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Banker's Toolbox, Inc., leaders in compliance solutions for financial institutions, announced the acquisition of Georgia-based MainStreet Technologies (MST). MST is an industry leader in the loan risk management space. This acquisition adds to a strong and growing portfolio of compliance-related solutions and will continue to enhance the value Banker's Toolbox brings to both their customers and the industry. (Read full press release here.)

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E.g., Jun 21 2018
E.g., Jun 21 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.


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.


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.


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.


Fair Housing assessment tool withdrawn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.


$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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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."


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Summary of Deposits reminder from FDIC

The FDIC has circulated FIL-27-2018 concerning the Summary of Deposits, the annual survey of branch office deposits as of June 30 for all FDIC-insured institutions, including insured U.S. branches of foreign banks. All institutions with branch offices are required to submit the survey; institutions with only a main office are exempt. Survey responses are due by July 31, 2018. Filing extensions are not available.


Refi volume down with rising interest rates

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has reported that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac completed 356,003 refinances in the first quarter of 2018, compared with 446,295 in the fourth quarter of 2017. FHFA's first quarter Refinance Report also shows that 4,139 loans were refinanced through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), bringing the total number of HARP refinances to 3,488,165 since inception of the program in 2009.


OFAC targets Iraqi bank and four individuals

Treasury has announced that OFAC has imposed sanctions on the Governor and a senior official of the Central Bank of Iran, an Iraq-based bank and its chairman, and a key Hizballah official, all of whom have moved millions of dollars on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) to Hizballah. They were designated as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) pursuant to Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism.

For identification information on the Iraq-based bank and the four individuals sanctioned by OFAC's action, see our OFAC Update.


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.


March TIC data

Treasury has released the Treasury International Capital data for March 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


CFPB email course on meeting financial goals

The Bureau has announced an opportunity to sign up for an email course to help consumers meet their financial goals. The "Get a Handle on Debt Boot Camp," a 21-day email course, will start in June.


Facing foreclosure after a natural disaster

The Bureau has posted an article that provides information on what to know when facing foreclosure after a natural disaster.


Congress approves resolution to scrap Bureau ECOA interpretation

The House of Representatives approved last week Senate Joint Resolution 57, which disapproves the rule submitted by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection relating to "Indirect Auto Lending and Compliance with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act" (CFPB Bulletin 2013-02, March 21, 2013), which the Government Accountability Office has considered to be a rule under the Congressional Review Act. The Resolution has been delivered to the president. If signed by the president, the Resolution will void the Bureau's 2013 action.


FFIEC updates CDD/Beneficial Ownership exam procedures

On Friday, the FFIEC issued new examination procedures on the “Customer Due Diligence Requirements for Financial Institutions” rule finalized by FinCEN on May 11, 2016. The new examination procedures replace those in the current “Customer Due Diligence — Overview and Examination Procedures” section of the FFIEC’s Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Examination Manual. In addition, a new overview and examination procedures were developed for the beneficial ownership requirements for legal entity customers. The revised procedures were issued on May 11, 2018, the day the rule became effective.


FinCEN grants Beneficial Ownership relief for premium finance cash refunds

FinCEN has issued an Administrative Ruling (FIN-2018-R001) to provide exceptive relief to covered financial institutions with respect to the application of the Beneficial Ownership Requirements for Legal Entity Customers to premium finance lending products that allow for cash refunds. The regulation provides an exemption in § 1010.230(h)(1)(iii) for accounts of premium finance lenders to be used to "finance insurance premiums and for which payments are remitted directly by the financial institution to the insurance provider or broker," unless there is the possibility of cash refunds. FinCEN's ruling, issued Friday, allows a financial institution to open a new account for a premium finance lender when there is possibility of a cash refund.


HUD Strong Families initiative launched

A video message from Secretary Carson was utilized by HUD to launch HUD Strong Families, a new effort in coordination with public housing authorities, federal partners, and service organizations to support families living in HUD-assisted housing by connecting them with resources that expand economic opportunity and promote engagement with their children.


U.S. and United Arab Emirates target currency exchange network

The Treasury Department has announced a cooperative effort with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to disrupt an extensive currency exchange network in Iran and the UAE that has procured and transferred millions in U.S. dollar-denominated bulk cash to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) to fund its malign activities and regional proxy groups. Specifically, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated nine Iranian individuals and entities. For identity information, see our OFAC Update.


Allegations of California housing discrimination resolved by HUD

HUD has announced it has approved a Conciliation Agreement between the Fair Housing Council of Riverside County (FHCRC) and the owners and property managers of Sierra Vista Apartments, LLC, and Grand Oaks Apartments, LLC, in Lake Elsinore, California, resolving allegations that they discriminated against prospective tenants based on race.


Fed to continue 7-day term deposit offerings

The Federal Reserve has announced plans to continue its previously announced periodic testing of the Term Deposit Facility (TDF) with one operation in May. These operations are aimed at ensuring the operational readiness of the TDF and providing eligible institutions with an opportunity to maintain familiarity with term deposit procedures. The TDF test operations are a matter of prudent planning and have no implications for the near-term conduct of monetary policy. The Federal Reserve plans to conduct a similar routine TDF test operation in the second half of 2018. The schedule and terms of future test operations will be announced at later dates.


Bureau posts spring 2018 rulemaking agenda

The Bureau has posted its Spring 2018 Regulatory Agenda. There is no longer a mention of rulemaking for overdrafts. A final rule updating Regulation P with the legal exception to the annual privacy notice requirement (enacted in December 2015, with a proposed rule issued on July 1, 2016) is expected in June. Also on the agenda for June is a joint Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with the Federal Reserve System with amendments to Regulation CC.

The Bureau's plans for 2019 include a HMDA proposal in January, a new proposal on small dollar lending in February, and a proposal on third-party debt collection in March. Pre-rulemaking activities on a small business lending data rule should begin in the spring of 2019.


Comptroller's Handbook update

OCC Bulletin 2018-11, issued Friday, announced a new "Military Lending Act" booklet for the Comptroller's Handbook. The new booklet replaces and rescinds the “Limitations on Terms of Consumer Credit Extended to Servicemembers and Dependents” procedures that were found in the “Other Consumer Protection Laws and Regulations” booklet of the Handbook.


FDIC deposit insurance seminars

FDIC FIL-25-2018, issued yesterday, announces four identical live seminars on FDIC deposit insurance coverage for bank employees and bank officers between May 24, 2018, and November 26, 2018. In addition to a comprehensive overview of FDIC deposit insurance rules, the seminars now include deposit insurance coverage information on signature card requirements for joint accounts, prepaid cards, bank trade names, health savings accounts, 529 plan accounts, and 529 Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) plan accounts. The presentation provides an overview of some of the most popular deposit insurance resources, including:

  • the FDIC's Electronic Deposit Insurance Estimator (EDIE), an interactive tool used to calculate deposit insurance coverage;
  • the FDIC's BankFind Directory, which allows users to confirm if a bank is FDIC-insured; and
  • the FDIC's Financial Institution Employee's Guide to Deposit Insurance, developed to assist bankers in providing detailed information about deposit insurance coverage to their customers.


SEC charges NY and TX fund advisors

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged a New York-based investment adviser, Premium Point Investments LP, with inflating the value of private funds it advised by hundreds of millions of dollars.  The SEC also charged Premium Point’s CEO and chief investment officer, Anilesh Ahuja, and Amin Majidi, a former partner and portfolio manager at the firm, and former trader Jeremy Shor.

In a separate action, the SEC charged Mario Hinojosa and his wholly-owned municipal advisor, Barcelona Strategies, LLC, with misrepresenting their municipal advisory experience and failing to disclose conflicts of interest to a south Texas school district in connection with multiple municipal bond offerings.


Illinois bank reports counterfeit cashier's checks

The OCC has issued an alert that the Community National Bank, Monmouth, Illinois, has reported that counterfeit cashier's checks using the bank's routing number are being presented nationwide in connection with an online secret survey analyst/store evaluator employment opportunity scam. Details can be found in our Alerts and Counterfeits pages.


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