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05/06/2021

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.

05/06/2021

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.

05/06/2021

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.

05/06/2021

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:

05/06/2021

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

Comments will be accepted for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

05/06/2021

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.

05/05/2021

TCH and core providers offer MDIs access to RTP Network

PYMNTS.com 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.

05/05/2021

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."

05/05/2021

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:

05/04/2021

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).

05/04/2021

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.

05/04/2021

$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 www.Grants.gov 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.

05/04/2021

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.

05/03/2021

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

05/03/2021

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

05/03/2021

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.

05/03/2021

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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