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Top Story Lending Related

02/03/2020

FHFA proposes changes to Seller/Servicer requirements

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced proposed updated minimum financial eligibility requirements for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac seller/servicers. The updated requirements will further strengthen the Enterprises' seller/servicer requirements and provide transparency and consistency of capital and liquidity required for seller/servicers with different business models. A key improvement from the minimum financial requirements established in 2015 is that the new Enterprise standards establish financial requirements for the servicing of Ginnie Mae mortgages.

The FHFA will receive input on these requirements for 60 days at ServicerEligibility@fhfa.gov. An FAQ with 15 questions and answers plus definitions was also released.

01/31/2020

Bureau sues Citizens Bank, N.A.

The CFPB has announced it has filed a complaint against Citizens Bank, N.A. (Citizens), headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island. The Bureau’s complaint alleges violations of the Truth in Lending Act and its implementing Regulation Z, including violations of amendments to TILA contained in the Fair Credit Billing Act and the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act.

The complaint alleges that Citizens automatically denied consumers’ billing error notices and claims of unauthorized use in certain circumstances. The complaint further alleges that Citizens failed to fully refund finance charges and fees when consumers asserted meritorious disputes or fraud claims, and failed to send consumers required acknowledgment letters and denial notices in response to billing error notices. It also alleges that Citizens failed to provide credit counseling referrals to consumers who called Citizens’ toll-free number designated for that purpose.

The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendant has violated the law.

01/31/2020

CFPB updates list of credit reporting companies

The CFPB has updated its list of consumer reporting companies. It includes the three nationwide consumer reporting companies as well as other companies that focus on certain market areas and consumer segments.

01/31/2020

New York bank pays for flood insurance violations

The Federal Reserve Board has announced it has imposed a $36,500 civil money penalty on Alden State Bank, Alden, New York, for a pattern or practice of unspecified violations of the National Flood Insurance Act and section 208.25 of Federal Reserve Regulation H.

01/30/2020

Otting testifies at House hearing

Comptroller of the Currency Joseph M. Otting testified yesterday during a hearing held by the House Financial Services Committee. He made an oral statement and presented written testimony discussing efforts to strengthen and modernize Community Reinvestment Act regulations, the condition of the federal banking system, the agency’s diversity and inclusion programs, and work to implement regulatory reform that encourages economic opportunity while ensuring banks operate in a safe, sound, and fair manner.

01/30/2020

Fed released 17 CRA evaluations in December

Our check of the Federal Reserve Board's website for new CRA evaluations reveals that 17 evaluations were made public in December. Fifteen of the institutions received evaluation ratings of "Satisfactory." Congratulations to these two institutions, whose evaluations were rated "Outstanding" (links are to their evaluations):

01/29/2020

FDIC FIL on ag lending management

The FDIC has issued FIL-5-2020 concerning prudent management of agricultural lending during economic cycles. The advisory reminds financial institutions engaged in agricultural lending to maintain sound underwriting standards, strong credit administration practices, effective risk management strategies, and appropriate allowances for losses and capital levels through the credit cycle. When agricultural borrowers experience financial difficulties, the FDIC encourages financial institutions to work constructively with borrowers to strengthen the credit and mitigate loss.

This Financial Institution Letter rescinds and replaces FIL-39-2014, "Prudent Management of Agricultural Credits Through Economic Cycles," dated July 16, 2014.

01/29/2020

HUD issues FHA guidance on assistance animals

HUD has announced the publication of guidance [Notice FHEO-2020-01] clarifying how housing providers can comply with the Fair Housing Act when assessing a person’s request to have an animal in housing to provide assistance because of a disability. The Act requires housing providers to permit a change or exception to a rule, policy, practice, or service that may be necessary to provide people with disabilities that affect a major life activity an equal opportunity to use and enjoy their home.

01/29/2020

OCC workshops in DC

The OCC reports it will host two workshops at OCC Headquarters in Washington, D.C., March 17 and 18, for directors of national community banks and federal savings associations.

  • The Risk Governance workshop on March 17 provides practical information for directors to effectively measure and manage risks. The workshop also focuses on the OCC’s approach to risk-based supervision and major risks in the financial industry.
  • The Compliance Risk workshop on March 18 focuses on the critical elements of an effective compliance risk management program, and on major compliance risks and critical regulations. Topics of discussion include the Bank Secrecy Act, Flood Disaster Protection Act, Fair Lending, Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, Community Reinvestment Act, and other compliance hot topics.

Each workshop is limited to the first 35 registrants, and there is a $99 fee. Online registration is available.

01/28/2020

IRS guidance on reporting mortgage insurance on Form 1098

The Internal Revenue Service has issued new guidance involving the deductibility of mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) for tax years 2018 through 2020. Recipients of mortgage payments who report mortgage interest payments on Form 1098 should also report MIP aggregating $600 or more received during the calendar year.

Lenders are not required to file or furnish corrected Forms 1098 for 2018 to report MIP for that year. However, the IRS encourages them to make that information available to borrowers so that they can decide whether to amend their 2018 income tax returns to claim the additional deduction. The IRS strongly recommends that lenders file corrected Forms 1098 for 2018 to report the MIP, as this will help substantiate the deductions and avoid IRS inquiries about any deduction that does not match the information return filed with the IRS.

For tax year 2019, Forms 1098 should be filed and furnished according to the usual due dates and include MIP in box 5. If a lender has already furnished the borrower statement without reporting MIP, it should send a corrected statement. Requests for extensions to file or furnish Forms 1098 should be submitted according to the specifications in the General Instructions for Certain Information Returns.

For tax year 2020, lenders should report MIP in box 5 and file and furnish Forms 1098 according to the specifications in the Instructions for Form 1098 and the General Instructions for Certain Information Returns

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