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Banker's Toolbox, Inc., leaders in compliance solutions for financial institutions, announced the acquisition of Georgia-based MainStreet Technologies (MST). MST is an industry leader in the loan risk management space. This acquisition adds to a strong and growing portfolio of compliance-related solutions and will continue to enhance the value Banker's Toolbox brings to both their customers and the industry. (Read full press release here.)

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FinCEN virtual currencies guidance and advisory

FinCEN has issued guidance document FIN-2019-G001, Application of FinCEN’s Regulation to Certain Business Models Involving Convertible Virtual Currencies (CVCs). The guidance is in response to questions raised by financial institutions, law enforcement, and regulators concerning the regulatory treatment of multiple variations of businesses dealing in CVCs.

FinCEN also issued an Advisory on Illicit Activity Involving Convertible Virtual Currency (FIN-2019-A003), to assist financial institutions in identifying and reporting suspicious activity related to criminal exploitation of CVCs for money laundering, sanctions evasion, and other illicit financing purposes. The advisory highlights prominent typologies, associated “red flags,” and identifies information that would be most valuable to law enforcement if contained in suspicious activity reports.


CFPB shares practices for Child Savings Account programs

The Bureau has posted an article discussing the promising practices and lessons learned for Child Savings Account programs which offer participants opportunities to save for post-secondary education in dedicated accounts. The article cites four briefs illustrating how CSA programs have been designed to engage parents, children, and caregivers to increase enrollment and completion of post-secondary education:


FHA proposes new lender certificiation requirements

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has proposed several revisions to its lender certification requirements with the goal of providing lenders and servicers greater certainty in how to satisfy the agency's compliance requirements. In providing greater certainty to the process, FHA believes the changes will facilitate more competition in the market and result in more financing choices for borrowers, especially first-time and minority homebuyers.

The FHA is proposing significant changes to its loan-level and annual lender-level certifications to provide more precision and needed clarity to compliance documents. Specifically, FHA is proposing revisions to its Addendum to Uniform Residential Loan Application (Form 92900-A) and to its annual lender certification form. In addition, FHA is revising its 'defect taxonomy' to clarify the various loan defect categories and how the agency weighs the severity of each defect.


Kraninger addresses Town Hall

CFPB Director Kraninger attended her first town hall meeting and discussed the Bueau's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on debt collection, issued on May 7.


MSAAC meeting scheduled

The OCC will host a public meeting of the Mutual Savings Association Advisory Committee (MSAAC) on May 23, 2019, beginning at 8:30 a.m. EDT at the OCC, 400 7th Street SW, Washington, D.C. 20219. The purpose of the MSAAC meeting is to advise the OCC on regulatory changes or other steps the OCC may be able to take to ensure the continued health and viability of mutual savings associations and other issues of concern to mutual savings associations.


New Iranian sanctions and FAQs issued

A new Executive Order has been issued by President Trump imposing sanctions with respect to the iron, steel, aluminum, and copper sectors of Iran. In connection with the issuance of the E.O., OFAC has published related FAQs.


CFPB proposes debt collection rules

On Tuesday, the CFPB issued a proposed rule to implement the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The proposal would provide consumers with clear protections against harassment by debt collectors and straightforward options to address or dispute debts. Among other things, the NPRM would set clear, bright-line limits on the number of calls debt collectors may place to reach consumers on a weekly basis; clarify how collectors may communicate lawfully using newer technologies, such as voicemail, email and text messages, that have developed since the FDCPA's passage in 1977; and require collectors to provide additional information to consumers to help them identify debts and respond to collection attempts.

The proposal would amend Regulation F, which implements the FDCPA, to prescribe federal rules governing the activities of FDCPA-covered debt collectors. The proposal focuses on debt collection communications and disclosures and also addresses related practices by debt collectors. The Bureau also proposes that FDCPA-covered debt collectors comply with certain additional disclosure-related and record retention requirements. If a final rule is issued, the Bureau proposes that it would become effective one year after it has been published.

Comments on the Bureau's proposal will be accepted for 90 days following Federal Register publication.
UPDATE: Published at 84 FR 23274 on 5/21/2019, with comments due 8/19/2019.


Sanctions lifted from former Venezuelan official

On Tuesday, OFAC removed sanctions imposed on Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera (Cristopher), who last week broke ranks with the Maduro regime and rallied to the support of the Venezuelan constitution and the National Assembly. Cristopher is the former Director General of Venezuela’s National Intelligence Service, more commonly known as SEBIN. As a result of Tuesday’s action, all property and interests in property, which had been blocked solely as a result of Cristopher’s designation, are unblocked and all otherwise lawful transactions involving U.S. persons and Cristopher are no longer prohibited.

For identification information, see our OFAC Update.


Consumer credit up in March

The Federal Reserve has posted March 2019 data to its G.19 Consumer Credit statistics page. Consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4-1/4 percent during the first quarter. Revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 1-1/2 percent, while nonrevolving credit increased 5-1/4 percent. In March, consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 3 percent.


Comptroller’s Handbook RESPA booklet revised

The OCC has issued Bulletin 2019-22 announcing the revision of the “Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act” (RESPA) booklet of the Comptroller's Handbook. The revised booklet replaces the similarly titled booklet issued in April 2015. The revisions include:

  • the establishment and implementation of a definition of “successor in interest.”
  • compliance with certain servicing requirements when a person is a debtor in bankruptcy.
  • clarifications and revisions to the provisions regarding force-placed insurance notices, policy and procedure requirements, and early intervention and loss mitigation requirements under Regulation X’s servicing provisions.


FATF holds private sector consultative forum

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) conducted its annual Private Sector Consultative Forum on May 6–7 in Vienna, Austria, hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The meeting was chaired by the President of the FATF, Marshall Billingslea from the United States. Over 300 private sector representatives, including from the financial sector, civil society, and FATF members and observers, participated in this year’s Forum. The Forum is an opportunity for the FATF and its members to engage directly with the private sector on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) issues. It provides a regular platform for the FATF to learn more about the private sector’s views and concerns on these issues.


Fed released 3 outstanding CRA ratings in March and April

The Federal Reserve Board's historical listing of CRA evaluation ratings of state member banks lists 36 ratings made public in March and April 2019. Thirty-three satisfactory ratings were included, and these three institutions received outstanding ratings:

  • Fall River Five Cents Savings Bank, Fall River, Massachusetts
  • Boston Private Bank & Trust Company, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Franklin Savings Bank, Farmington, Maine


Interagency private flood insurance update rescheduled

Staff of the Federal Reserve, Farm Credit Administration, FDIC, NCUA and the OCC will conduct a one-hour Outlook Live webinar at 2 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, June 18, to discuss the private flood insurance rule published on February 20, 2019. Topics will include:

  • Mandatory acceptance of private flood insurance;
  • Mandatory acceptance Compliance Aid;
  • Discretionary acceptance of private flood insurance;
  • Flood Coverage provided by Mutual Aid Societies; and
  • Preparations to comply with the Rule

Advance registration is recommended. Note: This presentation was originally schedule for Tuesday, May 14. If you have already registered, all you need to do is move the session on your calendar; you don't need to re-register.


FHFA staff appointments announced

The FHFA has announced two new appointments. Christopher L. Bosland will serve as Senior Advisor for Regulatory Affairs and Meghan C. Patenaude will be a Senior Policy Advisor.


April Bank Lending Practices SLOOS

The FRB has released the April 2019 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey (SLOOS) on Bank Lending Practices, which addressed changes in the standards and terms on, and demand for, bank loans to businesses and households over the past three months, generally corresponding to the first quarter of 2019. Responses were received from 73 domestic banks and 21 U.S. branches and agencies of foreign banks.

Regarding loans to businesses, respondents to the April survey indicated that, on balance, they left their standards basically unchanged and eased some of the terms on commercial and industrial (C&I) loans to large and middle-market firms, while standards and most terms remained basically unchanged for such loans to small firms. Meanwhile, banks reported weaker demand for C&I loans from firms of both size categories.

Banks reportedly tightened standards across all three major commercial real estate (CRE) loan categories—construction and land development loans, nonfarm nonresidential loans, and multifamily loans—over the past three months. Loan demand in all three major CRE loan categories reportedly weakened during the same period.


CFPB ID theft protection guide

The Bureau has released an Identity Theft Protection Guide that shares steps to help protect personal information.


Fed's Community Development Research Conference this week

The Federal Reserve System's Community Development Research Conference, "Renewing the Promise of the Middle Class," will be held May 9–10, 2019, in Washington, D.C. The conference will feature the latest research on challenges faced by low- and moderate-income families when moving into the middle class, as well as threats to the economic security of middle-class households. The gathering will be co-hosted by the community development offices of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks and the Federal Reserve Board. The agenda and other details are available on the conference website.


OCC and FDIC CRA evaluations

The OCC has released a list of Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) performance evaluations that became public during in April. Of the 32 institutions listed, 28 were rated satisfactory and these four were rated outstanding:

  • TD Bank, N.A., Wilmington, Delaware
  • PNC Bank, National Association, Wilmington, Delaware
  • Home Savings & Loan Association of Carroll County, F.A., Norborne, Missouri
  • Tri City National Bank, Oak Creek, Wisconsin

The FDIC issued a list of state nonmember banks who were assigned CRA evaluations in February 2019. Of the 87 examination results released, 77 were rated satisfactory, 2 were assigned needs to improve ratings, and these eight garnered outstanding evaluations:

  • High Plains Bank, Keyes, Oklahoma
  • The Seymour Bank, Seymour, Missouri
  • Bangor Savings Bank, Bangor, Maine
  • Two River Community Bank, Tinton Falls, New Jersey
  • Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania, Providence, Pennsylvania
  • Continental Bank, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • EnerBank USA, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Security State Bank, Centralia, Washington


FinCEN Venezuelan money laundering advisory updated

A previously issued FinCEN advisory to alert financial institutions to continued widespread public corruption in Venezuela and the methods Venezuelan senior political figures and their associates may use to move and hide proceeds of their corruption has been updated. In addition to outlining the corrupt looting of Venezuela’s government-sponsored food distribution program, the advisory provides and updates a number of financial red flags to assist in identifying and reporting suspicious activity that may be indicative of corruption.


Unemployment rate decline continues

A survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates the U.S. April unemployment rate dropped to 3.6 percent—the lowest unemployment rate since December 1969. Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 263,000. April also marks the 14th consecutive month of the unemployment rate being at or below 4 percent.


$473K in wire transfers lead to $872K OFAC settlement

OFAC has announced an $871,837 settlement with MID-SHIP Group, LLC, a global, commercially sophisticated shipping and logistics company headquartered in Port Washington, NY. MID-SHIP agreed to the payment to settle its potential civil liability for five apparent violations of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions Regulations by processing give electronic funds transfers totaling $472,861, that pertained to payments associated with blocked vessels identified on OFAC's SDN List. MID-SHIP did not voluntarily self-disclose the transactions and the apparent violations were considered egregious by OFAC.

For more information, see MID-SHIP Group LLC settles with OFAC for $872K, in BankersOnline's Penalty pages.


OFAC publishes compliance framework

OFAC has published A Framework for OFAC Compliance Commitments to provide organizations subject to U.S. jurisdiction, as well as foreign entities that conduct business in or with the United States or U.S. persons, or that use U.S.-origin goods or services, with a framework on the essential components of a sanctions compliance program. The document also outlines how OFAC may incorporate these components into its evaluation of apparent violations and resolution of investigations resulting in settlements. An appendix offers a brief analysis of some of the root causes of apparent violations of U.S. economic and trade sanctions programs OFAC has identified during its investigative process.​


Bureau proposes HMDA rules changes

The CFPB has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would amend Regulation C, raising the coverage thresholds for collecting and reporting data about closed-end mortgage loans and open-end lines of credit under the HMDA rules. The proposal would provide relief to smaller lenders from HMDA's data reporting requirements, and would clarify partial exemptions from certain HMDA requirements that Congress added in the EGRRCPA. The Bureau also issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) requesting information on the costs and benefits of reporting certain data points under HMDA.

The NPRM (275-page PDF)
For closed-end mortgage loans, the Bureau proposes two alternatives that would permanently increase the coverage threshold from 25 to either 50 or 100 closed-end mortgage loans. For open-end lines of credit, the proposal would extend for another two years the current temporary coverage threshold of 500 open-end lines of credit. Once that temporary extension expires, the proposal would set the open-end threshold permanently at 200 open-end lines of credit. Comments will be accepted for 30 days following publication (60 days for comments on the Paperwork Reduction Act analysis). UPDATE: The NPRM was published [84 FR 20972] on 5/13/19, with a 30-day comment period ending 6/12/19. Comments on the Paperwork Reduction Act analysis in part VIII of the Supplementary Information are due by 7/12/19.

The ANPR (16-page PDF)
The Bureau's request for information solicits comments about the costs and benefits of collecting and reporting the data points the 2015 HMDA Rule added to Regulation C and certain preexisting data points that the 2015 HMDA Rule revised. The ANPR also seeks comments about the costs and benefits of requiring that institutions report certain commercial-purpose loans made to a non-natural person and secured by a multifamily dwelling. Comments and information will be accepted for 60 days following publication. UPDATE: The ANPR was published [84 FR 20049] on 5/8/19, with a 61-day comment period ending 7/8/19.


Bureau sues credit repair services

The CFPB has filed a complaint against PGX Holdings Inc. and subsidiaries Progrexion Marketing Inc., Progrexion Teleservices Inc., eFolks LLC, and Inc.; and against John C. Heath, Attorney at Law PLLC, which does business as Lexington Law.

The lawsuit alleges the defendants violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) by requesting and receiving payment of prohibited upfront fees for their credit repair services. Under the rule (16 CFR part 310), companies can only charge fees for telemarketed credit repair services after providing consumers with documentation that the promised results have been achieved. That documentation cannot be provided to consumers until more than six months after the results were achieved. The Bureau also alleges that Progrexion and its subsidiaries violated the TSR and the Consumer Financial Protection Act by making deceptive representations in its marketing, or by substantially assisting others in doing so.

Heath and Progrexion are headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah and do business throughout the United States.


Prohibition order for former Texas banker

The Federal Reserve Board has issued a Consent Order of Prohibition to a former executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Centennial Bank, Lubbock, Texas, a former state member bank. The former banker was found to have submitted altered invoices to the Bank’s accounts payable department to obtain reimbursements for personal expenses and used a Bank-issued credit card for personal expenses, causing a loss of $69,450.49 to the bank. He was "separated from employment" in May 2013, but made full restitution.


Bureau issues Fact Sheet on mortgage loan assumptions

The CFPB has issued a Fact Sheet, "Are Loan Estimates and Closing Disclosures Required for Assumptions?" The Fact Sheet addresses whether a Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure are required under the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule (TRID Rule) for a specific group of transactions. It addresses whether these disclosures are required for a transaction: (1) in which a new consumer is being added or substituted as an obligor on an existing consumer credit transaction; (2) that is a closed-end consumer credit transaction secured by real property or a cooperative unit; and (3) that is not a reverse mortgage subject to 12 CFR 1026.33. A link to the Fact Sheet can be found on the Bureau's Compliance and Guidance page for TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures.

We have also inserted a link to the Fact Sheet in the Official Commentary to § 1026.20(b) -- Assumptions, in BankersOnline's Regulations pages.


Fed proposes Reg EE amendments

The Federal Reserve Board has published in today's Federal Register [84 FR 18741, May 2, 2019] proposed amendments to Regulation EE (12 CFR part 231 — Netting Eligibility for Financial Institutions) that would include certain new entities in the definition of “financial institution” contained in section 402 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 (FDICIA) so that they will be covered by FDICIA’s netting provisions. The proposal would also clarify how the existing activities-based test in Regulation EE applies following a consolidation of legal entities. Comments will be accepted through July 1, 2019.


Bureau settles with student loan servicer for $3.9 million

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) has announced a settlement with Conduent Education Services, LLC (CES), a student loan servicing company that formerly operated under the name of ACS Education Services. CES is in the process of winding down its business.

The Bureau reported that CES engaged in unfair practices that violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 by failing to timely adjust principal balances of student loans made under the Federal Family Education Loan Program. CES did not make required adjustments to account for circumstances such as deferment, forbearance or the borrowers’ entrance into an Income-Based Repayment program. Loans that required adjustments were placed into queues, and adjustments were not made, in some cases, for years. As a result, some borrowers paid off loans with inaccurate balances, and some borrowers were unable to consolidate their loans while they waited, sometimes for months, for CES to adjust their principal balances.

Among other things, the consent order requires that CES, if it has not already done so, make proper adjustments to the principal balances of the relevant loans or otherwise make restitution to borrowers or any third parties who paid off such loans. The order also requires CES to pay a $3.9 million fine.


Treasury tech notice for users of OFAC site

The Treasury Department has posted an important Technical Notice for users of the OFAC website and sanctions lists data files. The existing certificate (expiring June 6, 2019) will be replaced on May 16, 2019 at 9 p.m. Please call this notice to the attention of your IT staff or your vendor if they download OFAC's sanctions list information.


FOMC statement issued - fed funds rate unchanged

The Federal Reserve Board and Federal Open Market Committee have issued the FOMC statement from the committee's May 1, 2019, meeting. The Committee "decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 percent. The Committee continues to view sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labor market conditions, and inflation near the Committee's symmetric 2 percent objective as the most likely outcomes. In light of global economic and financial developments and muted inflation pressures, the Committee will be patient as it determines what future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate may be appropriate to support these outcomes.

"In determining the timing and size of future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate, the Committee will assess realized and expected economic conditions relative to its maximum employment objective and its symmetric 2 percent inflation objective. This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and international developments."

The Implementation Notes, issued with the statement, indicate that the Board has voted to increase the interest rate paid on required and excess reserve balances to 2.35%, effective May 2, 2019.


OCC to host workshops in Kentucky

The OCC will host two workshops in Lexington, Kentucky, at the Four Points by Sheraton Lexington, June 4 and 5, for directors of OCC-supervised banks.

  • The "Credit Risk: Directors Can Make a Difference" workshop on June 4 focuses on credit risk within the loan portfolio, such as identifying trends and recognizing problems. The workshop also covers the roles of the board and management, how to stay informed of changes in credit risk, and how to effect change.
  • The "Compliance Risk" workshop on June 5 addresses the critical elements of an effective compliance risk management program. The workshop also focuses on major compliance risks and critical regulations. Topics of discussion include the Bank Secrecy Act, Flood Disaster Protection Act, Fair Lending, Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, Community Reinvestment Act, and other compliance hot topics.

OCC workshops are limited to 35 registrants, at a cost of $99. Registration is available at


FTC keeps Holder Rule intact

The Federal Trade Commission has posted a notice [84 FR 18711] in today's Federal Register that the Commission has completed its regulatory review of the Trade Regulation Rule Concerning Preservation of Consumers' Claims and Defenses (“Holder Rule”) as part of the agency's regular review of all its regulations and guides, and has determined to retain the Rule in its present form.


TBAC reports economic activity remains strong

The Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee (TBAC) of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association has reported to the Secretary of Treasury that economic activity grew at a strong pace in the first quarter, with a 3.2% annualized increase in real GDP despite an estimated 0.3 percentage point drag from the government shutdown. The strength resulted in part from rapid inventory accumulation and a large decline in imports, factors that are likely to reverse, and domestic final sales grew at a slower 1.4% pace. Looking ahead, both the growth drag from the large tightening in financial conditions last year and the growth boost from tax and government spending legislation are likely to fade. Growth is likely to slow over the remainder of 2019 from the 3.2% pace seen over the last four quarters, but is expected to remain somewhat above estimates of the economy’s longer-run potential.


Mortgage rates down in March

The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported yesterday that its FHFA Index shows that mortgage rates decreased in March.

  • The National Average Contract Mortgage Rate for the Purchase of Previously Occupied Homes by Combined Lenders Index was 4.36 percent for loans closed in late March, down 10 basis points from 4.46 percent in February.
  • The average interest rate on all mortgage loans was 4.44 percent, down 6 basis points from 4.50 in February.
  • The average interest rate on conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages of $484,350 or less was 4.61 percent, down 6 basis points from 4.67 in February.
  • The effective interest rate on all mortgage loans was 4.51 percent in March, down 9 basis points from 4.60 in February.
  • The average loan amount for all loans was $325,100 in March, up $11,700 from $313,400 in February.


Two cities to be suspended tomorrow from flood program

The cities of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Galena Park, Texas, are scheduled for suspension tomorrow, May 2, from the National Flood Insurance Program, for noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program, according to a notice published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in this morning's Federal Register.


February G.20 Finance Companies report

The Federal Reserve has released the February 2019 G.20 Finance Companies owned and managed receivables outstanding and auto loans: terms of credit report .


OCC seeks comments on proposed innovation program

The OCC has opened a 45-day public comment period on a proposed Innovation Pilot Program. The program would be voluntary and designed to provide eligible entities with regulatory input early in the testing of innovative activities that could present significant opportunities or benefits to consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and communities.

Entities eligible for the proposed program would be OCC-supervised financial institutions, including those engaging a third party to offer the innovative product, service, or process. Entities may propose a pilot individually or as a collaborative effort such as a consortium or utility. An FAQ regarding the Program was also posted.

Comments on the proposed program should be sent to by June 14, 2019.


FDIC newsletter focuses on protecting seniors

The April 2019 issue of FDIC Consumer News focuses on protecting seniors from financial abuse. It includes tips to help seniors protect their own finances, and tips for their family and friends on being aware of the many ways in which older persons may be financially exploited.


New NY consumer protection/enforcement division

The New York Department of Financial Services has created a new Consumer Protection and Financial Enforcement Division, and appointed Katherine Lemire to head it. The new division is responsible for protecting and educating consumers and fighting consumer fraud, as well as ensuring that regulated entities comply with New York and federal law in relation to their activities serving the public. It is also responsible for developing investigative leads and intelligence in furtherance of the Department’s efforts to enforce the Banking, Insurance and Financial Services laws, with particular focus on the review and response to cybersecurity events and the development of supervisory, regulatory and enforcement policy and direction in the area of financial crimes.


FTC sending checks to scammed consumers

Two hundred seventy checks totaling nearing $515,000 are being mailed by the FTC to consumers who paid for what the agency alleged was deceptively advertised “amniotic stem cell therapy” between 2014 and 2017. The average amount each consumer will receive is $1,907.


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