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01/27/2020

Innovative Housing Showcase announced

HUD Secretary Carson has announced the agency will co-host with the National Association of Home Builders an “Innovative Housing Showcase“ September 12-14, 2020, in Washington, to educate policy makers and the broader public on the new housing innovations and building technologies that are helping to address U.S. affordable housing challenges.

01/24/2020

Small business lending and the Great Recession

The CFPB has posted an article announcing the Bureau's release of a data point report on the evolution of small business lending before, during, and following the Great Recession (2004-2017) that shows how small businesses' access to credit from traditional sources has declined during the Great Recession and has recovered somewhat and unevenly since the end of the Great Recession.

The report utilizes data from the Community Reinvestment Act on small business lending at the county level from 2004-2017 and Census data on the number of employer and non-employer firms.Some of the primary findings from the report are:

  • Following the Great Recession period, small business lending has increased, but lenders in the median county still made only one-half the number of small business loans per business in 2017 that they had made in 2004.
  • After the Great Recession, there was an increase in small business lending but there has been substantial variation by county and state, unlike the uniform decrease in such lending during the Great Recession.
  • Following the Great Recession, there were regional differences in increases in small business lending—states on the East Coast and in the South recovered at a faster rate than states in the Great Plains and West.
  • From before the Great Recession through 2017, the total number of thrifts, community banks, and large banks engaged in small business lending has declined. However, the number of credit unions offering small business lending products has increased since the beginning of the Great Recession.

01/24/2020

NCUA Board announces approvals

The National Credit Union Administration Board has announced it has unanimously approved:

  • a proposed rule to permit low-income-designated credit unions, complex credit unions, and newly chartered federal credit unions to issue subordinated debt.
  • a proposed rule that provides greater clarity on the regulations governing transactions where a federally insured credit union proposes to assume liabilities from or merge with another institution that is not a credit union.
  • the 2020 Annual Performance Plan, which outlines the strategies and initiatives the NCUA will use to achieve the performance measures and outcomes described in the 2018–2022 Strategic Plan.
  • an extension of the current 18-percent interest ceiling on most federal credit union loans until September 2021.

01/24/2020

OCC acts against former Wells Fargo Bank management

The OCC announced Thursday it has issued a notice of charges against five former senior executives of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and announced settlements with the bank’s former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and other members of the bank’s operating committee. These actions stem from the executive's role in the bank's systemic sale practices misconduct (see "Incentive program costs Wells Fargo $185 M in CMPs," 9/9/2016).

The current or former executives charged and the relief sought by the notice of charges include:

  • Carrie Tolstedt, head of Wells Fargo's Community Bank -- Prohibition order and $25 million civil money penalty (CMP)
  • Claudia Russ Anderson, Community Bank group risk officer -- Prohibition order and $5 million CMP
  • James Strother, general counsel, Cease & Desist (C&D) order and $5 million CMP
  • David Julian, chief auditor -- C&D order and $2 million CMP
  • Paul McLinko, executive audit director -- C&D order and $500,000 CMP

The OCC stated the notice of charges alleges those executives failed to adequately perform their duties and responsibilities, which contributed to the bank’s systemic problems with sales practices misconduct from 2002 until October 2016, and the misconduct of those individuals allowed the practices to continue for years, affecting millions of bank customers and thousands of lower level bank employees. Additionally, the notice states that Ms. Russ Anderson also made false and misleading statements to the OCC and actively obstructed the OCC’s examinations of the bank’s sales practices. Under federal law, each of those individuals may request a hearing challenging the allegations and relief sought.

The OCC's press release also announced it had issued consent orders against three former Wells Fargo executives for their roles in the bank's sales practices misconduct:

01/23/2020

House prices up in November

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has posted its November 2019 House Price Index, which indicates U.S. house prices were up 0.2 percent from October and rose 4.9 percent from November 2018 to November 2019. The previously reported 0.2 percent increase for October 2019 was revised upward to 0.4 percent. For the nine census divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly house price changes from October 2019 to November 2019 ranged from -0.1 percent in the Mountain division to +0.8 percent in the East North Central division. The 12-month changes were all positive, ranging from +3.8 percent in the New England and the West South Central divisions to +6.3 percent in the Mountain division.

01/22/2020

FHFA adjusts cap on community financial institutions

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has posted a notice [85 FR 3680] in today's Federal Register adjusting the cap on average total assets that is used in determining whether a Federal Home Loan Bank member qualifies as a “community financial institution” to $1,224,000,000. The change took effect on January 1, 2020.

01/22/2020

FEMA to suspend communities in 3 states today

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has published a notice [85 FR 3548] in today's Federal Register announcing the suspension, effective today, of communities in Kansas, Missouri, and Texas from the National Flood Insurance Program for noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program.

  • Kansas: Unincorporated areas of Butler County
  • Missouri: City of Maryville
  • Texas: Bee Cave, Creedmoor, Gonzales, Lakeway, Mustang Ridge, Point Venture, Rollingwood, San Leanna, The Hills, Volente, West Lake Hills, and unincorporated areas of Gonzales County

In the event that any of the named communities adopt and submit required documentation of legally enforceable floodplain management measures prior to actual suspension, those communities will not be suspended.

01/22/2020

OCC levies $18 million Flood Act penalty

The OCC announced Tuesday it has assessed a $17,998,510 civil money penalty against Citibank, N.A., Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for violations of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 and the OCC's implementing regulations.

The OCC found the bank engaged in a pattern or practice of violating 42 U.S.C. § 4012a(e) and 12 C.F.R. § 22.7(a). Specifically, the bank failed to purchase regulatory required flood insurance on behalf of borrowers with loans secured by buildings and mobile homes located in special flood hazard areas where flood insurance is available in a timely manner. The failure to purchase the required flood insurance in a timely manner resulted from Citibank’s deficient FDPA policies and procedures, which allowed the bank’s third-party service provider to extend the 45-day notification period after the initial borrower notification.

01/21/2020

Operators of credit repair scheme banned

The Federal Trade Commission has announced the operators of a bogus credit repair scheme have been banned from the credit repair business and are subject to a wide array of other requirements under settlement terms with the Commission. The settlements relate to an FTC complaint filed in June 2019 alleging that the defendants targeted consumers with false promises of substantially improving consumers’ credit scores by claiming to remove all negative items and “hard” credit inquiries (which can often change a consumer’s credit score) from consumers’ credit reports. In addition, the FTC alleged the defendants illegally charged upfront fees for their services and advised consumers to mislead credit bureaus and lenders, as well as threatening consumers with lawsuits when they complained or disputed charges.

01/21/2020

HUD proposes rule to encourage new housing

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced it is proposing a new rule that would recognize additional sets of standards and model building code editions that, when followed in the design and construction of new multifamily housing, will ensure compliance with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act. Under the proposed rule, HUD will incorporate more recent editions of currently recognized safe harbor standards and model building codes. HUD will amend its regulations to include the 2009 edition standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), as well as the 2009, 2012, 2015, and 2018 editions of the International Building Code, as safe harbors for compliance with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act.

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