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12/17/2020

FOMC Statement issued

The Federal Reserve Board has released the Statement of the Federal Open Market Committee following its December 15–16 meeting.

"The Committee seeks to achieve maximum employment and inflation at the rate of 2 percent over the longer run. With inflation running persistently below this longer-run goal, the Committee will 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. The Committee expects to maintain an accommodative stance of monetary policy until these outcomes are achieved. The Committee decided to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and expects it will be appropriate to maintain this target range 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. In addition, the Federal Reserve will continue to increase its holdings of Treasury securities by at least $80 billion per month and of agency mortgage-backed securities by at least $40 billion per month until substantial further progress has been made toward the Committee's maximum employment and price stability goals. These asset purchases help foster smooth market functioning and accommodative financial conditions, thereby supporting the flow of credit to households and businesses."

Also released were tables and charts summarizing the economic projections made by Committee participants for the meeting.

12/17/2020

FHA Catalyst Claims Module updated

The FHA has announced the implementation of additional functionality in its FHA Catalyst: Claims Module, achieving full, digital submission capabilities for all FHA Single Family Title II forward mortgage claim types and the elimination of manual, labor intensive paper-based claim submission processes for servicers of FHA-insured mortgages. New claim types available in the module include electronic submissions for FHA’s Claims Without Conveyance of Title (CWCOT) program, augmenting the programmatic streamlining made to this alternative conveyance method announced by FHA in July. Servicers submitting claims to FHA for insurance can now use the FHA Catalyst: Claims Module for all 17 Single Family forward mortgage claim types, including FHA’s special COVID-19 National Emergency Standalone Partial Claim and other home retention claim types designed to help homeowners regain sustainable homeownership as they recover from the financial effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

12/17/2020

2021 affordable housing goals for Fannie and Freddie

The FHFA has announced its 2021 affordable housing goals for the Enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Due to the pandemic, the goals have been established only for one year, and are unchanged from the current benchmarks, which expire December 31, 2020.

The FHFA has also issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking seeking input on issues that FHFA may address in future housing goals rulemaking. FHFA plans to issue a proposed and final rule in 2021 that will establish housing goal benchmarks for 2022 and beyond. The ANPR provides an opportunity for the public to provide input on issues that will help ensure the housing goals benchmarks continue to effectively support affordable housing. The deadline for submitting responses to the ANPR is February 28, 2021.

12/16/2020

Mortgage data analytics company settles FTC allegations

The FTC has announced a mortgage industry data analytics company will be required to implement a comprehensive data security program as part of a settlement resolving Federal Trade Commission allegations that the firm failed to ensure one of its vendors was adequately securing personal data about tens of thousands of mortgage holders. The complaint filed by the FTC alleged that Texas-based Ascension Data & Analytics, LLC violated the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act’s Safeguard Rule, which requires financial institutions to develop, implement, and maintain a comprehensive information security program. As part of that program, financial institutions must oversee their third-party vendors, by ensuring they are capable of implementing and maintaining appropriate safeguards for customer information, and requiring them to do so by contract.

The FTC alleged that a vendor, OpticsML, which Ascension hired to perform text recognition scanning on mortgage documents, stored the contents of the documents on a cloud-based server in plain text, without any protections to block unauthorized access, such as requiring a password or encrypting the information. The documents contained sensitive information about mortgage holders and others, such as names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, loan information, credit and debit account numbers, drivers’ license numbers, or credit files. As a result of the inadequate security, the cloud-based server containing the mortgage data was accessed dozens of times.

12/16/2020

Enterprise non-performing loan sales report

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has released the latest report on the sale of non-performing loans (NPLs) by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises). The Enterprise Non-Performing Loan Sales Report includes sales information about NPLs sold through June 30, 2020 and reflects borrower outcomes on NPLs sold through December 31, 2019, and reported through June 30, 2020. The sale of NPLs reduces the number of delinquent loans in the Enterprises' portfolios and transfers credit risk to the private sector. The FHFA and the Enterprises impose requirements on NPL buyers designed to achieve more favorable outcomes for borrowers than foreclosure. The report shows that from program inception in 2014 through June 30, 2020, the Enterprises sold 128,471 NPLs with a total unpaid principal balance of $24.1 billion. From December 31, 2015, to June 30, 2020, the number of loans one or more years delinquent held in the Enterprises’ portfolios decreased by 70 percent.

12/15/2020

SBA disaster loans for AL, GA and TN

The Small Business Administration has announced Working Capital Disaster Loans are available in the following counties as the result of drought:

  • Alabama: Jackson and Madison Counties
  • Georgia: Dade County
  • Tennessee: Coffee, Franklin, Grundy, Hamilton, Lincoln, Marion, Moore, and Sequatchie Counties

12/15/2020

NCUA Board meeting agenda

The National Credit Union Administration has published notices of meetings of its Board on December 17 and 18, 2020. On Thursday, December 17, the published agenda includes consideration of NCUA rules and regulations on:

  • Regulatory relief in response to COVID-19
  • Mortgage servicing rights
  • Overdraft policy
  • Subordinated debt

The agenda in the notice for the December 18 meeting includes consideration of:

  • NCUA's Rules and Regulations - Annual operating fee assessment
  • NCUA's 2021-2022 budget
  • Board briefing on NCUA's operating fee schedule and overhead transfer rate

The remainder of the December 18 meeting will be closed to the public.

12/15/2020

FEMA suspending communities in two states on Thursday

FEMA has published a notice at 85 FR 81142 in today's Federal Register identifying communities in Iowa and Wisconsin authorized for the sale of flood insurance under the National Flood Insurance Program that are now scheduled for suspension from the program on December 17 because of noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program.

  • IA: Aplington, Aredale, Butler County (unincorporated areas), Clarksville, Dumont, Greene, New Hartford, Parkersburg, Sheldon, and Shell Rock.
  • WI: Argyle, Belmont, and South Wayne

FEMA's notice reminds the public that notices of scheduled suspensions will no longer be published in the Federal Register as of June 2021, but will be available at www.fema.gov.

12/15/2020

2019 CRA data available

The OCC, Federal Reserve and FDIC have jointly announced the availability of data on small business, small farm, and community development lending reported by certain commercial banks and savings associations, in accordance with the Community Reinvestment Act.

An FFIEC disclosure statement on the reported 2019 CRA data, in electronic form, is available for each reporting commercial bank and savings association. The FFIEC also prepared aggregate disclosure statements of small business and small farm lending for all of the metropolitan statistical areas and non-metropolitan counties in the United States and its territories. These statements are available for public inspection on the FFIEC website (www.ffiec.gov/cra).

12/14/2020

CFPB settles with home-alarm company

The Bureau and the Arkansas Attorney General have settled with Alder Holdings, LLC, resolving their allegations that Alder failed to provide proper notices under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Alder is a Utah-based company that sells home-security and alarm systems, primarily door-to-door, throughout the country and has sold its products and services to over 115,000 customers. The Bureau and Arkansas filed a proposed stipulated final judgment and order in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. If entered by the court, the settlement would require Alder to pay a $600,000 civil money penalty, $100,000 of which will be offset if Alder pays that amount to settle related litigation with the State of Arkansas that is currently pending in state court in Arkansas. The settlement would also require Alder to provide proper notices under the FCRA.

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