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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.)

Top Stories


CFPB Council public meeting announced

The CFPB's Academic Research Council will hold a public conference call meeting from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Friday, May 10. Members of the public who wish to listen to the call must register by 11:30 p.m. ET.


SEC FinTech Forum agenda

The Securities and Exchange Commission has posted the agenda for its 2019 FinTech Forum. The forum, which will be hosted by the SEC's Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub), will open at 9:30 a.m. ET, on May 31 at the SEC's headquarters in Washington, D.C., and is open to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis. No registration is required to attend the event.


Payments improvement update

The Federal Reserve's FedPayments Improvement group has released its April 2019 progress report on Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System.


OFAC targets sanctions evasion conduits

On Wednesday, OFAC further targeted the global business operations of Hizballah by designating two individuals and three entities acting as conduits for sanctions evasion schemes. Specifically, OFAC designated Belgium-based Wael Bazzi for acting for or on behalf of his father and Hizballah financier, Mohammad Bazzi. OFAC designated Belgium-based Voltra Transcor Energy BVBA, Belgium-based OFFISCOOP NV, and United Kingdom-based BSQRD Limited for being owned or controlled by Wael Bazzi.

OFAC is also adding Energy Engineers Procurement and Construction as an alias for Global Trading Group NV (GTG), one of Mohammad Bazzi’s companies, which was designated in May 2018.

Additionally, OFAC designated Lebanon-based Hassan Tabaja for acting for or on behalf of his brother and Hizballah member and financier, Adham Tabaja.

These individuals and entities were designated under Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. For identification details, see our OFAC Update.


Bureau updates CIDs policy

Yesterday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced changes to its policies regarding Civil Investigative Demands to ensure they provide more information about the potentially wrongful conduct under investigation.

Bureau-issued CIDs will provide more information about the potentially applicable provisions of law that may have been violated. CIDs will also typically specify the business activities subject to the Bureau’s authority. In investigations where determining the extent of the Bureau’s authority over the relevant activity is one of the significant purposes of the investigation, staff may specifically include that issue in the CID in the interests of further transparency.

The Bureau said the new policy takes into account recent court decisions about notifications of purpose, and is consistent with a 2017 report by the Bureau’s Office of Inspector General that emphasized the importance of updating Office of Enforcement policies to reflect such developments. The new policy is also consistent with comments the Bureau received in response to the Requests for Information it issued in 2018, seeking feedback about various aspects of its operations, including its use of CIDs in enforcement investigations.


House prices continue to increase

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced Tuesday that U.S. house prices rose in February, up 0.3 percent from the previous month, according to the FHFA seasonally adjusted monthly House Price Index (HPI). The previously reported 0.6 percent increase for January 2019 remained unchanged. From February 2018 to February 2019, house prices were up 4.9 percent.


OCC Innovation Office Hours in New York

The OCC will hold Innovation Office Hours, June 11–12, in New York to promote responsible innovation in the federal banking system. Office Hours are one-on-one meetings with OCC officials to discuss financial technology (fintech), new products or services, partnering with a bank or fintech company, or other matters related to responsible innovation in the federal banking system. OCC staff will provide feedback and respond to questions. Each meeting will last no longer than one hour.

Interested parties should request an Office Hours session by May 3, 2019, and are asked to provide information on why they are interested in meeting with the OCC. Specific meeting times and arrangements will be determined after the OCC receives and accepts the request.


OCC proposes OREO regs amendments

The OCC has published and is inviting comment on a proposed rule that would clarify and streamline its regulations on other real estate owned (OREO) for national banks and update the regulatory framework for OREO activities at federal savings associations. The OCC is also proposing to remove outdated capital rules for national banks and federal savings associations, which include provisions related to OREO, and make conforming edits to other rules that reference those capital rules. The proposal would affect 12 CFR parts 3, 6, 34, 36, 160, 161, 163, and 167. Comments are due by June 24, 2019.


Company resolves disability discrimination allegations

HUD has announced a fair housing conciliation agreement between a San Diego-area property management company and a family with a child who has a respiratory disability. Property West Residential, Inc., which manages Meadow Woods at Alpine Apartment complex in Alpine, California, refused to grant the mother's request to be moved to a unit away from her neighbors who were heavy smokers. The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing because of a person's disability and from refusing to make reasonable accommodations in policies or practices.


FDIC schedules deposit Insurance coverage webinars

The FDIC will conduct four identical live two-hour webinars on FDIC deposit insurance coverage for bank employees and bank officers between May 15, 2019, and December 9, 2019. In addition to a comprehensive overview of FDIC deposit insurance rules, the sessions include deposit insurance coverage information on signature card requirements for joint accounts, prepaid cards, bank trade names, health savings accounts, 529 plan accounts, and 529 Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) plan accounts.


Proposed rule on control of banking organizations

The Federal Reserve Board has announced it is inviting public comment on a proposal that would simplify and increase the transparency of the Board's rules for determining control of a banking organization. If a company has control over a banking organization, the company generally becomes subject to the Board's rules and regulations. The proposal explains several factors and thresholds that the Board will use to determine if a company has control over a bank. The key factors include the company's total voting and non-voting equity investment in the bank; director, officer, and employee overlaps between the company and the bank; and the scope of business relationships between the company and the bank. The proposal clearly describes what combination of those factors would and would not trigger control.

Comments will be accepted for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.

  • Chart illustrating combinations of factors that would or would not result in control


NCUA ANPR on loan-related compensation

The National Credit Union Administration Board has published [84 FR 16796, 4/23/2019] an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to solicit comments on ways to improve the agency's regulations limiting a credit union official's and employee's compensation in connection with loans to members and lines of credit to members. The Board requests feedback on how it can provide flexibility in senior executive compensation plans that incorporate lending as part of a broad and balanced set of organizational goals and performance measures. Comments are due by June 24, 2019.


SOFR Guide issued

The Alternative Reference Rates Committee has issued "A User's Guide to SOFR," designed to help market participants understand the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, a preferred alternative to the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), and how it can be used.

There is a commitment to sustain Libor only through 2021, and its users need to begin transitioning to a new, internationally accepted, floating rate standard.


Interagency update on private flood insurance rule

Staff of the Federal Reserve, Farm Credit Administration, FDIC, NCUA and the OCC will conduct a one-hour Outlook Live webinar at 2 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 14, to discuss the private flood insurance rule published on February 20, 2019. Topics will include:

  • Mandatory acceptance of private flood insurance;
  • Mandatory acceptance Compliance Aid;
  • Discretionary acceptance of private flood insurance;
  • Flood Coverage provided by Mutual Aid Societies; and
  • Preparations to comply with the Rule

Advance registration is recommended.


FTC posts small business financing forum agenda

The Federal Trade Commission has released the agenda for its May 8 event, "Strictly Business: An FTC Forum on Small Business Financing." The forum will explore trends and consumer protection issues in the small business financing marketplace, including the recent proliferation of online loans and alternative financing products.


OCC enforcement actions announced

The OCC has released a list of new enforcement actions taken against OCC-supervised institutions and individuals currently and formerly affiliated with such institutions. The actions are dated in March and April. A previously announced fair-housing action against Citibank, N.A. (see our 03/19/2019 Top Story) was included. Also on the list were Removal/Prohibition orders a former teller at U.S. Bank, N.A. (Cincinnati, OH), who was found to have misappropriated funds to her own use from a bank customer's account in 2016, and former business associate at Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (Sioux Falls, SD), found to have misappropriated over $23,000 from the bank in 2013-2014, and to have created false entries to the bank's general ledger accounts to conceal her actions.

The OCC also issued a Notice of Charges against the former General Counsel of Rabobank, N.A. (Roseville, CA), in preparation for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, of charges that could result in an order of prohibition and a $50,000 civil money penalty for having participated in providing false information to the OCC concerning the bank's BSA/AML program by attempting to conceal an independent evaluation of the bank's BSA/AML program that had corroborated OCC concerns for the program's adequacy. The OCC assessed a $50 million CMP on the bank in February 2018 relating to the bank's BSA/AML deficiencies.


Bank Holding Company Manual updated

The Federal Reserve Board has posted the February 2019 semi-annual update of its Bank Holding Company Supervision Manual, which provides guidance for conducting inspections of bank holding companies and their nonbank subsidiaries. The manual is available from the Board's website in the entirety or by sections. Printed copies are no longer provided.


First Quarter Call Report announcement

The FDIC has issued FIL-22-2018 with highlights of the information to be included in the March 31, 2019, Call Report, which generally must be filed by Tuesday, April 30. The Call Report for this quarter includes revisions that primarily address changes in the accounting for credit losses under the Financial Accounting Standards Board's Accounting Standards Update No. 2016-13 (ASU 2016-13).

Institutions should review FIL-21-2019 and the accompanying Supplemental Instructions for further information on the first quarter 2019 Call Report.

The FFIEC agencies are continuing to consider the comments received on a proposal to reduce reporting for certain institutions with less than $5 billion in total assets in the Call Report (see FIL-74-2018 dated November 19, 2018). The proposal includes revisions to the FFIEC 051 reporting requirements that, if finalized, would take effect no earlier than September 30, 2019.


FATF report on China’s AML/CFT system

The FATF has published a report and executive summary on the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) system of the People’s Republic of China (China), which indicate that, overall, China has a strong understanding of the money laundering and terrorist financing risks it faces, but it should focus more on the laundering of proceeds of crime and increase the range of sources used for its national risk assessment.


HUD issues carbon monoxide notice

In an effort to protect families living in federally subsidized housing from potentially deadly carbon monoxide (CO), HUD yesterday sent all public housing authorities and private owners of HUD-subsidized housing a notice to remind and encourage them to install working CO detectors in their properties. The notice reminds HUD-subsidized housing providers of their legal obligation to install working carbon monoxide detectors in those jurisdictions where these devices are required. In those states and local communities where CO detectors are not required, the Department is strongly encouraging housing authorities and owners to install them. Additionally, HUD indicated that it will propose new regulations to require working CO detectors in all HUD-subsidized housing programs nationwide.


New symposia series from CFPB

CFPB Director Kraninger has announced a symposia series exploring consumer protections in today’s dynamic financial services marketplace. The series is aimed at stimulating a proactive and transparent dialogue to assist the Bureau in its policy development process, including possible future rulemakings. During each symposium, the Bureau will host a discussion panel of experts with a variety of viewpoints on the topic. The first topic for the series will focus on clarifying the meaning of abusive acts or practices under section 1031 of the Dodd-Frank Act. Additional details on dates and panelists will be forthcoming.


Currency exchanger pays $35,350 for BSA violations

FinCEN has announced the assessment of a $36,350 civil money penalty on Eric Powers for willfully violating the Bank Secrecy Act’s (BSA) registration, program, and reporting requirements. Powers, who operated as a peer-to-peer exchanger of bitcoin convertible virtual currency, failed to register as a money services business, had no written policies or procedures for ensuring compliance with the BSA, and failed to report suspicious transactions and currency transactions. For additional information, see BankersOnline's penalty posting, "P2P virtual currency transmitter fined for BSA violations".


Comments sought on EGRRCPA modification of capital requirements.

The Federal Reserve, FDIC, and OCC have issued a joint press release requesting comment on a proposal to modify a capital requirement for U.S. banking organizations predominantly engaged in custodial activities, as required by the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (EGRRCPA).

The agencies said that current data suggest that only The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation, Northern Trust Corporation, and State Street Corporation, with their depository institution subsidiaries, would be affected by the proposed rule change. Comments will be accepted for 60 days following publication.


Treasury and IRS plan to modernize business operations

A six-year plan to modernize IRS business operations has been released by Treasury and the IRS. The plan is organized around the following four “Modernization Pillars” critical to the IRS’s mission and future development:

  • Taxpayer Experience
  • Core Taxpayer Services and Enforcement
  • Modernized IRS Operation
  • Cybersecurity and Data Protection


Payment systems daylight overdrafts data

The Federal Reserve System has released its quarterly update of Payment System Risk and Daylight Overdrafts and Fees data through the end of the last two-week reserve maintenance period in March.


Fed posts new Beige Book

The Federal Reserve Board has posted the April 2019 Beige Book, with observations on the economy based on information collected on or before April 8, 2019. Economic activity expanded at a slight-to-moderate pace in March and early April. While most Districts reported that growth continued at a similar pace as the previous report, a few Districts reported some strengthening. There was little change in the outlook among contacts in reporting Districts, with those expecting slight-to-modest growth in the months ahead. Reports on consumer spending were mixed but suggested sluggish sales for both general retailers and auto dealers. Reports on tourism were generally more upbeat. Reports on loan demand were mixed, but indicated steady growth. Reports on manufacturing activity were favorable, although contacts in many Districts noted trade-related uncertainty. Most Districts reported stronger home sales, although some Districts noted low demand for higher-priced homes. Among reporting Districts, agricultural conditions remained weak, with contacts expressing concerns over the impact of current and future rainfall and flooding.


Marzol named FHFA Principal Deputy Director

The FHFA has announced the appointment of Adolfo Marzol as Principal Deputy Director of the agency effective April 15, 2019.


Treasury proposes more Opportunity Zones rules

Treasury has issued its second set of proposed regulations related to the new Opportunity Zones tax incentive. The tax benefit, created by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, is designed to drive economic development and create jobs by encouraging long-term investments in economically distressed communities nationwide. The guidance makes it easier for funds to ensure compliance with the requirement that a fund has 90 percent of its assets invested in Opportunity Zones and expands the working capital safe harbors. The proposed regulations also provide clarity on treatment of gains on long-term investments, ownership and operation of the business, and what constitutes Qualified Opportunity Zone Business Property.


White House and HUD release opportunity zone plan

Yesterday, the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council released its Implementation Plan, outlining to the President a detailed work plan for how the Council, chaired by HUD Secretary Carson, will accomplish the goals specified in Executive Order 13583 of December 12, 2018.. The Implementation Plan explains the various subcommittees of the Council, and describes the strategy to implement administrative reforms and initiatives that will target, streamline, coordinate, and optimize federal resources in economically distressed communities, including Opportunity Zones.


Treasury designates targets in Venezuela and Nicaragua

On Wednesday, the Treasury Department issued press releases announcing it has targeted both the finances of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega's Regime and the Central Bank of Venezuela and one of its directors.

OFAC has designated Laureano Ortega Murillo, the son of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo, as well as Nicaraguan bank Banco Corporativo SA (BanCorp). Those designated in the Venezuela-related action include Banco Central de Venezuela, or the Central Bank of Venezuela, for operating in the financial sector of the Venezuelan economy. Additionally, OFAC designated Iliana Josefa Ruzza Terán, as a current or former official of the Government of Venezuela.

OFAC also updated its General Licenses under the Venezuela-related sanctions, amending current licenses and issuing two new ones that include authorizations to ensure that U.S. persons may continue to engage in and facilitate non-commercial, personal remittances and the provision of humanitarian assistance to the people of Venezuela.

For identification information on the designated individuals and entities and details on the changes to related general licenses and FAQs, see our OFAC Update.


Minutes of the Fed Board discount rate meetings

The Federal Reserve Board has posted its discount rate meeting minutes from February 25 through March 20, 2019.


OFAC tech notice on sanctions lists data files

OFAC has posted a technical notice for users of its sanctions lists data files. On or about May 16, 2019, OFAC will be expanding the "Program" field found in OFAC’s legacy data files (DEL, PIP, FF, and CSV formats) from 50 to 200 characters. Updated data specification files for both the SDN and Consolidated Lists will also be published on May 16 as part of the update.


March industrial production declines slightly

The Federal Reserve Board has released its April 16, 2019, G.17 Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization data showing industrial production edged down 0.1 percent in March after edging up 0.1 percent in February. For the first quarter as a whole, the index slipped 0.3 percent at an annual rate. Manufacturing production was unchanged in March after declining in both January and February. The index for utilities rose 0.2 percent, while mining output moved down 0.8 percent. At 110.2 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production was 2.8 percent higher in March than it was a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector decreased 0.2 percentage point in March to 78.8 percent, a rate that is 1.0 percentage point below its long-run (1972–2018) average.


FDIC ANPR for comments on IDI rule

FDIC directors have approved an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) seeking comment on ways to tailor and improve the agency's rule requiring certain insured depository institutions (IDIs) to submit resolution plans. The rule currently requires IDIs with more than $50 billion in assets to submit resolution plans that should enable the FDIC to resolve the institution in the event of insolvency. Among other issues, the agency is considering revising the $50 billion threshold for application of the rule and tiering the rule's requirements based on the size, complexity, or other characteristics of an IDI. The agency is also seeking feedback on ways to streamline plan submissions for larger, more complex firms and on whether to replace plan submissions with periodic engagement and capabilities testing for smaller, less complex firms that are subject to the rule. The FDIC Board also voted to delay the next round of submissions under the IDI Rule until the rulemaking process has been completed. Chairman McWilliams also issued a statement regarding the ANPR.

UPDATE: Published at 84 FR 16620 on 4/22/2019, with comments due in 60 days (6/21/2019).


FATF issues report on Finland

A mutual evaluation report and executive summary on Finland’s measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing has been published by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Finland’s efforts are delivering good results, but the country needs to improve supervision.


Victims of work-at-home scheme to share $1.1M

The Federal Trade Commission has announced it is mailing checks totaling nearly $1.1 million to 87,256 consumers who paid for work-at-home opportunities based on the allegedly deceptive advertising practices of Bob Robinson, LLC and related defendants. The defendants operated under various brand names, including Work At Home EDU, Work At Home Program, Work At Home Ecademy, Work At Home University, Work At Home Revenue, and Work at Home Institute.


Calabria sworn in as FHFA Director

Dr. Mark A. Calabria was sworn in yesterday to a five-year term as the second Senate-confirmed Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Dr. Calabria was appointed to head the Agency by President Donald J. Trump. The FHFA was created by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008 to oversee Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Bank System and is responsible for oversight of the $6.3 trillion mortgage finance market. Director Calabria issued prepared remarks at the swearing in ceremony. he expressed concerns that "the foundations of our mortgage finance system remain vulnerable," and highlighted the need for housing finance reform.


Online lender pays $3.85M to settle FTC charges

The Federal Trade Commission has announced that Avant, LLC, an online lending company, has agreed to settle Commission charges that it engaged in deceptive and unfair loan servicing practices, such as imposing unauthorized charges on consumers’ accounts and unlawfully requiring consumers to consent to automatic payments from their bank accounts. The FTC charged that, in many cases, the company falsely advertised that it would accept payments by credit or debit cards, when in fact it rejected these forms of payments. The FTC also alleged that the company withdrew money from consumers’ accounts or charged their credit cards without authorization. In some instances, Avant charged consumers duplicate payments without authorization, improperly taking consumers’ monthly payments twice or more in one month. In one egregious example, one consumer’s monthly payment was debited from his account 11 times in a single day. See our Penalty Pages entry for additional information.


Italian banking company pays $1.3 Billion for OFAC deficiencies

The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Federal Reserve Board announced Monday that they, in coordination with actions by the Department of Justice, the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, the New York County District Attorney's Office, and the New York Department of Financial Services, have imposed approximately $1.3 billion in civil money penalties and forfeitures on UniCredit, S.p.A., a foreign bank operating in the the U.S. and headquartered in Italy, and two of its subsidiaries, in connection with the firm's unsafe and unsound practices related to inadequate sanctions controls and supervision of its subsidiary banks.

In its press release, the Justice Department states that the UniCredit banks, over ten years, "knowingly and willfully moved at least $393 million through the U.S. financial system on behalf of sanctioned entities, most of which was for an entity [Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines] the U.S. Government specifically prohibited from accessing the U.S. financial system. [UniCredit] engaged in this criminal conduct through a scheme, formalized in its own bank polices and designed to conceal from U.S. regulators and banks the involvement of sanctioned entities in certain transactions. [UniCredit] routed illegal payments through U.S. financial institutions for the benefit of the sanctioned entities in ways that concealed the involvement of the sanctioned entities, including through the use of companies that [UniCredit] knew would appear unconnected to the sanctioned entity despite being controlled by the sanctioned entity."


Treasury targets ISIS financing network

The Treasury Department announced Monday that OFAC has designated seven individuals and one entity pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. Specifically, OFAC designated key financial facilitators and conduits for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) operating in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Six individuals, located in Iraq, Turkey, and Belgium, and the entity, an Iraq, Turkey, and Syria-based money services business (MSB), are part of the Rawi Network, a key ISIS financial facilitation group based out of Iraq, which was the target of a joint Treasury-Department of Defense (DOD) action in October 2018. The seventh individual designated yesterday is a Kenya-based female financial facilitator who has played an important role in an ISIS facilitation network in East Africa.

These designations coincide with the eleventh meeting of the Counter-ISIS Finance Group (CIFG), which includes 54 countries and international partners. As a working group of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, the CIFG plays a fundamental role in coordinating efforts to isolate ISIS from the international financial system and eliminate its sources of revenue.

For identity details for the designated parties, see our OFAC Update.


FEMA suspending communities in two states on Friday

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has published a notice [84 FR 15122, 4/15/2019] that it has scheduled communities in Alabama and Kentucky for suspension from the National Flood Insurance Program on Friday, April 19, 2019, for noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program.

  • AL: In Baldwin County—Bay Minette, Elberta, Fairhope, Gulf Shores, Loxley, Magnolia Springs, Orange Beach, Perdido Beach, Robertsdale, Silverhill, Spanish Fort, and unincorporated areas.
  • KY: Princeton, and unincorporated areas of Christian County.


Egmont Group meeting

A meeting of the Americas Region of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units was held on April 10 and 11 in Miami, Florida. Mr. Mariano Federici, President of Argentina’s Financial Intelligence Unit (the Unidad de Información Financiera, or UIF) , and Mr. Luc Beaudry, Assistant Director of Canada’s Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC), co-chaired the meeting in their roles as Regional Representatives. FinCEN Director Kenneth A. Blanco represented the United States. Representatives of the Financial Intelligence Units from 23 jurisdictions in the Americas, including the Caribbean, gathered to work three key priorities for the Egmont Group: FIU operational independence and autonomy; the role of public-private partnerships; and the value of public-public partnerships in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.


Fed Board publishes interviews with former chairs and staff

The Federal Reserve Board has published transcripts of more than 50 interviews with former policymakers and former senior staff that chronicle nearly half a century of Federal Reserve history. The interviews, including those with former chairs Paul A. Volcker, Alan Greenspan, and Janet L. Yellen, provide personal recollections of important economic, monetary policy, and regulatory developments. They also provide impressions of life and culture at the Federal Reserve Board.


Mnuchin chairs FATF meeting

A meeting in Washington D.C. of the ministers of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was chaired by Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. He stated, “Since its inception thirty years ago, the FATF has been at the forefront of efforts to combat money laundering. This Minister-level meeting reaffirmed our collective commitment to protect the integrity of the international financial system. FATF is a dynamic, agile, and enduring body that continues to take concrete steps to harden the international financial system, as criminals, terrorists, and rogue nations actively attempt to exploit any weak links. I am pleased that we decided today on a permanent mandate for the FATF, and that we gave further focus on its work against terrorist and proliferation finance. Because of the importance Ministers ascribe to the FATF, we also agreed upon Minister-level meetings every two years moving forward.” The ministers agreed on an open-ended Mandate for the FATF and its role leading global action to counter money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.


Four companies and nine vessels designated to add pressure on Maduro regime

OFAC has announced the designation of four companies that operate in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy. Additionally, OFAC identified nine vessels, some of which transported oil from Venezuela to Cuba, as blocked property owned by the four companies. For identification details, see our OFAC Update.


HUD RFI on Opportunity Zones

HUD has announced a Request for Information seeking public input on how the Department can use its existing authorities to maximize the beneficial impact of Opportunity Zones for residents and their communities. Information is sought on:

  • How HUD should use its existing authorities to maximize the beneficial impact of public and private investments in urban and economically distressed communities;
  • Whether HUD should create an information portal, and what information it should include;
  • How HUD should prioritize support for urban and economically distressed areas, including Opportunity Zones, in its grants, financing, and other assistance;
  • What types of technical assistance should be offered through HUD;
  • How HUD can ensure existing residents, businesses, and community organizations in Opportunity Zones benefit from the influx of investment;
  • How HUD can properly evaluate the impact of Opportunity Zones on communities;
  • How HUD should interact with other stakeholders to maximize the success of the Opportunity Zone incentive;
  • How Qualified Opportunity Fund investments might support the goal of ending homelessness; and
  • Any other aspects of Opportunity Zones that should be considered and are not addressed in the request for information.


Agenda for next NCUA Board meeting

The NCUA has published a notice of its Board of Directors meeting scheduled for 10:00 a.m. ET on Thursday, April 18. During the open portion of the meeting, the Board will consider a recommendation relating to the agency's rules and regulations on Compensation in Connection with Loans to Members.


FDIC clarifies Reciprocal Deposits rule

The FDIC has published technical amendments [84 FR 15095, 4/15/2019] to the preamble of a final rule [84 FR 1346] published in the Federal Register on February 4, 2019. The final rule relates to a limited exception for a capped amount of reciprocal deposits from treatment as brokered deposits. As published, several industry participants raised concerns about the meaning of a sentence in the preamble of the final rule.

The FDIC did not intend the preamble language to change existing interpretations related to accepting or receiving deposits. To avoid potential confusion, the FDIC has amended the language by removing the sentence in question and its footnote, and amended the sentence that follows.


OCC schedules Pittsburgh workshops

The OCC will host two workshops at the Hotel Indigo Pittsburgh East Liberty in Pittsburgh, May 21-22, for directors of national community banks and federal savings associations supervised by the OCC.

  • The Risk Governance: Improving Director Effectiveness workshop on May 21 provides 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 May 22 focuses on credit risk within the loan portfolio and techniques for managing them, 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.
      Each workshop is limited to 35 registrants.


Treasury sanctions Lebanese money launderer

The Treasury Department has announced that OFAC has identified Lebanese national Kassem Chams and designated the Chams Money Laundering Organization as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNT) pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). OFAC also designated Chams Exchange, a money service business located in Chtaura, Lebanon. Chams and the Chams money laundering organization were also identified as an affiliated network of Hizballah. Identifying information for Chams and his network can be found in BankersOnline's OFAC Update.


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