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02/21/2020

Symposium on consumer access to financial records

The it will hold a symposium on Consumer Access to Financial Records and Section 1033 of the Dodd-Frank Act on February 26, 2020, starting at 9:30 a.m. The event will be webcast on the Bureau’s website. Section 1033 addresses consumers’ rights to access information about their financial accounts. The Bureau’s data access symposium is intended to elicit a variety of perspectives on the current and future state of the market for services based on consumer-authorized use of financial data.

02/21/2020

Office Depot customers receive $34M in refunds

The Federal Trade Commission is sending refund checks totaling more than $34 million to consumers who allegedly were tricked by Office Depot, Inc. and a software provider into buying computer repair products and services. Office Depot paid $25 million while its software supplier, Support.com, Inc., paid $10 million as part of a 2019 settlement with the Commission. The FTC alleged that Office Depot and Support.com configured a virus scanning program to report that it found symptoms of malware or infections—even when that was not true—whenever consumers answered yes to at least one of four “diagnostic” questions. The false scan results were then used to persuade consumers to purchase computer repair and technical services that could cost hundreds of dollars. Over 541,000 checks averaging $63.35 will be sent.

02/21/2020

OFAC designates senior Iranian officials

OFAC has taken action against five members of Iran’s Guardian Council and its Elections Supervision Committee, which are appointed by Iran’s Supreme Leader or his appointees. The Supreme Leader uses his appointees to deprive the Iranian people of free and fair elections by blocking candidates that do not mirror his radical views. For identification information, see BankersOnline's OFAC Update.

02/21/2020

CFPB and two states sue loan brokers

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced that the Bureau, the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs, and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge have filed a lawsuit in federal district court in the District of South Carolina against Candy Kern-Fuller, Howard Sutter III, and Upstate Law Group LLC. The Bureau alleges that the defendants worked with a series of companies that brokered contracts offering high-interest credit to consumers, primarily disabled veterans, and violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act’s prohibition against deceptive acts or practices and against providing substantial assistance to deceptive and unfair acts or practices of others.

02/21/2020

OCC releases enforcement actions

The OCC has released a list of new enforcement actions taken against national banks, federal savings associations, and individuals currently and formerly affiliated with such institutions. The actions listed are dated from late December 2019 to early February 2020.

In addition to actions separately reported previously, the OCC listed removal/prohibition orders against a former teller at CIT Bank, N.A., Pasadena, California (misappropriation of cash from her teller drawer); a former head teller supervisor at Midland Federal Savings and Loan Association, Bridgeview, Illinois (misappropriation of vault cash and making false entries); a former teller at U.S. Bank, N.A., Cincinnati, Ohio (misappropriation of cash from her teller drawer and making false cash total entries); and a former teller at JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., Columbus, Ohio (misappropriation of cash from ATMs for which she was the custodian).

Also listed were three notices of charges that may result in orders of prohibition, orders for reimbursement, orders for civil money penalties and/or other actions, one of which notices was directed to five former officials of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in connection with charges that the former officials participated in or were responsible for "sales practices misconduct" at Wells Fargo Bank. The notice states the Comptroller's intention to assess civil money penalties of between $500,000 and $25,000,000 against the five former officials and to issue orders of prohibition to two of them.

02/21/2020

Updated interactive URLA published

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have announced their publication of the interactive (fillable) PDF versions of the redesigned Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) with an effective date of “09/2020,” along with corresponding supporting documents. These interactive forms comprise the final version of the loan application and are to be supported by the industry in system development and preparation of the redesigned URLA and updated GSE-specific automated underwriting system (AUS) specifications for the November 1, 2020, mandate.

The announcement also lists a number of supporting documents, including an FAQ with new questions and updates in support of the changes made to the redesigned URLA and the GSEs' AUS specs.

02/21/2020

California landlords settle housing discrimination claim

HUD reports it has approved a conciliation agreement between Inland Fair Housing and Mediation Board and a group of Upland, California, property owners and managers resolving allegations that they discriminated against families with children by refusing to rent to them and by imposing different occupancy terms and conditions to families with children.

02/21/2020

Data on borrowers' experiences in getting a mortgage

The Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have released for public use additional loan-level data collected through the National Survey of Mortgage Originations (NSMO). The data, which are from loans originated in 2017, provide insights into borrowers' experiences in getting a residential mortgage. Data from 2018 originations are expected to be released by the end of 2020.

02/21/2020

Large commercial banks list

The Federal Reserve Board has posted the ranking of insured U.S. large commercial banks with consolidated assets of $300 million or more as of December 31, 2019.

02/20/2020

U.S. - EU Financial Regulatory Forum meeting

A meeting of the U.S. and EU participants in the U.S. – EU Financial Regulatory Forum was held on February 11-12, 2020, in Washington to exchange views on financial regulatory developments as part of their ongoing regulatory dialogue. In the area of banking, participants discussed the process and timeline for implementing the final Basel III reforms, as well as resolution issues. Participants considered U.S. developments regarding prudential requirements for foreign banks, including tailoring prudential standards based on risk; the single counterparty credit limits; and proposed amendments to the Volcker rule. Participants also discussed EU work on the Banking Union arrangements for deposit insurance and backstop resolution funding. In the area of insurance, participants discussed ongoing multilateral and bilateral cooperation.

02/20/2020

OCC Miami workshop for bank directors and management

The OCC will host a workshop in Miami, Florida, at the Even Hotel – Miami Airport, March 31 – April 1, for directors, senior management team members, and other key executives of national community banks and federal savings associations supervised by the OCC.

The Building Blocks: Keys to Success for Directors and Senior Management workshop provides practical information on the roles and responsibilities of board participation. Taught by seasoned OCC supervision staff, the workshop focuses on duties and core responsibilities of directors and management, discusses major laws and regulations, and increases familiarity with the examination process. The workshop fee is $99. Admission is limited to the first 35 registrants.

02/20/2020

Comment period extended on CRA proposal

The FDIC and OCC have announced they have extended the public comment period for proposed changes to the rules implementing the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) through April 8, 2020. On December 12, 2019, the FDIC and OCC announced a proposal to modernize the regulations under the CRA and provided for a 60-day comment period following formal publication on January 9, 2020. The FDIC and OCC have now determined that a 30-day extension of the comment period is appropriate.

02/20/2020

FDIC requests input on modernizing signage and ad requirements

The FDIC has announced that it is seeking the public's input on potential modernization of its signage and advertising requirements to better reflect how banks and savings associations currently operate and how consumers use banking services. Banks are transforming their business models to take deposits via physical branches, digital, and mobile banking channels.

Given the changes in the marketplace since the FDIC last significantly updated these rules in 2006, the FDIC is gathering public input from a broad range of stakeholders about how it might revise and clarify its official sign and advertising rules to reflect the changes and support the industry's efforts to understand, apply, and comply with the FDIC's rules.

Comments on the FDIC's Request for Information must be received by March 19, 2020.

02/20/2020

International financial intelligence units discuss virtual assets

On February 16, 2020, fifty senior officials and experts of Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) from FATF countries and the Egmont Group1 Secretariat met in Paris to discuss the international ramifications of virtual assets from FIUs’ perspectives. Ms. Lucie Castets, Head of International Affairs Department of France’s FIU, the Traitement du renseignement et action contre les circuits financiers clandestins (Tracfin), hosted the meeting. Mr. Kenneth A. Blanco, Director of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the FIU of the United States, Mr. Marko Stolle, Deputy Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit Germany, and Ms. Lucie Castets co-chaired the meeting. Virtual asset experts from the FIUs of France, the United States, and Israel offered detailed presentations. Among other topics, attendees discussed cryptocurrency business models, money laundering and terrorist finance risks, illicit typologies, and the role of FIUs in tracing virtual assets.

02/20/2020

OFAC posts Iran-related designations

OFAC has posted a sanctions program action notice announcing its designation of five individuals under Iran-related Executive Order 13876.

The following individuals have been added to OFAC's SDN List:

JANNATI, Ahmad, Iran; DOB 22 Feb 1927; POB Ladan, Isfahan, Iran; nationality Iran; Additional Sanctions Information - Subject to Secondary Sanctions; Gender Male (individual) [IRAN-EO13876].

KADKHODAEI, Abbas Ali (a.k.a. KADKHODAEE, Abbas Ali; a.k.a. KADKHODAEI ELYADERANI, Abbas Ali; a.k.a. KADKHODAEI, Abbasali; a.k.a. KADKHODAI, Abbas Ali; a.k.a. KADKHODA'I, Abbas Ali), Iran; DOB 1961; alt. DOB 1962; POB Isfahan, Iran; nationality Iran; Additional Sanctions Information - Subject to Secondary Sanctions; Gender Male (individual) [IRAN-EO13876].

RAHPEYK, Siamak (a.k.a. RAHPEYK, Siyamak; a.k.a. RAH-PEYK, Siyamak; a.k.a. RAHPIEK, Siamak), Iran; DOB 1963; alt. DOB 1964; POB Tehran, Iran; nationality Iran; Additional Sanctions Information - Subject to Secondary Sanctions; Gender Male (individual) [IRAN-EO13876].

SADEGHI MOGHADAM, Mohammad Hasan (a.k.a. SADEGHI MOGHADAM, Mohammad Hassan; a.k.a. SADEGHI MOGHADDAM, Mohammad Hasan; a.k.a. SADEGHI MOHAMMAD, Mohammad; a.k.a. SADEQI-MOQADAM, Mohammad Hassan; a.k.a. SADEQI-MOQADDAM, Mohammad Hasan), Iran; DOB 1958; alt. DOB 1959; POB Jahrom, Iran; nationality Iran; Additional Sanctions Information - Subject to Secondary Sanctions; Gender Male (individual) [IRAN-EO13876].

YAZDI, Mohammad, Iran; DOB 02 Jul 1931; alt. DOB 1931; alt. DOB 1932; POB Isfahan, Iran; nationality Iran; Additional Sanctions Information - Subject to Secondary Sanctions; Gender Male (individual) [IRAN-EO13876].

02/20/2020

FOMC minutes released

The Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) have released the minutes of the FOMC meeting held on January 28-29, 2020. The minutes for each regularly scheduled meeting of the Committee ordinarily are made available three weeks after the day of the policy decision and subsequently are published in the Board's Annual Report. The descriptions of economic and financial conditions contained in these minutes are based solely on the information that was available to the Committee at the time of the meeting.

02/20/2020

CSBS to launch state exam system

The Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) has announced the nationwide roll-out of the State Examination System (SES), the first nationwide platform to bring state regulators and companies into the same technology space for supervision, fostering greater transparency and collaboration. Through SES, state regulators will be able to enhance supervisory oversight of fintechs and other nonbanks while making the process more efficient for regulators and companies alike.

SES is developed and operated by the State Regulatory Register (SRR), a SCBS subsidiary that also operates the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (NMLS). SES is designed to:

  • Support networked supervision among state regulators
  • Standardize workflow, business rules and technology across states
  • Facilitate secure collaboration between licensees and their regulators
  • Help examiners focus more attention on higher-risk cases
  • Move state supervision towards more multistate exams and fewer single-state efforts

    02/20/2020

    FDIC Advisory Committee of State Regulators announced

    The FDIC has announced the selection of 15 members for its recently established Advisory Committee of State Regulators. The FDIC Board of Directors approved the formation of the new Advisory Committee on November 19, 2019, as another mechanism for state regulators and the FDIC to discuss a variety of current and emerging issues that have potential implications for the regulation and supervision of state-chartered financial institutions. The Advisory Committee members include the following regulators of state-chartered financial institutions from across the United States as well as other individuals with expertise in the regulation of state-chartered financial institutions:

    • Bret Afdahl, Director, Division of Banking, State of South Dakota
    • Kevin R. Allard, Superintendent, Division of Financial Institutions, State of Ohio
    • Charles G. Cooper, Commissioner, Department of Banking, State of Texas
    • Thomas C. Fite, Director, Department of Financial Institutions, State of Indiana
    • Mary L. Gallagher, Commissioner of Banks, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
    • Greg Gonzales, Commissioner, Department of Financial Institutions, State of Tennessee
    • Ray Grace, Commissioner of Banks, State of North Carolina
    • Kevin B. Hagler, Commissioner, Department of Banking and Finance, State of Georgia
    • Melanie G. Hall, Commissioner, Division of Banking and Financial Institutions, State of Montana
    • Dawn E. Holstein, Commissioner of Banking, Division of Financial Institutions, State of West Virginia
    • Lise Kruse, Commissioner, Department of Financial Institutions, State of North Dakota
    • G. Edward Leary, Commissioner, Department of Financial Institutions, State of Utah
    • John Ryan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Conference of State Bank Supervisors
    • Antonio P. Salazar, Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation, State of Maryland
    • Mick Thompson, Commissioner, Banking Department, State of Oklahoma

    02/20/2020

    OFAC TSRA report and SDN List update

    A report of licensing activities for the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2019 has been released by OFAC, as required by the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (TSRA).

    OFAC also updated an SDN list entry for an entity designated under the Kingpin Act. See BankersOnline's OFAC Update for details.

    02/20/2020

    Parts of Florida county suspended from flood program

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency has published a notice [85 FR 9675] in this morning's Federal Register that unincorporated areas of Saint Lucie County, Florida were suspended yesterday (February 19, 2020) from the National Flood Insurance Program due to noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program. FEMA's notice was dated February 4, 2020.

    02/20/2020

    CFPB Winter 2020 Supervisory Highlights

    The CFPB has published issue 21 (Winter 2020) of its Supervisory Highlights, reporting examination findings in the areas of debt collection, mortgage servicing, payday lending, and student loan servicing that were completed between April 2019 and August 2019. These observations were reported:

    • Debt collection
      • Failure to disclose in subsequent communications that communication is from a debt collector
      • Failure to send notice of debt
    • Mortgage servicing
      • Loss mitigation notice violations
    • Payday lending
      • Failing to apply borrowers’ payments to their loans
      • Inaccurate disclosure of annual percentage rate
      • Failure to include a fee in calculation of finance charge and annual percentage rate
      • Failure to retain evidence of compliance with Regulation Z
      • Adverse action notices that failed to disclose the principal reason(s) for the adverse action
      • Unfair imposition of unauthorized and undisclosed fee
    • Student loan servicing
      • Inaccurate monthly payment amounts after servicing transfer

    As for the loss mitigation notice violations found in exams of mortgage servicers, the Bureau noted that several such problems followed on the heels of major natural disasters that prompted much larger volumes of assistance requests, and no "matters requiring attention" were issued.

    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.

    02/19/2020

    $655M for Indian housing grants announced

    HUD Secretary Carson has announced more than $655 million in Indian Housing Block Grants (IHBG) to Native American tribes in 38 states. Funding is distributed to eligible tribes and their tribally designated housing entities to carry out a range of affordable housing activities in their communities.

    02/19/2020

    December 2019 TIC data released

    Treasury has released Treasury International Capital (TIC) data for December 2019. The sum total in December of all net foreign acquisitions of long-term securities, short-term U.S. securities, and banking flows was a net TIC inflow of $78.2 billion. Of this, net foreign private inflows were $134.2 billion, and net foreign official outflows were $56.0 billion. Foreign residents increased their holdings of long-term U.S. securities in December; net purchases were $60.7 billion. Net purchases by private foreign investors were $66.8 billion, while net sales by foreign official institutions were $6.1 billion. U.S. residents decreased their holdings of long-term foreign securities, with net sales of $24.9 billion.

    02/19/2020

    NMLS annual report released

    The 12th annual report on NMLS operations, performance and development efforts has been released in conjunction with the start of the NMLS Annual Conference & Training. The report, “Building a Foundation for the Future,” highlights the State Examination System, Temporary Authority to Operate and more.

    02/19/2020

    Fannie and Freddie joint credit score model solicitation

    The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) have published a Joint Credit Score Solicitation, which describes the process for credit score model developers to submit applications to the Enterprises. The Enterprises will accept applications for 120 days, from May 18 – September 15, 2020.

    02/19/2020

    SEC files TRO and asset freeze against Florida RE firm

    The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced an emergency enforcement action and a temporary restraining order and asset freeze against Florida-based private real estate firm EquiAlt LLC, its CEO Brian Davison, and its Managing Director Barry Rybicki, in connection with an allegedly fraudulent unregistered securities offering that raised more than $170 million from at least 1,100 investors, a number of whom invested their retirement funds.

    According to a complaint filed by the Commission, EquiAlt, Davison, Rybicki, and the entities they control, fraudulently raised millions of dollars by making material misrepresentations to investors about EquiAlt’s investment strategy, the financial condition of the investments, and the uses of investor proceeds. The defendants allegedly told investors they would pool investor funds and use approximately 90% of the money to purchase undervalued real estate, rent or flip the properties, and pay investors 8-10% annual interest generated from the real estate investments. In reality, the complaint alleges, a large portion of investor money went to support Davison’s and Rybicki’s lavish personal spending, and less than 50% of the funds raised were used to invest in properties. In addition, money from one investment fund controlled by EquiAlt was allegedly used to make Ponzi-like payments to investors in another fund.

    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.

    02/18/2020

    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.

    02/14/2020

    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.

    02/14/2020

    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.

    02/13/2020

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

      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.

      02/11/2020

      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.

      02/10/2020

      $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.

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