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02/24/2020

Proposed rule on collection of time-barred debt

The CFPB has issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking on the collection of time-barred debt. The Bureau proposes to prohibit collectors from using non-litigation means (such as calls) to collect on time-barred debt unless collectors disclose to consumers during the initial contact and on any required validation notice that the debt is time-barred. Consumer research conducted by the Bureau found that a time-barred debt disclosure helps consumers understand that they cannot be sued if they do not pay. That can help consumers make better informed decisions whether to pay the debt or not.

The new NPRM supplements the Bureau's May 2019 proposal to implement the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

02/24/2020

FTC issues ECOA report

The Federal Trade Commission has announced it has provided the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) with its annual summary of its efforts in enforcing the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA).

The Commission is responsible for ECOA enforcement and education regarding most non-bank financial service providers. In its summary, FTC staff describes the Commission’s work on ECOA-related issues, including activities addressed in research and policy development.

02/24/2020

Interagency Community Reinvestment Conference

The Federal Reserve Board, FDIC, and OCC will host the 2020 National Interagency Community Reinvestment Conference in Denver from March 9 to 12. This biennial conference offers participants from around the country the opportunity to learn about the Community Reinvestment Act and to discuss best practices and emerging challenges in community development. The 2020 program will feature discussions regarding innovations in community development policies and practice, CRA examination training, and community development tours of Denver.

02/24/2020

Wells Fargo to pay $3 Billion for sales conduct

On February 21, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Wells Fargo & Company (San Francisco, CA) and its subsidiary, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (Sioux Falls, SD) have agreed to pay $3 billion to resolve their potential criminal and civil liability stemming from a practice between 2002 and 2016 of pressuring employees to meet unrealistic sales goals that led thousands of employees to provide millions of accounts or products to customers under false pretenses or without consent, often by creating false records or misusing customers’ identities.

As part of the agreements with the United States Attorney’s Offices for the Central District of California and the Western District of North Carolina, the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Civil Division, and the Securities and Exchange Commission, Wells Fargo admitted that it collected millions of dollars in fees and interest to which the Company was not entitled, harmed the credit ratings of certain customers, and unlawfully misused customers’ sensitive personal information, including customers’ means of identification.

The criminal investigation into false bank records and identity theft is being resolved with a deferred prosecution agreement in which Wells Fargo will not be prosecuted during the three-year term of the agreement if it abides by certain conditions, including continuing to cooperate with further government investigations. Wells Fargo also entered a civil settlement agreement under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA) based on Wells Fargo’s creation of false bank records. FIRREA authorizes the federal government to seek civil penalties against financial institutions that violate various predicate criminal offenses, including false bank records. Wells Fargo also agreed to the SEC instituting a cease-and-desist proceeding finding violations of Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and SEC Rule 10b-5, which make it illegal for anybody to directly or indirectly use any measure to defraud, make false statements, omit relevant information, or otherwise conduct business operations that would deceive another person in the process of conducting transactions involving stock and other securities. The $3 billion payment resolves all three matters, and includes a $500 million civil penalty to be distributed by the SEC to investors.

02/21/2020

Data on borrowers' experiences in getting a mortgage

The Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have released for public use additional loan-level data collected through the National Survey of Mortgage Originations (NSMO). The data, which are from loans originated in 2017, provide insights into borrowers' experiences in getting a residential mortgage. Data from 2018 originations are expected to be released by the end of 2020.

02/21/2020

Updated interactive URLA published

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have announced their publication of the interactive (fillable) PDF versions of the redesigned Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) with an effective date of “09/2020,” along with corresponding supporting documents. These interactive forms comprise the final version of the loan application and are to be supported by the industry in system development and preparation of the redesigned URLA and updated GSE-specific automated underwriting system (AUS) specifications for the November 1, 2020, mandate.

The announcement also lists a number of supporting documents, including an FAQ with new questions and updates in support of the changes made to the redesigned URLA and the GSEs' AUS specs.

02/21/2020

OCC releases enforcement actions

The OCC has released a list of new enforcement actions taken against national banks, federal savings associations, and individuals currently and formerly affiliated with such institutions. The actions listed are dated from late December 2019 to early February 2020.

In addition to actions separately reported previously, the OCC listed removal/prohibition orders against a former teller at CIT Bank, N.A., Pasadena, California (misappropriation of cash from her teller drawer); a former head teller supervisor at Midland Federal Savings and Loan Association, Bridgeview, Illinois (misappropriation of vault cash and making false entries); a former teller at U.S. Bank, N.A., Cincinnati, Ohio (misappropriation of cash from her teller drawer and making false cash total entries); and a former teller at JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., Columbus, Ohio (misappropriation of cash from ATMs for which she was the custodian).

Also listed were three notices of charges that may result in orders of prohibition, orders for reimbursement, orders for civil money penalties and/or other actions, one of which notices was directed to five former officials of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in connection with charges that the former officials participated in or were responsible for "sales practices misconduct" at Wells Fargo Bank. The notice states the Comptroller's intention to assess civil money penalties of between $500,000 and $25,000,000 against the five former officials and to issue orders of prohibition to two of them.

02/21/2020

CFPB and two states sue loan brokers

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced that the Bureau, the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs, and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge have filed a lawsuit in federal district court in the District of South Carolina against Candy Kern-Fuller, Howard Sutter III, and Upstate Law Group LLC. The Bureau alleges that the defendants worked with a series of companies that brokered contracts offering high-interest credit to consumers, primarily disabled veterans, and violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act’s prohibition against deceptive acts or practices and against providing substantial assistance to deceptive and unfair acts or practices of others.

02/20/2020

Comment period extended on CRA proposal

The FDIC and OCC have announced they have extended the public comment period for proposed changes to the rules implementing the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) through April 8, 2020. On December 12, 2019, the FDIC and OCC announced a proposal to modernize the regulations under the CRA and provided for a 60-day comment period following formal publication on January 9, 2020. The FDIC and OCC have now determined that a 30-day extension of the comment period is appropriate.

02/20/2020

Parts of Florida county suspended from flood program

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has published a notice [85 FR 9675] in this morning's Federal Register that unincorporated areas of Saint Lucie County, Florida were suspended yesterday (February 19, 2020) from the National Flood Insurance Program due to noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program. FEMA's notice was dated February 4, 2020.

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