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E.g., Jan 25 2021
E.g., Jan 25 2021

01/06/2021

IRS updates its EIP FAQs

The IRS has posted an updated FAQ page on Economic Impact Payments ("EIPs" or "stimulus payments"). The updated page includes information on obtaining the Recovery Rebate Credit using the taxpayer's 2020 Form 1040 or 1040-SR and details on use of the IRS Get My Payment tool to determine EIP status. Because there is no mechanism for updating bank account information that the IRS received with a taxpayer's 2019 tax return, some EIPs sent as ACH direct deposits will not post, and banks have been directed to return them.

The FAQs are grouped under these headings:

  • Accessing Get My Payment
  • Payment Status
  • Missing Payments
  • Payment Status Not Available
  • Error Messages/Lockouts
  • Bank Account Information

    01/06/2021

    FHFA announces "Duty to Serve" Enterprise plans

    The Federal Housing Finance Agency has announced the 2021 Underserved Markets Plans for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) under the Duty to Serve (DTS) program. The Plans became effective January 1, 2021. FHFA issued a final rule in 2016 that implemented the DTS provisions as mandated by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. The statute requires the Enterprises to serve three specified underserved markets—manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation, and rural housing—by increasing the liquidity of mortgage financing for very low-, low-, and moderate-income families.

    Under ordinary circumstances, each Enterprise would have submitted a three-year Plan for 2021-2023 in accordance with the DTS mandate. Due to potential market disruption and uncertainty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, FHFA instructed the Enterprises to submit Plans for one year (2021) only, as an extension of their 2018-2020 Plans. The activities outlined by the Enterprises to achieve Plan objectives will remain subject to FHFA review and approval to ensure compliance with the Enterprises' Charter Acts, safety and soundness measures, and other conservatorship and regulatory requirements.

    01/06/2021

    OFAC targets key actors in Iran's steel sector

    OFAC has designated a China-based supplier of graphite electrodes, a key element in steel production, as well as twelve Iranian producers of steel and other metals products, and three foreign-based sales agents of a major Iranian metals and mining holding company. This action was taken pursuant to Executive Order 13871, which imposes sanctions on several sectors of the Iranian economy, including Iran’s steel sector, that continue to generate significant revenue for the Iranian regime.

    In concurrent actions, the State Department has sanctioned entities and an individual, Majid Sajdeh, under the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 (IFCA).

    The names and identification information on the sanctioned individual and entities are list in BankersOnline's OFAC Update.

    OFAC also updated its CAATSA FAQs yesterday.

    01/06/2021

    CFPB releases Taskforce report

    The CFPB has announced that its Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law has released a report in two volumes [Volume I; Volume II] with recommendations on how to improve consumer protection in the financial marketplace. The Taskforce Report uses five interrelated principles that serve as the foundation for proposed systematic changes to the current legal and regulatory framework: consumer protection, information and education, competition and innovation, regulatory modernization and flexibility, and inclusion and access.

    In its report, the Taskforce makes approximately 100 recommendations to the Bureau, Congress, and state and federal regulators to strengthen consumer protection. Among the Taskforce recommendations are:

    • Authorize the Bureau to issue licenses to non-depository institutions that provide lending, money transmission, and payments services;
    • Expand access to the payment system by unbanked and underbanked consumers and ensure consistent treatment by applying the same rules to similar financial products;
    • Identify competitive barriers and make appropriate recommendations to policymakers and regulators for expanding access to the payments systems by non-bank providers;
    • Research and develop policies tailored to the unique challenges of formerly incarcerated people, and work with state and federal authorities to improve protection of this population;
    • Research and develop policies to address problems of financial inclusion in rural communities;
    • Facilitate creditor access to immigrants’ credit information prior to their arrival in the United States in order to use that information in credit decisions;
    • Research consumer reporting issues that arise in connection with a consumer’s bankruptcy;
    • Consider the benefits and costs of preempting state law where conflicts can impede the provision of valuable products and services, such as the regulation of FinTech companies engaged in money transmission;
    • Identify opportunities to coordinate regulatory efforts. For example, the Bureau and prudential regulators should eliminate overlapping examination subject areas and reconcile inconsistent examination standards that unnecessarily expend multiple resources and can cause confusion;
    • Continue to increase dialogue with state regulators to bridge knowledge gaps and streamline regulation;
    • Work with other agencies to create a unified regulatory regime for new and innovative technologies providing services similar to banks;
    • Establish independent review of the Bureau’s regulatory cost-benefit analyses by staffing an office of cost-benefit analysis at the Bureau and or by submitting its analyses to OIRA for review;
    • Evaluate any positive or negative effect on inclusion as part of the Bureau’s cost-benefit analyses as appropriate;
    • Exercise caution (a recommendation for the Bureau, Congress, and other federal and state regulators) in restricting the use of nonfinancial alternative data, which can be very useful indicators of creditworthiness.
    • Clarify the obligations of CRAs and furnishers with respect to disputes under the FCRA;
    • Assess periodically the accuracy and completeness of consumer credit reports.

    01/05/2021

    FDIC releases CRA ratings

    The FDIC has released a list of banks examined for compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act whose evaluation ratings were assigned in October, 2020. Of the 66 banks listed, these eight banks received evaluation ratings of "Outstanding":

    The remaining 58 banks on the list received evaluation ratings of "Satisfactory."

    01/05/2021

    Update on EIP distributions

    EIP distributions, sometimes called stimulus payments, began Round 2 last week and have started appearing in banks accounts across the country. Those that are being sent as ACH credits include the "XX" characters that distinguish payments that are not subject to garnishment. The IRS has also begun mailing EIP checks and will be sending EIP prepaid debit cards in some cases. There is no need to apply or register with the IRS, since information from the first EIP round is being used for the second round. The IRS has updated its "Get My Payment" to show the status of both Round One and Round Two EIPs.

    According to an IRS press release, distribution will continue through mid-January. If taxpayers have not received their EIP by the time they file their 2020 tax returns, they can claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on their returns, where the credit will be calculated based on 2020 tax year information, including income.

    A couple of reminders:

    • If an EIP by ACH is sent to a closed account, it should be returned using return reason R02
    • EIP ACH entries directed to deceased individuals' accounts should be returned using reason R15

    01/05/2021

    OCC 2020 Annual Report

    The OCC has issued its Annual Report for 2020, which provides Congress with an overview of the condition of the federal banking system. The annual report discusses the OCC's strategic priorities and details agency regulatory and policy initiatives. Additionally, the report discusses the agency's financial management and condition, including its audited financial statements.

    01/05/2021

    OCC proposes rule on permissible bank premises

    The OCC has issued and invited comments on a proposed rule to codify permissibility standards for real estate used a national bank or federal savings association premises. The proposed rule would clarify standards for determining when real estate is necessary for the transaction of an institution's business. Comments on the proposal will be accepted for 45 days following its Federal Register publication.

    01/05/2021

    20 new Women's Business Centers launched

    The SBA has announced grant funding and the historic launch of 20 new Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) to serve rural, urban and underserved communities alike. The opening of the 20 new WBCs is the largest single expansion of WBCs across America in the 30-year WBC history, and these centers will be pivotal to the success of women-owned businesses as they continue to recover from the current pandemic-inflicted economy. The WBCs will be hosted in rural and underserved markets and widen the footprint and partnership with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

    SBA’s WBCs are a national network of 136 centers that offer one-on-one counseling, training, networking, workshops, technical assistance, and mentoring to women entrepreneurs on numerous business development topics, including business startup, financial management, marketing, and procurement. The new WBCs include:

    • Regional Economic Assistance for Communicating Hope (REACH) Catalyst Women’s Business Center – Clanton, Alabama
    • Chicanos Pro La Causa, Inc. (CPLC’s) Women’s Business Center - Phoenix, Arizona
    • El Pajaro Regional Women’s Business Center – Monterey, California
    • Mission Community Women’s Business Center serving Kern County – Bakersfield, California
    • Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) Savannah Women’s Business Center – Savannah, Georgia
    • Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) WBC South – Portland, Maine
    • Women’s Business Center at Jackson State University (HBCU) – Jackson, Mississippi - Hinds County
    • New Growth Women’s Business Center, West Central – Springfield, Missouri
    • Missoula Women’s Business Center – Missoula, Montana
    • GROW Nebraska Women’s Business Center (GNWBC) – Omaha, Nebraska
    • Women’s Enterprise and Development, Mid-Hudson – Hudson, New York
    • Winston Salem State University (WSSU) Women’s Business Center (HBCU) – Winston Salem, North Carolina
    • Women’s Business Center of Central Appalachia – Portsmouth, Ohio
    • Women’s eBusiness Center of Excellence – Erie, Pennsylvania
    • The Women’s Business Center South – Memphis, Tennessee
    • South Carolina Women’s Business Center – Charleston, South Carolina
    • South Dakota Women’s Business Center (East) – Sioux Falls, South Dakota
    • Women’s Business Center of Montgomery County, East Harris County, and West Chambers County – Houston, Texas
    • Women’s Business Center of Richmond – Richmond, Virginia
    • Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation Southwest – La Crosse, Wisconsin

      01/05/2021

      OCC clarifies bank and thrift participation in INVN and stablecoins

      The OCC has released Interpretive Letter 1174 to clarify national banks’ and federal savings associations’ authority to participate in independent node verification networks (INVN) and to use stablecoins to conduct payment activities and other bank-permissible functions. The agency letter concludes a national bank or federal savings association may validate, store, and record payments transactions by serving as a node on an INVN. Likewise, a bank may use INVNs and related stablecoins to carry out other permissible payment activities. In deploying these technologies, a bank must comply with applicable law and safe, sound, and fair banking practices.

      A common form of INVN is a distributed ledger, such as the ledgers on which crytocurrency transactions are recorded. In its Interpretive Letter 1170 (July 20, 2020), the OCC described distributed ledger technology as a shared electronic database where copies of the same information are stored on multiple computers. This shared database functions as both a mechanism to prevent tampering and as a way to add new information to the database. Information will not be added to the distributed ledger until consensus is reached that the information is valid. INVNs represent one of the key technologies that support the novel exchange mechanism underlying cryptocurrency. The other key technology is advanced cryptography.

      01/05/2021

      OFAC issues Venezuela-related license and updates FAQ

      OFAC has posted a Notice of Recent Actions announcing it has issued General License 31A, "Certain Transactions Involving the IV Venezuelan National Assembly, the Interim President of Venezuela, and Certain Other Persons Authorized" (replacing and superseding General License 31, dated August 5, 2019). In addition, OFAC has amended related Frequently Asked Question 679.

      01/04/2021

      IRS relief for certain energy projects

      The Treasury and the IRS have announced the IRS has issued guidance providing an extension of the safe harbor for taxpayers developing renewable energy projects offshore or on federal land. Renewable energy projects constructed offshore or on federal land are ordinarily subject to significant delays that can result in project completion times of up to twice as long as other renewable energy projects. These delays threaten taxpayers’ ability to satisfy requirements to claim the production tax credit and the investment tax credit.

      The Treasury Department and the IRS have determined that it is necessary to extend the safe harbor period to up to 10 calendar years after the year in which construction of the project began. By extending the safe harbor for these projects, Notice 2021-5 will provide flexibility for taxpayers constructing renewable energy projects offshore or on federal land to satisfy the beginning of construction requirements despite ordinary course delays that threaten their ability to claim tax credits.

      01/04/2021

      2019 Terrorist Assets Report

      OFAC has released the 2019 Terrorist Assets Report. This is the 28th annual report to Congress on assets in the U.S. relating to terrorist countries and organizations engaged in international terrorism.

      01/04/2021

      NCUA prohibition orders

      The National Credit Union Administration has announced it issued two prohibition orders in December, barring individuals from participating in the affairs of any federally insured financial institution.

      12/31/2020

      CFPB issues approval order for earned wage access product

      The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued a compliance assistance sandbox (CAS) approval order to PayActiv, Inc. covering specific aspects of some of its earned wage access (EWA) products, which allow employees access to their earned but unpaid wages prior to payday. A CAS approval offers an entity confronting regulatory uncertainty a “safe harbor” from liability under specified legal provisions. Entities are offered safe harbor for specified conduct that the Bureau finds compliant with those legal provisions, subject to good faith compliance with the terms of the approval. In this case, the CAS approval order implements the existing safe harbor approval mechanisms provided under the Truth in Lending Act, and is valid for two years.

      12/31/2020

      OCC publishes CMP inflation adjustments

      The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has published at 85 FR 86795 in this morning's Federal Register a notice of its maximum civil money penalties as adjusted for inflation. The inflation adjustments are required to implement the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended. The adjusted penalty amounts are applicable to penalties assessed on or after January 1, 2021, for conduct occurring on or after November 2, 2015. Selected common penalties from the list include:

      • Flood insurance: $2,252 per violation
      • Appraisal independence requirements: $11,906 for first violation; $23,811 for subsequent violations
      • Reporting requirements violations: Tier 1 $10,366; Tier 2 $51,827; Tier 3 lesser of $2,073,133 or 1 percent of total assets

      12/31/2020

      Military lender pays $2.175M to settle CFPB charges

      The CFPB has announced it has issued a consent order against Omni Financial of Nevada, Inc. (Omni). The Bureau found that Omni violated the Military Lending Act (MLA), Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA), and Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (CFPA) in connection with making installment loans. Omni, which has its principal place of business in Las Vegas, Nevada, and operates using the names Omni Financial and Omni Military Loans, specializes in lending to consumers affiliated with the military. It originates tens of thousands of loans each year, with individual loans typically ranging from $500 to $10,000.

      The consent order requires that Omni pay a $2.175 million civil money penalty and imposes injunctive relief to stop ongoing violations and prevent future violations. For additional details, see "Omni Financial fined $2.175M for violations of Military Lending Act, EFTA and CFPA," in BankersOnline's Penalties pages.

      12/31/2020

      OFAC targets two Venezuelan officials

      On Wednesday, the Treasury Department announced that OFAC has designated Venezuelan judge Lorena Carolina Cornielles Ruiz and Venezuelan prosecutor Ramon Antonio Torres Espinoza, the Venezuelan government officials who presided over and prosecuted the November 2020 trial and sentencing of six U.S. persons in Venezuela. The six U.S. persons, known as the “Citgo 6,” are Citgo executives who were imprisoned in Venezuela in November 2017 after being lured to Caracas under false pretenses.

      For identity information on Cornielles Ruiz and Torres Espinoza, see BankersOnline's OFAC Update.

      12/31/2020

      EIDL application deadline extended by SBA

      The SBA has announced that the deadline to apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program for the COVID-19 Pandemic disaster declaration has been extended to December 31, 2021. The deadline extension comes as a result of the recent bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill passed by Congress and enacted by the President on December 27, 2020. Loans are offered at very affordable terms, including a 3.75% interest rate for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profit organizations, a 30-year maturity, and an automatic deferment of one year before monthly payments begin. Every eligible small business and non-profit is encouraged to apply to get the resources they need.

      12/31/2020

      Bureau issues approval order for dual usage credit cards

      The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced it has issued a compliance assistance sandbox (CAS) approval order to Synchrony Bank regarding their proposal to develop a “dual-feature credit card.”

      The card is designed for consumers with a limited or damaged credit history as a tool that can be used to establish or reestablish a favorable credit history. Synchrony intends to offer a lower rate on secured use with the opportunity for eligible accountholders to graduate to unsecured use after 12 months. The terms of both secured use and unsecured use will be disclosed at the opening of the dual-feature credit card account. The terms will then be redisclosed with the opportunity to opt-in to unsecured use.

      A CAS approval offers an entity confronting regulatory uncertainty a “safe harbor” from liability under specified legal provisions. Entities are offered safe harbor for specified conduct that the Bureau finds compliant with those legal provisions, subject to good faith compliance with the terms of the approval. The Synchrony CAS approval order implements the existing safe harbor approval mechanisms provided under the Truth in Lending Act, and is valid for three years.

      12/30/2020

      Stimulus payments delivery has begun

      The Treasury Department announced yesterday that delivery of the first ACH files for the second round of Economic Impact Payments has begun as part of the implementation of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021. The initial direct deposit payments may have arrived Tuesday evening for some and will continue into next week. Paper checks will begin to be mailed today, December 30.

      This second round of payments will be distributed automatically, with no action required for eligible individuals. If additional legislation is enacted to provide for an increased amount, Economic Impact Payments that have been issued will be topped up.

      Financial institutions capable of releasing ACH payments before their Settlement Date may elect to do so, knowing that funds covering those payments won't be credited to the bank's reserve or pass-through account, and release of the funds to depositors isn't required, until the Settlement Date.

      12/30/2020

      Main Street Lending Program extension

      In order to allow more time to process and fund loans that were submitted to the Main Street lender portal on or before December 14, 2020, the Federal Reserve Board has extended the termination date of the Main Street Lending Program facilities to January 8, 2021. The Federal Reserve System's press release includes updated frequently asked questions and program term sheets.

      12/29/2020

      OFAC adds FAQs on Chinese military companies

      OFAC has posted a Notice of Recent Actions to announce new Frequently Asked Questions related to Executive Order 13959, "Addressing the Threat from Securities Investments that Finance Communist Chinese Military Companies," issued on November 12, 2020. OFAC also published a list of entities identified in or in accordance with E.O. 13959 as Communist Chinese military companies, with identifying information.

      12/29/2020

      FinCEN issues COVID-19 scam alert

      The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued Notice FIN-2020-NTC4 yesterday to alert financial institutions about the potential for fraud, ransomware attacks, or similar types of criminal activity related to COVID-19 vaccines and their distribution. The notice also provides specific instructions for filing Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) regarding such suspicious activity related to COVID-19 vaccines and their distribution.

      12/29/2020

      Saudi bank settles violations of sanctions regs

      OFAC has announced a settlement with the National Commercial Bank (NCB), a bank headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. NCB agreed to remit $653,347 to settle its potential civil liability for 13 apparent violations of the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations, or section 2(b) of Executive Order 13582 of August 17, 2011, “Blocking Property of the Government of Syria and Prohibiting Certain Transactions With Respect to Syria."

      This settlement amount reflects OFAC's determination that NCB's apparent violations were non-egregious, and NCB's cooperation during OFAC's investigation and improvement of its sanctions controls. For more information, see "Saudi bank settles with OFAC," in BankersOnline's Penalty pages.

      12/29/2020

      FDIC lists November enforcement actions

      The FDIC has released a list of orders of administrative enforcement actions taken against banks and individuals in November. Among those actions were two civil money penalties and one removal order.

      • Park Bank, Homen, Wisconsin, was ordered to pay a $12,841.50 civil money penalty for engaging in a pattern or practice of violations of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 and Part 339 of FDIC Rules and Regulations.
      • A former first vice president and BSA officer of Pacific City Bank, Los Angeles, California, was assessed a $10,000 civil money penalty, for having misrepresented to bank management and the FDIC the status of the bank's enhanced due diligence reviews, which resulted in a backlog us such reviews and failure to timely file SARs, backdating some of the EDD reviews, and deleting a bank analyst's SAR filing recommendation.
      • A removal and prohibition order was issued to a former cashier, vice president and director of Enloe State Bank, Cooper, Texas (in receivership), for originating 11 fictitious loans from which she or her family benefited.

      12/29/2020

      FHFA requests input on appraisal-related policies

      The Federal Housing Finance Agency yesterday issued a Request for Input (RFI) on appraisal-related policies, practices, and processes. The input received in response to the RFI will be used by FHFA to determine the necessary modifications needed to ensure Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) operate in a safe and sound manner. The RFI covers four areas related to appraisals:

      • Appraisal modernization;
      • The Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD) and the design of appraisal forms;
      • Automated Valuation Models (AVMs) and appraisal waivers; and
      • Valuation differences by borrower and neighborhood ethnic makeup.

      The FHFA invites feedback on all the questions in the RFI within 60 days of the publication of this document, but no later than February 26, 2021.

      12/29/2020

      OCC issues interpretation of preemption standards

      The OCC has issued an interpretation of 12 U.S.C. 25b, which codifies preemption standards and established procedural requirements for certain preemption actions by the agency. Federal preemption permits national banks and federal savings associations, many of which operate across state lines, to operate under a uniform set of rules to support nationwide banking. The OCC concluded that the federal banking system, and its customers, would benefit from a comprehensive interpretation of these provisions, which sets out a consistent framework for compliance.

      The OCC's Interpretive Letter 1173, issued on December 18, 2020, discusses, among other topics:

      • Standards for preemption of state consumer financial laws
      • State law preemption no requiring a statutory "preemption determination"
      • Preemption determinations under the Barnett standard
      • Preservation of powers related to charging interest
      • Deference
      • The OCC Framework for Compliance

      12/29/2020

      Stimulus payments imminent

      The president's signature Sunday on the bill ordering $600 per person stimulus payments and the short week before the New Year's holiday on Friday combine to present a challenge to depository institutions. The potential, however slight, that Congress may increase the amount to $2,000—the House has approved a bill making that change and sent it to the Senate, where passage is considered doubtful— just adds to the pressure. Optimistic statements from Washington suggest more than 100 million $600 payments could start arriving as ACH credits at banks, savings associations and credit unions as soon as today or tomorrow, with settlement dates as early as Monday, January 4. The payments will come in waves, as they did in the first round of stimulus payments, but those waves should come faster due to the experience gained in the first round.

      Bankers should prepare information scripts for call center and branch contact personnel with information on when funds are likely to be available to their customers, and set alerts, if possible, in mobile and online banking systems, to advise customers when the funds are available. They should also plan to augment call center staff where possible to handle customer inquiries. Cash levels should also be evaluated to plan for heavy withdrawals from branches and ATMs.

      12/28/2020

      President signs stimulus bill

      After stating that he would not sign the COVID-19 relief bill he had said was a "disgrace," the president signed the 5,500+ Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 (HR 133), which includes the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021, on Sunday, too late to prevent an estimated 14 million people from temporarily losing unemployment insurance, but just in time to avoid a shutdown of much of the government at midnight tonight.

      Last week, before the president threatened to veto the bill, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin suggested that the $600 per person recovery payments might start being made this week. In the president's statement upon signing the bill, it was suggested that Congress will consider increasing that amount to $2,000. However, Senate Republicans have said they would not approve such an increase. It is possible that the IRS will delay the start of the $600 payments by ACH until it's known what action, if any, Congress will take.

      12/24/2020

      OFAC targets more Belarusian regime actors

      OFAC has designated and individual and four entities for their roles in the fraudulent August 9, 2020, presidential election in Belarus and the subsequent violent crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy protests. These designations, pursuant to Executive Order 13405, target individuals and entities who are responsible for, or have participated in, actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in Belarus. OFAC targeted—

      • Henadz Arkadzievich Kazakevich
      • The Minsk Special Purpose Police Unit
      • The Main Internal Affairs Directorate of the Minsk City Executive Committee
      • KGB Alpha
      • The Central Commission of the Republic of Belarus on Elections and Holding Republican Referenda

      For identification information, see BankersOnline's OFAC Update.

      12/24/2020

      OCC issues final Activities and Operations rule

      The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has issued a final rule to amend its regulations in 12 CFR 7, “Activities and Operations of National Banks and Federal Savings Associations.” The final rule updates or eliminates outdated regulatory requirements that no longer reflect the modern financial system, clarifies and codifies recent OCC interpretations, integrates certain regulations for national banks and federal savings associations, and makes other technical and conforming changes. The amendments are effective April 1, 2021.

      12/24/2020

      House prices continue to rise

      The Federal Housing Finance Agency's House Price Index for October 2020 has been released and reports house prices rose 10.2 percent from October 2019 to October 2020. The previously reported 1.7 percent price change for September 2020 remained unchanged. For the nine census divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly house price changes from September 2020 to October 2020 ranged from +0.9 percent in the West North Central and East South Central divisions to +2.1 percent in the New England division. The 12-month changes ranged from +8.4 percent in the West South Central division to +12.5 percent in the Mountain and New England divisions.

      12/24/2020

      FEMA to suspend communities from flood insurance program

      The Federal Emergency Management Agency will publish a notice in the December 28, 2020, Federal Register identifying communities in Iowa, Michigan, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin that have been scheduled from suspension from the National Flood Insurance Program for noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the Program on December 30, 2020.

      • IA: Aurora, Brandon, Buchanan County (unincorporated areas), Fairbank, Hazleton, Independence, Jesup, Lamont, and Quasqueton
      • MI: Clinton, Harrison, and New Baltimore
      • SD: Clay County (unincorporated areas)
      • TX: Angleton, Brazoria, Clute, Freeport, Jones Creek, Manvel, and West Columbia
      • WI: Pierce County (unincorporated areas) and Spring Valley

      12/24/2020

      Reserve Bank chairs and deputies for 2021

      The Federal Reserve Board has announced the the Chairs and Deputy Chairs of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks for 2021. Each Reserve Bank has a nine-member board of directors. The Board of Governors in Washington appoints three of these directors and each year designates one of its appointees as Chair and a second as Deputy Chair.

      The Chairs and Deputy Chairs designated by the Board for 2021 are:

      • Boston: Christina Hull Paxson, president, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island (Chair); Corey Thomas, chairman and chief executive officer, Rapid7, Inc., Boston, Massachusetts (Deputy Chair)
      • New York: Denise Scott, executive vice president, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, New York, New York (Chair); Rosa M. Gil, founder, president, and chief executive officer, Comunilife, Inc., New York, New York (Deputy Chair)
      • Philadelphia: Madeline Bell, president and chief executive officer, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Chair); Anthony Ibarguen, chief executive officer, Quench USA, Inc., King of Prussia, Pennsylvania (Deputy Chair)
      • Cleveland: Dwight E. Smith, president and chief executive officer, Sophisticated Systems, Inc., Columbus, Ohio (Chair); Doris Carson Williams, president and chief executive officer, African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Deputy Chair)
      • Richmond: Eugene A. Woods, president and chief executive officer, Atrium Health, Charlotte, North Carolina (Chair); Jodie W. McLean, chief executive officer, EDENS, Washington, D.C. (Deputy Chair)
      • Atlanta: Elizabeth A. Smith, former executive chair, Bloomin' Brands, Inc., Tampa, Florida (Chair); Claire Lewis Arnold, chief executive officer, Leapfrog Services, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia (Deputy Chair)
      • Chicago: E. Scott Santi, chairman and chief executive officer, Illinois Tool Works, Inc., Glenview, Illinois (Chair); Helene D. Gayle, M.D., president and chief executive officer, The Chicago Community Trust, Chicago, Illinois (Deputy Chair)
      • St. Louis: Suzanne Sitherwood, president and chief executive officer, Spire Inc., St. Louis, Missouri (Chair); James M. McKelvey, Jr., founder and chief executive officer, Invisibly, Inc., St. Louis, Missouri (Deputy Chair)
      • Minneapolis: Srilata Zaheer, dean, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Chair); Harry D. Melander, president, Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council, St. Paul, Minnesota (Deputy Chair)
      • Kansas City: Edmond Johnson, president and owner, Premier Manufacturing, Inc., Frederick, Colorado (Chair); Patrick A. Dujakovich, president, Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO, Kansas City, Missouri (Deputy Chair)
      • Dallas: Greg L. Armstrong, co-founder and chairman and chief executive officer (retired), Plains All American Pipeline L.P., Houston, Texas (Chair); Thomas J. Falk, executive chairman (retired), Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Dallas, Texas (Deputy Chair)
      • San Francisco: Rosemary Turner, president (retired), north California district, United Parcel Service, Inc., Oakland, California (Chair); Tamara L. Lundgren, chairman, president, and chief executive officer, Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc., Portland, Oregon (Deputy Chair)

      12/24/2020

      NCUA proposes amendment of SAR regs

      The National Credit Union Administration Board has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would amend the agency’s Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) regulation. The proposed regulation would permit the NCUA to issue, on a case-by-case basis, exemptions from SAR filing requirements to federally insured credit unions, when the exemption is consistent with safe and sound practices and can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of Bank Secrecy Act reporting. The proposed rule would also make it possible for the NCUA to grant exemptions, in conjunction with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, to federally insured credit unions that develop innovative solutions to meet Bank Secrecy Act requirements.

      Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted for 30 days following its publication in the Federal Register.

      12/24/2020

      SCOOS on Dealer Financing Terms

      The Federal Reserve Board has released the results of the November 2020 Senior Credit Officer Opinion Survey on Dealer Financing Terms (SCOOS), a quarterly survey providing information about the availability and terms of credit in securities financing and over-the counter (OTC) derivatives markets. The survey was conducted during the period between November 10, 2020, and November 26, 2020. The core questions asked about changes between September 2020 and November 2020. Special questions focused on dealers' capacity to intermediate U.S. Treasury securities, broadly defined as their ability to provide Treasury intermediation services to counterparties and clients, including providing immediacy of execution in Treasury cash markets, clearing and settlement, repurchase agreements (repos) and reverse repos, and securities lending and borrowing.

      12/24/2020

      COVID-19 forbearance extended

      The Federal Housing Finance Agency has announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will continue to offer COVID-19 forbearance to qualifying multifamily property owners through March 31, 2021. The Enterprise forbearance programs were set to expire December 31, 2020.

      Property owners with Enterprise-backed multifamily mortgages can enter a new or, if qualified, modified forbearance if they experience a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 emergency. Property owners who enter into a new or modified forbearance agreement must:

      • Inform tenants in writing about tenant protections available during the property owner's forbearance and repayment periods; and
      • Agree not to evict tenants solely for the nonpayment of rent while the property is in forbearance.

      Additional tenant protections apply during the repayment periods. These protections include:

      • Giving tenants at least a 30-day notice to vacate;
      • Not charging tenants late fees or penalties for nonpayment of rent; and
      • Allowing tenant flexibility in the repayment of back rent over time, and not necessarily in a lump sum.

      12/23/2020

      Agencies revise statement on status of certain investment funds

      The OCC, FRB, and FDIC yesterday issued a revised statement to supersede the "Statement Regarding Status of Certain Investment Funds and Their Portfolio Investments for Purposes of Regulation O and Reporting Requirements under Part 363 of FDIC Regulations" issued on December 27, 2019, and set to expire on January 1, 2021.

      The revised interagency statement explains that the agencies will continue to exercise discretion not to take action against banks, or against certain asset managers that become principal shareholders of banks (principal shareholder fund complexes), with respect to certain extensions of credit by banks to portfolio companies of the principal shareholder fund complex (fund complex-controlled portfolio companies) that otherwise would violate Regulation O, 12 CFR 215, provided certain eligibility criteria are satisfied. The agencies are providing this temporary relief while the Board, in consultation with the other agencies, considers whether to amend Regulation O to address this issue. This temporary relief will apply until January 1, 2022, unless amended, extended, or superseded in writing before that time.

      12/23/2020

      FHA simplifies certification form

      The Federal Housing Administration has announced the completion of its revised and streamlined loan-level certification form required from lenders when originating a single family mortgage intended for FHA insurance endorsement. The updated form eliminates unnecessarily dense language while remaining consistent with pertinent statutes and other program requirements. The form also continues to safeguard FHA against fraud and misrepresentation by requiring lenders and borrowers to certify to the truthfulness and accuracy of required information.

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