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OCC okays bank meetings via phone and electronic participation

The OCC has issued Bulletin 2020-55 announcing an interim final rule that amends 12 CFR parts 5 and 7 to clarify that national banks and federal savings associations may permit telephonic and electronic participation at all board of directors, shareholder, and, as applicable, member meetings. The interim final rule, published at 85 FR 31943, is effective May 28, 2020, and:

  • permits banks to provide for telephonic or electronic participation of members and shareholders, as applicable, at both annual and special meetings.
  • requires banks that permit telephonic and electronic participation at member or shareholder meetings to have procedures for this remote participation and provides banks with a choice of procedures to follow based on elected state corporate governance procedures, the Delaware General Corporation Law, or the Model Business Corporation Act.
  • codifies an OCC interpretation that permits national banks to provide for telephonic or electronic participation at board of directors meetings.
  • updates OCC rules to clarify that all federal savings associations may provide for telephonic or electronic participation at board of directors meetings.

The amendments made by the interim final rule are permanent and will not expire after the COVID-19 emergency has ended. Comments on the rule are due by July 13, 2020.


Labor Department approves electronic disclosures of pension plans

The Employment Benefits Security Administration of the Department of Labor has approved and submitted for Federal Register publication on May 27, a final rule adopting a new, additional safe harbor for employee benefit plan administrators to use electronic media, as a default, to furnish information to participants and beneficiaries of plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The rule allows plan administrators who satisfy specified conditions to provide participants and beneficiaries with a notice that certain disclosures will be made available on a website, or to furnish disclosures via email.

Individuals who prefer to receive disclosures on paper can request paper copies of disclosures and opt out of electronic delivery entirely. The rule will become effective July 27, 2020. The rule was published 5/27/2020 at 85 FR 31884.


COVID-19 contact tracing text message scams

The Fderal Trade Commission has posted information regarding scams involving COVID-19 tracing, the process of identifying people who have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, instructing them to quarantine and monitoring their symptoms daily. Contact tracing plays a vital role in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19; however scammers pretending to be contact tracers are taking advantage of how the process works, and also are sending text messages. But theirs are spam text that ask the recipient to click a link which will download software onto the recipient's device, giving scammers access to personal and financial information.


Commercial Bank Exam Manual updated

The Federal Reserve Board has posted an update of its Commercial Bank Examination Manual, which presents examination objectives and procedures that Federal Reserve System examiners follow in evaluating the safety and soundness of state member banks. The Manual is intended as guidance for planning and conducting bank examinations.


FRB Services lists updates on initiatives


FRB Services updates COVID-19 Resources page

FRB Servcies has updated its COVID-19 Resources webpage, which lists in detail the following types of assistance available from the agency:

  • Customer Assistance Package
  • Access to services
  • Financial services processing
  • Currency
  • Forms guidance
  • Employee safety
  • Economic impact payments
  • Communications

The Customer Assistance Package was announced on Friday and is available May 1 through at least July 31. The package includes information on:

  • Check Adjustments and ACH Exceptions
  • FedPayments Reporter for Check and ACH
  • Fed ACH RDFI Batch Alert
  • FedLine Solutions

Financial institutions may choose to take advantage of any or all of the services available in this package. Interested customers should contact their FRB Services account executive to discuss which components might be beneficial for them and begin the setup process.


Joint statement on security in a cloud computing environment

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council members have announced they have issued a "Joint Statement on Security in a Cloud Computing Environment" in the financial services sector.. Security breaches involving cloud computing services highlight the importance of bank management's understanding of the shared responsibilities between cloud service providers and bank clients.

The statement—

  • reminds management about the importance of understanding the division of responsibilities for implementing and managing controls over cloud computing operations that can result in operational failures or security breaches.
  • highlights risk management practices and controls for the safe and sound use of cloud computing services.
  • provides a list of government and industry resources and references to assist financial institutions using cloud computing services.


FTC postpones Safeguards Rule workshop

The Federal Trade Commission announced that it has postponed its workshop seeking input on proposed changes to the Safeguards Rule under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act until July 13, 2020, and that the event will be held online. The virtual workshop, originally scheduled to take place on May 13, will continue to focus on some of the issues raised in response to amendments the FTC has proposed making to the Safeguards Rule, which requires financial institutions to develop, implement, and maintain a comprehensive information security program.


FFIEC updates BSA/AML Exam Manual

FDIC FIL-44-2020 announced Wednesday evening (April 15, 2020) that the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) has updated several sections and related examination procedures in the FFIEC Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Examination Manual. The updated sections provide transparency into the BSA/AML exam process and do not establish new requirements. The changes should not be interpreted as new instructions or as an augmented examination focus.

Many of the revisions are designed to emphasize and enhance the risk-focused approach to BSA/AML supervision. An interagency statement accompanying the FIL provides information on the updated sections, all of which are identified in the April 2020 Update also provided with the FIL. Those sections are identified with an April 2020 date in the table of contents and on the FFIEC BSA/AML InfoBase. Updates to other sections of the Manual will be released in phases later.


Advisory on cyber threat posed by North Korea

OFAC has posted a notice that the U.S. Departments of State, Homeland Security, and Treasury, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a DPRK Cyber Threat Advisory​ to raise the awareness of the cyber threat posed by North Korea. The advisory highlights North Korea’s malicious cyber activities around the world, identifies U.S. government resources that provide technical and threat information, and includes recommended measures to counter the cyber threat.


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