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January 2019 - Compliance Alert

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

CFPB and Regulatory Bodies Encourage Institutions to Work with Consumers During Shutdown

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and several other regulatory bodies encouraged financial institutions to work with consumers who may not be able to make payments on loans and debts because of the US federal government shutdown. These regulatory bodies urge workers affected by the shutdown to contact their lenders if they’re dealing with strain on their finances.


CFPB asks for Authority to Review Compliance with the Military Lending Act

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed to congressional leaders that Congress grant the CFPB the “authority to conduct examinations specifically intended to review compliance with the MLA” according to Bureau Director Kathleen L. Kraninger. The hope is that this authority would help the CFPB with the current work being done to enforce the MLA.


The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)

OCC Releases 31 National Bank and Federal Savings Association CRA Evaluations

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency released Community Reinvestment Act evaluations for 31 national banks, federal savings associations, and insured federal branches of foreign banks. Of these institutions, 28 received evaluations of satisfactory and 3 received evaluations of outstanding.



Securities and Exchange Commission

SEC Charges Nine Defendants in EDGAR Hacking Case

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it was charging nine defendants in the hacking scheme that targeted the SEC’s EDGAR system to attempt to extract nonpublic information to use in insider trading. The charges were brought against a Ukrainian Hacker, two entities, and six traders in California, Ukraine, and Russia. The hacker and some of the traders were also involved with a hacking scheme that targeted newswire as well. In all, the traders generated $4.1 million in illegal profits.


National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)

NCUA Board Approves Performance Plan for 2019

The National Credit Union Administration Board approved two items during their first open meeting of 2019. The two items that were approved were a request from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to revise its member business lending rule, and the agency’s 2019 Annual Performance Plan. The performance plan outlines how the NCUA will improve performance and achieve the goals they set in the 2018-2022 Strategic Plan.

December 2018 - Compliance Alert

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

BCFP Advisory Committess Discuss New Financial Services Technology

The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection met in early December with its Consumer Advisory Board, Community Bank Advisory Council, and Credit Union Advisory Council. These expert committees advise the Bureau on important issues and trends in the financial industry. During this meeting, the Bureau and these committees discussed emerging trends and issues regarding artificial intelligence in consumer financial services and consumer access to financial records.


The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)

OCC Proposes Change to Stress Testing Rules

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency proposed a change to the stress testing rules for national banks and federal savings associations. These proposed changes would increase the threshold to perform stress tests from $10 billion to $250 billion, change the frequency with which some institutions are required to conduct stress tests, reducing three required stress testing scenarios to two, and add facilitating and conforming changes to stress testing requirements.

OCC and other Agencies Seek Comment on Proposed Change to Appraisal Exemption Threshold for Residential Real Estate Transactions

Three federal banking agencies are seeking public comment on a proposal to raise the threshold for residential real estate transactions requiring an appraisal from $250,000 to $400,000. It’s believed that this change would give burden relief without jeopardizing the safety and soundness of financial institutions.


Securities and Exchange Commission

SEC Files Charges Against Insider Trading Ring that Spanned Three Countries

The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed insider trading charges against an IT contractor who stole confidential information from a financial institution in Singapore and used that information to tip off two other individuals. The contractor, his wife, and father collected $600,000 in profits from trading with the information that the contractor stole, according to the SEC’s complaint.


The Commodity Futures Trading Comission

CFTC Requests Feedback on Crypto-asset Mechanics and Markets

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is seeking public comment and feedback on Ether and the Ethereum Network. The CFTC hopes these comments will help them better understand the technology, mechanics, and markets for virtual currencies and benefit the CFTC’s financial technology initiative, LabCFTC.

November 2018 - Compliance Alert

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

BCFP and Federal Housing Finance Agency Release NSMO Data

The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP) and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released a new dataset for public use. The data was collected through the National Survey of Mortgage Originations (NSMO). This data gives insights into the experience of borrowers trying to get a residential mortgage. The data is meant to help policymakers, mortgage issuers, and researchers better understand the experience and new mortgage and housing market trends.


Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)

FinCEN Revises Geographical Targeting Orders

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued revised Geographical Targeting Orders (GTOs). These Orders require US title insurance companies to identify individuals using shell companies to buy commercial real estate with cash. The new threshold is set at $300,000 across the board. The threshold used to vary by city. FinCEN is also requiring purchases that meet these standards but are made with virtual currencies be reported. These new GTOs are designed to help in identifying and tracking illicit funds and criminal activity.


The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)

OCC Allows Financial Institutions Affected by California Fires to Close

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued a proclamation allowing some financial institutions that were potentially in danger or otherwise affected by the forest fires in California to close. These institutions included national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign banks. The hope is that only banks directly affected by unsafe conditions will close and will make every possible effort to reopen quickly once it is again safe to meet the needs of their customers.


Securities and Exchange Commission

Enforcement Division of SEC issues FY 2018 Report

The Enforcement Division of the Securities Exchange Commission issued its annual report on efforts to protect investors and the integrity of the market. The report details specific actions of the SEC to bring relief to harmed investors and address problems with initial coin offerings and digital assets.

SEC Adopts New Rule Regarding Information Broker Provide to Investors on Order Handling

The SEC voted to adopt new rules that increase and enhance the amount of information that broker-dealers need to provide to investors regarding order handling. This increase in information sharing is designed to help investors better understand the way that broker-dealers handle their orders and provide information regarding the impact of routing decisions on order execution quality.



October 2018 - Compliance Alert

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

CFPB and Bluestem Reach Settlement

The CFPB and Bluestem have filed a consent order that requires Bluestem, a Minnesota-based business, to improve their operations regarding the identification and forwarding of customer payments on accounts sold to debt buyers.

The CFPB found that Bluestem had violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010. Bluestem was found to have been delaying payments being made on accounts that had been sold to debt buyers. This likely led to misleading collection activity for customers, including making payments on paid off accounts.


Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)

FinCEN Issues Advisory on Iranian Attempts to Exploit Financial System

In order to help financial institutions better identify and report possible illicit transactions involving the Islamic Republic of Iran, FinCEN has issued an advisory. The advisory includes information regarding the possible threats coming from the Iranian regime for US institutions as well as foreign institutions with correspondent banking relationships with US institutions. This includes potential red flags and descriptions of strategies used by the regime to evade sanctions. 


The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)

OCC and Other Agencies Issue Statement on Financial Institutions Affected by Hurricane Michael

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, and state regulators have issued a statement asking financial institutions in areas that have been affected by Hurricane Michael to meet the needs of their communities.

The statement touched on how the institutions should handle lending, operating out of temporary facilities, publishing requirements, regulatory reporting requirements, monitoring investments, and receiving Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) loans.

The full statement can be found here.


Securities and Exchange Commission

SEC Launches FinHub

The SEC announced the launch of the Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub). As financial technology develops and changes, FinHub will provide a place for the public to engage on important issues in this area. It also builds upon and replaces SEC groups that have focused on these issues in the past.



The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

FDIC Releases Spanish-Language Tool for Elders

The FDIC announced that they would release a Spanish-language version of Money Smart for Older Adults. The course is made to help older adults and those that take care of older adults identify the dangers of financial abuse targeted at elders. The course has been updated with new information to help older people stay informed, make smarter financial decisions, recognize the signs of fraud, and prevent fraud from occurring.

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)

NCUA Approves Amended Risk-Based Capital Rule and Rule for Federal Credit Union Bylaws

During its ninth open meeting of the year, the NCUA approved two items unanimously. The first item was a final rule regarding 2015’s risk-based capital rule, delaying the effective date until January 1, 2019. This final rule also raised the threshold for a complex credit union from $100 million to $500 million.

The second item was a proposed rule that would simplify credit union bylaws, making them clearer. Credit unions will be able to comment on this proposed rule.


September 2018 - Compliance Alert

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

BCFP Files Lawsuit

The BCFP recently filed a lawsuit against Future Income Payments, LLC (FIP), Scott Kohn, and several other related entities. The law suit was filed in California and alleges that these entities violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 12 U.S.C. § 5536(a)(1)(B). This violation occurred when these entities led consumers to believe that their pension-advance products were not loans with interest and were cheaper than credit card debt. In reality, these products had interest rates that were higher than regular credit card rates.


Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)

FinCEN Grants Exceptive Relief Regarding the Beneficial Ownership Rule

FinCEN recently granted exceptive relief to covered financial institutions regarding the Beneficial Ownership Requirements for Legal Entity Customers (Beneficial Ownership Rule). This relief deals with the Rule’s requirements to identify and verify the identity of a beneficial owner when a legal entity customer opens a new account as a result of a rollover of a certificate of deposit, a renewal, modification, or extension of a loan that does not require underwriting review and approval, a renewal, modification, or extension of a commercial line of credit or credit card account that does not require underwriting review and approval, and a renewal of a safe deposit box rental. The exception only applies to the rollover, renewal, modification, or extension occurring on or after May 11, 2018.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)

Agencies Extend Comment Period for Volcker Rule Change

Several agencies recently extended the comment period for changes to the Volcker Rule, which restricts banking entities from engaging in proprietary trading and from owning or controlling hedge funds or private equity funds. These changes are meant to simplify compliance requirements of the Rule. The comment period has been extended to October 17, 2018.


Amendments Made to Swap Margin Rule 

Several federal agencies accepted amendments to the swap margin requirements. These amendments were made to meet the requirements of new restrictions on certain qualified financial contracts of systemically important banking organizations (QFC Rules).

The amendments state that legacy swaps entered into before the compliance date will not become subject to the margin requirements if they are amended solely to comply with the requirements of the QFC Rules. The amendments also change the definition of “Eligible Master Netting Agreement” in the swap margin rule to more closely match recent changes to the definition of “Qualifying Master Netting Agreement”.


Securities and Exchange Commission

SEC Offers Regulatory Relief to Hurricane Victims

The SEC recently announced that it will be providing relief to certain companies and individuals affected by Hurricane Florence that are required to provide information to the SEC and shareholders. Because of property loss, power loss, transportation difficulties, and mail delivery issues, the SEC issued an order that exempts affected entities and individuals from certain requirements of the federal securities law under certain conditions. They also extended deadlines for the filing of specific reports and forms. 

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