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E.g., Nov 29 2020
E.g., Nov 29 2020

11/05/2020

Servicemembers consumer protection webinar

The NCUA and the CFPB will co-host a webinar on financial literacy and consumer financial protections for servicemembers. The November 18 “Financial Readiness Resources and Information for Servicemembers, Veterans, and their Families" webinar is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. ET and run approximately 45 minutes. Participants will be able to log into the webinar and view it on their computers or mobile devices using the registration link. Registration is now open.

The NCUA’s Office of Consumer Financial Protection will share financial literacy resources for servicemembers and their families on MyCreditUnion.gov, and provide a brief overview of servicemember consumer financial protection laws and regulations. The CFPB’s Office of Servicemember Affairs will highlight their interactive learning tools and resources for servicemembers and their families.

11/04/2020

Agenda for FTC Franchise Rule virtual workshop

The Federal Trade Commission has released the agenda for the Franchise Rule virtual workshop on November 10. The workshop will explore a number of issues related to the Franchise Rule, and the comments received in response to the FTC’s request for comment about the Rule last year. The Rule is designed to ensure that consumers who are considering buying a franchise have key information they need to weigh the risks and benefits of that potential investment.

The workshop will take place online from 1:00 – 4:30 p.m. ET. A link to view the event will be posted on the event page prior to the start of the event. Registration is not required. It will be webcast live on the FTC’s website and live tweeted from the FTC’s Twitter page (@FTC) using the hashtag #FranchiseRuleFTC.

11/04/2020

SEC SBCFAC agenda released

The Securities and Exchange Commission has released the agenda for the Monday, November 9, 2020, meeting of its Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee (SBCFAC), which will be hosted via video conference.

The Committee will discuss the Commission’s recent proposal to create a limited, conditional exemption from broker registration requirements for “finders” who assist companies with raising capital in private markets from accredited investors. During the meeting, the Committee will also continue its discussions on how small businesses are coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and share observations from their areas of the marketplace. The meeting will run from 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET and will be webcast live on SEC.gov The webcast will be archived on the Committee webpage for later viewing.

11/03/2020

SMART payment plan deception ends in CFPB settlement

The CFPB has issued a consent order against SMART Payment Plan, LLC (Austin, Texas), after finding that the company's disclosures of its loan accelerator program were misleading and in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act's prohibition against deceptive acts or practices. SMART operates a loan payment accelerator program for auto loans called the SMART Plan that deducts payments from consumers’ bank accounts every two weeks and then forwards these payments every month to the consumers’ lenders. The consent order imposes a judgment against SMART requiring it to pay $7,500,000 in consumer redress and requirements to prevent future violations.

SMART provided consumers individualized “benefits summaries” that purported to state a specific amount of interest savings or other money savings consumers would get by enrolling in the SMART Plan, but SMART’s fees would ordinarily exceed the savings. SMART’s disclosures thus created the misleading impression that consumers would save money using its product.

The ordered consumer redress has been suspended upon SMART's payment of $1,500,000 by December 31, and a $1 civil money penalty to the Bureau (based on SMART'S inability to pay more based on sworn financial statements.

For additional information and a link to the Bureau's consent order, see "SMART Payment Plan LLC settles with Bureau over misleading statements" in the BankersOnline Penalty pages.

11/03/2020

FTC and Nigerian enforcement agencies update MOU

The Federal Trade Commission has announced the signing of an updated memorandum of understanding with two Nigerian enforcement agencies to reaffirm the agencies’ capacity and willingness to work together, as well as the intention to share information and to assist one another in consumer protection investigations. The MOU establishes a joint implementation committee to develop joint training programs and workshops and provide assistance regarding specific investigations. It also affirms the participants’ ongoing support for econsumer.gov, a joint project of agencies from 40 countries for reporting international scams online. The MOU is a framework for voluntary cooperation that does not change existing laws in either country.

11/03/2020

NCUA fair lending and consumer compliance webinar announced

The NCUA has announced it will host a webinar on November 17, 2020, on a range of fair lending and consumer compliance topics. Registration for the “Fair Lending and Consumer Compliance Regulatory Update” webinar is open. The session is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. Eastern Time and last approximately 60 minutes. The webinar will be closed-captioned and archived online approximately three weeks following the live event.

11/03/2020

OCC CRA evaluations released

The OCC has released a list of Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) performance evaluations that became public in October (links are to the evaluation reports):

Of the 22 evaluations listed, 16 were rated satisfactory. We congratulate the six banks whose evaluations were rated outstanding:

11/03/2020

October 2020 foreign exchange rates

The Federal Reserve System has posted G.5 Monthly Exchange Rates data for October 2020.

11/03/2020

IRS relief for COVID-19-impacted taxpayers

The IRS has announced a number of changes designed to help struggling taxpayers impacted by COVID-19 more easily settle their tax debts with the IRS. The revised COVID-related collection procedures will be helpful to taxpayers, especially those who have a record of filing their returns and paying their taxes on time. Among the highlights of the Taxpayer Relief Initiative:

  • Taxpayers who qualify for a short-term payment plan option may now have up to 180 days to resolve their tax liabilities instead of 120 days.
  • The IRS is offering flexibility for some taxpayers who are temporarily unable to meet the payment terms of an accepted Offer in Compromise.
  • The IRS will automatically add certain new tax balances to existing Installment Agreements, for individual and out of business taxpayers. This taxpayer-friendly approach will occur instead of defaulting the agreement, which can complicate matters for those trying to pay their taxes.
  • To reduce burden, certain qualified individual taxpayers who owe less than $250,000 may set up Installment Agreements without providing a financial statement or substantiation if their monthly payment proposal is sufficient.
  • Some individual taxpayers who only owe for the 2019 tax year and who owe less than $250,000 may qualify to set up an Installment Agreement without a notice of federal tax lien filed by the IRS.
  • Qualified taxpayers with existing Direct Debit Installment Agreements may now be able to use the Online Payment Agreement system to propose lower monthly payment amounts and change their payment due dates.

    11/03/2020

    OFAC advisory on risks in dealing in costly artwork

    OFAC has issued an "Advisory and Guidance on Potential Sanctions Risks Arising from Dealings in High-Value Artwork," to highlight sanctions risks arising from dealings in high-value artwork associated with persons blocked pursuant to OFAC’s authorities, including persons on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List). Such transactions may play a role in blocked persons accessing the U.S. market and financial system in violation of OFAC regulations.

    The advisory describes characteristics of the market for high-value artwork that pose sanctions risks; emphasizes to art galleries, museums, private art collectors, auction companies, agents, brokers, and other participants in the art market the importance of maintaining a risk-based compliance program to mitigate such risks; and highlights that what is commonly described as the "Berman Amendment" to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA) does not categorically exempt all dealings in artwork from OFAC regulation and enforcement.

    11/02/2020

    2019 foreign securities holdings survey

    The findings from the annual survey of U.S. portfolio holdings of foreign securities at year-end 2019 were released Friday by the Treasury Department. The survey measured the value of U.S. portfolio holdings of foreign securities at year-end 2019 as approximately $13.1 trillion, with $9.5 trillion held in foreign equity, $3.1 trillion held in foreign long-term debt securities (original term-to-maturity in excess of one year), and $0.5 trillion held in foreign short-term debt securities. The previous such survey, conducted as of year-end 2018, measured U.S. holdings of approximately $11.3 trillion, with $7.9 trillion held in foreign equity, $2.9 trillion held in foreign long-term debt securities, and $0.5 trillion held in foreign short-term debt securities. The increase in 2019 was mainly in equity U.S. portfolio holdings of foreign securities by country at the end of 2019 were the largest for the Cayman Islands ($2.00 trillion), followed by the United Kingdom ($1.52 trillion), Japan ($1.15 trillion), and Canada ($1.10 trillion) These four countries attracted 44 percent of total U.S. portfolio investment, versus 45 percent the previous year.

    11/02/2020

    NMLS annual renewal period has begun

    ​The annual renewal period for mortgage loan originators' registrations for 2021 began yesterday, November 1, 2020, and ends Tuesday, December 31, 2020. The NMLS Call Center operates Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET. For complete information, see the NMLS Annual Renewal Information page.

    11/02/2020

    Bureau issues FDCPA rule

    The CFPB has issued a final rule [653-page PDF] to restate and clarify prohibitions on harassment and abuse, false or misleading representations, and unfair practices by debt collectors when collecting consumer debt. The rule focuses on debt collection communications and gives consumers more control over how often and through what means debt collectors can communicate with them regarding their debts. The rule also clarifies how the protections of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act apply to newer communication technologies, such as email and text messages.

    The rule—

    • establishes a presumption on the number of calls debt collectors may place to reach consumers on a weekly basis. A debt collector is presumed to violate federal law if the debt collector places telephone calls to a particular person in connection with the collection of a particular debt more than seven times within seven consecutive days or within seven consecutive days of having had a telephone conversation about the debt.
    • clarifies how consumers may set limits on debt collection communications to reflect their preferences and the limits on communicating with third parties about a consumer’s debt
    • requires debt collectors who communicate electronically to offer the consumer a reasonable and simple method to opt out of such communications at a specific email address or telephone number
    • provides that consumers may, if the debt collector communicates through a medium of electronic communications, use that medium of electronic communications to place a cease communication request or notify the debt collector that they refuse to pay the debt
    • clarifies that the FDCPA’s general prohibition on harassing, oppressive, or abusive conduct applies to telephone calls as well as other communication media, such as email and text messages
    • provides examples demonstrating how the prohibition restricts emails and text messages
    • generally restates the FDCPA’s prohibitions regarding false, deceptive, or misleading representations or means and unfair or unconscionable means

    The final rule does contain provisions on disputes, and record retention, among other topics. It does not include a proposed safe harbor for debt collectors against claims that an attorney falsely represented the attorney’s involvement in the preparation of a litigation submission. The Bureau intends to issue a second debt collection final rule focused on consumer disclosures and collection of time-barred debts in December 2020.

    The rule, which is a complete revision and restatement of Bureau Regulation F (12 CFR Part 1006), will become effective one year after it is published in the Federal Register.

    11/02/2020

    Fed adjusts Main Street Lending Program terms

    The Federal Reserve Board has adjusted the terms of the Main Street Lending Program in two ways to better target support to smaller businesses that employ millions of workers and are facing continued revenue shortfalls due to the pandemic. the minimum loan size for three Main Street facilities available to for-profit and non-profit borrowers has been reduced from $250,000 to $100,000 and the fees have been adjusted to encourage the provision of these smaller loans. The Board and Department of the Treasury also issued a new frequently asked question clarifying that Paycheck Protection Program loans of up to $2 million may be excluded for purposes of determining the maximum loan size under the Main Street Lending Program, if certain requirements are met, which should also help smaller businesses access Main Street loans.

    Current loan term sheets:

    11/02/2020

    FDIC September enforcement orders

    The FDIC has issued a list of enforcement orders issued in September, 2020.

    • Banks in Sauk City ($18,500) and Berlin ($15,375), Wisconsin, paid civil money penalties for flood insurance violations
    • The former president of Enloe State Bank, Cooper, Texas (now in receivership) was issued a prohibition order, after an FDIC finding that she originated a significant number of fictitious loans from which she benefited and that led to the bank's financial losses.
    • A former branch manager for First Community Bank, Batesville, Arkansas, was issued a prohibition order after an FDIC finding that she had made unauthorized and fraudulent withdrawals from bank customers' certificate of deposit accounts, from which she received financial gain or other benefit.
    • A former commercial lender for Synovus Bank, Columbus, Georgia, was issued a prohibition order for misappropriation of funds through the creation of a fictitious line of credit, and unauthorized draws from a customer's line of credit and from another customer's account.

    11/02/2020

    Interagency large bank operational resilience paper

    The Federal Reserve Board, FDIC, and OCC have announced their release of a paper, "Sound Practices to Strengthen Operational Resilience," designed to help large banks increase operational resilience. Examples of risks to operational resilience include cyberattacks, natural disasters, and pandemics.

    The paper outlines practices to increase operational resilience that are drawn from existing regulations, guidance, statements, and common industry standards. The practices are grounded in effective governance and risk management techniques, consider third-party risks, and include resilient information systems. The paper does not revise the agencies' existing rules or guidance.

    The practices are for domestic banks with more than $250 billion in total consolidated assets or banks with more than $100 billion in total assets and other risk characteristics. An Explanatory Note was also posted.

    11/02/2020

    NCUA issues prohibition notice

    A prohibition notice has been issued by the National Credit Administration to a former employee of Members Exchange Credit Union in Ridgeland, Mississippi, who had been sentenced on a charge of embezzlement.

    10/30/2020

    Proposal to codify regulatory guidance statement

    In a joint press release, the OCC, Federal Reserve Board, FDIC, NCUA, and CFPB have invited public comment on a proposed rule outlining and confirming the agencies' use of supervisory guidance for regulated institutions. The proposal would codify the statement, as amended, that was issued in September 2018 by the agencies to clarify the differences between regulations and guidance.

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

    PUBLICATION AND COMMENT PERIOD UPDATE: Published at 85 FR 70512 on November 5, 2020, with comments due by January 4, 2021.

    10/30/2020

    OFAC targets companies involved in Iranian petrochemical sector

    OFAC has designated eight entities and related officials for their involvement in the sale and purchase of Iranian petrochemical products brokered by Triliance Petrochemical Co. Ltd. (Triliance), an entity designated by Treasury in January 2020. These entities, based in Iran, China, and Singapore, engaged in transactions facilitated by Triliance or otherwise assisted Triliance’s efforts to process and move funds generated by the sale of those petrochemical products.

    OFAC also updated the SDN listing of the Iraq-based Al Bilad Islamic Bank with additional aliases including al Atta Islamic Bank for Investment and Finance. Al Bilad Islamic Bank was designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, a counterterrorism authority, on May 15, 2018 for being owned or controlled by Aras Habib who was involved in the exploitation of Iraq’s banking sector to move funds from Tehran to Hizballah. Al-Bilad Islamic Bank was used by Iran’s Central Bank Governor to covertly funnel millions of dollars on behalf of the IRGC-QF to support Hizballah.

    For identification information on the designated entities and individuals designated, see this BankersOnline OFAC Update.

    10/30/2020

    Noncash payments data from 2019 payments study

    The Federal Reserve Board has published detailed noncash payments data from the 2019 Federal Reserve Payments Study (FRPS). Additional data, estimated from surveys covering 2012 through 2018, supplement the noncash payments overview provided by the top-line data released in December 2019.

    The data includes new information about core noncash payments and some evolving areas of payments in the United States:

    • The estimated number and value of checks for 2018 are revised to 14.0 billion and $26.8 trillion, respectively. As a result, the estimated decline in the number of checks from 2015 to 2018 is revised to 8.2 percent per year, steeper than the previously reported 7.2 percent per year decline. The estimated decline in the value of checks is revised to 2.8 percent per year, less steep than the previously reported 4.0 percent per year decline.
    • Use of alternative payment methods and services continues to grow. For example, according to estimates from processors, the number of payments via person-to-person and money transfer services more than doubled from 2015 to 2018.
    • Wire transfers originated by consumers grew at double-digit rates by both number and value from 2012 through 2018.

    10/30/2020

    FEMA to change notification method for community status

    FEMA has published a final rule [85 FR 68782] in today's Federal Register modernizing regulations regarding publication requirements of community eligibility status information under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). FEMA is replacing outdated regulations that require publication of community loss of eligibility notices in the Federal Register with a requirement that FEMA publish this information on the internet or by another comparable method. FEMA is also replacing its requirement that the agency maintain a list of communities eligible for flood insurance in the Code of Federal Regulations with a requirement that FEMA publish this list on the internet or by another comparable method.

    FEMA will post community suspension notices in the Community Status Book (CSB) area of its website for a minimum of one year after they are issued, and update the CSB regularly to reflect current community status information. Affected communities will continue to receive the 90-day and 30-day letters they have always received during the suspension process.

    The rule will be effective December 2, 2020.

    10/30/2020

    CFPB final rule on its disclosure of records and Information

    The CFPB has issued a final rule amending its Disclosure of Records and Information Regulations at 12 CFR Parts 1070 and 1091. The rule seeks to balance concerns regarding the Bureau’s need to protect confidential personal, business, supervisory, and investigative information against the need to use and disclose certain information in the course of the Bureau’s work or the work of other agencies with overlapping statutory or regulatory authority. Specifically, the rule addresses the confidential treatment of information that the Bureau obtains from persons in connection with the exercise of its authorities under Federal consumer financial laws.

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

    • Press release
    • PUBLICATION AND EFFECTIVE DATE INFO:Published at 85 FR 75194 on 11/24/2020, with a December 24, 2020, effective date.

    10/29/2020

    CFPB Ombudsman 2020 Annual Report

    The 2020 Annual Report of the CFPB Private Education Loan Ombudsman has been issued. It shows that from September 1, 2019, through August 31, 2020, the Bureau handled approximately 7,000 complaints related to private or federal student loans. That is an overall decrease from last year and continues a trend from 2017. More specifically, for the 12 months ending August 31, 2020, the Bureau handled approximately 1,900 private student loan complaints, a decrease of approximately 33 percent compared to that of the previous year, and approximately 5,000 federal student loan complaints, a decrease of approximately 24 percent compared to that of the previous 12 months.

    10/29/2020

    OFAC reissues Yemen Sanctions regulation

    OFAC has posted a Recent Actions Update to announce it has amended and reissued in their entirety the Yemen Sanctions Regulations (31 CFR Part 552), which were published in today's Federal Register. This final rule replaces the regulations that were published in abbreviated form on November 9, 2012, with a more comprehensive set of regulations that includes additional interpretive and definitional guidance, general licenses, statements of licensing policy, and other regulatory provisions that will provide further guidance to the public.

    10/29/2020

    Failed Kansas bank purchased

    The FDIC has announced that the Kansas Office of the State Bank Commissioner has closed Almena State Bank, Almena, Kansas, and appointed the FDIC as receiver. The bank had experienced longstanding capital and asset quality issues.

    The FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Equity Bank, Andover, Kansas, to assume all the deposits of the failed bank. As of June 30, 2020, Almena State Bank had about $70 million in assets and $68.7 million in total deposits.

    The FDIC estimated that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund will be $18.3 million. This was the fourth failure of an FDIC-insured bank this year, and the second this month.

    10/29/2020

    SBA fiscal year loan summary data

    The Small Business Administration has released its Fiscal Year 2020 summary loan data of the financial assistance provided through traditional loan program lending as well as aid provided via the CARES Act.

    Loans guaranteed through traditional SBA lending programs exceeded $28 billion; however, enactment of the CARES Act dramatically increased loan volume guaranteed by the Agency. In FY20, the Paycheck Protection Program provided an additional 5.2 million loans worth more than $525 billion. The Agency’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program added another 3.6 million small business loans valued at $191 billion, as well as an additional 5.7 million EIDL Advances worth $20 billion.

    Highlights from the Paycheck Protection Program:

    • 27% of the PPP loan dollars were made in low-and moderate-income communities which is in proportion to the percentage of population in these areas
    • More than $133 billion, or 25%, of PPP loans were approved for small businesses in historically underutilized business zones (HUBZones)
    • Over $80 billion, or 15%, of total PPP dollars were approved to small businesses in rural communities

    10/28/2020

    Hurricane Zeta closings authorized

    Yesterday, the OCC issued a proclamation allowing national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign banks to close offices along the Gulf Coast of the United States and in other areas impacted by Hurricane Zeta at their discretion.

    10/28/2020

    2020 National DNC Registry Data Book

    The Federal Trade Commission has issued the National Do Not Call Registry Data Book for Fiscal Year 2020. The Do Not Call (DNC) Registry lets consumers choose not to receive most legal telemarketing calls. The data show that the number of active registrations on the DNC Registry increased by two million over the past year, while the total number of consumer complaints decreased for the third year in a row.

    10/28/2020

    FHFA House Price Index up

    The FHFA has released its latest FHFA House Price Index. House prices rose nationwide in August, up 1.5 percent from the previous month. Prices rose 8.0 percent from August 2019 to August 2020. FHFA also revised its previously reported 1.0 percent price change for July 2020 to 1.1 percent. For the nine census divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly house price changes from July 2020 to August 2020 ranged from +0.9 percent in the East South Central division to +1.9 percent in the West South Central division. The 12-month changes ranged from +7.2 percent in the West North Central division to +9.7 percent in the Mountain division.

    10/28/2020

    Washington Federal Bank hit with HMDA penalty

    The CFPB has announced it has settled with Washington Federal Bank, N.A., a federally insured national bank, and issued a consent order to address the Bureau’s finding that the bank reported inaccurate Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data about its mortgage transactions for 2016 and 2017. The settlement requires Washington Federal to pay a $200,000 civil money penalty and develop and implement an effective compliance-management system to prevent future violations.

    The bank was previously issued a consent order in 2013 for HMDA filing violations. For additional information and a link to the consent order, see "Washington Federal Bank, NA pays HMDA penalty" in BankersOnline's penalty pages.

    10/28/2020

    FHFA finalizes strategic plan for FY 2021-2024

    The Federal Housing Finance Agency has announced its adoption of the FHFA Strategic Plan: Fiscal Years 2021-2024. The Strategic Plan establishes new goals needed for FHFA to fulfill its statutory duties, which include responsibly ending the conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises). The FHFA said it carefully reviewed all comments submitted on the Plan. The agency fulfilled one of the most common comment requests on October 19, when it released a proposed rule on new Enterprise products and activities.

    The Strategic Plan formalizes the new direction of the agency and its regulated entities by updating the agency’s mission, vision, and values, and by establishing three new strategic goals:

    1. Ensuring safe and sound regulated entities through world-class supervision;
    2. Fostering competitive, liquid, efficient, and resilient (CLEAR) national housing finance markets; and
    3. Positioning the agency as a model of operational excellence by strengthening its workforce and infrastructure.

    10/28/2020

    NMLS Policy Guidebook updated

    An updated version of the NMLS Policy Guidebook has been posted on the NMLS Resource Center and the Regulator Resource Center.

    The updates include a provision that individuals (including mortgage loan originators) working under executive order, state guidance, laws, regulations or any other pronouncement with the effect of law, need not change their work location in their Registry record.

    10/28/2020

    Interest Rate Risk Statistics report

    The OCC has issued Bulletin 2020-91 to announce the publication of the first semiannual "Interest Rate Risk Statistics Report." The report presents interest rate risk data gathered during examinations of OCC-supervised midsize and community financial institutions. The statistics are for informational purposes only and do not represent OCC-suggested limits or exposures. The report provides statistics on interest rate risk exposures and risk limits for different midsize and community bank populations, including:

    • all OCC-supervised midsize and community banks with reported data
    • banks by asset size
    • banks by charter type
    • minority depository institutions

    10/28/2020

    OCC finalizes True Lender Rule

    The OCC has issued a final rule that determines when a bank (national bank or federal savings association) makes a loan and is the “true lender,” including in the context of a partnership between a bank and a third party. The rule specifies that a bank makes a loan and is the true lender if, as of the date of origination, it (1) is named as the lender in the loan agreement or (2) funds the loan. The rule also specifies that if, as of the date of origination, one bank is named as the lender in the loan agreement for a loan and another bank funds that loan, the bank that is named as the lender in the loan agreement makes the loan. The rule also clarifies that as the true lender of a loan, the bank retains the compliance obligations associated with the origination of that loan, thus negating concern regarding harmful rent-a-charter arrangements.

    The OCC specifies in the prefatory text to the final rule in the Federal Register filing that the bank would not be considered the true lender in certain traditional lending or finance arrangements such as mortgage warehouse lending, indirect automobile finance, loan syndication and other structured finance. The OCC also clarified that the rule “does not affect the applicability” of the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act or their implementing regulations. The final rule will take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

    PUBLICATION AND EFFECTIVE DATE INFO: Published at 85 FR 68742 on October 30, 2020, with an effective date of December 29, 2020.

    10/27/2020

    HUD awards $10M in sweat equity grants

    HUD has announced the award of $10 million in "sweat equity" grants to four non-profit self-help housing organizations which will create at least 536 affordable homes for hard-working, low-income families and individuals. The organizations receiving the grants are:

    • Habitat for Humanity International, Inc. - $5,341,907
    • Tierra Del Housing Corporation - $2,043,781
    • Community Frameworks - $1,320,232
    • Housing Assistance Council - $1,294,080

    10/28/2020

    9th mortgage company settles with CFPB over deceptive ads

    The CFPB has issued a consent order against Low VA Rates LLC, a Utah-based mortgage lender and broker incorporated in Colorado and licensed in 48 states and the District of Columbia. The order addresses the Bureau’s finding that Low VA Rates sent consumers mailers for mortgage loans guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that contained false, misleading, and inaccurate statements, which violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act’s (CFPA) prohibition against deceptive acts and practices, the Mortgage Acts and Practices – Advertising Rule (MAP Rule, Regulation N), and Regulation Z. The order requires Low VA Rates to pay a civil money penalty of $1,800,000 to the Bureau and imposes requirements to prevent future violations.

    This CFPB action is the ninth and last case stemming from a Bureau sweep of investigations of multiple mortgage companies that used deceptive mailers to advertise VA-guaranteed mortgages. The Bureau began the sweep in response to concerns raised by the VA about potentially unlawful advertising in the mortgage lending market. The Bureau has obtained more than $4.4 million in civil money penalties as a result of this sweep.

    To prevent future violations, the consent order requires Low VA Rates to designate an advertising compliance official who must review its mortgage advertisements for compliance with mortgage advertising laws prior to use. Low VA Rates must also refrain from making misrepresentations like those identified by the Bureau through its investigation, and comply with certain enhanced disclosure requirements.

    For additional information, see "Low VA Rates LLC settles with Bureau over deceptive VA loan ads," in BankersOnline's Penalty Pages.

    10/27/2020

    OFAC targets key actors in Iran's oil sector

    On Monday, OFAC designated the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), and the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) in accordance with E.O. 13224, a counterterrorism authority, for their financial support to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force. OFAC also designated multiple entities and individuals associated with the Ministry of Petroleum, NIOC, and NITC, including front companies, subsidiaries, and senior executives; and four persons involved in the recent sale of Iranian gasoline to the illegitimate Maduro regime in Venezuela.

    For identification information on the individuals, entities and vessels added to OFAC's SDN List with those designations, related changes to the List, and a new Iran-related General License, see this BankersOnline OFAC Update.

    10/28/2020

    FDIC updates RMS Manual

    The FDIC has released the October 2020 updates to its Risk Management Manual of Examinations Policies (RMS Manual). Updates to Section 22.1—Examination Documentation (ED) Modules include revisions to the Credit Card Related Merchant Activities, Electronic Funds Transfer Risk Assessment, Trust, and Trust - Abbreviated ED modules to clarify certain procedures and to address other technical edits.

    10/27/2020

    Revised pamphlet for Comptroller's Handbook

    The OCC has posted Bulletin 2020-90 to announce the revision of the “Concentrations of Credit” booklet of the Comptroller’s Handbook, which is used by OCC examiners in their examination and supervision of national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign banking organizations. The revised booklet—

    • changes the supervisory calculation for credit concentration ratios for banks that have implemented the current expected credit loss (CECL) transition rule to avoid double counting the allowance for credit losses in the denominator
    • replaces the term “criticized” with “special mention” for consistency with Banking Bulletin (BB) 1993-35, “Interagency Definition of Special Mention Assets”
    • reflects relevant OCC issuances published since this booklet was last issued
    • reflects changes to laws and regulations that occurred since this booklet was last issued
    • clarifies applicability of references to covered savings associations
    • includes clarifying edits regarding supervisory guidance, sound risk management practices, or legal language
    • revises certain content for general clarity
    • removes the NAICS code listing, as this information is readily available at www.census.gov

    10/26/2020

    FATF strengthens standards against proliferation financing

    Treasury reports that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) concluded its 32nd plenary meeting on Friday, October 23, by agreeing to revise its standards to further strengthen the global response to the financing of proliferation related to weapons of mass destruction. The endorsement of the new standard is a result of an initiative that began under the U.S. FATF presidency and was adopted by finance ministers of FATF members in 2019.

    The FATF also continued its focus on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on detecting and countering fraud including attempts to defraud government-backed stimulus programs. The task force also adopted an updated report on trade-based money laundering and recognized progress by a number of jurisdictions in rectifying their AML/CFT deficiencies.

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