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07/24/2020

2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule replaced

HUD Secretary Carson announced yesterday HUD will ultimately terminate the Obama Administration’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation issued in 2015. It is replaced by a new rule, Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice, which defines fair housing broadly to mean housing that, among other attributes, is affordable, safe, decent, free of unlawful discrimination, and accessible under civil rights laws. It then defines “affirmatively furthering fair housing” to mean any action rationally related to promoting any of the above attributes of fair housing.

A grantee’s certification that it has affirmatively furthered fair housing would be deemed sufficient if it proposes to take any action above what is required by statute related to promoting any of the attributes of fair housing. HUD remains able to terminate funding if it discovers, after investigation made pursuant to complaint or by its own volition, that a jurisdiction has not adhered to its commitment to AFFH.

07/24/2020

FDIC rescinds Deposit Advance guidance

The FDIC has published [85 FR 44685] a notice rescinding its November 26, 2013, "Guidance on Supervisory Concerns and Expectations Regarding Deposit Advance Products." That guidance has been replaced by the May 20, 2020, Interagency Lending Principles for Offering Responsible Small-Dollar Loans," issued by the FDIC, Federal Reserve Board, OCC, and NCUA, as noted in FDIC FIL-58-2020, dated May 20, 2020.

07/23/2020

House prices slip in May

The Federal Housing Finance Agency's House Price Index Report for May 2020 indicates U.S. house prices slipped down 0.3 percent from April, but were up 4.9 percent over house prices in May 2019. April 2020's reported 0.2 percent increase was revised downward to 0.1 percent.

Regionally, house price changes ranged from -1.0 percent in the New England census region to +1.0 percent in the South Atlantic region.

07/22/2020

Published in the Federal Register today

Key proposals and rules published in today's Federal Register, with links to our earlier coverage:

07/21/2020

OCC proposes True Lender Rule

The OCC has proposed a rule that would determine when a national bank or federal savings association (bank) makes a loan and is the “true lender” in the context of a partnership between a bank and a third party.

Banks’ lending relationships with third parties can facilitate access to affordable credit. However, the relationships have been subject to increasing uncertainty about the legal framework that applies to loans made as part of these relationships. This uncertainty may discourage banks and third parties from entering into relationships, limit competition, and chill the innovation that results from these partnerships—all of which may restrict access to affordable credit.

The proposed rule would resolve this uncertainty by amending 12 CFR Part 7 to specify that a national bank or federal savings association makes a loan and is the “true lender” if, as of the date of origination, it (1) is named as the lender in the loan agreement or (2) funds the loan. Comments on the proposal will be accepted through September 3, 2020.

PUBLICATION UPDATE: Published at 85 FR 44223 on 7/22/2020.

07/21/2020

Executive Order 'normalizing' treatment of Hong Kong

Treasury has posted a notice concerning Executive Order 13936, "The President's Executive Order on Hong Kong Normalization." The order — issued on July 14 following China's imposition of national security legislation on Hong Kong, effectively eliminating its former autonomous status — states that U.S. policy will be to suspend or eliminate different and preferential treatment for Hong Kong to the extent permitted by law.

07/21/2020

FHFA proposes 2021 targets for Fannie and Freddie

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has proposed its 2021 housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Due to the economic uncertainty related to the COVID-19 national pandemic, FHFA is proposing benchmarks for calendar year 2021 only, and those levels will remain the same as they were for 2018-2020. Once finalized, the proposed benchmark levels would extend those benchmarks that are currently set to expire on December 31, 2020.

The FHFA's Proposed Rule will be open for comments for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.

07/21/2020

Court rules for FTC in student-loan debt-relief scam case

The Federal Trade Commission has announced that the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has ruled in favor of the Commission in a case against the operators of a student loan debt relief scheme. The defendants are banned from telemarketing or providing debt relief services.

The court found that the operators, doing business as Federal Direct Group, Mission Hills Federal, The Student Loan Group, and National Secure Processing, falsely claimed that consumers’ loans would be forgiven or their payments reduced to a specific amount, and that defendants would take over servicing of consumers’ loans and apply most or all of consumers’ monthly payments to pay down their student loans. The defendants then charged consumers hundreds to thousands of dollars in illegal upfront fees. The defendants also obtained consumers’ student loan credentials to log in and change consumers’ contact information, effectively hindering or entirely preventing consumers’ loan servicers from communicating with consumers. The defendants' actions violated the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule.

In addition to permanently banning the defendants from telemarketing, and debt relief businesses, the court's ruling also imposes a $27.6 million judgment from which the FTC may provide redress to affected consumers.

The defendants subject to the order are Elegant Solutions, Inc. (also doing business as Federal Direct Group); Trend Capital Ltd. (also doing business as Mission Hills Federal); Dark Island Industries, Inc. (also doing business as Federal Direct Group and formerly known as Cosmopolitan Funding, Inc.); Heritage Asset Management, Inc. (also doing business as National Secure Processing); Tribune Management, Inc. (also doing business as The Student Loan Group); and four individual defendants, Mazen Radwan, Rima Radwan, Dean Robbins, and Labiba Velazquez (née Radwan).

07/21/2020

CFPB issues annual Reg Z inflation adjustments

The CFPB has issued a final rule revising certain dollar amounts in Regulation Z, based on the annual percentage change reflected in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in effect on June 1, 2020.

  • For open-end consumer credit plans under the CARD Act amendments to TILA, the adjusted dollar amount in 2021 for the safe harbor for a first violation penalty fee will remain unchanged at $29 and the adjusted dollar amount for the safe harbor for a subsequent violation penalty fee will also remain unchanged at $40.
  • For HOEPA loans, the adjusted total loan amount threshold for high-cost mortgages in 2021 will be $22,052.
  • The adjusted points-and-fees dollar trigger for high-cost mortgages in 2021 will be $1,103.
  • For qualified mortgages, the maximum thresholds for total points and fees in 2021 will be
    • 3 percent of the total loan amount for a loan greater than or equal to $110,260;
    • $3,308 for a loan amount greater than or equal to $66,156 but less than $110,260;
    • 5 percent of the total loan amount for a loan greater than or equal to $22,052 but less than $66,156;
    • $1,103 for a loan amount greater than or equal to $13,783 but less than $22,052; and
    • 8 percent of the total loan amount for a loan amount less than $13,783.

The rule will be effective January 1, 2021. The amendments have been added to BankersOnline's Regulations pages for Regulation Z §§ 1026.32, 1026.43, and 1026.52.

PUBLICATION UPDATE: This rule will be published in the Federal Register on August 19, 2020.

07/20/2020

ADA 30th anniversary webinar

The National Credit Union Administration has posted a reminder that federally insured credit unions can join a meaningful conversation on the importance of financial inclusion for persons with disabilities and the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) during a webinar hosted by the NCUA on Thursday, July 23, beginning at 2 p.m. EDT.

During the webinar, Chairman Hood will discuss how organizations can expand their efforts to ensure the disabled have equal access to opportunities and resources with Michael Morris, director of the National Disability Institute, and Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, a disabilities rights advocate and president of RespectAbility. Online registration for the two-hour webinar is now open.

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