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Kraninger updates Senate Banking Committee

In oral testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger discussed the steps the Bureau is taking to help create real and sustainable changes in the U.S. financial system so that African Americans and other minorities have equal opportunities to build wealth and close the economic divide. Kraninger also discussed the actions taken to protect consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic.


FOMC Statement issued

The Federal Reserve Board has issued the Federal Open Market Committee statement, following the meeting of the FOMC that ended Wednesday, July 29.

In light of developments surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, the Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent, and expects to maintain that target range until it is confident that the economy has weathered recent events and is on track to achieve its maximum employment and price stability goals.

To support the flow of credit to households and businesses, over coming months the Federal Reserve will increase its holdings of Treasury securities and agency residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities at least at the current pace to sustain smooth market functioning, thereby fostering effective transmission of monetary policy to broader financial conditions. In addition, the Open Market Desk will continue to offer large-scale overnight and term repurchase agreement operations. The Committee will closely monitor developments and is prepared to adjust its plans as appropriate.


Fed extends temporary swap lines and FIMA repo facility

The Federal Reserve Board announced Wednesday it is extending its temporary U.S. dollar liquidity swap lines and the temporary repurchase agreement facility for foreign and international monetary authorities (FIMA repo facility) through March 31, 2021. The extensions of these facilities will help sustain recent improvements in global U.S. dollar funding markets by maintaining these important liquidity backstops. In addition, the FIMA repo facility will help support the smooth functioning of the U.S. Treasury market by providing an alternative temporary source of U.S. dollars other than sales of securities in the open market.


CFPB requests input on creating inclusive fair credit environment

The CFPB has issued a request for information to seek public input on how best to create a regulatory environment that expands access to credit and ensures that all consumers and communities are protected from discrimination in all aspects of a credit transaction. The information provided will help the Bureau continue to explore ways to address regulatory compliance challenges while fulfilling the Bureau's core mission to prevent unlawful discrimination and foster innovation.

The Bureau is substituting the request for information for a symposium on Equal Credit Opportunity Act issues that had been planned for the fall.

Comments on the request will be accepted for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.

PUBLICATION UPDATE: Published at 85 FR 46600 on August 3, 2020. Comments will be due by October 2, 2020.

UPDATE: The Bureau has announced it will extend the comment period by 60 days to end December 1, 2020.


FFIEC Appraisal Subcommittee to meet today

The FFIEC Appraisal Subcommittee has published in today's Federal Register a Notice of a special meeting of the subcommittee in open session at 4:00 p.m. ET on July 29, to discuss and act upon a North Dakota request to extend the Commercial Temporary Waiver Relief.

The public may view the meeting via live webcast only, but must register in advance using the registration link for the meeting in the What's New box on the subcommittee's webpage.


Fed extends support programs through year's end

The Federal Reserve Board announced Tuesday it will extend through December 31 its lending facilities that were scheduled to expire on or around September 30. The three-month extension will facilitate planning by potential facility participants and provide certainty that the facilities will continue to be available to help the economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The extensions apply to the—

  • Primary Dealer Credit Facility
  • Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility
  • Primary Market Corporate Credit Facility
  • Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility
  • Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility
  • Paycheck Protection Program Liquidity Facility
  • Main Street Lending Program

The Municipal Liquidity Facility is already set to expire on December 31, with the Commercial Paper Funding Facility set to shut down on March 17, 2021.


CFPB settles with mortgage companies

The CFPB has issued consent orders against Sovereign Lending Group, Inc. and Prime Choice Funding, Inc. Sovereign is a California corporation that is licensed as a mortgage broker or lender in about 44 states and the District of Columbia. Prime Choice is a California corporation that is licensed as a mortgage broker or lender in about 35 states and the District of Columbia. Both companies offer and provide mortgage loans guaranteed by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The Bureau found that the companies mailed consumers advertisements for VA-guaranteed mortgages that contained false, misleading, and inaccurate statements or lacked required disclosures, in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act’s prohibition against deceptive acts and practices, the Mortgage Acts and Practices – Advertising Rule, and Regulation Z.

The consent order against Sovereign requires Sovereign to pay a civil penalty of $460,000. The consent order against Prime Choice requires Prime Choice to pay a civil penalty of $645,000. The consent orders also impose injunctive relief to prevent future violations, including requiring the companies to bolster their compliance functions by designating an advertising compliance official who must review their mortgage advertisements for compliance with mortgage advertising laws prior to their use; prohibiting misrepresentations similar to those identified by the Bureau; and requiring the companies to comply with certain enhanced disclosure requirements to prevent them from making future misrepresentations.


June residential sales increase

HUD and the Census Bureau reports that sales of new single-family houses in June 2020 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 776,000. This is 13.8 percent above the revised May rate of 682,000 and is 6.9 percent above the June 2019 estimate of 726,000. The median sales price of new houses sold in June 2020 was $329,200. The average sales price was $384,700. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of June was 307,000. This represents a supply of 4.7 months at the current sales rate.


CFPB settles with foreclosure relief company

The United States District Court for the Central District of California entered a stipulated final judgment resolving the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s allegations against Certified Forensic Loan Auditors, LLC (CFLA) and Andrew Lehman. CFLA is a foreclosure relief services company headquartered near Houston, Texas, and Lehman is CFLA’s president and CEO.

The Bureau alleged that CFLA and Lehman engaged in deceptive and abusive acts or practices in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (CFPA) and charged unlawful advance fees in connection with marketing and selling financial advisory and mortgage assistance relief services to consumers in violation of CFPB Regulation O and the CFPA. The court’s order permanently bans CFLA and Lehman from the industry and imposes a suspended judgment for redress of $3 million and civil money penalties of $40,000.

The Bureau’s complaint alleged that CFLA and Lehman made deceptive and unsubstantiated representations about the company’s mortgage assistance relief services and its ability to help consumers avoid foreclosures or negotiate loan modifications.

The court’s order permanently bans CFLA and Lehman from providing mortgage assistance relief services or financial advisory services. The order also imposes a suspended judgment against CFLA and Lehman for redress of $3 million and imposes a civil money penalty of $40,000. The suspended judgment for redress and the amount of the civil money penalty account for CFLA’s and Lehman’s limited ability to pay based on sworn financial statements.


More firms eligible to provide emergency lending facilities

The Federal Reserve Board yesterday expanded the set of firms eligible to transact with and provide services in three emergency lending facilities. Encouraging a broader range of agents for the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) and counterparties for the Commercial Paper Funding Facility (CPFF) and Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility (SMCCF) will increase the Federal Reserve's operational capacity and insight into the respective markets. Additional FAQs were also released.


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