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Top Story Lending Related

03/17/2021

Student loan debt-relief schemers sued by Bureau

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced yesterday it has filed a complaint against a student loan debt relief company, its owner, and manager for allegedly charging thousands of consumers more than $3.5 million in illegal upfront fees.

The lawsuit accuses California-based Student Loan Pro, Judith Noh, and Syed Gilani of violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). FNZA Marketing, LLC, is also named as a relief defendant. Student Loan Pro, which operated from 2015 through 2019, provided federal student loan debt-relief services to consumers nationwide. The CFPB alleges that the company charged borrowers illegal upfront fees to file paperwork on their behalf to access free debt-relief programs available to consumers with federal student loans. The CFPB’s lawsuit seeks monetary relief for consumers, and asks the court to end the illegal conduct.

03/17/2021

February G.17 report released

The Federal Reserve Board has released the February 2021 G.17 Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization Report.

Total industrial production decreased 2.2 percent. Manufacturing output and mining production fell 3.1 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively; the output of utilities increased 7.4 percent. Severe winter weather in the south central region of the country in mid-February accounted for the bulk of the declines in output for the month. Most notably, some petroleum refineries, petrochemical facilities, and plastic resin plants suffered damage from the deep freeze and were offline for the rest of the month.

Excluding the effects of the winter weather would have resulted in an index for manufacturing that fell about 1/2 percent and in an index for mining that rose about 1/2 percent. Both indexes would have remained below their pre-pandemic (February 2020) levels.

At 104.7 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production in February was 4.2 percent lower than its year-earlier level. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector decreased 1.7 percentage points in February to 73.8 percent, a rate that is 5.8 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2020) average.

03/17/2021

Deferment period for COVID-19 EIDL extended

The SBA has announced extended deferment periods for all disaster loans, including the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, until 2022.

All SBA disaster loans made in calendar year 2020, including COVID-19 EIDL, will have a first payment due date extended from 12 months to 24 months from the date of the note. SBA disaster loans made in calendar year 2021, including COVID-19 EIDL, will have a first payment due date extended from 12 months to 18 months from the date of the note.

03/17/2021

FEMA to suspend communities in nine states

FEMA has published [86 FR 14545] in this morning's Federal Register a list of communities in Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia that have been scheduled for suspension from the National Flood Insurance Program on March 23, 2021, because of noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program. The affected communities are:

  • Iowa: Bettendorf, Buffalo, Davenport, Donahue, Eldridge, Le Claire, McCausland, Panorama Park, Princeton, Reverdaale, Scott County (unincorporated areas)m and Walcott
  • Kentucky: Crestwood, Oldham County (unincorporated areas), and Orchard Grass Hills
  • Michigan: Blaine, Frankfort, and Lake
  • Minnesota: Alvarado, Argyle, Grygla, Marshall County (unincorporated areas), Middle River, Newfolden, Oslo, Stephen, and Warren
  • Mississippi: Bolivar County (unincorporated areas), Isola, Moorhead, Renova, Sharkey County (unincorporated areas), Sunflower, Sunflower County (unincorporated areas), and Washington County (unincorporated areas).
  • Oregon: Douglas County (unincorporated areas) and Seneca
  • South Carolina: Beaufort, Bluffton, Hardeeville, Hilton Head Island, Port Royal, and Yemassee
  • Utah: Coalville, Henefer, Oakley, Park City, and Summit County (unincorporated areas)
  • Virginia: Greene County (unincorporated areas) and Stanardsville

If FEMA receives documentation that a listed community has adopted the required floodplain management measures prior to March 23, it will not be suspended.

03/16/2021

FTC bans defendants from debt collection industry

The Federal Trade Commission has announced that two South Carolina companies that used robocalls and illegal threats to convince consumers to pay non-existent debts will be permanently banned from the debt collection industry as part of settlements resolving FTC charges they threatened consumers with legal action to collect on debts that did not exist.

Complaints filed by the FTC accused National Landmark Logistics, LLC and Absolute Financial Services, LLC of using illegal robocalls to leave messages with consumers that threatened outcomes from lawsuits to arrest. The messages didn’t identify the caller as a debt collector, and when consumers would return the calls, the defendants would present themselves as mediators or attorneys.

Under the terms of the National Landmark Logistics settlement, defendants Liberty Solutions & Associates, LLC; LSA Processing Systems, LLC; James Dennison; and Eric Dennison will be permanently banned from playing any role in debt collection. They will also be prohibited from making certain misrepresentations to consumers, including whether a consumer owes them a payment, whether they are attorneys or associated with a law firm, or the terms of any refund program. A monetary judgment of $16.4 million, was partially suspended for inability to pay.

Under the terms of their settlements, Lashone Elam (also known as Lashone Caldwell); Absolute Financial Services, LLC; Absolute Financial Services Recovery, LLC; AFSR Global Logistics, LLC; and Talesia Neely will be permanently banned from playing any role in debt collection. They will also be prohibited from making certain misrepresentations to consumers, including whether a consumer owes them a payment, whether they are attorneys or associated with a law firm, or the terms of any refund program. The settlement with the corporate defendants and Elam contains a monetary judgment of $11.2 million, which is partially suspended due to an inability to pay. The corporate defendants will be required to turn over the contents of a number of bank accounts to the FTC, while Elam will be required to turn over $10,000.

03/16/2021

FDIC guidance following Louisiana severe storms

The FDIC has issued FIL-18-2021 with guidance to help financial institutions and facilitate recovery in areas of Louisiana affected by severe winter storms February 11–19, 2021. The areas of the state in which a federal disaster was declared by FEMA can be found at www.fema.gov.

03/15/2021

NCUA releases U.S. Map Review for fourth quarter

The Quarterly U.S. Map Review has been released by the National Credit Union Administration. Federally insured credit unions experienced double-digit asset and share-and-deposit growth over the year ending in the fourth quarter of 2020. Nationally, median asset growth over the four quarters of 2020 was 14.2 percent, compared to 2.8 percent during 2019. Median growth in shares and deposits during 2020 was 15.9 percent, compared to 2.6 percent during 2019. The median total delinquency rate among federally insured credit unions at the end of 2020 was 51 basis points, compared to 66 basis points at the end of 2019. Additionally, 83 percent of federally insured credit unions had positive net income in 2020, compared to 88 percent in 2019.

03/15/2021

OFAC FAQs concerning E.O. 13959

OFAC has posted new Frequently Asked Questions 880 relating to Xiaomi Corporation and 881 relating to Luokong Technology Corporation and applicability of Executive Order 13959, "Addressing the Threat From Securities Investments That Finance Communist Chinese Military Companies," dated November 12, 2020.

03/12/2021

Agencies propose new private flood insurance Q&As

The Fed, Farm Credit Administration, FDIC, NCUA, and OCC are requesting public comment on 24 proposed Interagency questions and answers regarding private flood insurance. The proposal is intended to help lenders comply with the agencies' 2019 joint rule to implement the private flood insurance provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. The proposal incorporates new questions and answers in a number of areas including mandatory acceptance, discretionary acceptance and private flood insurance general compliance.

The proposed Q&As would supplement the 118 Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding Flood Insurance that the agencies proposed on July 6, 2020. Comments will be accepted for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.

Publication and comment period update: Published at 86 FR 14696 on 3/18/2021. The comment period will end on 5/17/2021.

03/11/2021

Webinar on credit risks from pandemic

The National Credit Union Administration will host a webinar on March 24 about potential areas of credit risk resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The webinar is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. EDT and run about an hour. Topics that will be covered during the webinar include:

  • Credit markets’ status;
  • Current federal regulations;
  • What NCUA examiners look for;
  • Suggestions on reporting risk to a credit union’s management and board; and
  • Advice for proactively managing credit risks.

Online registration for the webinar is required.

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