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11/18/2020

Stimulus check deadline nears

The IRS has issued a reminder that anyone who doesn't normally file a tax return has until 3 p.m. EST this Saturday, November 21, to register with the IRS for an Economic Impact Payment (EIP). The only way remaining to get a payment in 2020 is to register using the Non-Filers: Enter Info Here tool on IRS.gov before the deadline.

When people file their 2020 taxes next year and they weren't eligible for an Economic Impact Payment this year, they may be eligible for the Recovery Rebate Credit. The Recovery Rebate Credit is figured like the Economic Impact Payment, except the amounts are based on tax year 2020, instead of tax year 2019 or tax year 2018, information. The eligibility criteria are the same, and the maximum credit is $1,200, or $2,400 if married filing jointly, plus $500 for each qualifying child. This means anyone who received the full Economic Impact Payment amount during 2020 for both themselves and their qualifying children cannot get the credit.

11/18/2020

New Venezuela-related general license issued

OFAC has issued Venezuela-related General License 8G, "Authorizing Transactions Involving Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) Necessary for the Limited Maintenance of Essential Operations in Venezuela or the Wind Down of Operations in Venezuela for Certain Entities."

OFAC also designated two individuals as Specially Designated Global Terrorists. See this BankersOnline OFAC Update for identity information.

11/16/2020

FDIC guidance to facilitate recovery on Puerto Rico

The FDIC has issued FIL-105-2020, offering guidance to FDIC-supervised financial institutions on steps intended to provide regulatory relief and to facilitate recovery in areas of Puerto Rico affected by severe storms and flooding.

11/16/2020

Former Wells CEO and chairman charged by SEC

The SEC has charged former Wells Fargo & Company CEO and Chairman John G. Stumpf and former head of Wells Fargo’s Community Bank Carrie L. Tolstedt for their roles in allegedly misleading investors about the success of the Community Bank, Wells Fargo’s core business. The SEC’s filings include settled charges against Stumpf, who agreed to pay a $2.5 million penalty, and a litigated action alleging Tolstedt committed fraud.

According to the SEC’s complaint against Tolstedt, from mid-2014 through mid-2016, Tolstedt publicly described and endorsed Wells Fargo’s “cross-sell metric” as a means of measuring Wells Fargo’s financial success despite the fact that this metric was inflated by accounts and services that were unused, unneeded, or unauthorized. The complaint further alleges that Tolstedt signed misleading sub-certifications as to the accuracy of Wells Fargo’s public disclosures when she knew or was reckless in not knowing that statements in those disclosures regarding Wells Fargo’s cross-sell metric were materially false and misleading.

An SEC order against Stumpf finds that in 2015 and 2016 he signed and certified statements filed with the Commission, which he should have known were misleading, regarding both Wells Fargo’s Community Bank cross-sell strategy and its reported metric. According to the order, Stumpf failed to ensure the accuracy of his certifications after being put on notice that Wells Fargo was misleading the public about the cross-sell metric.

11/13/2020

FDIC amends branch application requirements

The FDIC has published [85 FR 72551] a final rule to amend its application requirements for the establishment and relocation of branches and offices so that such applications no longer require statements regarding the compliance of such proposals with the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. The final rule amends the FDIC's regulations to remove those requirements embedded in its branch application procedures, and rescinds related FDIC statements of policy, consistent with branch application procedures for national banks and insured state member banks supervised by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

The amendments become effective December 14, 2020.

11/13/2020

Debt Collector pays $500,000 for reporting violations

The CFPB has announced a settlement with Afni, Inc.to address its violations in providing information to consumer reporting agencies. Afni is a non-bank Illinois-based debt collector that specializes in collecting debt on behalf of telecommunications companies and furnishes information to consumer reporting agencies about consumers’ credit. The consent order requires Afni to take certain steps to prevent future violations and imposes a $500,000 civil money penalty.

Details of Afni's violations and a link to the Bureau's consent order can be found in BankersOnline's penalty page, "Afni, Inc. pays $500K for FCRA violations."

11/12/2020

NCUA amends corporate CU regulation

The NCUA has published [85 FR 71817] a final rule amending its corporate credit union regulation (12 CFR part 704). The final rule updates, clarifies, and simplifies several provisions of the NCUA's corporate credit union regulation, including:

  • permitting a corporate credit union to make a minimal investment in a credit union service organization (CUSO) without the CUSO being classified as a corporate CUSO under the NCUA's rules;
  • expanding the categories of senior staff positions at member credit unions eligible to serve on a corporate credit union's board; and
  • amending the minimum experience and independence requirement for a corporate credit union's enterprise risk management expert.

The amendments will be effective December 14, 2020.

11/12/2020

Fed services fees for 2021

The Federal Reserve Board has issued a press release announcing the fee schedules that will be effective January 4, 2021, for payment services provided by the Federal Reserve Banks to depository institutions.

The Reserve Banks will maintain the current schedule of prices for payment services provided to depository institutions (priced services) in 2021, with the exception of a modification to the Check Services participation fee, which will increase on average 2.7 percent. Fees will remain unchanged for the Reserve Banks' FedACH Service, National Settlement Service, Fedwire Funds Service, Fedwire Securities Service, and FedLine Solutions. The 2021 fee schedule for each of the priced services is available on the Federal Reserve Banks' financial services website at FRBservices.org.

11/12/2020

OFAC sanctions suppliers for Iranian military firm

OFAC has designated a network of six companies and four individuals that facilitated the procurement of sensitive goods, including U.S.-origin electronic components, for Iran Communication Industries (ICI), an Iranian military firm designated by the United States in 2008 and by the European Union in 2010 for being owned or controlled by Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL), the overall manager and coordinator of Iran’s ballistic missile program.

This action was taken in accordance with Executive Order 13382, an authority aimed at freezing the assets of proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters. Concurrent with Treasury’s designations, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia is filing charges by criminal complaint against two of the entities (DES International Co. and Soltech Industry Co., Ltd.) and one of the individuals (Chin Hua Huang) designated today.

Identification information for the designated individuals and entities can be found in BankersOnline's OFAC Update.

11/10/2020

OCC: COVID-19 effects on federal banking system

The OCC has posted its Semiannual Risk Perspective for Fall 2020, reporting the key issues facing the federal banking system and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the federal banking industry.

Although banks are still in strong financial condition, profitability is stressed due to low interest rates and increasing levels of problem loans. The OCC reported credit, strategic, operational, and compliance risks, among the key risk themes in the report:

  • Credit risk is increasing as the economic downturn impacts customer ability to service debts.
  • Strategic risk is an emerging issue due to the historically low rate environment, potential credit stress and their effect on bank profitability.
  • Operational risk is elevated as financial institutions respond to altered work environments and an evolving and complex operating environment. Cybersecurity threats contribute as a key driver of the heightened operational risk environment.
  • Compliance risk is elevated due to a combination of altered work environments, and the requirement to quickly implement federal, state, and proprietary programs designed to support businesses and consumers.

The report also highlights emerging trends in payment products and services as a special topic in emerging risks.

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