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Exception Tracking Spreadsheet (TicklerTrax™)
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Top Story Lending Related

04/16/2021

OCC publishes Allowance for Credit Losses booklet

The OCC has issued the new “Allowances for Credit Losses” booklet of the Comptroller’s Handbook, which is prepared for use by OCC examiners in connection with the examination and supervision of national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign banking organizations. The booklet provides examiners with information and examination procedures regarding allowances for credit losses (ACL). This booklet applies to the OCC’s supervision of banks that have adopted the current expected credit losses (CECL) methodology under Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) Topic 326. The “Allowance for Loan and Lease Losses” booklet of the Comptroller’s Handbook continues to apply to the OCC’s supervision of banks that have not adopted CECL.

04/16/2021

OCC enforcement actions announced

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has announced new enforcement actions taken in February and March. Among those actions were:

04/16/2021

$41M for HOPWA housing

HUD is making $41 million in Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) competitive funding available to states, local governments, and non-profits through the HOPWA: Housing as an Intervention to Fight AIDS funding opportunity. Housing instability has been a major issue facing many persons living with HIV since the beginning of the epidemic. Achieving and maintaining stable housing can be a powerful structural intervention in ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic. HUD will publish a pre-application webcast by April 30, 2021 for anyone interested in submitting an application for the HOPWA: Housing as an Intervention to Fight AIDS funding opportunity.

04/16/2021

Treasury escalates Russia-related sanctions

The U. S. Department of the Treasury issued three press releases on Thursday announcing escalated sanctions against the Russian government's attempts to influence U.S. elections, the sanctioning of Russian persons in the Crimea region of Ukraine, and actions taken against Russia under a sweeping new sanctions authority.

Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action against 16 entities and 16 individuals who attempted to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election at the direction of the leadership of the Russian Government, following the Intelligence Community’s “Assessment of Foreign Threats to the 2020 U.S. Federal Elections.” The assessment addresses the intentions and efforts of key foreign actors, including Russia, to influence or interfere with the U.S. elections and undermine public confidence in the election process.

OFAC also designated five individuals and three entities related to Russia’s occupation of the Crimea region of Ukraine and its severe human rights abuses against the local population.

Under the authority of a new Executive Order targeting aggressive and harmful activities by the Government of the Russian Federation, OFAC issued a directive that generally prohibits U.S. financial institutions from participating in the primary market for ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued after June 14, 2021 by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, and further prohibits U.S. financial institutions from lending ruble or non-ruble denominated funds to these three entities. This directive expands upon existing prohibitions on certain dealings in Russian sovereign debt that have been in place since August 2019.

OFAC also designated ERA Technopolis; Pasit, AO (Pasit); Federal State Autonomous Scientific Establishment Scientific Research Institute Specialized Security Computing Devices and Automation (SVA); Neobit, OOO (Neobit); Advanced System Technology, AO (AST); and Pozitiv Teknolodzhiz, AO (Positive Technologies), all of which are companies operating in the technology sector of the Russian Federation economy that support Russian Intelligence Services.

Additional information and identification of the persons designated under OFAC's actions can be found in BankersOnline's OFAC Update.

04/15/2021

FTC: Holder Rule has no dollar limit

The Federal Trade Commission has issued a note correcting previous staff guidelines on its Trade Regulation Rule Concerning Preservation of Consumers’ Claims and Defenses—commonly known as the Holder Rule—which protects consumers who enter into credit contracts for the sale or lease of goods by preserving their right to assert claims and defenses against any holder of certain loans and credit sales contracts, even if the loans or contracts are assigned to a third party.

The note, dated April 12, 2021, corrects an erroneous statement in a 1976 pamphlet by FTC staff that the Holder Rule did not apply to transactions larger than $25,000. Those staff guidelines stated that the Rule incorporates the transaction cap that was present in the Truth in Lending Act (TILA). In the new note, staff points out that no such incorporation exists in the Rule, which was first issued in 1975, and that the erroneous guidance contradicts a statement by the Commission that the application of the Rule does not depend on the amount of the transaction. The note states that the text of the Holder Rule does not contain any exemption based on the size of a transaction.

04/15/2021

April Beige Book released

The Federal Reserve Board has released the April 2021 Beige Book. Reports from the Reserve Districts show that national economic activity accelerated to a moderate pace from late February to early April. Consumer spending strengthened. Reports on tourism were more upbeat, bolstered by a pickup in demand for leisure activities and travel which contacts attributed to spring break, an easing of pandemic-related restrictions, increased vaccinations, and recent stimulus payments among other factors.

Auto sales grew, even as new-vehicle inventories remained constrained by microchip shortages. The picture in nonfinancial services generally improved, partly supported by strengthening demand for transportation, professional and business, and leisure and hospitality services. Despite widespread supply chain disruptions, manufacturing activity expanded further with half the Districts citing robust growth. Bankers in most reporting Districts saw modest to moderate increases in overall loan volumes.

Sustained high demand and tight supply of single-family homes further pushed up prices, and builders noted ongoing production challenges, including rising costs. Reports on commercial real estate and construction varied, with activity in the hotel, office, and retail segments generally remaining weak. Agricultural conditions were mostly stable over the reporting period. Activity in the energy sector was mixed; coal production fell, while oil and gas drilling was flat to up. Outlooks were more optimistic than in the previous report, boosted in part by an acceleration in COVID-19 vaccinations.

04/14/2021

Fed Board discount rate meeting minutes

The Federal Reserve Board has released the minutes of its interest rate meetings from February 8 through March 17, 2021.

04/14/2021

FEMA to suspend 7 California communities next week

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has published a Federal Register notice [86 FR 19580, 4/14/2021] that the agency has scheduled seven California communities for suspension from the National Flood Insurance Program for noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program.

The affected communities are the cities of Carson, Culver City, Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, and Santa Monica, all in Los Angeles County.

The suspensions are scheduled for April 21, 2021. However, if FEMA receives documentation that a listed community has adopted the required floodplain management measures prior to April 21, the community will not be suspended.

04/14/2021

CFPB and SettleIt propose settlement order

The CFPB has announced an action against SettleIt, Inc., a California-based online debt-settlement company, for taking advantage of consumers, failing to disclose its relationship to certain creditors, and steering consumers into high-cost loans offered by affiliated lenders. The Bureau has filed a federal court complaint alleging that SettleIt, Inc. engaged in abusive acts or practices under the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (CFPA) and violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR).

According to the CFPB, SettleIt, Inc. presents itself as an independent debt-settlement company that helps consumers negotiate with creditors like CashCall and LoanMe. But SettleIt is affiliated with CashCall and LoanMe — the same individual owns SettleIt and CashCall, and LoanMe is tied to SettleIt through loans and agreements. The CFPB alleges that SettleIt abused consumers’ trust by charging fees to negotiate settlements that favor those companies. The CFPB also alleges that SettleIt steered distressed consumers into taking out expensive loans with CashCall and LoanMe, while hiding the fact that SettleIt took its debt-settlement fees from these loan proceeds. SettleIt kept consumers in the dark about its relationships with CashCall and LoanMe, and it even included language in call scripts saying “we are not owned or operated by any of your creditors.”

The Bureau and SettleIt filed a proposed order that, if entered by the court, would require SettleIt to return at least $646,000 in fees to consumers, pay a $750,000 civil penalty, and stop settling debts for creditors with which it shares an ownership interest.

04/13/2021

HUD awards $90M+ to tribes and TDHEs

HUD has announced over $90 million in grant awards to 24 tribes and tribally designated housing entities (TDHEs) across the country to support new housing construction, housing rehabilitation, and critical infrastructure projects. The funds were awarded through HUD’s Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) competitive program to help construct new housing units for low-income families living in tribal communities. It is projected that this funding will support the construction of approximately 350 new housing units, which will help spur economic opportunities in these communities.

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