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CFPB report on consumer credit during pandemic

The CFPB has posted "Trends in Reported Assistance on Consumers' Credit Records," the second article in a series documenting trends in consumer credit outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The article focuses on reported assistance on consumers’ credit records. For purposes of this analysis, authors Corinne Candilis and Ryan Sandler define consumer assistance as an account being reported with zero scheduled payment due despite a positive balance. In the June 16, 2021, article, Candilis and Sandler found that most credit products saw a sharp uptick in assistance in March 2020 and an uptick in transitions out of assistance between April and June. Since July 2020, consumers have transitioned out of assistance to varying degrees across all credit products, but a significant share of mortgage borrowers continue to receive assistance.

With the exception of student loans, the total share of loans with payment assistance began declining in the summer of 2020, as the initial increase in loans transitioning into assistance abated and accounts began transitioning out of assistance in larger numbers. There continued to be high rates of assistance in student loans largely due to the CARES Act, which put most student loans in automatic payment suspension. By March of 2021, the total share of auto loans and credit card accounts with assistance was only slightly above pre-pandemic levels, while the share of mortgages and student loans on assistance remains significantly higher than pre-pandemic baselines.

Candilis and Sandler also observed that consumers who exited assistance tend to live in communities hit harder by the pandemic.


Fed releases Discount Rate meetings minutes

The Federal Reserve Board has released the minutes of its interest rate meetings from May 17 through June 16, 2021.


Agencies propose risk management guidance for 3rd-party relationships

The federal bank regulatory agencies (Board of Governors, FDIC, and OCC) on Tuesday requested public comment on proposed guidance designed to help banking organizations manage risks associated with third-party relationships, including relationships with financial technology-focused entities. The proposed guidance is intended to assist banking organizations in identifying and addressing the risks associated with third-party relationships and responds to industry feedback requesting alignment among the agencies with respect to third-party risk management guidance.

Banking organizations that engage third parties to provide products or services or to perform other activities remain responsible for ensuring that such outsourced activities are conducted in a safe and sound manner and in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, including consumer protection laws.

Comments must be received within 60 days of the proposed guidance's publication in the Federal Register.


AR holding company gets OK to acquire OK bank

The Federal Reserve Board has approved the application by First Bank Corp. of Fort Smith, Arkansas, to acquire Central Bancshares of Poteau, Inc., and indirectly acquire The Central National Bank of Poteau, both of Poteau, Oklahoma.

First Bank Corp., with consolidated assets of about $2.3 billion, controls First National Bank of Fort Smith, Fort Smith, Arkansas, with branches in Arkansas and Oklahoma, and Citizens Bank & Trust Company, Van Buren, Arkansas, with offices in Arkansas only. Central Bankshares of Poteau, Inc. has total assets of about $305.7 million. Central National Bank of Poteau has branches in Oklahoma only.


CFPB hits fintech GreenSky with $11.9M consent order

The CFPB announced Monday it had taken action against GreenSky LLC, a fintech non-bank institution in Atlanta, Georgia, for enabling contractors and other merchants to take out loans on behalf of thousands of consumers who did not request or authorize them. The CFPB issued a consent order against GreenSky requiring the company to refund or cancel up to $9 million in loans for customers harmed by its illegal conduct, pay a $2.5 million civil penalty, and implement new procedures to prevent future fraudulent loans.

GreenSky used merchants, primarily those providing home improvements, to promote and offer financing to customers before making on-the-spot lending decisions based on criteria provided by its partner banks. Proceeds from GreenSky’s loans, ranging from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, bypass consumers and are disbursed directly to merchants following the merchants’ application for payment. Some consumers complained that they never applied for a loan or even heard of GreenSky before receiving billing statements, collection letters, and calls from the company.

The CFPB found that GreenSky engaged in unfair practices against their customers in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (CFPA). For additional details and a link to the CFPB's consent order, see "GreenSky pays $11.9 million for unauthorized consumer loans," in BankersOnline's Penalty pages.


National SBIR Week to be hosted by SBA

The Small Business Administration will host the 2021 National SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) Week July 14 – July 23 for small business innovators. The virtual event will connect entrepreneurs working on advanced technology to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, which represent the nation’s largest source of early-stage research and development funding for small businesses. SBA coordinates the programs, collaborating with 11 federal agencies, that collectively supported more than $4 billion a year in federal research and development funding.


Consumer credit continues upward climb

According to the July 8 release of the Federal Reserve's G.19 Consumer Credit data report, consumer credit increased in May at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 10 percent. Revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 11.4 percent, while nonrevolving credit increased at an annual rate of 9.5 percent.


NMLS systems maintenance July 21–26

The NMLS Federal Registry Resources News and Events page has a notice posted that NMLS and NMLS Consumer Access will be unavailable due to planned system maintenance from Wednesday, July 21 at 8:00 p.m. ET until Monday, July 26, at 7:00 a.m. ET.


Fed CRA evaluations

The Federal Reserve Banks released CRA evaluation ratings for 18 banks in June. Twelve of those banks received Satisfactory evaluation ratings.

We congratulate the six banks that earned Outstanding ratings:


CFPB COVID-19 consumer relief info toolkit

The Bureau has posted a blog article announcing its launch of a new digital housing insecurity media toolkit for those interested in providing information and resources—via blogs, newsletters, email blasts, and social media posts—to renters and mortgage borrowers who continue to struggle financially from the coronavirus pandemic.


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