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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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Notice of funds availability for CDFIs

Thw Community Development Financial Institutions Fund has published a Notice of Funds Availability [83 FR 34685] inviting applications for the fiscal year 2018 funding round of the Capital Magnet Fund (CMF). The CMF provides financial assistance grants to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and to qualified nonprofit organizations that have the development or management of affordable housing as one of their principal purposes.


CFPB alerts vets to check their mailboxes

The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection has posted an article alerting disabled vets to check their mailboxes for information regarding their eligibility to have their federal student loans discharged tax-free. The Department of Education began matching their list of student loan borrowers with the VA’s list of veterans who are unemployable due to service-connected disabilities. The Department of Education then created a list of federal student loan borrowers or recipients of Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants who may qualify for Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) discharge.


Lender to pay $0.5M for TILA and UDAAP violations

The CFPB has announced a settlement with Triton Management Group, Inc., a small-dollar lender that operates in Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina under several names, including "Always Money" and "Quik Pawn Shop." As described in the consent order, the Bureau found that Triton violated the prohibitions on unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices in the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 and the disclosure requirements of the Truth in Lending Act by failing to properly disclose finance charges associated with their auto title loans in Mississippi. The Bureau also found that Triton used advertisements that failed to disclose the annual percentage rate and other information required by TILA. The order enters a judgment of $1,522,298 against Triton, representing the undisclosed finance charges paid by consumers on Triton loans. Based on Triton's apparent inability to pay the entire judgment amount, the Bureau ordered the payment of $500,000 within 90 days, suspending the balance of the judgment. If Triton's financial condition proves to have been misrepresented, the Order provides that the suspension will be lifted and the Bureau can seek to enforce payment of the balance, plus interest.


OFAC issues Venezuela General License and FAQs

OFAC has issued Venezuela General License 5 authorizing certain bondholders of Venezuela's PdVSA 2020 8.5% bond to enforce rights to the CITGO shares backing that bond issue. OFAC also issued two new Frequently Asked Questions related to the new license.


$144M from HUD to revitalize 5 neighborhoods

HUD Secretary Carson has announced that five communities located in Maryland, Michigan, Arizona, Louisiana and Oklahoma will receive a combined $144 million to redevelop severely distressed public or assisted housing and to revitalize surrounding neighborhoods. The funds are provided provided through HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative.


Communities suspended from Flood Program today

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has published a rule [83 FR 34052] suspending, effective today, July 19, 2018, designated communities in four states from the National Flood Insurance Program, for noncompliance with floodplain management requirements of the program.

  • California: Elk Grove, Folson, Rancho Cordova, and unincorporated areas of Sacramento County
  • Massachusetts: Haverhill
  • Ohio: Lancaster, Pickerington, and unincorporated areas of Fairfield County
  • Oklahoma: Billings, Red Rock, and Tribe of Ponca Indians of Oklahoma


CFPB announces director of innovation office

Acting CFPB Director Mulvaney has announced the selection of Paul Watkins to lead its new Office of Innovation. The Office, created recently to focus on encouraging consumer-friendly innovation, is taking over work previously assigned to Project Catalyst.


Residential construction data mixed

HUD and the Census Bureau have announced statistics on new residential construction for June 2018.

  • Building Permits: Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,273,000, 2.2 percent below the revised May rate of 1,301,000, and 3.0 percent below the June 2017 rate of 1,312,000. Single-family authorizations in June were at a rate of 850,000, 0.8 percent above the revised May figure of 843,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 387,000 in June.
  • Housing Starts: Privately owned housing starts in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,173,000, 12.3 percent below the revised May estimate of 1,337,000, and 4.2 percent below the June 2017 rate of 1,225,000. Single-family housing starts in June were at a rate of 858,000, 9.1 percent below the revised May figure of 944,000. The June rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 304,000.
  • Housing Completions: Privately owned housing completions in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,261,000, unchanged from the May estimate but 2.2 percent above the June 2017 rate of 1,234,000. Single-family housing completions in June were at a rate of 862,000; this is 2.3 percent below the revised May rate of 882,000. The June rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 393,000.


Powell delivers Money Policy Report to Congress

Fed Chairman Powell yesterday presented the Federal Reserve Board's semiannual Money Policy Report to Congress. He reviewed both the current economic situation and outlook and monetary policy. Powell said, “an average of 215,000 net new jobs were created each month in the first half of this year. That number is somewhat higher than the monthly average for 2017. It is also a good deal higher than the average number of people who enter the work force each month on net. The unemployment rate edged down 0.1 percentage point over the first half of the year to 4.0 percent in June, near the lowest level of the past two decades.” He also noted, “After several years in which inflation ran below our 2 percent objective, the recent data are encouraging. The price index for personal consumption expenditures, which is an overall measure of prices paid by consumers, increased 2.3 percent over the 12 months ending in May. That number is up from 1.5 percent a year ago.” Regarding monetary policy, the Chairman stated, “Over the first half of 2018, the FOMC has continued to gradually reduce monetary policy accommodation. In other words, we have continued to dial back the extra boost that was needed to help the economy recover from the financial crisis and recession. Specifically, we raised the target range for the federal funds rate by 1/4 percentage point at both our March and June meetings, bringing the target to its current range of 1-3/4 to 2 percent.” Powell also said, “With a strong job market, inflation close to our objective, and the risks to the outlook roughly balanced, the FOMC believes that--for now--the best way forward is to keep gradually raising the federal funds rate.”


CFPB settles with NCA and former CEO for $6M

The Bureau has announced a settlement with National Credit Adjusters, LLC (NCA), a privately-held company headquartered in Hutchinson, Kansas, and its former CEO and part-owner, Bradley Hochstein.

As described in the consent order, the Bureau found that NCA and Hochstein used a network of debt collection companies to collect consumer debt on NCA’s behalf. Some of those companies engaged in frequent unlawful debt collection acts and practices that harmed consumers, including by representing that consumers owed more than they were legally required to pay, or threatening consumers and their family members with lawsuits, visits from process servers, and arrest, when neither NCA nor the collection companies intended or had the legal authority to take those actions. The order imposes a judgment for civil money penalties of $3 million against NCA and $3 million against Hochstein. As explained in the order, full payment of those amounts is suspended subject to NCA paying a $500,000 civil money penalty and Hochstein paying a $300,000 civil money penalty.


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