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Banker's Toolbox, Inc., leaders in compliance solutions for financial institutions, announced the acquisition of Georgia-based MainStreet Technologies (MST). MST is an industry leader in the loan risk management space. This acquisition adds to a strong and growing portfolio of compliance-related solutions and will continue to enhance the value Banker's Toolbox brings to both their customers and the industry. (Read full press release here.)

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Largest Iranian petrochemical holding group designated

OFAC has designated Iran’s largest and most profitable petrochemical holding group, Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC), for providing financial support to Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters, the engineering conglomerate of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. PGPIC’s network of 39 subsidiary petrochemical companies and foreign-based sales agents was also designated. PGPIC and its subsidiaries hold 40 percent of Iran’s total petrochemical production capacity and are responsible for 50 percent of Iran’s total petrochemical exports. For identification information on these designations, see BankersOnline's OFAC Update.


SSA proposes SSN verification service

The Social Security Administration has published a notice [84 FR 26712] announcing the initial enrollment period for a new electronic Consent Based Social Security Number (SSN) Verification (eCBSV) service. SSA will roll out the service to a limited number of users in June 2020, and plans on expanding the number of users within six months of the initial rollout. All interested permitted entities must apply during this initial enrollment period to be eligible to use the new eCBSV service during either the initial rollout or subsequent planned expansion. Permitted entities that do not apply during the initial enrollment period must wait until the next designated period after the planned expansion to apply for enrollment. The initial enrollment period for permitted entities will begin on July 17, 2019, and remain open until the period closes on July 31, 2019. In accord with statutory requirements, permitted entities will be required to provide payment to build the new eCBSV system.

The eCBSV is created under a mandate in Section 215 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (EGRRCPA).


Venezuela-related General Licenses amended

OFAC has posted a notice of the amendment of General License 7A, "Authorizing Certain Activities Involving PDV Holding, Inc. and CITGO Holding, Inc.;” General License 8A, “Authorizing Transactions Involving Petroleós de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) Prohibited by Executive Order 13850 for Certain Entities Operating in Venezuela;” and General License 13A, “Authorizing Certain Activities Involving Nynas AB,” to clarify these general licenses do not authorize transactions or dealings related to the exportation or re-exportation of diluents [thinning or diluting agents], directly or indirectly, to Venezuela. Additionally, OFAC issued corresponding FAQ 672 to provide further guidance with respect to restrictions regarding diluents.


IRS adds safeguard for taxpayer data

The IRS has announced that, as part of its ongoing efforts to protect taxpayers from identity thieves, it will stop its tax transcript faxing service in June and will amend the Form 4506 series to end third-party mailing of tax returns and transcripts in July. Starting June 28, 2019, the IRS will stop faxing tax transcripts to both taxpayers and third parties, including tax professionals and lenders. Third-party mailings will stop July 1. This action affects individual and business transcripts.

The IRS notice includes suggested alternatives for income verification, including copies of transcripts mailed to a taxpayer's address of record, and use of the IRS's Income Verification Express Service (IVES).


OFAC updates Cuban Assets Control regs

OFAC has updated the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 515 (CACR), to further implement portions of the President’s foreign policy toward Cuba. In accordance with newly announced changes to non-family travel to Cuba, OFAC has amended the CACR to remove the authorization for group people-to-people educational travel. The CACR amendment will be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, at which time the changes will take effect. OFAC has also published a number of updated FAQs and a Fact Sheet about the amendments.


Avoiding mortgage closing scams

The CFPB has posted an article explaining ways consumers can protect themselves from mortgage closing scams. A mortgage closing checklist is included.


FDIC April enforcement actions

The FDIC has released a list of administrative enforcement actions taken against banks in April 2019. The agency imposed:

  • an $18,812 civil money penalty on Bank of Bluffs, Bluffs, Illinois, for violations of the Flood Disaster Protection Act (FDPA) and/or the notice requirements under the National Flood Insurance Act (NFIA)
  • a $17,700 civil money penalty on Firstbank Puerto Rico, Santurce, Puerto Rico, for violations of the FDPA
  • a $3,520 civil money penalty on Allegiance Bank, Houston, Texas, for violations of the FDPA
  • a $1,250,000 civil money penalty on Alma Bank, Astoria, New York, for violation of the Bank Secrecy Act and its implementing regulations

Also reported were removal/prohibition orders issued to:

  • a former director of human resources of a Texas bank who knowingly and without authority took salary increases and bonuses for himself
  • a former loan secretary of a Texas bank who misappropriated more than $200,000 in bank proceeds
  • a former teller of a California bank who embezzled and/or stole funds from a bank customer's account


Latvian bank and CEO added to multi-national fraud case

The Federal Trade Commission has filed an amended complaint in a case alleging a multi-national scheme to defraud consumers via deceptive “free trial” offers and negative-option continuity plans. The amended complaint names a Latvian financial institution and its CEO as additional defendants, alleging they participated in the scheme by processing $40 million in consumer payments. The amended complaint alleges that the newly added defendants engaged in credit card laundering by approving and maintaining merchant accounts in the name of shell companies with straw owners, and that they manipulated chargeback levels in those merchant accounts to evade credit card chargeback monitoring programs.


2018 report on terrorist assets

OFAC has released its twenty-seventh annual report to Congress on assets in the United States relating to terrorist countries and organizations engaged in international terrorism.


OCC: Flooded banks can close

The OCC yesterday issued a proclamation allowing national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign banks affected by severe flooding in the South Central United States to close. The OCC expects that only those bank offices directly affected by potentially unsafe conditions will close. Those offices should make every effort to reopen as quickly as possible to address the banking needs of their customers.


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