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09/22/2020

'Seasoned QM' comment period extended three days

The CFPB has reported it will extend the comment period on its proposal for a new "seasoned qualified mortgage" definition by three days to end on October 1, 2020, to accommodate the Yom Kippur Jewish holiday occurring on the original comment deadline, September 28.

09/22/2020

Fed ANPR on CRA regs modernization

The Federal Reserve Board announced Monday an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking inviting public comment on an approach to modernize the regulations that implement the Community Reinvestment Act by strengthening, clarifying, and tailoring them to reflect the current banking landscape and better meet the core purpose of the CRA. The ANPR seeks feedback on ways to evaluate how banks meet the needs of low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities and address inequities in credit access.

Board Chair Jerome H. Powell said, "By releasing a thoughtful and balanced ANPR and providing a long period for comment, the Federal Reserve is hoping to build a foundation for the banking agencies to come together on a consistent approach to CRA that has the broad support of the intended beneficiaries as well as banks of different sizes and business models."

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency published a final rule to modernize its CRA regulations on June 5, 2020, with an October 1, 2020, effective date (but a compliance date of January 1, 2023). The FDIC did not join the OCC in issuing a final rule at that time, although the OCC and FDIC had jointly issued a proposal.

The Federal Reserve said its proposal will have a 120-day comment period starting when it is published in the Federal Register.

09/21/2020

FDIC Oregon wildfire and wind relief

The FDIC has issued FIL-91-2020 with guidance on steps intended to provide regulatory relief to financial institutions and facilitate recovery in areas of Oregon affected by wildfires and straight-line winds starting September 7, 2020.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency declared a federal disaster for selected areas affected in Oregon on September 15, 2020. FEMA may make additional designations after damage assessments are completed in the affected areas. A current list of designated areas is available at www.fema.gov.

The FDIC encouraged banks to work constructively with borrowers experiencing difficulties beyond their control because of damage caused by the wildfires and straight-line winds. Banks that extend repayment terms, restructure existing loans, or ease terms for new loans in a manner consistent with sound banking practices, can contribute to the health of the local community and serve the long-term interests of the lending institution and may receive favorable Community Reinvestment Act consideration for community development loans, investments, and services in support of disaster recovery. The FDIC also will consider regulatory relief from certain filing and publishing requirements.

09/21/2020

Main Street Lending Program FAQs updated

The Federal Reserve Board has updated its frequently asked questions (FAQs) to clarify the Board and Department of Treasury's expectations regarding lender underwriting for the Main Street Lending Program. The revised FAQs emphasize that lender underwriting should look back to the borrower's pre-pandemic condition and forward to their post-pandemic prospects. The FAQs also clarify supervisory expectations for lenders originating Main Street loans.

The updated FAQs may have to be downloaded to be opened.

09/21/2020

FTC requests comments on Prescreen Opt-Out Notice Rule

The Federal Trade Commission has published [86 FR 59226] a notice of proposed rulemaking and request for public comment concerning its Prescreen Opt-Out Notice Rule. The Commission seeks public comment on the Rule and proposes to amend the Rule to conform to changes made to the Fair Credit Reporting Act by the Dodd-Frank Act, and to reinstate a model prescreen opt-put notice.

Comments are due by December 7, 2020.

09/21/2020

FEMA suspends communities in AK, AZ, IA and WA

FEMA published [85 FR 58294] in Friday's Federal Register a notice that it was suspending, as of September 18, communities in Alaska, Arizona, Iowa and Washington from the National Flood Insurance Program for noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program.

  • Alaska: Fairbanks Northstar Borough and the City and Borough of Juneau
  • Arizona: Goodyear
  • Iowa: Harpers Ferry, Lansing, Postville, Waterville, and unincorporated areas of Allamakee County
  • Washington: Chehalis Reservation, Elma, Montesano, Oakville, and unincorporated areas of Grays Harbor County

09/18/2020

Fed releases hypothetical stress test scenarios

The Federal Reserve Board has released its hypothetical scenarios for a second round of bank stress tests. Earlier this year, the Board's first round of stress tests found that large banks were well capitalized under a range of hypothetical events. An additional round of stress tests is being performed due to the continued uncertainty caused by the COVID event. Large banks will be tested against two scenarios featuring severe recessions to assess their resiliency under a range of outcomes. The Board will release firm-specific results from banks' performance under both scenarios by the end of this year.

The two hypothetical recessions in the scenarios feature severe global downturns with substantial stress in financial markets. The first scenario—the "severely adverse"—features the unemployment rate peaking at 12.5 percent at the end of 2021 and then declining to about 7.5 percent by the end of the scenario. Gross domestic product declines about 3 percent from the third quarter of 2020 through the fourth quarter of 2021. The scenario also features a sharp slowdown abroad.

The second scenario—the "alternative severe"—features an unemployment rate that peaks at 11 percent by the end of 2020 but stays elevated and only declines to 9 percent by the end of the scenario. Gross domestic product declines about 2.5 percent from the third to the fourth quarter of 2020.

The two scenarios also include a global market shock component that will be applied to banks with large trading operations. Those banks, as well as certain banks with substantial processing operations, will also be required to incorporate the default of their largest counterparty.

09/18/2020

Assistance for Oregon wildfire victims announced

HUD has announced federal disaster assistance for the State of Oregon to provide support to homeowners and low-income renters displaced from their homes in areas affected by wildfires and straight-line winds. A Presidential declaration allows HUD to offer foreclosure relief and other assistance to impacted families living in these counties.

09/17/2020

FOMC maintains course

The Federal Reserve Board has released the Federal Open Market Committee Statement following the September 15–16 meeting of the Committee. The FOMC agreed to continue to "aim to achieve inflation moderately above 2 percent for some time so that inflation averages 2 percent over time and longer-term inflation expectations remain well anchored at 2 percent" and "expects to maintain an accommodative stance of monetary policy until these outcomes are achieved." It also intends to keep the target range for the federal funds at 0 to 1/4 percent "until labor market conditions have reached levels consistent with the Committee's assessments of maximum employment and inflation has risen to 2 percent and is on track to moderately exceed 2 percent for some time."

09/17/2020

FinCEN proposes amending AML program requirements

FinCEN has published [85 FR 58023] an advance notice of proposed rulemaking in today's Federal Register seeking public comment on potential regulatory amendments to establish that all covered financial institutions subject to an anti-money laundering program requirement must maintain an “effective and reasonably designed” anti-money laundering program.

The ANPRM says any such amendments would be expected to further clarify that such a program assesses and manages risk as informed by a financial institution’s risk assessment, including consideration of anti-money laundering priorities to be issued by FinCEN consistent with the proposed amendments; provides for compliance with Bank Secrecy Act requirements; and provides for the reporting of information with a high degree of usefulness to government authorities.

The regulatory amendments under consideration are intended to modernize the regulatory regime to address the evolving threats of illicit finance, and provide financial institutions with greater flexibility in the allocation of resources, resulting in the enhanced effectiveness and efficiency of anti-money laundering programs.

The ANPRM also seeks comment on proposals to impose an explicit requirement for a risk assessment process and for the Director of FinCEN to issue a list of national AML priorities, to be called FinCEN’s Strategic Anti-Money Laundering Priorities, every two years.

Comments on the ANPRM will be accepted for 60 days following publication, through Monday, November 16, 2020.

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