http://www.bankersonline.com/topstory/topstory.html - 04/01/15 17:28:53 - 11/30/04 17:07:27
- the liquidation of the North Dade Community Development Federal Credit Union, Miami Gardens, Florida, after determining that the credit union had violated various provisions of its charter, bylaws and federal regulations. The credit union was assessed a $300,000 civil money penalty by FinCEN in November [) for significant BSA/AML program violations. At that time, it was said to have five employees. The NCUA's announcement reports the credit union had $3 million in total assets as of its latest call report. It is the second federally insured credit union liquidation in 2015.
- Wells Fargo given approval to use 'advanced approaches'
April 1, 2015
- , which should continue to be used in connection with any mortgage loan applications received before August 1). The toolkit is available in an interactive PDF format and will be available in printed form. A Spanish language version will be available later this year. An announcement of the toolkit was published in this morning's Federal Register [80 FR 17414].
- Treasury designates Syrian financial and weapons networks Treasury has the designation of Batoul Rida, an official of the Central Bank of Syria (CBoS), for acting for or on behalf of, and providing support to, the Government of Syria, enabling its military campaign against the Syrian people. Additionally, Treasury has designated the Syria-based front company Sigma Tech Company, Lebanon-based front company Shadi for Cars Trading, and Lebanon-based front company Denise Company, for acting for or on behalf of the Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC). SSRC is a U.S.- and E.U.-sanctioned Syrian government agency responsible for developing and producing non-conventional weapons and ballistic missiles, and has had connections to the Syrian chemical weapons program. Treasury is also publishing a new name used by Adib Mayaleh, the Governor of the CBoS, who was designated in 2012. The names of the individuals and entities have been added to the SDN List.
- Troubled Florida credit union closed The NCUA has announced the liquidation of North Dade Community Development Federal Credit Union, Miami Gardens, Florida. Member deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund. The credit union was assessed a $300,000 civil money penalty by FinCEN [Top Stories, November 26, 2014) for significant BSA?AML program violations. At the time, it was said to have assets of about $4 million and five employees. It is the second federally insured credit union liquidation in 2015.
- Wells Fargo given approval to us 'advanced approaches' The Federal Reserve Board and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have announced that they have permitted Wells Fargo and its subsidiary national banks to begin using the "advanced approaches" capital framework starting in the second quarter of 2015. The framework implements standards developed by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and applies to large, internationally active banking organizations—generally those with at least $250 billion in total consolidated assets or at least $10 billion in total on-balance sheet foreign exposure—and includes the depository institution subsidiaries of those firms.
- NCUA issues prohibition orders
The NCUA has issued seven orders prohibiting the following individuals from participating in the affairs of any federally insured financial institution:
- Vytas Apanavicius, a former bookkeeper of Taupa Lithuanian Credit Union, Cleveland, Ohio
- Michael Rusksenas, a former employee of that credit union
- Alex Spirikaitis, the former CEO of that credit union
- Wendy Wall, also known as Wendy Wright, a former employee of Pepsi Cola Federal Credit Union, Buena Park, California
- Brandi Ward, a former employee of Dowell Federal Credit Union, Tulsa, Oklahoma
- John Richards, a former employee of Polk County Credit Union, Des Moines, Iowa
- Saundra Scales, a former employee of First Legacy Community Credit Union, Charlotte, North Carolina
- New economic update video
The NCUA has released a new economic update video which covers the current outlook and key credit union results from year-end 2014. The video, available on the NCUA's YouTube channel, also discusses the effect of low oil prices on different states and regions, including the potential negative employment effects in oil producing regions.
- Discount Window lending data released
The Federal Reserve has released Discount Window data for the first quarter of 2013.
- Finance Companies G.20 report
The March 31, 2015, issue of the G.20 Finance Companies Owned and Managed Receivables Outstanding and Auto Loans: Terms of Credit report has been released by the Federal Reserve Board.
- Office of Minority and Women Inclusion report
The Federal Reserve Board has delivered its March 2015 Report to Congress on the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion.
- CFPB announces new mortgage toolkit to replace HUD booklet
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced its release of a new toolkit to guide consumers as they shop for a home. Part of the Bureau's "Know Before You Owe" initiative, Your home loan toolkit—A step-by-step guide is designed to help consumers take advantage of the new Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure forms that lenders will begin providing in August 2015 (the toolkit replaces the current HUD-designed Shopping for Your Home Loan, Settlement Cost Booklet, which should continue to be used in connection with any mortgage loan applications received before August 1). The toolkit is available in an interactive PDF format and will be available in printed form. A Spanish language version will be available later this year.
March 31, 2015
- Bureau acts against 'bad check' collector The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau yesterday that it has initiated an enforcement action against National Corrective Group (NCG), a privately-held California-based corporation that operates nationwide and specializes in the collection of consumer debt for bounced checks, and against related companies and Mats Johnson, NCG's CEO. The Bureau's alleges that the company masqueraded as state or district attorneys; intimidated consumers with false threats of criminal charges; and deceived consumers into paying extra fees for a costly financial education class, all in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA). The CFPB's enforcement order, if approved by the court, would require NCG to cease its deceptive practices and pay a $50,000 civil penalty.
- FFIEC on compromised credentials and destructive malware The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) has released statements on destructive malware and compromised credentials that provide ways that financial institutions can identify and mitigate cyber attacks that compromise user credentials or use destructive software, known as malware. In addition, the FFIEC provided information on what institutions can do to prepare for and respond to these threats. In accordance with the FFIEC guidance, institutions should:
The FFIEC also provided a list of practical information resources. The OCC has issued Bulletins 2015-19 and 2015-20, and the FDIC has posted FIL-13-2015 on the FFIEC statements.
- Securely configure systems and services;
- Review, update, and test incident response and business continuity plans;
- Conduct ongoing information security risk assessments;
- Perform security monitoring, prevention, and risk mitigation;
- Protect against unauthorized access;
- Implement and test controls around critical systems regularly;
- Enhance information security awareness and training programs; and
- Participate in industry information-sharing forums, such as the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center.
- Board issues updated bank reports The Federal Reserve Board has released updated minority owned and large commercial bank reports for December 2014. The initial reports were released on March 26.
March 30, 2015
- FDIC enforcement actions The FDIC has a list of enforcement actions recently taken against banks and individuals. Thirty-one orders were issued (four consent, two section 19, two civil money penalties (CMPs), ten removal and prohibition, twelve terminations of previous orders, and one adjudicated decision). Included in the list was a $10,600 CMP against Illini Bank, Springfield, Illinois, for violations of the Flood Act. Information regarding that CMP has been posted on the BOL Flood Penalties Watch page.
- Affordable Care Act fact sheets for tax season The Treasury Department has the availability of Affordable Care Act fact sheets on the following topics to provide information and tools to consumers as they prepare and file their tax returns:
- Yellen on normalizing monetary policy In a presentation at The New Normal Monetary Policy research conference sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Chair Yellen discussed factors that will likely guide the decisions of the members of Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) as they adjust the stance of monetary policy over time. She also discussed why most of her colleagues and she believe the return of the federal funds rate to a more normal level is likely to be gradual. She framed her remarks as responses to three questions:
Chair Yellen concluded, "If conditions do evolve in the manner that most of my FOMC colleagues and I anticipate, I would expect the level of the federal funds rate to be normalized only gradually, reflecting the gradual diminution of headwinds from the financial crisis and the balance of risks I have enumerated of moving either too slowly or too quickly. Nothing about the course of the Committee's actions is predetermined except the Committee's commitment to promote our dual mandate of maximum employment and price stability."
- Why does the FOMC judge that an increase in the federal funds rate target is likely to become appropriate later this year?
- How are economic and financial considerations likely to shape the course of monetary policy over the next several years?
- Are there special risks and other considerations that policymakers should take into account in the current environment?
- Curry on protecting seniors from financial abuse In remarks at a conference hosted by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, Comptroller Curry discussed the efforts of the host, various other organizations, and financial institutions to protect older individuals from financial exploitation.
- Mortgage performance improves The OCC has released its Mortgage Metrics Report for the Fourth Quarter 2014. Highlights include:
- 93.2 percent of mortgages were current and performing at the end of the quarter, up 0.4 percent over 2013
- The percentage of mortgages that were 30 to 59 days past due was 2.4 percent of the portfolio, a 9.4 percent decrease from 2013
- Seriously delinquent mortgages 60 or more days past due or held by bankrupt borrowers whose payments are 30 days or more past due made up 3.1 percent of the portfolio, a 12.2 percent decrease from 2013.
- Fake FTC credit repair scam shut down A federal court has ordered the end of a credit repair scam with the name FTC Credit Solutions. A complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission alleged that defendants deceived consumers by claiming to be affiliated with or licensed by the FTC, falsely promising that they could remove negative information from consumers' credit reports, and guaranteeing consumers a credit score of 700 or above within six months or less. The company aired radio commercials and verbally falsely stated that FTC Credit Solutions had a license from the FTC. The FTC further alleged that the company unlawfully charged consumers fees in advance of providing the promised credit repair services and also sent the major credit bureaus letters with false information on behalf of numerous consumers.
- Payment processors settle FTC charges The Federal Trade Commission has announced that CardFlex Inc., an Independent Sales Organization (ISO), and its principals Andrew Phillips and John Blaugrund, have settled Commission charges that they illegally processed more than $26 million in unauthorized consumer charges on behalf of a company called I Works. The defendants are the last of seven individual and corporate defendants named in the FTC’s suit to settle. The stipulated court order prohibits CardFlex, Phillips, and Blaugrund from: 1) acting as a payment processor, ISO, or sales agent on behalf of several categories of merchants; and 2) assisting and facilitating clients’ attempts to evade credit card risk-monitoring programs. The order also imposes a $3.3 million monetary judgment against CardFlex and Phillips that will be partially suspended based on their current financial condition. Phillips will pay $150,000 and turn over personal assets, including nearly $1.2 million worth of jewelry that the FTC will sell at auction. However, the full judgment will become due, if it is later discovered that the defendants misrepresented their financial condition to the Commission.
- Loan Originator Compensation Rule, and the third video, expected to be released in February 2015, will cover the Servicing Rule.
- Residential sales increase
HUD and the Census Bureau have released the December 2014 residential sales data. Sales of new single-family houses in December 2014 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 481,000 which was 11.6 percent above the revised November rate and 8.8 percent above the December 2013 estimate. The median sales price of new houses sold in December 2014 was $298,100 and the average sales price was $377,800.
January 27, 2015
- OCC issues extreme winter weather proclamation
A proclamation has been issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency allowing national banks and federal savings associations at their discretion to close offices affected by extreme winter weather in the northeast United States.
- Federal Reserve updates excess balance account FAQs
Federal Reserve Services has announced the update of the Excess Balance Account (EBA) FAQs. A new section, "Account Management Practices and Sweeping," addresses questions raised by common account management practices between EBA agents and participants. Additional information is available at the Excess Balance Account Resource Center.
- Federal Reserve releases plan for improvement payments
The Federal Reserve has issued "Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System," which presents a multi-faceted plan for collaborating with payment system stakeholders, including large and small businesses, emerging payments firms, card networks, payment processors, consumers and financial institutions to enhance the speed, safety and efficiency of the U.S. payment system. The Federal Reserve's strategic direction for financial services focuses on improving the end-to-end speed, safety and efficiency of the payment system. The Federal Reserve undertook an extensive 18-month research program aimed at identifying key gaps and opportunities, gaining industry and end-user perspectives on needs and priorities and defining ways to achieve payment improvements. The Federal Reserve will host a webcast at 1:00 p.m. EST on January 29, to share views on the Federal Reserve's vision for the future U.S. payment system and plans for collaborating with stakeholders to achieve shared goals. In addition, a subsequent series of FedForum teleseminars on February 4 and 10 will present an overview of the strategies and a question-and-answer session. Details on accessing the webcast and registering for the FedForum events are included in an announcement on the FedPayments Improvement website.
- New resources for consumers to fight ID theft
The NCUA has announced the addition of new information regarding ways to combat identity theft to MYCreditUnion.gov, its consumer web site. The site also contains other resources to help credit union members understand and prevent identity theft and other frauds and scams.
- NCUA TRID rules webinar
The NCUA will host a free webinar, "Preparing for the New TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures," on February 11, 2015, starting at 2 p.m. ET. The webinar will provide a high-level overview of the significant changes to the disclosures and forms required under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) that are scheduled to go into effect August 1. Online registration is available.
- Bureau seeks comment on student account scorecard
The CFPB has published in this morning's Federal Registernotice and request for comment on its draft Safe Student Account Scorecard that would offer information to colleges and universities when soliciting agreements from financial institutions to market safe and affordable financial accounts for their students. Comments are due by March 9, 2015.
January 26, 2015
- Chicago bank closed
The Illinois Department of Finance and Professional Regulation, Division of Banking has closed Highland Community Bank, Chicago, Illinois. The FDIC was appointed receiver and all deposits have been assumed by United Fidelity Bank, fsb, Evansville, Indiana.
- E-Payments Routing Directory change delayed
Federal Reserve Financial Services has announced that the scheduled move of the Federal Reserve E-Payments Routing Directory has been postponed. The original move date was January 25, 2015. A new effective date for the move is to be determined.
- CRA ratings released
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has released the ratings received by thirty national banks and federal savings associations that were recently examined for compliance with CRA. Two of the institutions listed were rated outstanding, and twenty-eight received satisfactory ratings.
- FDIC update on professional liability lawsuits
The FDIC has updated the data on its Professional Liability Lawsuits page to indicate that 14 such suits have been filed thus far in January 2015. As receiver for a failed financial institution, the FDIC may sue professionals who played a role in the failure of the institution in order to maximize recoveries. These individuals can include officers and directors, attorneys, accountants, appraisers, brokers, or others. Professional liability claims also include direct claims against insurance carriers such as fidelity bond carriers and title insurance companies. From January 1, 2009, through January 22, 2015, the FDIC has authorized suits in connection with 149 failed institutions against 1195 individuals for D&O liability.
January 23, 2015
- Wells and JPMC to pay in mortgage kickback case
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced action taken by the Bureau and the Maryland Attorney General against Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase for an illegal marketing-services-kickback scheme involving a now-defunct title company. Action was also taken against a former Wells Fargo employee and his wife for their involvement in the scheme. Genuine Title would give the banks' loan officers cash, marketing materials, and consumer information in exchange for business referrals, according to the CFPB's complaint, filed in federal court. The proposed consent orders, which have also been filed with the court for approval, would require $24 million in civil penalties from Wells Fargo, $600,000 from JPMorgan Chase, and $11.1 million in redress to consumers whose loans were involved. The loan officer and his wife would pay a $30,000 penalty, and the loan officer would be barred from the mortgage industry for two years.
A third financial institution whose loan officers also participated in the Genuine Title kickback scheme self-identified the practice and fired the officers involved (one of whom was the former Wells Fargo officer previously mentioned). It also cooperated with the Bureau's investigation and proactively initiated a remediation plan. As a result, the Bureau resolved its investigation into that institution without an enforcement action.
- Communities to be suspended from Flood Program
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has published in this morning's Federal Register three notices identifying communities where the sale of flood insurance has been authorized under the National Flood Insurance Program that are scheduled for suspension from the program due to noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program.
- The first identifies communities to be suspended on February 4, 2015, in Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin
- The second identifies communities to be suspended on February 18, 2015, in Indiana, Maryland, Michigan and Virginia
- The third identifies communities to be suspended on March 2, 2015, in Indiana, Iowa and Virginia
- Counterfeit cashier's checks
The OCC has issued Alert 2015-3 concerning counterfeit cashier's checks using the routing number of The Bank, N.A., McAlester, Oklahoma. The checks are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with various Internet-based employment and purchase scams. Two variations of counterfeit checks currently in circulation resemble the bank's authentic checks. Information regarding the counterfeit checks will be posted on the BOL Alerts & Counterfeits pages.
- NMLS downtime
The NMLS has announced it has scheduled system downtime from 9:00 pm. ET Friday, January 23 (this evening) until Saturday afternoon, January 24, to install system enhancements. Both the NMLS and Consumer Access systems will be unavailable during the downtime.
- FHFA index rises
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced that U.S. house prices rose in November 2014, up 0.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous month, according to the monthly House Price Index (HPI). The previously reported 0.6 percent change in October was revised downward to a 0.4 percent change.
- Addition to Comptroller's Handbook
The OCC has issued Bulletin 2015-5 to announce the addition of a new "Government Securities Act" booklet to the Comptroller's Handbook. As part of the Securities Compliance series, the new booklet consolidates certain guidance from the Comptroller's Handbook for Compliance "Securities Activities" booklet, issued in September 1991, and the Comptroller's Handbook booklet "Investment Securities," issued in March 1990.
- NCUA announces late-filing penalties
The NCUA has announced that 31 federally insured credit unions subject to civil money penalties for filing third-quarter 2014 Call Reports late have consented to those penalties. The late filers will pay a total of $12,820 in penalties.
January 22, 2015
- FTC credit report accuracy follow-up study
The Federal Trade Commission has issued a follow-up report that found most consumers who previously reported an unresolved error on one of their three major credit reports believe that at least one piece of disputed information on their report is still inaccurate. The original study issued in 2012 found that one in five consumers had an error that was corrected by a credit reporting agency (after it was disputed) on at least one of their three credit reports. The follow-up study announced today focuses on 121 consumers who had at least one unresolved dispute from the 2012 study and participated in a follow-up survey.
- Texas debt collector sued by FTC
The FTC has announced the filing of a federal court complaint against Commercial Recovery Systems, Inc. (CRS), a Texas-based debt collector, and its current and former principals for illegally threatening consumers with false claims that unless they pay a debt, they will face legal action or wage garnishment, or otherwise violated the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
- December residential construction activity rises
HUD and the Census Bureau have released their report on new residential construction activity in December 2014. The report shows:
- Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in December were 1.9 percent below the revised November rate, but 1.0 percent above the December 2013 estimate.
- Privately owned housing starts in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate 4.4 percent above the revised November estimate and 5.3 percent above the December 2013 rate.
- Single-family housing starts in December were 7.2 percent above the revised November figure.
- Privately owned housing completions in December 6.3 percent above the revised November estimate and 19.6 percent above December 2013 numbers.
- Single-family housing completions in December were 9.5 percent above the revised November rate.
- Lew on the State of the Union
In remarks at The Brookings Institution, Treasury Secretary Lew discussed the series of proposals presented by the President in his State of the Union address.
January 21, 2015
- Bureau finalizes tweak to TRID Rule
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced it has finalized two minor modifications to the TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) Rule that will become effective with applications received on or after August 1, 2015. The changes address when consumers will receive updated disclosures after locking in an interest rate, and how consumers receive information regarding certain construction loans. The final rule announced yesterday will require that a revised Loan Estimate reflecting changes triggered by a rate-lock event be delivered no later than the third business day following the rate lock (consistent with the timing requirements for revised Loan Estimates triggered by other changed circumstances), and will revise the Loan Estimate form to allow a space for a disclosure that an updated Loan Estimate may be provided for certain construction loans that are expected to take over 60 days to settle.
- CFPB posts new mortgage tool for consumers
The Bureau has introduced a new interactive tool to help consumers determine their likely mortgage interest rate.
- SCOTUS scuttles debit interchange fee challenge
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge to the "swipe fee" rules issued by the Federal Reserve Board in its implementation of the "Durbin Amendement" to the Dodd-Frank Act, reports Reuters. The SCOTUS refusal to hear the challenge will leave intact the March 2014 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that the 21 cents per transaction fee cap set by the Federal Reserve were appropriate.
- FRB updates payment system risk data
The Federal Reserve Board has posted the 2014 Fourth Quarter Payment System Risk data. The report charts the peak and average daylight overdrafts and related fees.
- OCC schedules director workshop in Miami
The OCC will host a "Building Blocks for Directors" workshop at the Miami Hyatt Regency, February 23–25, 2015, for directors of national community banks and federal savings associations. Attendance is limited to the first 35 registrants.
- SAR stats update
FinCEN has issued the Fourth Quarter 2014 update of SAR Stats (formerly "By the Numbers"). The report is a compilation of numerical data gathered from the FinCEN Suspicious Activity Reports filed by financial institutions.
- NCUA posts legal opinion on Risk-Based Capital proposal
The NCUA has posted an opinion from an outside law firm regarding the agency's revised proposed risk-based capital rule . Comments on the revised proposed rule must be received within 90 days of its publication in the Federal Register.
January 20, 2015
- OCC January 2015 enforcement actions
The OCC has released the list of new enforcement actions taken against national banks, federal savings associations, and individuals currently and formerly affiliated with national banks and federal savings associations. Included were three previously reported Consent Orders for Civil Money Penalties totaling $950 million against three national banks for unsafe or unsound practices related to their foreign exchange operations.
- FinCEN letter on casino sports gaming
A letter has been released by FinCEN responding to a request for guidance from the American Gaming Association concerning the application of anti-money laundering (AML) programs for casinos. The letter stated "it has also come to our attention that casinos may be under the impression that unless specifically directed to do so, a casino never has to ask a patron whether he or she is betting on his or her own behalf or on behalf of another party. We are communicating directly with your organization to correct any such misperception and to remind your industry about the importance of applying a risk-based approach with respect to this issue as well as the need to implement reasonably designed AML programs to address among other risks, the risks associated with third-party betting."
- Online payday lenders pay $21M
The FTC has announced that AMG Services, Inc., and MNE Services, Inc., two payday lending companies, have settled charges that they violated the law by charging consumers undisclosed and inflated fees. Under the proposed settlement, they will pay $21 million, the largest FTC recovery in a payday lending case, and will waive another $285 million in charges that were assessed but not collected. The settlement also contains broad prohibitions barring the defendants from misrepresenting the terms of any loan product, including the loan's payment schedule, the total amount the consumer will owe, the interest rate, annual percentage rates or finance charges, and any other material facts. The settlement order also prohibits the defendants from violating the Truth in Lending and Electronic Fund Transfer Acts.
- OFAC adds Kingpin designations
Treasury has announced the designation of two Indian nationals and one company based in Pakistan as SDNTKs and the additions of their names to the SDN List. The individuals and company were designated due to their ties to D Company, a South Asian criminal organization.
- HUD Choice Neighborhood Grants announced
HUD has announced $3.2 million in new Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant awards to seven communities in Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Alabama, and Missouri. The awards will help grantees craft comprehensive, locally driven plans to revitalize and transform distressed neighborhoods.
- TIC November data posted
Treasury has released the Treasury International Capital (TIC) data for November 2014. The sum total in November of all net foreign acquisitions of long-term securities, short-term U.S. securities, and banking flows was a monthly net TIC outflow of $6.3 billion. Of this, net foreign private outflows were $2.9 billion, and net foreign official outflows were $3.4 billion.
- OCC revises Litigation section of Handbook
The OCC has issued Bulletin 2015-4 announcing the revision of the Litigation and Other Legal Matters booklet of the Comptroller's Handbook. The revised booklet provides guidance to examiners assessing a bank's litigation exposures, associated risks, and risk management practices. The revision replaces information issued on February 2000.
- Florida bank closed
The OCC has closed the First National Bank of Crestview, Crestview, Florida. The FDIC was appointed receiver and all deposits have been assumed by First NBC Bank, New Orleans, Louisiana.
- Applications open for CFPB Advisory Board and Councils
The Bureau has announced it is accepting applications for its Consumer Advisory Board (10 seats), Community Bank Advisory Council (7 seats) and Credit Union Advisory Council (8 seats). The seats become vacant in the fall of 2015.
January 16, 2015
- OFAC amends Cuban Assets Control Regulations
Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has published in today's Federal Register a final rule [80 FR 2291] amending the Cuban Assets Control Regulations to implement policy changes announced by the President on December 17, 2014, to further engage and empower the Cuban people. The amendments facilitate travel to Cuba for authorized purposes, facilitate the provision by travel agents and airlines of authorized travel services and the forwarding by certain entities of authorized remittances, raise the limit on certain categories of remittances to Cuba, allow U.S. financial institutions to open correspondent accounts at Cuban financial institutions to facilitate the processing of authorized transactions, authorize certain transactions with Cuban nationals located outside of Cuba, and allow a number of other activities related to, among other areas, telecommunications, financial services, trade, and shipping. The amendments also implement certain technical and conforming changes. The amendments are effective upon today's publication. Treasury also published a fact sheet on the amendments.
- Counterfeit cashier's checks alert
The OCC has issued Alert 2015-2 regarding counterfeit cashier's checks using the routing number of First National Bank, Fort Pierre, South Dakota. Counterfeit checks presented to date have contained a remitter name of Taylor Andrew and have been made payable in the amounts of $1,985, $2,485, $2,890, or $2,985. Information regarding the counterfeit cashier's checks has been posted on the BOL Alerts & Counterfeits pages.
- Resolution plans for firms under $100B released
A joint press release from the Federal Reserve Board and the FDIC has announced the release of the public portions of resolution plans (commonly called "living wills") for firms with generally less than $100 billion in qualifying nonbank assets, as required by the Dodd-Frank Act. The plans can be reviewed on the websites of the Board and the FDIC.
- January FedFlash
FRB Services has posted the January 2015 issue of FedFlash. Featured articles include:
- Reminder to File a Current Board Resolution and Official Authorization List
- New Check Adjustments Webinar
- E-Payments Routing Directory Moving Effective January 25, 2015
- Continuation of the America the Beautiful Quarters program
- New Operating Hours for National Settlement Service
- Failing Bank Acquisitions webpage
The FDIC has issued FIL-4-2-15 to announce the launch of a Failing Bank Acquisitions webpage to provide information on how the regulator markets failing institutions.
- NCUA Board action
An NCUA Board Action Bulletin has been issued to announce the results of the Board's January 15, 2015, meeting. The NCUA Board also announced its approval of the payment of up to $50,000 for costs associated with a data breach at Palm Springs Federal Credit Union of Palm Springs, California.
January 15, 2015
- CFPB proposes Safe Student Account Scorecard
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced it is seeking input on a "Safe Student Account Scorecard." The scorecard would help colleges access upfront information about fees, features, and sales tactics before agreeing to a sponsorship with a financial institution to offer checking and prepaid accounts. A Request for Information (RFI) seeking comment on the proposed scorecard from the public, including student and parent consumers, institutions of higher learning and financial institutions, has been issued. The scorecard specifically would ask financial institutions to provide schools:
CFPB Director Cordray issued prepared remarks on the Student Accounts Press Call announcing the proposed scorecard.
- a clear description of product fees and features;
- full disclosure about the financial institution's marketing practices;
- information on how much the financial institution earns from the accounts; and
- an annual summary of fees collected.
- SDN List updated
Treasury has announced the designation of a Palestinian individual as an SDGT and the corresponding update of the SDN List.
- FHFA 2015 Scorecard released
The 2015 Scorecard has been released by Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Specific priorities for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and their joint venture, Common Securitization Solutions, LLC, are listed. They include:
- Maintenance, in a safe and sound manner, of credit availability and foreclosure prevention activities for new and refinanced mortgages to foster liquid, efficient, competitive and resilient national housing finance markets;
- Reduction of taxpayer risk through increasing the role of private capital in the mortgage market; and
- Building of a new single-family securitization infrastructure for use by the Enterprises and adaptable for use by other participants in the secondary market in the future.
- More EGRPRA outreach meetings scheduled
A joint press release from the OCC, FDIC and FRB has announced an outreach meeting will be held on February 4, 2015, at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas as part of the agencies' regulatory review under the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act of 1996 (EGRPRA). Details on the Dallas meeting, including registration information, the webcast link, and the agenda, are available on the EGRPRA website. Additional meetings are currently scheduled in Boston on May 4, Chicago on October 19, and Washington on December 2. The agencies also plan to hold an outreach meeting focused on rural banks. The meetings may be viewed live online.
- OCC 2015 Directors Workshop schedule
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has announced its 2015 schedule of workshops for directors of national community banks and federal savings associations.
- Comptroller's Handbook revisions
Bulletin 2015-2 (Retail Nondeposit Investment Products) and Bulletin 2015-3 (Conflicts of Interest) have been issued by the OCC to announce revisions to the Comptroller's Handbook.
- FTC to host Tax ID Theft Awareness Week
A series of events will be hosted by the FTC during the week of January 26–30 to raise consumer awareness about the threat posed by tax identity theft.
- FDIC Board meeting notice
The notice of the January 21, 2015, open meeting of the FDIC Board of Directors has been posted.
- Matz and Cordray to host town hall webinar
The NCUA has announced that Chairman Matz will host a ninety-minute free town hall webinar meeting with CFPB Director Cordray on February 10, at 3 pm. ET. This will be the fourth annual joint webinar to discuss NCUA and CFPB regulatory issues. Registration for the event is open.
- NCUA Board meeting video
The video of the December 11, 2014, open meeting of the NCUA Board is now available for viewing online.
- Beige Book published
The Federal Reserve Board has published the January 2015 issue of the Beige Book. The report is published eight times per year and contains information on current economic conditions in the twelve districts through reports from bank and branch directors and interviews with key business contacts, economists, market experts, and other sources.
January 14, 2015
- SCOTUS resolves rescission suit debate
In a unanimous opinion released yesterday, the Supreme Court settled the question of whether a consumer must file a lawsuit to exercise an extended right to rescind a mortgage transaction, or simply notify the lender in writing. The Court held that 15 U.S.C. 1635 (the applicable portion of the Truth in Lending Act) requires only that the consumer provide a written notice to the lender. Previously, rulings in the First, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Circuits had held that the consumer had to file suit. The Syllabus of yesterday's court decision in Jesinoski et ux. v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., et al. has been paraphrased on BOL's CourtWatch page.
- Pakistani added to SDN List
Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has announced it has designated a Pakistani as an SDGT and added his name to the SDN List.
- Discount rate meetings minutes
The Federal Reserve Board has released the minutes of its November 24 and December 15, 2014, discount rate meetings.
- OCC paper on community bank collaboration
The OCC has published a paper, "An Opportunity for Community Banks: Working Together Collaboratively." The paper describes how community banks can pool resources to obtain cost efficiencies and leverage specialized expertise. It also explores the benefits of collaboration, outlines how community banks can structure collaborative arrangements, and emphasizes the need for effective oversight of collaborative arrangements.
- Webinar on proposed risk-based capital rule
The NCUA will host a webinar on its revised proposed risk-based capital rule on January 21, beginning at 2 p.m. ET.
- NCUA Report
The January 2015 issue of The NCUA Report has been posted.
January 13, 2015
- Bureau: Many don't shop mortgages
The CFPB has posted an article and issued a news release about what most mortgage lenders would call the obvious: almost half of recent mortgage borrowers don't shop around for home mortgages. The releases report on a survey of individuals who obtained mortgages in 2013, which reveals that:
The Bureau also promoted its new Owning a Home interactive resources designed to help borrowers approach the mortgage shopping process with more information.
- Almost half of borrowers seriously consider only one lender or broker before making an application
- 77 percent of borrowers apply with a single lender or broker, rather than making multiple applications to seek the best deal
- 70 percent of borrowers used lenders and brokers as a primary source of mortgage information, and 30 percent sought the information from real estate agents
- Borrowers who were confident of their knowledge of available interest rates were twice as likely to shop for mortgages as consumers who knew little about rates
January 12, 2015
- Impact of debts on military careers
The CFPB has posted an article on the negative impact personal debt may have on military duty status, potential promotions and careers. The article includes tips and information for military personal regarding management of debts, expenses, income and other personal finance matters.
- Federal Reserve System income data released
The Federal Reserve Board has announced that preliminary unaudited results indicate the Reserve Banks provided payments of approximately $98.7 billion of their estimated 2014 net income to the U.S. Treasury. The residual earnings of each Federal Reserve Bank are distributed to the Treasury, after providing for the costs of operations, payment of dividends, and the amount necessary to equate surplus with capital paid-in.
January 9, 2015
- FHA reduces annual insurance premiums
HUD Secretary Castro has announced that the FHA will reduce the annual premiums new borrowers will pay by one-half of a percent. The reduction is projected to save FHA homeowners an average of $900 annually. The new annual premium prices are expected to take effect towards the end of the month. The FHA will publish a mortgagee letter detailing its new pricing structure.
- NMLS Ombudsman meeting scheduled
An open meeting with the NMLS Ombudsman will be held on Monday, February 16, 2015, from 2:00–5:00 pm. PST, in conjunction with the 2015 NMLS Annual Conference & Training in San Diego, California. Conference registration is not required to attend the meeting. The meeting will be in-person only. Additional information on the NMLS Annual Conference has been made available.
- November consumer credit report
The Federal Reserve posted the November 2014 G.19 Consumer Credit Report. Consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5 percent. Revolving credit decreased at an annual rate of 1¼ percent, while nonrevolving credit increased at an annual rate of 7½ percent.
- January FedFocus
The January 2015 issue of FedFocus has been posted by Federal Reserve Bank Services. The feature story reports how a bank enhanced its business continuity plan by ordering a backup VPN device. There are also articles on:
- How to stay informed during FedCash Services disruptions
- The number of Federal Reserve notes ordered for 2015
- The 2015 America the Beautiful Quarters Program
- The new registration process for FEDucation opportunities
- EGRPRA outreach program notice
OCC Bulletin 2015-1 has announced that the second in a series of outreach meetings on the interagency effort to reduce regulatory burden as required by the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act of 1996 (EGRPRA) will be held in Dallas on February 4, 2015. Individuals wishing to attend the outreach meeting in Dallas must register, and participation is limited. Online registrations are accepted through January 28, 2015, or until all seats are filled.
- NCUA Board to meet
The agenda for the January 15, 2015, meeting of the NCUA Board has been posted.
January 8, 2015
- Federal Open Market Committee releases
The statement and minutes of the December 16-17, 2014, meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee have been released by the Federal Reserve Board.
- New NCUA cyber fraud video
A new two-part video on how to recognize, avoid and report cyber fraud has been released by the National Credit Union Administration. The video is available on the NCUA YouTube channel.
- Bureau to launch demo on financial education
The CFPB published a Notice and Request for Comment [80 FR 1027] in today's Federal Register in which it reports that the Bureau will, beginning in the winter of 2015, launch a multi-site financial education demonstration project to provide one-on-one and group financial counseling/coaching services to individuals with disabilities transitioning into the workplace or already employed.
January 7, 2015
- California bank reports counterfeit cashier's checks
The OCC has issued its Alert 2015-1 about counterfeit cashier's checks using the routing number for Simplicity Bank, Covina, California. The counterfeit checks do not resemble Simplicity's authentic checks. Information regarding the counterfeit checks has been posted on the BOL Alerts & Counterfeits page.
- FDIC Call Report advisory
The FDIC has issued FIL-3-2015 reminding its supervised institutions of the December 31, 2014, Consolidated Reports of Condition and Income (Call Report). The FIL indicates:
- This Call Report does not require institutions to report any new or revised data items.
- The Call Report forms and an instruction book update for December 2014 are available on the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council's website at http://www.ffiec.gov/ffiec_report_forms.htm and the FDIC's website at http://www.fdic.gov/callreports.
- Banks should review FIL-1-2015 and its accompanying Supplemental Instructions for further information on the fourth quarter 2014 Call Report.
- This quarter's Supplemental Instructions include guidance on the applicability for Call Report purposes of a new accounting standard that allows institutions to elect whether or not to apply pushdown accounting in certain business combinations.
- This guidance also provides that an institution's primary federal regulator reserves the right to require, or prohibit, the institution's use of pushdown accounting based on an evaluation of whether the election appears not to be supported by the facts and circumstances of the business combination.
- Dean named FDIC Regional Director
The FDIC has announced that it has appointed Michael J. Dean as Regional Director for the agency's Atlanta Region. Dean has been the Acting Regional Director for that office since April 2014. He oversees the FDIC's bank supervisory and compliance activities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. The Atlanta Region supervises 819 institutions with combined assets of over $454 billion.
January 6, 2015
- New SDN List format released
Treasury has announced OFAC's release of a new format for the SDN List. The format was jointly developed with the United Nations and the Wolfsberg Group of International Banks to create a universal sanctions list format that can be efficiently used by governments worldwide and enhances sanctions compliance. The enhancements include:
FAQs on using the new format were also released. There are no current plans to replace any of the current OFAC file formats with the new, enhanced XML product.
- new metadata, including specific labels for name parts that go beyond the standard "Last name, First name" style of current sanctions lists
- language scripts beyond the standard Latin script used in many sanctions lists
- a data dictionary of all valid look-up values in the header of the file
- a flexible "feature identifier" functionality that augments the normal identification look-up values that are currently available in the SDN List formats
- Brokered deposits guidance
The FDIC has issued FIL-2-2015 with guidance in the form of "Frequently Asked Questions" or "FAQs" to promote consistency by insured depository institutions in identifying, accepting, and reporting brokered deposits.
- CRA ratings released
The FDIC has issued a list of state nonmember banks recently evaluated for compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Of the 91 institutions listed, seven were rated outstanding and 84 received satisfactory ratings.
January 5, 2015
- Call Report FIL
FIL-1-2015 has been issued by the FDIC regarding the Consolidated Reports of Condition and Income for the Fourth Quarter, 2014. With the exception of reports by institutions with more than one foreign office, the Call Reports must be filed and pass validation checks by January 30, 2015.
- Sanctions against North Korea
An Executive Order (E.O.) has been signed by President Obama authorizing the imposition of sanctions against the Government of North Korea and the Workers' Party of Korea in response to the Government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's numerous provocations, particularly the recent cyber-attack targeting Sony Pictures Entertainment and the threats against movie theaters and moviegoers. Pursuant to the authorities of the E.O., Treasury has designated three entities and 10 individuals for being agencies or officials of the North Korean government. Their names have been added to the SDN List with the DPRK2 identifier.
- NCUA loans and grants notices
The National Credit Union Administration has published notices in this morning's Federal Register announcing access to two Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives (OSCUI) programs for small credit unions:
Participation in these programs is subject to funding availability.
- A Notice of Funding Opportunity [80 FR 260] inviting eligible credit unions to submit applications for participation in the OSCUI Loan Program
- A Notice of Funding Opportunity [80 FR 263] inviting eligible credit unions to submit applications for participation in the OSCUI Grant Program
- Exchange rates
The G.5A 2014 Annual and G.5 December 2014 exchange rates data have been posted by the Federal Reserve Board.
January 2, 2015
- Prohibition orders issued
The NCUA has issued six orders prohibiting designated individuals from participating in the affairs of any federally insured financial institution.
- Consumer Compliance Outlook
The Fourth Quarter 2014 issue of the Federal Reserve's Consumer Compliance Outlook newsletter has been released, with featured articles on "Transitioning from an Intermediate Small Bank to a Large Bank Under the Community Reinvestment Act" and "Managing Compliance Risk Through Consumer Compliance Risk Assessments."
- Treasury FIO reinsurance report
The Treasury Department's Federal Insurance Office (FIO) has issued its report on the global reinsurance market and its role in supporting insurance in the U.S. The report, which is required by Title V of the Dodd-Frank Act, summarizes the history of reinsurance as a product and an industry, and outlines its various functions.
- Board releases Discount Window lending data
The Fourth Quarter 2012 Discount Window lending data have been released by the Federal Reserve Board.
- 2015 currency and reserve bank budgets
The Federal Reserve Board's Freedom of Information Office has released the Currency and Reserve Bank budgets for 2015.
- 2015 HMDA and CRA data entry software
The FFIEC has announced the availability of the 2015 versions of HMDA and CRA data entry software.
- HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Today we begin anew our collection of the Top Stories affecting banks and banking, with the start of a new year. For our archive of stories back to the year 2000, click the drop-down list near the top or bottom of this page.
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March 27, 2015
- CFPB announces rulemaking process series The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has the start of a series of blog posts explaining some key parts of the rulemaking process. The first post indicates how small businesses can provide the Bureau feedback and help the agency write regulations regarding financial products and services. It also indicates a Small Business Review Panel will be created each time the CFPB is working on a rule that could have significant economic impacts on small entities (small businesses, organizations, and small government bodies). Each Small Business Review Panel will consist of representatives from the CFPB, Small Business Administration, and the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. The panels will:
- hold an outreach meeting with a representative group of small businesses to discuss the potential rules being considered
- publish meeting materials on the Bureau's website (panel meetings, however, aren't public)
- conduct a free and open discussion with the small business representatives, keeping the meetings small
- summarize discussions in a panel report which will be published along with a proposed rule
- Mortgage rates decrease The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has released its February 2015 Index, which reports that nationally interest rates on conventional purchase-money mortgages decreased from January to February, according to several indices of new mortgage contracts.
- Board releases bank reports The Federal Reserve Board has released its Minority Owned BankLarge Commercial Bank reports. The data in each report is as of September 30, 2014.
- Consumer and Mobile Financial Services report The Board also released the Consumer and Mobile Financial Services 2015 report, which indicates the use of mobile phones to access bank accounts, credit cards, or other financial accounts continued to increase among adults in the United States during 2014. The survey was first conducted in December 2011 and has been conducted annually since to understand how the rapidly expanding use of this technology affects consumer decision-making. A video summarizing the survey's mobile financial services findings was also released.
- Filing deadline adjusted for large NBFIs A joint press release by the Federal Reserve and the FDIC has announced the permanent adjustment of the annual resolution plan filing deadline for American International Group, Inc., General Electric Capital Corporation, Inc., MetLife Inc., and Prudential Financial, Inc., from July 1 to December 31 beginning in 2016.
- Rewards offered for Russian financial cybercriminals ICE has posted a "wanted poster" offering multi-million dollar rewards for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of two alleged Russian cybercriminals identified during a far-reaching federal investigation into a worldwide online marketplace for stolen personal and financial information. The two fugitives, Roman Olegovich Zolotarev ($2 million reward) and Konstantin Lopatin ($1 million), were indicted following a probe spearheaded by Las Vegas-based agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). They are members of an internet-based criminal enterprise known as Carder-su, which traffics in and manufactures stolen and counterfeit identification documents and access devices such as debit and credit cards, and engages in identity theft and financial fraud crimes.
Should you consult your regulators about servicing risky businesses? The FFIEC states that after multiple SAR filings, the financial institution should review that relationship to determine if it needs to be terminated. How does this guidance align with the recent guidance from FinCEN about servicing marijuana related businesses? Does it make sense to service these business without speaking to your primary regulator first? To read a blog answering these questions and more about risky businesses and what they mean for your relationship with your regulator,
March 26, 2015
- Bureau reveals payday debt plans In another of its orchestrated "reveals," the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau early this morning its plans for a proposed rule that would cover payday loans, vehicle title loans, and certain high-cost installment and open-end credit extensions. The Bureau's long-anticipated announcement, to be aired publicly in remarks today by Director Cordray at the agency's Richmond, Virginia, field hearing, would end "payday debt traps" by requiring lenders to make sure consumers can repay their loans, and restrict lenders from attempting to collect payment from consumers' bank accounts in ways that tend to cause fees to pile up. The proposals under consideration would cover short-term credit products that require consumers to pay back the loan in full within 45 days, such as payday loans, deposit advance products, certain open-end lines of credit, and some vehicle title loans. Among other measures under consideration are:
Before the Bureau's proposals are issued as a proposed rule, they are to be presented to a Small Business Review Panel and to other stakeholders for further input. A 57-page outline of the proposals under consideration was released this morning, along with factsheets summarizing the proposals and describing the Small Business Review Panel process, and a list of questions to be used by the Panel to solicit feedback from small lenders. A live video of the field hearing will be streamed on the Bureau's Blog, beginning at 12 noon ET.
- A requirement that lenders determine at the outset that the consumer can repay the loan when due without defaulting or re-borrowing
- A 60-day cooling off period between loans, in most cases
- A limit of three loans (including renewals) in a row before a mandatory 60-day borrowing break
- A mandate for affordable repayment options, including a no-cost "off-ramp" for a borrower who can't repay after two renewals
- For loans with terms over 45 days, protections similar to those offered under the NCUA's "payday alternative loans" program
- A three-day notification before accessing deposit accounts for payments
- A requirement for a new consumer authorization to access a deposit account after two consecutive unsuccessful attempts to collect from the account
- PayPal pays $7.6M for OFAC violations OFAC has announced a $7,658,300 settlement with PayPal, Inc. to settle potential civil liability for 486 apparent violations of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions Regulations, the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, and the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations. PayPal did not screen in-process transactions in order to reject or block prohibited transactions pursuant to applicable U.S. economic sanctions program requirements and processed transactions to or from PayPal accounts registered to individuals on OFAC's List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List). OFAC also announced the assessment of a $780,000 civil money penalty (CMP) against Life for Relief and Development, Southfield, MI. to settle potential civil liability for apparent violations of the former Iraqi Sanctions Regulations. In addition in an unrelated action, OFAC added an individual to its SDN List.
- OCC schedules director's workshops in Kentucky The OCC will host two workshops in Louisville, Kentucky, on May 5–6, 2015, for directors of national community banks and federal savings associations. A Risk Governance workshop on May 5 will provide practical information for directors to effectively measure and manage risks. A Compliance Risk workshop on May 6 will discuss the critical elements of an effective compliance risk management program.
- FDIC State Profiles for Fourth Quarter 2015
The FDIC has released its State Profiles for the Fourth Quarter 2015. The profiles are a quarterly data sheet summation of banking and economic conditions in each state.
- NCUA warns consumers of telephone spoofing scam
A warning has been issued by the NCUA to alert consumers that texts they receive from an agency telephone line, 703-518-6301, asking for personal information are not coming from the agency. This attempted fraud scam is called "spoofing" (see http://www.fcc.gov/guides/caller-id-and-spoofing, an FCC Guide). The texts may warn of a debit card reaching its limit or use some other trick to persuade individuals to provide personal information or go to a malicious website. Consumers should not click on links in the message, provide information to any websites referenced in the message nor attempt to conduct any financial transactions through those websites.