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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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05/25/2018

Persons transacting business with sanctioned Iranian airlines designated

OFAC has designated as specially designated global terrorists nine individuals and entities procuring export-controlled, U.S.-origin goods for sanctioned Iranian airlines. They were designated pursuant to Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. OFAC also identified 31 aircraft in which entities previously designated under E.O. 13224 have an interest. See our OFAC Page for identification information.

05/25/2018

NY property owners charged with assistance animal discrimination

HUD has announced it is charging Syracuse, New York, property owners Nolo Contendere LLC and Nolo Contendere LLC Trust and their agents with housing discrimination for allegedly refusing to allow a woman with mental disabilities to keep an assistance animal. The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing to persons with disabilities or from refusing to make reasonable accommodations in policies or practices. This includes denying a request for an assistance animal.

05/25/2018

McWilliams confirmed as new FDIC Chair

Banking attorney Jelena McWilliams' nomination as Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has been confirmed. She was most recently chief legal officer at Fifth Third, previously served as a Senate GOP aide and an attorney at the Federal Reserve Board. Comptroller of the Currency Otting issued a statement congratulating McWilliams on yesterday's confirmation by the Senate.

05/25/2018

NMLS posts annual mortgage report

The NMLS 2017 Annual Mortgage Industry Report is now available on the organization's Reports page, along with forth quarter 2017 Money Services Businesses Fact Sheet, Debt Collection Fact Sheet, and Mortgage Update. The Money Services Businesses and Debt Collection fact sheets report the states for which NMLS manages licenses, and the numbers of such licenses recorded with NMLS.

05/25/2018

House prices up

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reports that U.S. house prices rose 1.7 percent in the first quarter of 2018 according to the agency's House Price Index (HPI). House prices rose 6.9 percent from the first quarter of 2017 to the first quarter of 2018. FHFA's seasonally adjusted monthly index for March was up 0.1 percent from February.

05/25/2018

OCC Spring 2018 semiannual risk perspective issued

The OCC has issued its Semiannual Risk Perspective for Spring 2018. Highlights include:

  • Competition for quality loans is strong, as examiners note evidence of eased underwriting. The accommodating credit environment warrants a continued focus on underwriting practices to monitor and assess credit risk and lender complacency.
  • Operational risk is elevated as banks adapt business models, transform technology and operating processes, and respond to evolving cyber threats.
  • Compliance risk is elevated as banks manage money laundering risks and implement changes to policies and procedures to comply with amended Bank Secrecy Act and consumer protection requirements.
  • The continued increase in market interest rates may eventually lead to higher funding costs for banks, as economic growth increases loan demand and competition for funding pressures banks to raise deposit yields.

05/25/2018

NCUA seeks expansion of payday lending alternatives

Federal credit union members could have more options for short-term, small-dollar borrowing under a rule proposed by the National Credit Union Administration Board. The proposed rule would create one new product in addition to the current payday loan alternative that has been available to federally chartered credit unions since 2010. The Board also is requesting credit union stakeholders to comment on a possible third option.

05/25/2018

NCUA Board meeting report

The National Credit Union Administration Board held its fifth open meeting of 2018 at the agency’s headquarters and unanimously approved two items:

  • A notice of proposed rulemaking seeking comment on the agency’s proposal to provide federal credit unions with additional options for payday alternative loans (see this story for details)
  • A final rule clarifying agency procedures for resolving severance claims arising from involuntary liquidations

The Chief Financial Officer briefed the Board on the performance of the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, which posted a net income of $33.1 million in the first quarter, primarily due to the strong investment income earnings.

05/24/2018

Montgomery confirmed as FHA Commissioner

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced that the Senate has confirmed President Trump’s nomination of Brian D. Montgomery to serve as Assistant Secretary of Housing and Commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration. Montgomery’s confirmation marks his second term as Assistant Secretary for Housing and FHA Commissioner at HUD. He previously held the job under President Bush, staying on for six months after President Obama’s inauguration.

05/24/2018

April new residential home sales decline

HUD and the Census Bureau have jointly released statistics on new residential sales for April 2018:

  • Sales of new single-family houses in April 2018 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 662,000. This is 1.5 percent below the revised March rate of 672,000 but is 11.6 percent above the April 2017 estimate of 593,000.
  • The median sales price of new houses sold in April 2018 was $312,400. The average sales price was $407,300.
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of April was 300,000, a supply of 5.4 months at the current sales rate.

05/24/2018

Treasury and IRS to issue proposal on state and local tax deductions

Treasury and the IRS have issued a joint notice they will issue proposed regulations in the near future addressing legislation adopted or being considered by state legislatures that allow taxpayers to receive a credit against their state and local taxes for contributions to certain organizations or funds designated by the state. In addition to cutting income tax rates, expanding the child tax credit, and nearly doubling the standard deduction, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act limited the amount of state and local taxes an individual can deduct in a calendar year to $10,000.

05/24/2018

FOMC minutes released

The minutes of the May 1–2, 2018 meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee have been released.

05/24/2018

Otting: Banks should meet consumer needs for small loans

Comptroller Otting has issued a statement on the release of OCC Bulletin 2018-14, which encourages national banks and federal savings associations to offer responsible short-term, small-dollar installment loans, typically two to 12 months in duration with equal amortizing payments, to help meet the credit needs of consumers. Banks are encouraged to refer to the core lending principles in the Bulletin when making such loans, and to discuss plans to offer short-term, small-dollar lending products with their OCC portfolio manager, examiner-in-charge, or supervisory office before implementation, particularly if the offerings constitute substantial deviations from their existing business plans.

The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection has issued a statement from Acting Director Mulvaney applauding the OCC's announcement, saying, "Millions of Americans desperately need access to short-term, small-dollar credit. We cannot simply wish away that need. In any market, robust competition is a win for consumers. The Bureau will strive to expand consumer choice, and I look forward to working with the OCC and other partners on efforts to promote access and innovation in the consumer credit marketplace."

05/24/2018

NCUA CDFI streamlined app period

The NCUA has posted a notice that low-income federally insured credit unions interested in becoming certified community development financial institutions can apply to use the agency’s streamlined application process beginning June 4, 2018.

05/24/2018

FTC stops deceptive robocall scam

The FTC has charged a Florida-based scheme with deceiving small business owners by falsely claiming to represent Google, falsely threatening businesses with removal from Google search results, and falsely promising first-place or first-page placement in Google search results.

05/24/2018

FHFA and Director report to Congress

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today released its 2017 Report to Congress. The statutorily-required report provides information about FHFA's 2017 examinations of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac (the Enterprises), 11 Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBanks) and the FHLBanks' Office of Finance. The report also describes FHFA's actions as conservator of the Enterprises during the year and it describes the Agency's regulatory guidance, research and publications.

In an appearance before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, FHFA Director Watt discussed the ten years of conservatorship and the status of the housing finance system.

05/23/2018

OFAC targets Iranian supporters of Yemeni terrorists

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has designated five Iranian individuals who have provided ballistic missile-related technical expertise to Yemen’s Huthi terrorists, and who have transferred weapons not seen in Yemen prior to the current conflict, on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF). For identification information on the five targeted individuals, see our OFAC Update.

As a result of these actions, all property and interests in property of those designated today subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. In addition, foreign financial institutions that knowingly facilitate significant transactions for, or persons that provide material or certain other support to, the individuals and entities designated today risk exposure to sanctions that could sever their access to the U.S. financial system or block their property and interests in property under U.S. jurisdiction.

05/23/2018

Fed bars two former Regions Bank employees

The Federal Reserve Board has announced it has issued consent orders of prohibition to a former branch manager and to a former finance services specialist of Regions Bank (Birmingham, Alabama), for engaging in improper practices regarding credit origination. The two individuals were found to have falsified income on credit applications to qualify applicants for loans on which they earned incentive payments.

05/23/2018

FinCEN issues correction to May 16 ruling

On May 16, 2018, FinCEN issued Administrative Ruling FIN-2018-R002, "Beneficial Ownership Requirements for Legal Entity Customers of Certain Financial Products and Services with Automatic Rollovers or Renewals," to provide a 90-day limited exceptive relief from the obligations of the Beneficial Ownership rule with respect to certain financial products and services that automatically rollover of renew (certificates of deposit or loan accounts). On May 22, FinCEN announced a correction to the last paragraph of the Administrative Ruling, where the rules applicability date was incorrectly given. The date has been corrected to May 11, 2018. The revised version of FIN-2018-A002 is available on FinCEN's website.

Editor's Note: The "exceptive relief" provided by FIN-2018-R002 extends only to certificates of deposit and loans that automatically rollover or renew. Loan renewals that are not automatic are not covered, and currently are subject to Beneficial Ownership requirements. They are covered, however, by Question 12 in FinCEN's April 3, 2018, Guidance FAQs (FIN-2018-G001).

05/23/2018

Reg relief bill heads to White House

American Banker reports that the House of Representatives has passed an identical version of the Senate's regulatory relief package (S 2155), the "Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act," which now goes to the White House for enactment. Among the features of the bill—

  • Raises the asset threshold for "systemically important financial institutions" from $50 billion to $250 billion, with immediate relief for banks with $50 billion to $100 billion in assets
  • Provides partial relief from the new HMDA disclosures added by the Dodd-Frank Act for small volume originators (fewer than 500 closed end/500 open-end loans for each of previous two years) except for institutions with "Needs to improve" or "Substantial non-compliance" CRA ratings
  • Provides TILA escrow exception for banks with under $10 billion in assets originating 1000 or fewer first lien principal dwelling loans
  • Raises eligibility for short-form Call Reports from $1 million to $5 billion in assets
  • Reduces the impact of the Volcker Rule's restrictions on proprietary trading
  • Provides qualified mortgage designation for most mortgages held in portfolio for banks with less than $10 billion in assets
  • Provides for "tailored supervision" of larger banks
  • Ends mandatory stress testing for banks with less than $100 billion in assets
  • Provides relief from appraisal requirements for smaller mortgages
  • Provides for longer exam cycles for community banks
  • Provides for a simplified capital regime for highly capitalized community banks
  • Reinstates permanently the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act, which expired 12/31/14

As part of the agreement between the House and Senate, the Senate will now consider separate added relief proposals passed in the House. Comptroller of the Currency Joseph M. Otting issued a statement congratulating the House on passage of the bill.

05/23/2018

OFAC updates Ukraine-/Russia-related licenses and FAQs

OFAC has posted a notice that it has issued Ukraine-/Russia-related General License 15, which authorizes U.S. persons to engage in specified transactions related to winding down or maintaining business with GAZ Group and its subsidiaries until October 23, 2018. OFAC is also issuing Ukraine-/Russia-related General License 12C, which replaces and supersedes General License 12B in its entirety. General License 12C permits originating and intermediary U.S. financial institutions to process funds transfers that they would otherwise block to an account held by a blocked U.S. person at a U.S. financial institution. In addition, General License 12C clarifies that U.S. financial institutions can release such funds for authorized maintenance and wind-down purposes. OFAC is also publishing six new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and revisions to existing FAQs about these general licenses.

05/23/2018

Economic well-being survey shows five-year improvement

The Federal Reserve’s latest Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households finds that economic well-being has generally improved over the past five years. The report notes that 74 percent of adults surveyed reported they were doing at least OK financially in 2017—up 10 percentage points from the first survey in 2013. Even so, notable differences remain across race, ethnicity, education groups, and locations and many individuals still struggle to repay college loans, handle small emergency expenses, and manage retirement savings.

05/23/2018

New prepayment monitoring report issued

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has issued a Prepayment Monitoring Report with data through the first quarter of 2018. The report provides transparency and insight to market participants concerning how FHFA monitors the prepayment rates of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) "To-Be-Announced" (TBA)-eligible securities.

05/23/2018

OCC newsletter discusses partnerships with minority institutions

An article in the May 2018 edition of the OCC's Community Development Investments newsletter reviews how minority depository institution (MDI) collaborations with large and midsize banks can be profitable for the parties involved and help MDIs fulfill their missions and serve customers in a rapidly evolving industry.

05/23/2018

Insured institutions make $56B in first quarter

FDIC Chairman Gruenberg issued the opening statement on the release of the First Quarter 2018 Quarterly Banking Profile. The Profile indicates Insured Institutions reported $56 billion in net income in the first quarter and community bank net Income Increased to $6.1 Billion. Other comparison with last year's first quarter included:

  • Industry net income increased 27.5 percent due to higher net operating revenue and a lower effective tax rate
  • Community bank net income increased 17.7 percent
  • Net interest income rose 8.5 percent
  • Noninterest income increased 7.9 percent
  • Loan balances rose 4.9 percent

Gruenberg said, “While results this quarter were positive, an extended period of low interest rates and an increasingly competitive lending environment have led some institutions to reach for yield. This has led to heightened exposure to interest-rate risk, liquidity risk, and credit risk. In addition, with the current expansion in its latter stage, the industry needs to be prepared to manage the inevitable downturn, whenever it may occur, in order to avoid financial system disruption and sustain lending through the economic cycle. These risks will remain a focus of supervisory attention.”

05/22/2018

FEMA suspending IL and ND communities

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has published a final rule in today's Federal Register announcing that it will suspend unincorporated areas of Mason County, Illinois, and the City of Harvey, Wells County, North Dakota, from the National Flood Insurance Program on June 6, 2018, for failure to comply with the floodplain management requirements if the program.

05/22/2018

Executive Order regarding Venezuelan transactions

The President has issued an Executive Order, "Prohibiting Certain Additional Transactions with Respect to Venezuela." All transactions related to, provision of financing for, and other dealings in the following by a United States person or within the United States are prohibited:

  • the purchase of any debt owed to the Government of Venezuela, including accounts receivable;
  • any debt owed to the Government of Venezuela that is pledged as collateral after the effective date [12:30 p.m. EDT on May 21, 2018] of the order, including accounts receivable; and
  • the sale, transfer, assignment, or pledging as collateral by the Government of Venezuela of any equity interest in any entity in which the Government of Venezuela has a 50 percent or greater ownership interest.

05/22/2018

Bureau ECOA guidance voided under Review Act

The president has signed S.J. Res. 57, a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) of the rule issued by the CFPB in the form of guidance concerning indirect automobile lender compliance with the ECOA and Regulation B. The March 21, 2013, guidance, in CFPB Bulletin 2013-02, has been voided by the CRA action, and the Bureau is now banned from reissuing a substantially similar rule unless specifically authorized to do so by law, according to a statement by Acting Bureau Director Mick Mulvaney.

Mulvaney also said that, following a recent Supreme Court decision "distinguishing between antidiscrimination statutes that refer to the consequences of actions and those that refer only to the intent of the actor, and in light of the fact that the Bureau is required by statute to enforce federal consumer financial laws consistently, the Bureau will be reexamining the requirements of the ECOA." The Bureau will also be reviewing other guidance documents it has issued with congressional staff and federal agency partners to identify those that must be submitted to Congress for review under the CRA.

05/21/2018

$5M awarded to rural communities

Four rural community organizations in California, Minnesota, and Washington, D.C. have been awarded $5,000,000 by HUD to continue its community and organizational development strategies to improve the lives of low-income persons. The funding is provided through HUD's Rural Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing Program.

05/21/2018

Fair Housing assessment tool withdrawn

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced that it is withdrawing a computer assessment tool originally intended to be helpful to local governments in meeting their obligations under the Fair Housing Act to affirmatively further fair housing. After a month-long technical evaluation, HUD found that rather than assisting local governments in formulating acceptable Assessments of Fair Housing, the Local Government Assessment Tool was confusing, difficult to use, and frequently produced unacceptable assessments.

05/21/2018

NCUA Board to meet

The NCUA Board has published [83 FR 23491] a notice of its May 24, 2018, 10:00–10:45 a.m. EDT, open meeting. On the agenda are discussions of two NCUA regulations: Involuntary Liquidation and Claims Procedures and Payday Alternative Loans.

05/21/2018

OFAC targets Venezuelan corruption network

OFAC announced on Friday it has designated Diosdado Cabello Rondón (Cabello), for being a current or former official of the Government of Venezuela. OFAC also designated three other individuals (one with addresses in the U.S.) for being current or former officials, or for acting for or on behalf of designated individuals as key figures in the Cabello corruption network, and three companies and 14 properties in Florida and New York owned by one of those individuals. Identifying information is available in our May 18 OFAC Update.

05/21/2018

Fed and OCC extend comment period

The Federal Reserve Board and OCC have announced they are extending the comment period on their previously announced proposal to modify the enhanced supplementary leverage ratio standards for U.S. top-tier bank holding companies identified as global systemically important bank holding companies, or GSIBs, and certain of their insured depository institution subsidiaries. The proposal also included conforming modifications to the Board’s total-loss absorbing capacity and long-term debt rules. The end of the comment period has been changed from May 21 to June 25, 2018.

05/18/2018

Treasury targets Hizballah financing network and Iranian conduit

Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control has designated Hizballah financier Mohammad Ibrahim Bazzi and Hizballah’s representative to Iran Abdallah Safi-Al-Din as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) pursuant to Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. Also designated on Thursday as SDGTs are five companies located in Europe, West Africa, and the Middle East for being owned or controlled by Mohammad Bazzi and another SDGT. For identity information on the individuals and companies targeted by OFAC's actions, see our OFAC Update.

05/18/2018

OCC reports enforcement actions

The OCC has released information on recent enforcement actions taken against national banks, federal savings associations, and individuals currently and formerly affiliated with such institutions. The list includes previously announced cease and desist and civil money penalty orders issued to Wells Fargo Bank. Also included were a $207,245 Civil Money Penalty for Flood Act violations and a $15 million UDAP Civil Money Penalty, both issued to PNC Bank, N.A., Wilmington, Delaware. The former Chairman/President/CEO, former EVP/Director, and a former Director of Merchants Bank of California, N.A. were assessed Civil Money Penalties of $175,000, $70,000 and $5,000, respectively, and the former Chairman/President/CEO and former EVP/Director were both issued orders of prohibition. A former director of a Walden, NY, bank was assessed a $5,000 Civil Money Penalty for violations of 12 CFR § 163.200 (Conflicts of Interest) while a member of the bank's board of directors and of the board's loan workout committee. A consent prohibition order was issued to a former teller of Santander Bank for misappropriation of $13,300 from her cash drawer for personal use, and making false entries to disguise the theft.

05/18/2018

Two Ohio companies charged with discrimination

HUD has announced that it has charged two Ohio corporations, Epcon Communities, Inc., and Epcon Communities Franchising, Inc. (Epcon), with housing discrimination for failing to design and construct 32 multifamily housing communities throughout Ohio that meet the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act. HUD’s charge resulted from complaints by the Fair Housing Advocates Association (FHAA), an Ohio-based fair housing organization, and HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. FHAA first filed a complaint with HUD alleging that five Epcon communities in Ohio had numerous inaccessible features in violation of the Fair Housing Act. During its investigation, HUD discovered additional properties, built by Epcon or throughout its franchisees and filed its own complaint alleging that a total of 32 Epcon communities were inaccessible.

05/18/2018

Results of May 17 seven-day term deposit offering

The Federal Reserve has announced the results of an offering of seven-day term deposits held on May 17, 2018. The Fed awarded $3.686 billion in deposits to 23 participants.

05/18/2018

Record of FAC and Board of Governors meeting

The Federal Reserve has released a record of the May 11, 2018 meeting of the Federal Advisory Council and the Board of Governors.

05/18/2018

OCC to host Innovation Office Hours meeting

The OCC has announced it will hold Innovation Office Hours, July 17–19, in San Francisco 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. Interested parties should request an Office Hours session by June 1, and are asked to provide information on why they are interested in meeting with the OCC.

05/18/2018

Congress fails to void Payday Lending rule

Congress has failed to act within the 60-legislative-day deadline under the Congressional Review Act to disapprove the CFPB's Payday Lending rule, according to a CNBC report. Resolutions in both houses seeking to void the rule have expired, and the rule will now become effective April 1, 2019. The CFPB has said that it intends to revisit the rule.

05/17/2018

Bureau updates TRID resources

The Bureau has updated its two versions of the Small Entity Compliance Guides (versions 4.1 and 5.2) and Guides to Forms (versions 1.5 and 2.1) to incorporate the changes made by the 2018 TRID rule (which becomes effective June 1, 2018). Due to the 2017 TRID Rule’s optional compliance period, which ends October 1, 2018, the Bureau has kept an old version and new version of each guide to provide implementation support during the optional compliance period. However, it has updated all versions for the 2018 TRID Rule, which will apply whether or not a creditor is choosing to comply early with the 2017 Rule. All four updated guides are available on the Bureau's TRID Rule Implementation page.

05/17/2018

FinCEN delays Beneficial Ownership rule for rollovers and renewals

On Wednesday, five days after the effective date of its Beneficial Ownership Requirements rule, FinCEN issued Administrative Ruling 2018-R002, granting a 90-day limited exceptive relief to covered financial institutions with respect to certificates of deposit and loan accounts that automatically roll over or renew that were established before May 11, 2018. The 90-day relief period started on May 11 and will end on August 9, 2018. The ruling says that, during this time, "FinCEN will determine whether and to what extent additional exceptive relief may be appropriate for such financial products and services that were established before May 11, 2018, but are expected to rollover [sic.] or renew after such date."

Editor's Note: The "exceptive relief" provided by FIN-2018-R002 extends only to certificates of deposit and loans that automatically rollover or renew. Loan renewals that are not automatic are not covered, and currently are subject to Beneficial Ownership requirements. They are covered, however, by Question 12 in FinCEN's April 3, 2018, Guidance FAQs (FIN-2018-G001).

05/17/2018

OFAC sanctions Hizballah's senior leadership

Yesterday, in partnership with Saudi Arabia and the other member nations of the Terrorist Financing and Targeting Center, OFAC designated members of Hizballah’s Shura Council, the primary decision-making body of Hizballah. For details on the designees, see our OFAC Update.

05/17/2018

Rise in industrial production continues

The Federal Reserve has released the April G.17 Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization Report. Industrial production rose 0.7 percent in April for its third consecutive monthly increase. The rates of change for industrial production for previous months were revised downward, on net; for the first quarter, output is now reported to have advanced 2.3 percent at an annual rate. After being unchanged in March, manufacturing output rose 0.5 percent in April. The indices for mining and utilities moved up 1.1 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively. At 107.3 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production in April was 3.5 percent higher than it was a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector climbed 0.4 percentage point in April to 78.0 percent, a rate that is 1.8 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2017) average.

05/17/2018

Relief for areas of North Carolina and Indiana affected by weather

The FDIC has issued FIL-28-2018 and FIL-29-2018 announcing steps intended to provide regulatory relief to financial institutions and facilitate recovery in areas of Indiana and North Carolina, respectively, affected by severe storms and a tornado.

05/17/2018

Brokerage firms charged with AML laundering

The SEC has announced the settlement of charges against broker-dealers Chardan Capital Markets LLC and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Financial Services LLC (ICBCFS) for failing to report suspicious sales of billions of penny stock shares. Broker-dealers are required to file Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) for transactions suspected to involve fraud or with no apparent lawful purpose. According to the SEC, from October 2013 to June 2014, Chardan, an introducing broker, liquidated more than 12.5 billion penny stock shares for seven of its customers and ICBCFS cleared the transactions. Chardan failed to file any SARs even though the transactions raised red flags, including similar trading patterns and sales in issuers who lacked revenues and products. The SEC found that ICBCFS similarly failed to file any SARs for the transactions despite ultimately prohibiting trading in penny stocks by some of the seven customers.

05/17/2018

New sources for free credit scores

The Bureau has posted an article announcing the availability of a new list that identifies more ways to access credit scores for free.

05/16/2018

CFPB advises shopping for a mortgage

The Bureau has posted an article that provides tips on how to shop for a mortgage and the potential for real savings. It notes that saving a quarter of a point in interest on a mortgage saves thousands over the life of the loan. Suggestions include:

  • Talking to multiple lenders
  • Asking each lender about other loan products
  • Considering taking a homebuying class or working with a housing counselor
  • Checking credit reports for errors and ways to raise credit scores

05/16/2018

March TIC data

Treasury has released the Treasury International Capital data for March 2018.

05/16/2018

Fed Governor Brainard on digital currencies

Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard spoke on "Cryptocurrencies, Digital Currencies, and Distributed Ledger Technologies: What Are We Learning?" at yesterday's session of the Decoding Digital Currency Conference sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

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