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Banker's Toolbox Announces — ACQUISITION OF LOAN LOSS RESERVE POWERHOUSE, MAINSTREET TECHNOLOGIES
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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06/07/2019

FCC adopts robocall blocking by default

The Federal Communications Commission has approved a Declaratory Ruling to affirm that voice service providers may, as the default, block unwanted calls based on reasonable call analytics, as long as their customers are informed and have the opportunity to opt out of the blocking. This action empowers providers to protect their customers from unwanted robocalls before those calls even reach the customers’ phones. The ruling also clarifies that providers may offer their customers the choice to opt-in to tools that block calls from any number that does not appear on a customer’s contact list or other “white lists.”

The Commission also adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposes requiring voice service providers to implement the SHAKEN/STIR caller ID authentication framework, if major voice service providers fail to do so by the end of this year.

06/04/2019

FDIC requests input on tech assistance

In its Financial Institution Letter FIL-29-2019, the FDIC announced it has issued a Request for Information seeking feedback on the FDIC's methods and efforts to provide technical assistance. The request asks for information on additional steps the agency could take to support effective management and operation of FDIC-supervised institutions through technical assistance and collaboration on safety and soundness and consumer compliance matters. Comments on the Request for Information will be accepted for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

05/30/2019

US and UK establish FIP

the Treasury Department has announced the establishment of a Financial Innovation Partnership (FIP) between the United States and the United Kingdom to build on and deepen bilateral engagement on emerging trends in financial services innovation, which will include encouraging collaboration in the private sector, sharing information and expertise about regulatory practices, and promoting growth and innovation. The FIP will focus on two main areas:

  • Regulatory Engagement: Dialogue between authorities and with the private sector is critical to identify and address potential regulatory synergies, share lessons, and develop closer working relationships. The United States and United Kingdom will build on existing regulatory cooperation by discussing regulatory developments and sharing experiences on technical issues related to innovation in financial services.
  • Commercial Engagement: The FIP also seeks to promote a dynamic private sector that supports entrepreneurs and new business models – a necessary driver of financial innovation. It will provide enhanced and regular opportunities for the private sector in one country to engage with industry associations, and market participants in the other country. Through the FIP, the U.K. Department for International Trade (DIT) will bring U.K. firms to the United States and the U.S. Commerce Department will coordinate trade promotion missions to the United Kingdom..

05/28/2019

FinCEN Innovation Hours program

FinCEN has announced an Innovation Hours Program to better shape and inform its ongoing engagement with Anti-Money Laundering (AML)/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) innovators. The Innovation Hours Program will provide financial technology and regulatory technology companies and financial institutions the opportunity to present their new and emerging innovative products and services to FinCEN. Technology demonstrations should highlight how these innovations work and how financial institutions might use them. FinCEN expects to hold events in the Washington D.C. metro area, as well as some regional events that focus on financial services-related innovation.

UPDATE: FinCEN published [84 FR 25120] a notice that the program will become effective on May 30, 2019, inviting meeting requests, which can be submitted via the Innovation Initiative webpage.

05/28/2019

OCC to host workshops in Denver

The OCC will host two workshops at the Embassy Suites Denver - Stapleton in Denver, June 25-26, for directors of institutions supervised by the OCC.

  • The Risk Governance: Improving Director Effectiveness workshop on June 25 combines lectures, discussion, and exercises to provide practical information for directors to effectively measure and manage risks. The workshop also focuses on the OCC’s approach to risk-based supervision and major risks in the financial industry.
  • The Credit Risk: Directors Can Make a Difference workshop on June 26 focuses on credit risk within the loan portfolio, such as identifying trends and recognizing problems. The workshop also covers the roles of the board and management, how to stay informed of changes in credit risk, and how to effect change.

05/21/2019

OCC Spring 2019 Semiannual Risk Perspective

The OCC has posted its Semiannual Risk Perspective for Spring 2019. Highlights include:

  • Credit quality is strong when measured by traditional performance metrics, but successive years of growth, incremental easing in underwriting, risk layering, and building credit concentrations result in accumulated risk in loan portfolios.
  • Operational risk is elevated as banks adapt to a changing and increasingly complex operating environment. Key drivers for operational risk include persistent cybersecurity threats as well as innovation in financial products and services, and increasing use of third parties to provide and support operations that are not effectively understood, implemented, and controlled.
  • Compliance risk related to Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) is high as banks remain challenged to effectively manage money laundering risks.
  • Interest rate risk and the related liquidity risk implications pose potential challenges to earnings given the uncertain rate environment, competitive pressures, changes in technology, and untested depositor behavior.

05/20/2019

HUD receives IT award

HUD has received MicroStrategy’s 2019 Federal Information Technology Innovation Award for modernizing its Office of Community Planning and Development's (CPD) Grants Dashboard, which provides funding information for each city and state that receives CPD program funds, in a place-based format. Before modernizing the Grants Dashboard, HUD relied on manual reports that could not efficiently drive critical decisions or provide oversight into all grant programs.

05/10/2019

FinCEN virtual currencies guidance and advisory

FinCEN has issued guidance document FIN-2019-G001, Application of FinCEN’s Regulation to Certain Business Models Involving Convertible Virtual Currencies (CVCs). The guidance is in response to questions raised by financial institutions, law enforcement, and regulators concerning the regulatory treatment of multiple variations of businesses dealing in CVCs.

FinCEN also issued an Advisory on Illicit Activity Involving Convertible Virtual Currency (FIN-2019-A003), to assist financial institutions in identifying and reporting suspicious activity related to criminal exploitation of CVCs for money laundering, sanctions evasion, and other illicit financing purposes. The advisory highlights prominent typologies, associated “red flags,” and identifies information that would be most valuable to law enforcement if contained in suspicious activity reports.

05/08/2019

CFPB proposes debt collection rules

On Tuesday, the CFPB issued a proposed rule to implement the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The proposal would provide consumers with clear protections against harassment by debt collectors and straightforward options to address or dispute debts. Among other things, the NPRM would set clear, bright-line limits on the number of calls debt collectors may place to reach consumers on a weekly basis; clarify how collectors may communicate lawfully using newer technologies, such as voicemail, email and text messages, that have developed since the FDCPA's passage in 1977; and require collectors to provide additional information to consumers to help them identify debts and respond to collection attempts.

The proposal would amend Regulation F, which implements the FDCPA, to prescribe federal rules governing the activities of FDCPA-covered debt collectors. The proposal focuses on debt collection communications and disclosures and also addresses related practices by debt collectors. The Bureau also proposes that FDCPA-covered debt collectors comply with certain additional disclosure-related and record retention requirements. If a final rule is issued, the Bureau proposes that it would become effective one year after it has been published.

Comments on the Bureau's proposal will be accepted for 90 days following Federal Register publication.
UPDATE: Published at 84 FR 23274 on 5/21/2019, with comments due 8/19/2019.

05/02/2019

Treasury tech notice for users of OFAC site

The Treasury Department has posted an important Technical Notice for users of the OFAC website and sanctions lists data files. The existing certificate (expiring June 6, 2019) will be replaced on May 16, 2019 at 9 p.m. Please call this notice to the attention of your IT staff or your vendor if they download OFAC's sanctions list information.

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