Act (TISA), Flood Disaster Protection Act (FDPA), Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA), and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA).

    The report section on Consumer Compliance Examination Observations focuses on matters involving RESPA, TILA and fair lending.

    04/01/2021

    FDIC updates National Rates and National Rate Caps webpage

    FDIC FIL-24-2021 announces that, on April 1, 2021, the FDIC’s revised methodology for calculating the national rate, the national rate cap, and the local market rate cap for banks that are less than well capitalized under Section 337.7 of the FDIC’s Rules and Regulations (see FIL-113-2020) go into effect. As of 8:00 AM ET today (April 1, 2021), FDIC’s web page for National Rates and National Rate Caps reflects the change in calculation methodology; going forward, updated National Rates and Rate Caps will, in general, be posted on the third Monday of the month.

    The FDIC also released FIL-23-2021 with information on the revised Brokered Deposit Regulation, and a new framework for analyzing the primary purpose exception (“PPE”) that includes a notice process for certain designated exceptions and an application process for entities that wish to invoke the PPE but do not meet one of the designated exceptions. To facilitate the implementation of the new regulations, the FDIC has added a Brokered Deposits webpage to the Banker Resource Center to provide information about the regulation, including filing instructions for the notice and application process. This new webpage became available at 8:00 AM ET on April 1, 2021. The full compliance date with respect to the brokered deposit revisions is January 1, 2022.

    04/01/2021

    IRS to recalculate taxes on unemployment benefits

    To help taxpayers, the Internal Revenue Service has announced that it will take steps to automatically refund money this spring and summer to people who filed their tax return reporting unemployment compensation before the recent changes made by the American Rescue Plan The legislation, signed on March 11, allows taxpayers who earned less than $150,000 in modified adjusted gross income to exclude unemployment compensation up to $20,400 if married filing jointly and $10,200 for all other eligible taxpayers. The legislation excludes only 2020 unemployment benefits from taxes. Because the change occurred after some people filed their taxes, the IRS will take steps in the spring and summer to make the appropriate change to their return, which may result in a refund. The first refunds are expected to be made in May and will continue into the summer.

    04/01/2021

    Indiana credit union closed

    The National Credit Union Administration yesterday liquidated Indianapolis’ Newspaper Federal Credit Union of Indianapolis, Indiana. Elements Financial Federal Credit Union of Indianapolis, Indiana, immediately assumed most of Indianapolis’ Newspaper Federal Credit Union’s shares. Elements Financial Federal Credit Union is a federally insured and chartered credit union with 116,004 members and assets of more than $2 billion, according to the credit union’s most recent Call Report.

    04/01/2021

    NCUA issues prohibition notice

    The National Credit Union Administration has issued a prohibition notice against a former employee of Greater Iowa Credit Union in Ames, Iowa, who had been sentenced on a charge of bank fraud in connection with his employment at the credit union.

    04/01/2021

    FedNOW ISO 20022 specifications announced

    FRB Services yesterday released message specifications for the initial launch of its FedNow Service for instant payments based on the standard set by the International Organization for Standardization, or ISO. The FedNow ISO 20022 specifications define the message flows and formats that the service will leverage when operational in 2023.

    The release of these specifications is an important step that allows financial institutions and other payments providers to begin preparing systems and developing solutions to support FedNow payments. The Federal Reserve also collaborated with The Clearing House to optimize compatibility between the two U.S. instant payment services, which are likely to have common users across the industry. In addition, the individual FedNow message flows and implementation guidelines were validated by experts on the FedNow Community ISO 20022 Working Group and other industry participants in the FedNow Community, including participants from BNY Mellon.

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