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Free Webinar: The State of Sanctions
Thursday, June 8th - 1:00 PM CT

The sanctions landscape is evolving - exposing institutions to greater sanctions risks, operational and oversight challenges, and obligations to comply with sanctions administered by OFAC and other agencies. OFAC expert, Tim White, will address these issues and what you need to be aware of moving forward. (Register here.)

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FOMC statement and minutes released

The statement and minutes of the May 2-3, 2017, meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee have been released.


Major Mexican heroin trafficking organization targeted by OFAC

OFAC has announced it has identified Mexican national Jose Luis Ruelas Torres and the Ruelas Torres Drug Trafficking Organization (Ruelas Torres DTO) as Significant Foreign Narcotics Traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). Jose Luis Ruelas Torres is the leader of the Ruelas Torres DTO, a family-based, independent opium and heroin production and distribution organization that smuggles multi-kilogram heroin quantities into the United States. OFAC is also designating ten key Ruelas Torres DTO associates as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers pursuant to the Kingpin Act for their role in the organization. For identification information see our OFAC Update.

As a result of this action, all assets of those designated that are based in the United States or that are in the control of U.S. persons are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1,437,153 million per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million. Other individuals could face up to 10 years in prison and fines pursuant to the Title 18 of the United States Code for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.


FEMA to suspend communities from Flood Program

The Federal Emergency Management Agency published a final rule in the May 25, 2017, Federal Register identifying communities to be suspended on June 7, 2017, from the National Flood Insurance Program for noncompliance with the program's floodplain management requirements.

  • Arkansas—Portions of Jackson County
  • Illinois—City of Decatur
  • North Dakota—City of New Rockford and portions of Stutsman County
  • Pennsylvania—Portions of Erie County
  • Texas—Town of Fairview


Debt relief scam halted by FTC and Florida

At the request of the Federal Trade Commission and the State of Florida, a federal court has issued a preliminary injunction to temporarily halt a massive phony debt relief operation that bilked tens of millions of dollars from financially strapped consumers, including the elderly and disabled. According to the complaint filed by the FTC and the State of Florida, the defendants, through 11 companies, got people to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars a month by falsely promising they would pay, settle, or obtain dismissals of consumers' debts and improve their credit. Over time, victims found their debts unpaid, their accounts in default, and their credit scores severely damaged. Some were sued by their creditors, and some were forced into bankruptcy.


OCC updates policies regarding violations

The OCC has issued Bulletin 2017-18 with an update of policies and procedures regarding violations of laws and regulations to become effective July 1, 2017. The updates are reflected in the “Bank Supervision Process,” “Community Bank Supervision,” “Federal Branches and Agencies,” and “Large Bank Supervision” booklets and other sections of the Comptroller’s Handbook and internal guidance. Among the changes will be a consistent format for communicating violations that includes legal citations and descriptions of the violation, a summary of relevant statutory or regulatory requirements, facts supporting the violation and root cause(s), corrective action(s) required, and the commitments of the bank's board and management to corrective action.


CFPB Advisory Board to meet

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has published a Notice in today's Federal Register of a public meeting of its Consumer Advisory Board to be held at the Bureau's offices in Washington from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday, June 8. On the discussion agenda are credit visibility, credit producs, trends and themes, and small business lending.


Fed reports on U.S. household economic well-being

The Federal Reserve Board has announced the release of its latest Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households. The report, based on the Board's fourth annual Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking conducted in October 2016, presents a picture of improving financial well-being among Americans. Overall, 70 percent of respondents said they were either "living comfortably" or "doing okay," up 1 percentage point from 2015 and up 8 percentage points from the first survey results in 2013. The improvements in well-being as reported by the survey respondents are concentrated among adults with at least some college education.


HUD allocates $163M for disaster relief

HUD Secretary Carson has announced the allocation of an additional $163 million to help several state and local communities to recovery from severe flooding that occurred in 2015 and 2016. The grants announced today are provided through HUD's Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program.


OCC announces enforcement actions

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has released enforcement actions taken in April 2017 against national banks, federal savings associations, and individuals currently and formerly affiliated with such institutions. .This month's list included the previously announced $15 million civil money penalty levied against U.S. Bank, N.A.. Also included was an $87,500 civil money penalty against a Texas bank for a pattern and practice of flood insurance regulation violations.

There was also an order that a former mortgage loan originator at a Chicago, Illinois, bank make restitution of $3,710, pay a penalty of $10,000, and accept a ban from employment or other involvement in the banking industry. Finally, a former Vice President and Financial Consultant of a Reno, Nevada, bank was banned from the industry for engaging in a check kiting scheme which at one time left his account at the bank overdrawn by $57,000 (which he covered before resigning from the bank).


FEMA suspends communities from NFIP

Communities in Connecticut, Iowa, Mississippi and South Carolina were suspended from participation in the National Flood Insurance Program on May 16, 2017, according to a rule published in the May 19, 2017, Federal Register. FEMA ordered the suspensions, for non-compliance with the flood plain management requirements of the program, for:

  • CT: portions of Hartford and New Haven counties
  • IA: portions of Cass and Pocahontas counties
  • MS: portions of Panola, Quitman and Tallahatchie counties
  • SC: portions of Chester, Lancaster and York counties


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UDAAP Reality Check

We will explore what makes a practice unfair or deceptive by digging into what regulators and the courts have had to say.

Stop That Payment!

Bankers must understand the differences between the use of their systems' stop payment functionality and the actual right to stop payment

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