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Bureau posts HMDA data for 2022

HMDA Modified Loan Application Register (LAR) data for 2022 are now available on the FFIEC HMDA Platform for approximately 4,394 HMDA filers. The published data contain loan-level information filed by financial institutions and modified to protect consumer privacy.

To increase public accessibility, the annual loan-level LAR data for each HMDA filer are now available online. Previously, users could obtain LAR data only by making requests to specific institutions for their annual data. To allow for easier public access to all LAR data, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) 2015 HMDA rule made the data for each HMDA filer available electronically on the FFIEC’s HMDA Platform. This year, in addition to institution-specific modified LAR files, users can download one combined file that contains all institutions’ modified LAR data.

Later this year, the 2022 HMDA data will be available in other forms to provide users insights into the data. These forms will include a nationwide loan-level dataset with all publicly available data for all HMDA reporters; aggregate and disclosure reports with summary information by geography and lender; and access to the 2022 data through the HMDA Data Browser to allow users to create custom datasets, reports, and data maps. The CFPB will later also publish a Data Point article highlighting key trends in the annual data.


HUD restores 'Discriminatory Effects' Rule

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced on Friday that it has submitted to the Federal Register for publication a final rule entitled Restoring HUD's Discriminatory Effects Standard. The rule rescinds the Department's 2020 rule governing Fair Housing Act disparate impact claims and restores the 2013 Discriminatory Effects rule. In the final rule, HUD emphasizes that the 2013 rule is more consistent with how the Fair Housing Act has been applied in the courts and in front of the agency for more than 50 years, and that it more effectively implements the Act's broad remedial purpose of eliminating unnecessary discriminatory practices from the housing market.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing and housing-related services because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), familial status, and disability. The discriminatory effects doctrine (which includes disparate impact and perpetuation of segregation) is a tool for addressing policies that unnecessarily cause systemic inequality in housing, regardless of whether they were adopted with discriminatory intent. It has long been used to challenge policies that unnecessarily exclude people from housing opportunities, including zoning requirements, lending and property insurance policies, and criminal records policies. Accordingly, having a workable discriminatory effects standard is vital for the Biden-Harris Administration to accomplish its goal of creating a housing market that is free from both intentional discrimination and policies and practices that have unjustified discriminatory effects.

HUD's 2013 discriminatory effects rule codified long-standing case law for adjudication of Fair Housing Act cases under the discriminatory effects doctrine, for cases filed administratively with HUD and for federal court actions brought by private plaintiffs. Under the 2013 rule, the discriminatory effects framework was straightforward: a policy that had a discriminatory effect on a protected class was unlawful if it was not necessary to achieve a substantial, legitimate, nondiscriminatory interest or if a less discriminatory alternative could also serve that interest.

The 2020 rule complicated that analysis by adding new pleading requirements, new proof requirements, and new defenses, all of which made it more difficult to establish that a policy violates the Fair Housing Act and harder for entities regulated by the Fair Housing Act to assess whether their policies were lawful. HUD now returns to the 2013 rule’s analysis.

This final rule will go into effect 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register.


CFPB updates contact info in regulations

The CFPB published in today's Federal Register a final rule to make non-substantive corrections and updates to Bureau and other Federal agency contact information found at certain locations in Regulations B, E, F, J, V, X, Z, and DD, including Federal agency contact information that must be provided with Equal Credit Opportunity Act adverse action notices and the Fair Credit Reporting Act Summary of Consumer Rights.

This final rule also revises the chapter heading, makes various non-substantive changes to Regulations B and V, and provides a Bureau website address where the public may access certain APR tables referenced in Regulation Z.

The rule is effective April 19, 2023. However, the mandatory compliance date for the amendments to appendix A to Regulation B, appendix A to Regulation J, and appendix K to Regulation V is March 20, 2024.


Homeland Security Advisory Council discusses improvements

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas convened a meeting of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (“the Council”) at the White House on Thursday to discuss how the Department can enhance supply chain security, improve efforts of intelligence and information sharing capabilities, promote greater transparency, improve customer service, and expand on its Homeland Security Technology and Innovation Network. During the meeting, Former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, who led DHS from 2005 to 2009, spoke about how the Department’s development over 20 years reflected the evolution in the threat landscape. Secretary Chertoff emphasized that the Department is fit for purpose for the threats of today and tomorrow.

During the meeting, Former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, who led DHS from 2005 to 2009, spoke about how the Department’s development over 20 years reflected the evolution in the threat landscape. Secretary Chertoff emphasized that the Department is fit for the purpose of preparing for the threats of today and tomorrow.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan also addressed the Council, discussing the convergence of homeland security with national security. He recognized the Department’s 20th Anniversary and echoed the message that President Biden delivered to the workforce on March 1, 2023, highlighting the dedication and resolve of the DHS workforce over the past 20 years.


U.S. Dollar liquidity swaps go daily

The Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, the U.S. Federal Reserve, and the Swiss National Bank On Friday announced a coordinated action to enhance the provision of liquidity via the standing U.S. dollar liquidity swap line arrangements.

To improve the swap lines' effectiveness in providing U.S. dollar funding, the central banks currently offering U.S. dollar operations have agreed to increase the frequency of 7-day maturity operations from weekly to daily. These daily operations will commence on Monday, March 20, 2023, and will continue at least through the end of April.

The network of swap lines among these central banks is a set of available standing facilities and serve as an important liquidity backstop to ease strains in global funding markets, thereby helping to mitigate the effects of such strains on the supply of credit to households and businesses.


OCC releases prohibition order

The OCC has released a list of enforcement actions taken in February and March. Among the actions listed was a consent order of prohibition issued to Jamie Lee Coyle, formerly a teller at the Nicholasville, Kentucky, location of First Southern National Bank, Lancaster, Kentucky, after a finding that, in 2018, Coyle misappropriated approximately $13,000 in multiple unauthorized withdrawals from the bank's charitable giving account.


Signature Bridge Bank deposits and loans purchased

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) on Sunday announced it has entered into a purchase and assumption agreement for substantially all deposits and certain loan portfolios of Signature Bridge Bank, National Association, by Flagstar Bank, National Association, Hicksville, New York, a wholly owned subsidiary of New York Community Bancorp, Inc., Westbury, New York.

The 40 former branches of Signature Bank will operate under Bancorp's Flagstar Bank, N.A., on Monday, March 20, 2023. The branches will open during their normal business hours. Customers of Signature Bridge Bank, N.A., should continue to use their current branch until they receive notice from the assuming institution that full-service banking is available at branches of Flagstar Bank, N.A.

Depositors of Signature Bridge Bank, N.A., other than depositors related to the digital banking business, will automatically become depositors of the assuming institution. All deposits assumed by Flagstar Bank, N.A., will continue to be insured by the FDIC up to the insurance limit. Flagstar Bank's bid did not include approximately $4 billion of deposits related to the former Signature Bank's digital banking business. The FDIC will provide these deposits directly to customers whose accounts are associated with the digital banking business. Questions may be directed to (866) 744-5463.

More information on Sunday's transaction is available on the FDIC's website.


February G.17 Industrial Production data posted

Industrial production was unchanged in February, and manufacturing output edged up 0.1 percent. The index for mining fell 0.6 percent, while the index for utilities rose 0.5 percent. At 102.6 percent of its 2017 average, total industrial production in February was 0.2 percent below its year-earlier level. Capacity utilization was unchanged in February at 78.0 percent, a rate that is 1.6 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2022) average.


FDIC extends bidding for Silicon Valley Bridge Bank, N.A.

The FDIC announced this morning it has extended the bidding process for Silicon Valley Bridge Bank, National Association, Santa Clara, California, because there has been substantial interest from multiple parties, and the FDIC and the bidders need more time to explore all options in order to maximize value and achieve an optimal outcome.

To help simplify the bidding process and expand the pool of potential bidders, the FDIC will allow parties to submit separate bids for Silicon Valley Bridge Bank, N.A., and its subsidiary Silicon Valley Private Bank. Qualified, insured banks, and qualified, insured banks in alliance with nonbank partners, will be able to submit whole-bank bids or bids on the deposits or assets of the institutions. Bank and non-bank financial firms will be permitted to bid on the asset portfolios.

The FDIC is seeking bids on Silicon Valley Private Bank by 8:00 P.M. EDT on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, and on Silicon Valley Bridge Bank, N.A. by 8:00 P.M. EDT on Friday, March 24, 2023.

In the meantime, Silicon Valley Bridge Bank, N.A., continues to operate as a nationally chartered bank. Depositors will continue to have full access to all of their money through Silicon Valley Bridge Bank, N.A., which operates 17 branches in California and Massachusetts, and through online banking, ATM and debit card, and by writing checks. Loan customers should continue making loan payments as usual.


2023 FRBServices check adjustments webinars

The Check Adjustments webinars schedule for early 2023 is available now via the Federal Reserve Bank Webinars page. The webinars are led by a subject matter expert who provides insights and resources to help you effectively resolve settlement discrepancies on checks that were processed or handled by the Federal Reserve Banks.

There are two offerings — Check Adjustments Insights into Investigation Types (ITYPS) and Principles and Concepts of Image Cash Letters and Electronic Cash Adjustments. Each offering is available for a $450 fee, payable via credit card only.


Joint statement regarding assistance for First Republic

The following statement was released yesterday by Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen, Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome H. Powell, FDIC Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg and Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael J. Hsu:

"Today, 11 banks announced $30 billion in deposits into First Republic Bank. This show of support by a group of large banks is most welcome, and demonstrates the resilience of the banking system."


CFPB warning regarding unfair collection of student loans

The CFPB has released a bulletin warning servicers of their obligation to halt unlawful conduct with respect to private student loans that have been discharged by bankruptcy courts. The bulletin details recent findings by CFPB examiners that certain loan servicers were illegally returning loans to collections after bankruptcy courts had discharged the loans. The CFPB is directing these servicers to return illegally collected payments to affected consumers and immediately cease these unlawful collection tactics. The bulletin also makes clear that the CFPB will continue to examine student loan servicers’ handling of these loans to detect whether these illegal practices persist at other companies.

  • Bulletin 2023-01, "Unfair Billing and Collection Practices After Bankruptcy Discharges of Certain Student Loan Debts"


HUD awards $6M to protect children and families

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development yesterday announced it has awarded nearly $6 million to public housing agencies and a state housing authority to protect children and families from housing-related hazards, including radon exposure.

HUD is awarding 10 grants to public housing agencies under its Radon Testing and Mitigation Demonstration grant program. The agencies will test public housing units and mitigate identified elevated radon levels. This investment will protect over 6,500 people in low-income families, including children, from cancer risks caused by radon exposure. HUD is also awarding a grant to improve the energy efficiency of 60 homes under its Healthy Homes and Weatherization Coordination Demonstration grant program, being weatherized under the grantee’s Department of Energy Weatherization Assistance Program.


NCUA Board approves subordinated debt rule

The National Credit Union Administrative Board yesterday announced it has approved a final rule on subordinated debt. The final rule makes two changes to the current subordinated debt rule that was finalized in 2020. Specifically, this final rule replaces the maximum permissible maturity of subordinated debt notes with a requirement that any credit union seeking to issue subordinated debt notes with maturities longer than 20 years demonstrate how such instruments would continue to be considered “debt.”

The rule also extends the regulatory capital treatment of grandfathered secondary capital to the later of 30 years from the date of issuance or January 1, 2052. This extension will align the treatment of grandfathered secondary capital with the maximum permissible maturity for any secondary capital issued by low-income credit unions under the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Emergency Capital Investment Program or other programs administrated by the U.S. government.

The rule will be effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.


SEC proposes regs changes for cybersecurity

Yesterday, the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed three changes to cybersecurity-related regulations. First, the Commission announced proposed amendments to Regulation Systems Compliance and Integrity to expand the scope of entities subject to the regulation and to update certain provisions.

The SEC also announced proposed amendments to 17 CFR Parts 232, 240, 242, and 249 to require broker-dealers, clearing agencies, major security-based swap participants, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, national securities associations, national securities exchanges, security-based swap data repositories, security-based swap dealers, and transfer agents (collectively, “Market Entities”) to address their cybersecurity risks.

And the SEC announced proposed changes to Regulation S-P that would enhance the protection of customer information by, among other things, requiring broker-dealers, investment companies, registered investment advisers, and transfer agents to provide notice to individuals affected by certain types of data breaches that may put them at risk of identity theft or other harm.


Fed announces FedNow Service launch plan

The Federal Reserve has announced that its FedNow Service will start operating in July and provided details on preparations for launch.

The first week of April, the Federal Reserve will begin the formal certification of participants for launch of the service. Early adopters will complete a customer testing and certification program, informed by feedback from the FedNow Pilot Program, to prepare for sending live transactions through the system.

The Federal Reserve Banks are developing the FedNow Service to facilitate nationwide reach of instant payment services by financial institutions — regardless of size or geographic location — around the clock, every day of the year. Through financial institutions participating in the FedNow Service, businesses and individuals will be able to send and receive instant payments at any time of day, and recipients will have full access to funds immediately, giving them greater flexibility to manage their money and make time-sensitive payments. Access will be provided through the Federal Reserve's FedLine® network, which serves more than 10,000 financial institutions directly or through their agents.


HUD overhauls disaster recovery program

On Wednesday, HUD announced an overhaul of the agency’s disaster recovery efforts to better serve communities who face the direct impacts of weather-related disasters. Based on the increasing number of disasters and the increasingly important role that HUD is playing in federal government’s preparedness, response, and recovery efforts, the Department is announcing the establishment of the Office of Disaster Management (ODM) in the Office of the Deputy Secretary, and the Office of Disaster Recovery (ODR) within the Office of Community Planning and Development, the addition of dozens of new HUD staff members to help expedite recovery processes, and the allocation of more than $3.3 billion in Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds.

The changes are designed to streamline the agency’s disaster recovery and resilience work by increasing coordination, reducing bureaucracy, and increasing capacity to get recovery funding to communities more quickly by facilitating collaborative, transparent disaster recovery planning with communities earlier in the process.


FHFA delays start of upfront DTI ratio fee

The Federal Housing Finance Agency on Wednesday announced it has delayed until August 1, 2023, the effective date of the debt-to-income (DTI) ratio fee announced in January, to ensure a level playing field for all lenders to have sufficient time to deploy the fee. In addition, lenders will not be subject to post-purchase price adjustments related to this DTI ratio-based fee for loans acquired by the Enterprises (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) between August 1, 2023, and December 31, 2023.

Since the January announcement, FHFA has received feedback from mortgage industry stakeholders about the operational challenges of implementing the DTI ratio-based fee, which will apply to certain borrowers with a DTI ratio above 40 percent.


Tolstedt fined $17M and barred from industry

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on Wednesday announced it has issued a prohibition order and a $17 million civil money penalty by consent against Carrie Tolstedt, former head of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.'s Community Bank, for her role in systemic sales practices misconduct at the bank.

The settlement resolves the administrative enforcement action against Ms. Tolstedt that began when the OCC filed a notice of charges against her on January 23, 2020. The notice alleged that Ms. Tolstedt was significantly responsible for the systemic sales practices misconduct at the bank. The Notice further alleged that the bank’s business model imposed unreasonable sales goals on its employees, along with unreasonable pressure to meet such goals.

The settlement the OCC announced today is in addition to the settlements with seven other former Wells Fargo senior bank executives announced on January 23 and September 21, 2020, and January 15, 2021.

It appears that settlements have not yet been reached with former Community Bank Group risk officer Claudia Russ Anderson, former executive audit director Paul McLinko, and former chief auditor David Julian.


FTC report on Native American consumer issues

The Federal Trade Commission has sent a report to Congress detailing the consumer issues that affect American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations, as well as the FTC’s enforcement, outreach and education work on these issues.

The report summarizes the agency’s efforts to hear directly from tribal leaders, community members, advocates, and others about issues affecting their communities, and provides analysis of the FTC’s data from the Consumer Sentinel Network database.

The report reflects the FTC’s conversations with community members and advocates about issues such as: auto purchasing and financing, predatory lending, impersonation scams, tech support scams and romance scams, among others. The FTC’s own consumer report data shows that government impersonation and prize, sweepstakes, and lottery scams were the most frequent scams reported to the FTC from majority AI/AN ZIP codes. Government and business impersonation scams are the focus of an ongoing Commission rulemaking effort.

The report recommends continuing to expand partnerships with AI/AN organizations, tribal leaders, advocates, and other groups to inform the Commission’s law enforcement, education and outreach, and research efforts moving forward.


U.S. targets three in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Yesterday, Treasury reported that OFAC has designated three individuals in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) pursuant to Executive Orders 14033 or 14059:

  • Osman "Osmica" Mehmedagic
  • Dragan Stankovic
  • Edin Gacanin

For identification information on these individuals, see this BankersOnline OFAC Update.


CFPB updates HMDA charts

The CFPB has posted the HMDA 2023 Institutional Coverage Chart and 2023 Transactional Coverage Chart in the "Coverage charts" section of its HMDA reporting requirements compliance resources page.

The charts reflect the reduced 25 closed-end loans in each of the previous two calendar years threshold for reporting closed-end applications and loans.


Phase 2 of Nacha Micro-entries rule effective tomorrow

A recent Nacha news release is a reminder that Phase 2 of Nacha's "Micro-Entries" rule becomes effective tomorrow, March 17, 2023.

The Micro-Entry Rule was adopted in early 2022. Phase 1 has been in effect since September 16, 2022. It defines Micro-Entries as ACH credits of less than $1, and any offsetting ACH debits, used for account verification. Additionally, it requires the use of the “ACCTVERIFY” description.

Phase 2 requires that originators of these entries must use commercially reasonable fraud detection. At a minimum, that includes monitoring forward and return volumes of Micro-Entries.


CFPB inquiry into business practices of data brokers

On Wednesday, the CFPB announced an inquiry into companies that track and collect information on people’s personal lives. In issuing this new Request for Information, the CFPB wants to understand the full scope and breadth of data brokers and their business practices, their impact on the daily lives of consumers, and whether they are all playing by the same rules. This feedback will shed light on the current state of an industry that largely operates out of public view, and inform the CFPB’s future work to ensure that these companies comply with federal law.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA") provides a range of protections, including accuracy standards, dispute rights, and restrictions on how data can be used. The law covers data brokers like credit reporting companies and background screening firms, as well as those who report information to these firms.

The inquiry seeks information about business practices employed in the market today to inform the CFPB’s efforts to administer the law, including planned rulemaking under the FCRA. The CFPB is interested in hearing about the business models and practices of the data broker market, including details about the types of data the brokers collect and sell and the sources they rely upon. The feedback received will help the CFPB gain a better understanding about the current state of business practices in this area. The CFPB is also interested in hearing about people’s direct experiences with these companies, including when individuals attempt to remove, correct, or regain control of their data.

The public will have until June 13, 2023, to submit their comments.


NCUA Q4 credit union data report

The NCUA has released the latest Quarterly U.S. Map Review, which shows that federally insured credit unions, overall, experienced continued growth in assets, shares and deposits, and loans during 2022. Nationally, median asset growth among federally insured credit unions was 1.3 percent, and median growth in shares and deposits was 0.9 percent over the year ending in the fourth quarter of 2022. Loans outstanding rose by 12.7 percent at the median over the year ending in the fourth quarter of 2022. The median total delinquency rate at the end of 2022 was 47 basis points, compared with 38 basis points in the fourth quarter of 2021. Additionally, 85 percent of federally insured credit unions had positive net income in 2022, compared with 84 percent in 2021.


FATF updates beneficial ownership recommendations

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an independent inter-governmental body that develops and promotes policies to protect the global financial system against money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, has revised its Guidance on Beneficial Ownership for Legal Persons, also known as FATF Recommendation 24.

The revisions respond to the significant misuse of legal persons for money laundering, terrorist financing, and also for proliferation financing in a number of jurisdictions, and to the outcomes of FATF Mutual Evaluations which show a generally insufficient level of effectiveness in combating the misuse of legal persons for money laundering and terrorist financing globally.

The revised Recommendation 24 explicitly requires countries9 to use a multi-pronged approach, i.e., to use a combination of different mechanisms, for collection of beneficial ownership information to ensure that adequate, accurate and up-to-date information on the beneficial ownership of legal persons is available and can be accessed by the competent authorities in a timely manner.


Contractual obligations to bridge banks must be met

Within the past few days, the FDIC has established two bridge banks, Silicon Valley Bridge Bank, N.A. and Signature Bridge Bank, N.A., to assume the deposits and obligations of two failing banks. On Tuesday, the FDIC issued FIL-10-2023 with a reminder that all contracts entered into with those banks before they failed, and their counterparties were transferred into the bridge banks by the FDIC as receiver. Accordingly, vendors and counterparties with contracts with the bridge bank — including other banks — are legally obligated to continue to perform under the contracts, and the bridge bank is obligated to and has the full ability to make timely payments to vendors and counterparties and otherwise perform its obligations under the contract.

Key points in the document:

  • The bridge bank is performing under all failed bank contracts and expects all counterparties to similarly fulfill their contractual obligations.
  • All vendors providing services should continue to provide such services.
  • All authorized signers, account details, Tax Identification Number, wire/ACH instructions, and pre-failure processes remain in effect, and can and should be utilized to provide such services, until such time as the bridge bank notifies you.
  • Vendors and counterparties should be aware that the FDIC as receiver is authorized to enforce such contracts (12 USC 1821(e)(13)) and to transfer the contract notwithstanding any apparent limits on transfer in the contract (12 USC 1821(d)(2)).
  • Accordingly, vendors and counterparties with contracts with the bridge bank are legally obligated to continue to perform under the contract, and the bridge bank is obligated to and has the full ability to make timely payments to vendors and counterparties and otherwise perform its obligations under the contract.
  • All obligations of the bridge banks are backed by the FDIC and the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.
  • Failure to meet these obligations may result in legal action by the U.S. government.


FTC finalizes order that Epic Games pay $245M

The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday announced it has finalized an order requiring Epic Games, the maker of the Fortnite video game, to pay $245 million to consumers to settle charges that the company used dark patterns to trick players into making unwanted purchases and let children rack up unauthorized charges without any parental involvement. See our December Top Story for further details.

The FTC received five comments on the proposed agreement.


CFPB blogs on protecting homeowners from discriminatory appraisals

The CFPB has posted a Bureau Blog article, "Protecting homeowners from discriminatory home appraisals," as a vehicle for announcing the Bureau's Joint Statement of Interest filing (with the Justice Department) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in the case of Connolly & Mott v. Lanham et al.

The case involves a Black couple — Nathan Connolly and Shani Mott — living in Baltimore who sought to refinance their home to take advantage of low interest rates. The mortgage lender, loanDepot, conditionally approved the loan request subject to an appraisal by 20/20 Valuations, owned by Shane Lanham. Connolly and Mott claim that when Lanham visited their home for the appraisal, the couple and their children were present and the home included family photos and other décor making it clear that a Black family lived there. A few days after Lanham's visit, loanDepot called the family to deny the application because the appraisal valued the property at only $472,000.

A few months later, the family applied for a new loan from a different mortgage lender. This time, the couple "whitewashed" their home —replacing family photos with photos borrowed from white friends and colleagues, replacing their artwork with stock images featuring white subjects, and having a white colleague stand in for them during the appraisal. The home appraised for $750,000. Although interest rates had increased since the initial application denial, they were able to refinance their home.

Connolly and Mott sued the first lender, loanDepot, 20/20 Valuations, and Lanham under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Fair Housing Act and other federal and state civil rights laws. loanDepot's defense is that it cannot be held liable for making a lending decision based on a discriminatory appraisal committed by a third-party.

The Statement of Interest explains that mortgage lenders can be liable under the FHA and ECOA for relying on discriminatory appraisals. Lenders cannot relay on an appraisal if they know, or should have known, that the appraisal was discriminatory. A contrary result with directly undermine the purpose of the FHA and ECOA to guard against discrimination in housing and access to credit.


NCUA Board to meet Thursday

The NCUA has published [88 FR 15744] a notice of its Board meeting scheduled for 10 a.m., Thursday, March 16, 2023. The meeting will be open to the public. One item is included on the published agenda — NCUA Rules and Regulations on Subordinated Debt.


FDIC updates Friday's Silicon Valley Bank announcement

On Monday, the FDIC issued a revised announcement of its actions with regard to the Friday closing of Silicon Valley Bank.

On Monday, the FDIC transferred all deposits — both insured and uninsured — and substantially all assets of the former Silicon Valley Bank of Santa Clara, California, to a newly created, full-service FDIC-operated ‘bridge bank’ — Silicon Valley Bank, N.A. — in an action designed to protect all depositors of Silicon Valley Bank.

Depositors had full access to their money beginning this morning, when the bridge bank opened and resumed normal banking hours and activities, including online banking. Depositors and borrowers automatically became customers of Silicon Valley Bank, N.A. and have customer service and access to their funds by ATM, debit cards, and writing checks in the same manner as before. Silicon Valley Bank’s official checks continue to clear. Loan customers should continue making loan payments as usual.

Silicon Valley Bank was closed by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation on Friday, March 10, 2023, and the FDIC was appointed receiver.

The transfer of all the deposits was completed under the systemic risk exception approved on Sunday. All depositors of the institution will be made whole. No losses associated with the resolution of Silicon Valley Bank will be borne by taxpayers. Shareholders and certain unsecured debt holders will not be protected. Senior management has also been removed. Any losses to the Deposit Insurance Fund to support uninsured depositors will be recovered by a special assessment on banks, as required by law.

The receiver for Silicon Valley Bank has also transferred all Qualified Financial Contracts (as defined in 12 USC 1821(e)) of the failed bank to the bridge bank.

These actions will protect depositors and preserve the value of the assets and operations of Silicon Valley Bank, which may improve recoveries for creditors and the DIF.

A bridge bank is a chartered national bank that operates under a board appointed by the FDIC. It assumes the deposits and certain other liabilities and purchases certain assets of a failed bank. The bridge bank structure is designed to “bridge” the gap between the failure of a bank and the time when the FDIC can stabilize the institution and implement an orderly resolution.

The FDIC named Tim Mayopoulos as CEO of Silicon Valley Bank, N.A. Mr. Mayopoulos is former president and CEO of the Federal National Mortgage Association and most recently served as president of Blend Labs, Inc.


Fed Board posts Bank Term Funding Program FAQs

Yesterday, the Federal Reserve Board posted 26 Frequently Asked Questions on its Bank Term Funding Program (BTFP) webpage. The FAQs are grouped in five sections:

  1. Purpose and design
  2. Borrower information
  3. Collateral
  4. Basic mechanics
  5. Other

The Terms and Conditions of the Program are also posted on the BTFP page.


Barr to lead review of supervision of Silicon Valley Bank

The Federal Reserve Board has announced that Vice Chair for Supervision Michael S. Barr is leading a review of the supervision and regulation of Silicon Valley Bank, in light of its failure. The review will be publicly released by May 1.

"The events surrounding Silicon Valley Bank demand a thorough, transparent, and swift review by the Federal Reserve," said Chair Jerome H. Powell.

"We need to have humility, and conduct a careful and thorough review of how we supervised and regulated this firm, and what we should learn from this experience," said Vice Chair Barr.


FDIC takes over Signature Bank

Yesterday, the FDIC announced Signature Bank, New York, New York, was closed by the New York State Department of Financial Services, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect depositors, the FDIC transferred all the deposits and substantially all of the assets of Signature Bank to Signature Bridge Bank, N.A., a full-service bank that will be operated by the FDIC as it markets the institution to potential bidders.

Signature Bank had 40 branches across the country in New York, California, Connecticut, North Carolina, and Nevada. Banking activities were to resume Monday, March 13, 2023, including on-line banking. Depositors and borrowers will automatically become customers of Signature Bridge Bank, N.A. and will continue to have uninterrupted customer service and access to their funds by ATM, debit cards, and writing checks in the same manner as before. Signature Bank’s official checks will continue to clear. Loan customers should continue making loan payments as usual.

The transfer of all the deposits was completed under the systemic risk exception approved earlier Sunday. All depositors of the institution will be made whole. No losses will be borne by the taxpayers. Shareholders and certain unsecured debt holders will not be protected. Senior management has also been removed. Any losses to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) to support uninsured depositors will be recovered by a special assessment on banks, as required by law.

These actions will protect depositors and preserve the value of the assets and operations of Signature Bank, which may improve recoveries for creditors and the DIF.

The FDIC named Greg D. Carmichael as CEO of Signature Bridge Bank, N.A. Mr. Carmichael recently served as president and CEO of Fifth Third Bancorp.


CFPB begins review of Reg Z MLO rules

The CFPB is requesting public comment as part of a review of Regulation Z’s Mortgage Loan Originator Rules (Loan Originator Rules) pursuant to section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

Regulation Z, which implements the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), among other things, imposes certain requirements on: loan originator compensation; qualification of, and registration or licensing of, loan originators; compliance procedures for depository institutions; mandatory arbitration; and the financing of single premium credit insurance. As part of this review, the Bureau is seeking comment on the economic impact of the Loan Originator Rules on small entities. These comments may assist the Bureau in determining whether the Loan Originator Rules should be continued without change or amended or rescinded to minimize any significant economic impact of the rules upon a substantial number of such small entities, consistent with the stated objectives of applicable Federal statutes.

Comments will be accepted for 45 days following publication of the CFPB's notice. UPDATE: Publication of the Request for Public Comment is scheduled for 3/16/2023. The comment period will end 5/1/2023.


FDIC appointed receiver of Silicon Valley Bank

The FDIC on Friday announced that Silicon Valley Bank, Santa Clara, California, was closed was closed by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, and the FDIC was appointed as receiver. To protect insured depositors, the FDIC created the Deposit Insurance National Bank of Santa Clara (DINB). At the time of closing, the FDIC as receiver immediately transferred to the DINB all insured deposits of Silicon Valley Bank.

Silicon Valley Bank had 17 branches in California and Massachusetts. The main office and all branches of Silicon Valley Bank will reopen on Monday, March 13, 2023. The DINB will maintain Silicon Valley Bank’s normal business hours. Banking activities will resume no later than Monday, March 13, including on-line banking and other services. Silicon Valley Bank’s official checks will continue to clear.

As of December 31, 2022, Silicon Valley Bank had approximately $209.0 billion in total assets and about $175.4 billion in total deposits. At the time of closing, the amount of deposits in excess of the insurance limits was undetermined. The amount of uninsured deposits will be determined once the FDIC obtains additional information from the bank and customers.

[Editor's NOTE: On Sunday, the Treasury Department, FDIC, and Federal Reserve Board announced actions to enable the FDIC to complete its resolutions of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank (which was closed by its regulator on Sunday) in a manner that fully protects all depositors, both insured and uninsured.]

The FDIC as receiver will retain all the assets from Silicon Valley Bank for later disposition. Loan customers should continue to make their payments as usual.

Silicon Valley Bank is the first FDIC–insured institution to fail this year. The last FDIC–insured institution to close was Almena State Bank, Almena, Kansas, on October 23, 2020.


Systemic risk exception act to protect confidence in banks

On Sunday evening, Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen, Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome H. Powell, and FDIC Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg issued a statement announcing actions to protect the U.S. economy by strengthening public confidence in the U.S. banking system by ensuring that the banking system continues to perform its vital roles of protecting deposits and providing access to credit to households and businesses in a manner that promotes strong and sustainable economic growth.

After receiving a recommendation from the boards of the FDIC and the Federal Reserve, and consulting with the President, Secretary Yellen approved actions enabling the FDIC to complete its resolution of Silicon Valley Bank, Santa Clara, California, in a manner that fully protects all depositors. Depositors will have access to all of their money starting Monday, March 13. No losses associated with the resolution of Silicon Valley Bank will be borne by the taxpayer.

Secretary Yellen, Chair Powell, and Chairman Gruenberg announced a similar systemic risk exception for Signature Bank, New York, New York, which was closed yesterday by its state chartering authority. All depositors of this institution will be made whole. As with the resolution of Silicon Valley Bank, no losses will be borne by the taxpayer.

Shareholders and certain unsecured debtholders will not be protected. Senior management has also been removed. Any losses to the Deposit Insurance Fund to support uninsured depositors will be recovered by a special assessment on banks, as required by law.

In a related move, the Federal Reserve Board on Sunday announced it will make available additional funding to eligible depository institutions to help assure banks have the ability to meet the needs of all their depositors.


Fed to fund eligible banks to bolster banking system

The Federal Reserve Board on Sunday announced it will make available additional funding to eligible depository institutions to help assure banks have the ability to meet the needs of all their depositors, in support of American businesses and households. This action was take to bolster the capacity of the banking system to safeguard deposits and ensure the ongoing provision of money and credit to the economy.

The additional funding will be made available through the creation of a new Bank Term Funding Program (BTFP), offering loans of up to one year in length to banks, savings associations, credit unions, and other eligible depository institutions pledging U.S. Treasuries, agency debt and mortgage-backed securities, and other qualifying assets as collateral. These assets will be valued at par. The BTFP will be an additional source of liquidity against high-quality securities, eliminating an institution's need to quickly sell those securities in times of stress.

With approval of the Treasury Secretary, the Department of the Treasury will make available up to $25 billion from the Exchange Stabilization Fund as a backstop for the BTFP. The Federal Reserve does not anticipate that it will be necessary to draw on these backstop funds.

The Board said it is closely monitoring conditions across the financial system and is prepared to use its full range of tools to support households and businesses, and will take additional steps as appropriate.


SBA updates HUBZone map

The SBA announced a new Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) preview map, which shows that hundreds of firms in newly released designated underserved areas will become eligible to apply for HUBZone certification, enabling them to compete for billions of dollars in federal contracts set aside for HUBZone-certified firms, to create jobs, and to improve the economy in their communities.

The HUBZone preview map shows changes that are scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2023, reflecting updates from the 2020 U.S. Census. HUBZones are designated based on economic and population data from the Census Bureau and other federal agencies, using a formula established by Congress. The map update highlights growth opportunities for small businesses in more than 20,000 HUBZone areas across the United States and Territories, including 3,732 newly qualified communities.

At the same time, according to the new map, many currently HUBZone-designated areas will no longer qualify for participation in the program because they have outgrown their disadvantaged status thanks to increased employment, increased average incomes, or other signs of positive economic development. To provide a sufficient off-ramp for communities losing this designation, the expiration of their HUBZone status is being extended until July 1, 2026, providing firms and communities additional time to transition.

A map of current HUBZones can be found HERE.


U.S. targets Iran's sanctions evasion and UAV networks

Yesterday, the Treasury Department announced that OFAC has sanctioned 39 entities constituting a significant “shadow banking” network, one of several multi-jurisdictional illicit finance systems which grant sanctioned Iranian entities, such as Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industry Commercial Co. (PGPICC) and Triliance Petrochemical Co. Ltd. (Triliance), access to the international financial system and obfuscate their trade with foreign customers. Iranian exchange houses create front companies abroad to enable trade on behalf of their Iranian clients, with foreign currency transactions maintained via internal ledgers.

Treasury also announced OFAC's designation of a network of five companies and one individual for supporting Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) procurement efforts. This People’s Republic of China-based network is responsible for the sale and shipment of thousands of aerospace components, including components that can be used for UAV applications, to the Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company (HESA). HESA has been involved in the production of the Shahed-136 UAV model that Iran has used to attack oil tankers and has exported to Russia.

For the names and identification information of the designated individual and entities, see this BankersOnline OFAC Update.


Fed announces CDIAC members for 2023

The Federal Reserve Board on Thursday announced the members of its Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council, or CDIAC, and the president and vice president of the council for 2023.

The CDIAC advises the Board on the economy, lending conditions, and other issues of interest to community depository institutions. Members are selected from representatives of commercial banks, thrift institutions, and credit unions serving on local advisory councils at the 12 Federal Reserve Banks and serve three-year terms. One member of each of the Reserve Bank councils serves on the CDIAC, which meets twice a year with the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C.


Fair Hiring in Banking Act amends Section 19

FDIC FIL-09-2023, issued yesterday, describes significant amendments to Section 19 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act made by the Fair Hiring in Banking Act, which was signed into law and became effective on December 23, 2022. Section 19 prohibits a person from participating in the affairs of an FDIC-insured institution if he or she has been convicted of an offense involving dishonesty, breach of trust, or money laundering, or has entered into a pretrial diversion or similar program in connection with a prosecution for such an offense, without the prior written consent of the FDIC.

Notable Changes to Section 19:

  • Certain older offenses. The Act excludes certain offenses from the scope of Section 19 based on the amount of time that has passed since the offense occurred or since the individual was released from incarceration. The Act excludes certain offenses from the scope of Section 19 that were committed by individuals 21 or younger.
  • Designated lesser offenses. The Act excludes certain “lesser offenses” from the scope of Section 19.
  • Criminal offenses involving dishonesty. The Act excludes certain offenses from the definition of “criminal offense involving dishonesty.”
  • Expunged, sealed, and dismissed offenses. The Act excludes certain offenses from the scope of Section 19 that have been expunged, sealed, or dismissed.
  • Standards for FDIC review of Section 19 applications. The Act prescribes standards for the FDIC’s review of applications submitted under Section 19. The FDIC will process new and pending applications under the provisions of the amended law. Prospective applicants may contact the appropriate regional office as instructed on the FDIC’s website for Section 19 Applications.

During 2023, the FDIC will:

  • Revise its Section 19 application form, industry guidance, and implementing regulations (FDIC’s Filing Procedures under Part 303, Subpart L).
  • Review Section 19 Orders and Section 19 Letters previously published on the FDIC’s Enforcement Decisions and Orders webpage to determine whether, in light of the Act, particular Orders and Letters should be terminated (as to Orders) and removed from the webpage (as to both types of documents).

An overview of key changes was released with FIL-09-2023.


FTC acts to block merger of mortgage loan tech providers

The Federal Trade Commission yesterday announced it is acting to block the proposed merger between the nation’s largest provider of home mortgage loan origination systems and other key lender software tools, Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (ICE), and its top competitor, Black Knight, Inc. The Commission stated the deal would drive up costs, reduce innovation, and reduce lenders’ choices for tools necessary to generate and service mortgages.

ICE’s Encompass LOS competes head-to-head with Black Knight’s Empower, and the two companies offer discounts and price concessions to win or protect business from each other, according to the FTC’s complaint. In addition to competing on price, ICE and Black Knight compete to attract LOS customers by offering the best and broadest array of mortgage origination related services integrated with their respective LOSs.

By eliminating Black Knight as a competitor, the deal would free ICE to more aggressively raise prices that it charges mortgage lenders for origination services, the FTC said. Internal ICE documents reflect its use of several “levers” to grow revenue, including price increases to Encompass customers, according to the FTC’s complaint.


FATF suspends Russia's membership, identifies jurisdictions with deficiencies

Yesterday, FinCEN announced that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) issued a public statement on February 24 at the conclusion of its plenary meeting announcing its suspension of the Russian Federation’s membership in FATF. The statement notes that “the Russian Federation’s actions unacceptably run counter to the FATF core principles aiming to promote security, safety, and the integrity of the global financial system.” The FATF further urged “all jurisdictions to remain vigilant of threats to the integrity, safety and security of the international financial system arising from the Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine.” The FATF also reiterated “…that all jurisdictions should be alert to possible emerging risks from the circumvention of measures taken in order to protect the international financial system and take the necessary measures to mitigate these risks.”

The FATF also updated its lists of jurisdictions with strategic AML/CFT/CPF deficiencies. U.S. financial institutions should consider the FATF’s stance toward these jurisdictions when reviewing their obligations and risk-based policies, procedures, and practices.

On February 24, 2023, the FATF removed Cambodia and Morocco from its list of Jurisdictions under Increased Monitoring and added South Africa and Nigeria to the list.

The FATF’s list of High-Risk Jurisdictions Subject to a Call for Action remains the same, with Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) still subject to FATF’s countermeasures. Burma remains on the list of High-Risk Jurisdictions Subject to a Call for Action and is still subject to enhanced due diligence, not countermeasures.


Iranian officials and entities sanctioned for abuse of women's human rights

Treasury announced on Wednesday that OFAC has sanctioned several Iranian regime officials and entities, including two senior officials in Iran’s prison system who have been responsible for serious human rights abuses against women and girls. OFAC is also taking action against the top commander of the Iranian army and a high-ranking leader in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as well as an Iranian official who was central to the regime’s efforts to block internet access. Finally, OFAC is sanctioning three Iranian companies and their leadership for enabling the violent repression by the Iranian Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) of peaceful protestors, including many women and girls.

Marking International Women’s Day, Treasury took this action in coordination with allies and partners — the European Union, United Kingdom, and Australia — demonstrating a unified commitment to holding the Iranian regime to account for denying the women and girls of Iran their human rights and dignity.

For the names and identification information of the designated parties, see this BankersOnline OFAC Update.


SEC emergency action against investment adviser BKCoin

The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced it had filed an emergency action in which it successfully obtained an asset freeze, appointment of a receiver, and other emergency relief against Miami-based investment adviser BKCoin Management LLC and one of its principals, Kevin Kang, in connection with a crypto asset fraud scheme. The SEC complaint alleges that, from at least October 2018 through September 2022, BKCoin raised approximately $100 million from at least 55 investors to invest in crypto assets, but BKCoin and Kang instead used some of the money to make Ponzi-like payments and for personal use.


SEC updates PAUSE list

The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced it has updated its list of unregistered entities that use misleading information to solicit primarily non-U.S. investors, adding 96 soliciting entities, three impersonators of genuine firms, and five bogus regulators.

The SEC’s list of 1,552 soliciting entities that have been the subject of investor complaints, known as the Public Alert: Unregistered Soliciting Entities (PAUSE) list, enables investors to better inform themselves and avoid being a victim of fraud. The latest additions [21-page PDF] are firms that SEC staff found were providing inaccurate information about their affiliation, location, or registration. Under U.S. securities laws, firms that solicit investors generally are required to register with the SEC and meet minimum financial standards and disclosure, reporting, and recordkeeping requirements.


Inter-American FCU liquidated

The NCUA announced yesterday it has liquidated Inter-American Federal Credit Union of Brooklyn, New York. The NCUA made the decision to liquidate the credit union and discontinue its operations after determining the credit union was not operating in a safe and sound manner.

Inter-American served 460 members and had assets of $727,157, according to the credit union’s most recent Call Report. Chartered in 1964, Inter-American Federal Credit Union primarily served communicant members of Hanson Place Seventh Day Adventist Church in Brooklyn, New York. It is the first federally insured credit union to fail in 2023.


Reserve Banks February CRA ratings

We have completed our monthly review of the CRA evaluation ratings assigned by the Federal Reserve Banks to state-chartered member banking organizations. In January 2023, the Reserve Banks issued 12 evaluation ratings, all of which were Satisfactory.


CFPB special Supervisory Highlights on 'junk' fees

The CFPB on Wednesday released a "Junk Fees" special edition of its Supervisory Highlights (Issue 29, Winter 2023) that reports on "unlawful junk fees" uncovered in deposit accounts and in multiple loan servicing markets, including in mortgage, student, and payday lending. This edition covers unlawful junk fees in the areas of bank account deposits, auto loan servicing, mortgage loan servicing, payday lending, and student loan servicing found during examinations between July 1, 2022, and February 1, 2023.

Surprise deposit account fees: According to the Bureau, its prior supervision work led the agency to issue guidance in October 2022, on the longstanding problem of surprise overdraft fees. As of today, after the CFPB’s focus on surprise overdrafts, at least 20 of the largest banks in the United States, which hold 62% of the volume of consumer deposit accounts subject to the CFPB’s supervisory authority, do not charge surprise overdraft fees. Additionally, banks that the CFPB has examined thus far will refund roughly $30 million to about 170,000 account holders who were assessed surprise overdraft fees.

Auto loan servicing: In the last six months, CFPB examiners found illegal servicing practices, particularly around the charging of unlawful fees, including hitting car owners with:

  • Out-of-bounds and fake late fees: Servicers charged late fees that exceeded the permissible amounts stated in borrowers’ contracts. Servicers also charged late fees to consumers whose cars had been repossessed and their loans accelerated, which means that no payment was due that could have been subject to a late fee.
  • Inflated estimated repossession fees: Servicers, before returning vehicles to some consumers, charged inflated estimated repossession fees of $1,000. The average cost to repossess a vehicle is $350.
  • Pay-to-pay payment fees and kickback payments: After borrowers were locked into servicer relationships, some auto loan servicers charged payment processing fees for the most common payment methods that far exceeded servicers’ costs for processing payments. Payment processors collected the inflated fees, and the servicers then profited through kickbacks from the processors.

Mortgage loan servicing: CFPB examiners have identified old and new ways that mortgage servicers attempt to run-up unlawful fees that are charged to homeowners. Specifically, CFPB examiners found mortgage servicers charged:

  • Excessive late fee amounts: Mortgage servicers charged the top late fee amount allowed by relevant state laws, even when homeowners’ mortgage contracts capped late fee amounts below state maximums.
  • Fees for unnecessary property inspections: Mortgage servicers charged consumers $10 to $50 fees for every property inspection visit to addresses that were known to be incorrect. Servicers continued to pay inspectors to go to the known incorrect addresses and continued to charge consumers for those visits.
  • Fake Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) premium charges: Servicers included monthly PMI premiums that homeowners did not owe in their monthly statements.
  • Failure to waive fees for homeowners entering some loss mitigation options: CARES Act mortgage forbearance covered not only a mortgage’s principal and interest but also stopped servicers from charging late fees during the period of forbearance. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) put further protections in place for homeowners that exited forbearance and went into permanent COVID-19 loss mitigation options, including waiving certain fees or other charges that accrued outside of forbearance periods. However, CFPB examiners found that some servicers failed to adhere to HUD’s additional protections, and charged homeowners late charges, fees, and penalties that should have been waived.

Payday and title lending: The CFPB highlighted some of the ways that short-term, high-cost payday and title loan lenders have been profiting off unlawful fees. Specifically, CFPB examiners found that payday and title lenders charged:

  • Vehicle repossession and property retrieval fees: Some borrowers were charged repossession fees as well as fees to retrieve personal property found in repossessed vehicles, which sometimes included lifesaving medical equipment. The borrowers’ loan agreements did not allow the lenders to charge these fees.
  • Vehicles being repossessed with fees tacked on despite prior payment arrangements: Lenders that repossessed vehicles despite having entered into payment agreements with borrowers to allow them to avoid repossession. When borrowers went to reclaim their vehicles, they were forced to pay repossession fees as well as forced to refinance their debts — a practice which generally adds new costs to the initial title loan principal.

Student loan servicing: CFPB examiners found that servicers sometimes charged late fees and interest after payments were made on time. Specifically, the servicers’ policies did not allow borrowers to pay by credit card; however, sometimes their customer representatives erroneously accepted credit card payments. The servicers then cancelled the payments, and did not offer borrowers the chance to pay again. Instead, the servicers acted as if no payment had been made, and charged the borrowers late fees and additional interest.


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