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Compliance News

The latest compliance news items. Past months’ news items are found under the specific Compliance Topic page related to the news item.

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November 2018 | December 2018

December News

  • FCC Adopts Reassigned Number Database with Safe Harbor (12/12/18)
    The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to create a database of phone numbers that have been relinquished by one individual and reassigned to another individual, something that ABA has long called for. At ABA’s urging, the FCC also provided a safe harbor from liability for any calls to reassigned numbers caused by database error. In prior comments, ABA explained that a safe harbor was necessary to ensure that banks are not discouraged from placing important calls to their customers and do not face liability for inadvertently calling a reassigned number despite consulting the database. The FCC also voted to continue to permit voice service providers to apply filtering measures to block messages that are likely spam. For more information, contact ABA's Jonathan Thessin​.
  • CFPB Proposes Updates to 'No-Action Letter' Policy (12/11/18)
    The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection is proposing changes to its so-called no-action letter policy and proposing to establish a regulatory sandbox that would encourage banks to test new, innovative financial products. The revised policy would seek to improve the no-action letter process by eliminating several redundant or burdensome elements, streamlining the Bureau’s processing and review of the applications and expanding the types of relief available, among other things. ABA called on the Bureau to revisit the policy in a comment letter earlier this year. Comments are due by Feb. 11. For more information, contact ABA's Virginia O’Neill.
  • ABA Offers Feedback on Federal Reserve Faster Settlement Proposal (12/11/18)
    In a comment letter to the Federal Reserve, ABA offered feedback on potential Fed actions to accelerate interbank settlement of faster payments, including the idea of the Fed banks developing a 24/7/365 real-time settlement service and a liquidity management tool to support this service. ABA's comments reflected input received from a number of member bankers that participated in the association's Faster Payments Working Group. For more information, contact ABA's Steve Kenneally​.
  • Bureau Releases Beta Version of HMDA Platform for 2018 Data (12/11/18)
    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has launched the beta version of its Home Mortgage Disclosure Act platform for data collected in 2018. The beta release allows banks an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the platform and ensure their sample loan/application registers (LARs) data complies with reporting requirements. Banks may test and retest their data files as often as desired during the beta period. ​
  • OFCCP Issues New Directives on Opinion Letters, Compliance Evaluations (12/10/18)
    The Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is establishing a process for issuing Opinion Letters, which will provide authoritative guidance in response to institution-specific or industry-wide questions, under one of three new directives OFCCP recently issued. Under the directives, OFCCP will also provide additional compliance assistance and guidance through publicly available and searchable Help Desk questions and answers; establish Early Resolution Procedures to resolve violations through conciliation without issuing adverse agency action; and rescind a 2011 directive that had established Active Case Enforcement procedures. See ABA's Staff Analysis .
  • Kathy Kraninger Confirmed as Bureau Director (12/7/18)
    The Senate by a vote of 50 to 49 confirmed Kathy Kraninger to a five-year term as director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. Kraninger is currently an associate director at the Office of Management and Budget. ​​
  • Bureau Report Highlights Fair Lending Activities in 2017 (12/6/18)
    The Bureau recapped its efforts in 2017 to fulfil its statutory mandate to ensure consumers are protected from discrimination in its sixth annual Fair Lending Report. The agency noted that it prioritized redlining, mortgage and student loan servicing and small business lending in its fair lending enforcement activities throughout 2017. The report also highlights the Bureau's activities related to Equal Credit Opportunity Act enforcement, Home Mortgage Disclosure Act reporting, guidance and rulemaking, interagency coordination and outreach.
  • ABA Issues Staff Analysis on Proposed Amendments to Reg CC  (12/4/18)
    ABA issued a summary on the agencies' proposed changes to Regulation CC related to: the calculation methodology for implementing a statutory requirement to adjust the dollar amounts in the Expedited Funds Availability Act (EFT Act) every five years to adjust for inflation; extension of the EFT Act’s coverage to American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam; a statutory requirement to clarify the regulation’s application to ATMs “located in the U.S”; and technical amendments to Regulation DD (Truth in Savings Act). The agencies are also asking for any additional comments to proposed amendments issued in March 2011 to Subpart B (the consumer-facing provisions). Comments are due 60 days after the proposal's publication in the Federal Register. Contact Nessa Feddis for more information.
  • ABA Comments on the FDIC's Request for Information on FDIC Communication and Transparency (12/4/18)
    In a comment letter to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, ABA urged the FDIC to improve its communications methods by clearly distinguishing critical information and eliminating duplication, to make its communications more effective, streamlined, and clear. The FDIC solicited comments on its communications practices and asked how the agency could improve communications with insured depository institutions. ABA also recommended that the FDIC limit the use of FILs so that they serve to announce only important supervisory and regulatory information, as well as updates to the FDICconnect platform and other data reporting. For questions, contact Diana Banks.
  • Banking Agencies Issue Joint Statement Encouraging Innovative Industry Approaches to AML Compliance (12/3/18)
    The banking agencies, along with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, issued a statement encouraging banks to consider, study and — where appropriate — implement innovative approaches to anti-money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act compliance. The statement was unveiled by Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker at the ABA/ABA Financial Crimes Enforcement Conference​ in National Harbor, Md., who emphasized that “we in the government are committed to helping you in those efforts.” ABA welcomed the statement and Mandelker's remarks.
  • Recording of Bureau's Symposium on Credit Visibility Now Available (12/3/18)
    The Bureau last week announced the availability of a recording of the Bureau's symposium on credit visibility held on September 17 at the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Headquarters. On the day of the symposium, the Bureau also released a new research report on the geography of credit invisible consumers. The report provides a closer look at the relationship between geography and credit invisibility.
  • Bureau Ombudsman Releases Annual Report (12/3/18)
    The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Ombudsman Wendy Kamenshine last week released its FY2018 Annual Report. The report includes information on systemic issues reviewed in 2018, individual inquiry analysis, and the Bureau's inreach (internal engagement) and outreach activities, as well as an update on the Ombudsman terminology project.
  • ​Congress Averts NFIP Lapse (12/3/18)
    With authorization for the National Flood Insurance Program set to expire at midnight on November 30, both houses of Congress last week passed a seven-day extension of the program through December 7. The Senate also passed a six-month extension bill. A longer-term NFIP reauthorization is expected to be attached to a spending bill that must be passed by December 7 to keep the government open. ABA continues to advocate for a long-term NFIP reauthorization that would provide greater certainty to the mortgage market.

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November News

  • OCC Publication Highlights Banks' Role in Rural Broadband Initiatives (11/28/18)
    The latest edition of the OCC's Community Developments Investments newsletter explores the important role banks play in helping to bring reliable, high-speed internet access to rural communities via broadband networks. It also highlights how banks financing certain broadband development initiatives may receive Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) consideration for these activities. For more on CRA, see ABA's CRA page .
  • Agencies Issue Second Update on Exam Modernization Effort (11/28/18)
    As part of an ongoing review of the safety and soundness exam process, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council issued a second update on progress made to date. The update focuses on regulators' work to tailor examinations based on the risk profiles of individual institutions. ABA has been engaged throughout the exam modernization effort and will continue to engage with regulators and provide feedback on how to reduce the exam burden for banks. For more information, contact ABA's Shaun Kern or Rick Freer.
  • Updated Article Discusses How to Prepare for an NFIP Lapse (11/28/18)
    With the National Flood Insurance Program set to lapse on Friday, Nov. 30, unless Congress intervenes, an updated online feature from the ABA Banking Journal examines what bankers should do to prepare themselves and their customers. ABA Senior Counsel Diana Banks walks bankers through what to do before, during and after a lapse occurs. 
  • FDIC Consumer Publication Focuses on Staying Safe During Holidays (11/28/18)
    The newest issue of the FDIC's Consumer News publication focuses on how to stay safe while shopping online during the holiday season. The FDIC reminds consumers to watch out for fake websites and apps, ensure sites are secure before entering payment information and to be careful not to share personal information when on public wi-fi. It also highlights package delivery confirmation scams, which increase in popularity during the holiday season. In this type of scam, fraudsters claiming to be from the postal service or other shipping company ask the consumer to provide their personal information before a package can be delivered.
  • FHFA Announces New Loan Limits for 2019 (11/28/18)
    The Federal Housing Finance Agency said that it will raise the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchase in 2019 from $453,100 to $484,350. The announcement marks the third time FHFA has increased the baseline loan limit since 2006. In high-cost areas, such as Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., the maximum loan limit will be $726,525, which is 150 percent of $484,350. Meanwhile, limits will rise in all but 47 counties in the country.
  • Agencies Propose Raising Residential Real Estate Appraisal Threshold to $400K (11/26/18)
    The financial regulatory agencies issued a proposal that would raise the appraisal threshold for residential real estate transactions from $250,000 to $400,000. The proposal followed numerous concerns raised by ABA and other industry stakeholders over the time and cost of appraisals. Comments on the proposal will be due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. For more information, contact ABA's Sharon Whitaker.
  • FHFA Finalizes Changes to FHLB Affordable Housing Program (11/26/18)
    The Federal Housing Finance Agency finalized a proposal making changes to the Federal Home Loan Bank Affordable Housing Program. The final rule is intended to provide FHLBs with greater flexibility in how they can allocate their AHP contributions to the various programs based on the specific housing needs of their districts. The FHLBs must implement all changes by Jan. 1, 2021. For more information, contact ABA's Joe Pigg.
  • FCC to Vote on Reassigned Number Database (11/26/18)
    Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai last week announced that the FCC will vote at its upcoming Dec. 12 meeting to create a database of phone numbers that have been relinquished by one individual and reassigned to another individual, something that ABA has long called for. Pai said the FCC would seek to "establish a single, comprehensive database of reassigned numbers based on information provided by phone companies." In related news, the FCC released a draft order that would create a database of phone numbers that have been relinquished by one individual and reassigned to another individual, something that ABA has long called for. For more information, contact ABA's Jonathan Thessin. ​
  • ABA: HOLA Flexibility Proposal Would Help Banks Meet Customers' Changing Needs (11/20/18)
    ABA called on the OCC to quickly finalize a proposal to implement a new section of the Home Owners' Loan Act (HOLA) permitting certain federal thrifts to elect the rights and duties of national banks, as mandated by the regulatory reform law S. 2155. The proposal emerged from banker recommendations and has been strongly championed by ABA. In its comment letter to the OCC (which was also shared with the Federal Reserve Board as a regulator of savings and loan holding companies), ABA noted that this added flexibility will allow banks to meet the changing needs of their customers and communities. ABA called on regulators to follow congressional intent and provide maximum flexibility for affected banks without imposing undue impediments or hindrances, adding that “flexibility rather than formality is key.”
  • Bureau Publishes Updated Rule Guides (11/19/18)
    The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection announced on November 16 that it has updated the loan originator rule guide and the HOEPA rule guide to reflect amendments made by Section 107 of S. 2155.
  • Fed Finalizes Proposal Harmonizing Reg J, Reg CC (11/19/18)
    The Federal Reserve last week finalized a proposal to harmonize Regulation J — which governs the collection of checks or other items by Federal Reserve banks and funds transfers through Fedwire — with Regulation CC, which implements the Expedited Funds Availability Act. The final rule realigns Reg J with recent amendments to Reg CC, which updated the check collection framework to reflect a system that is now largely electronic. It also clarifies that financial messaging standards for Fedwire transfers do not confer or connote legal status or responsibilities with respect to Fedwire funds transfers. ​
  • FDIC Offers Free Teleconference on Unbanked Survey​ (11/19/18)
    As part of its banker teleconference series, the FDIC has scheduled a discussion of its 2017 national survey of unbanked and underbanked households for November 28 at 2 p.m. EST. Other topics to be discussed include economic inclusion resources and Community Reinvestment Act consideration for activities that benefit underserved communities. Advance registration is required.
  • ABA Calls for CRA Modernization to Provide Greater Clarity, Predictability (11/16/18)
    ABA submitted its long-awaited comment letter to the OCC providing detailed feedback on how best to modernize the Community Reinvestment Act regulations. ABA's comment letter — submitted in response to an advance notice of proposed rulemaking issued by the OCC earlier this year — incorporated feedback from banks nationwide representing a range of business models, asset sizes and geographic locations. ABA urged regulators to address market distortions in areas where the market is over-saturated and there are fewer opportunities to obtain community development credit; improve the supervisory process; and consider applying CRA-like requirements to credit unions and other financial firms. For more information, contact ABA's Krista Shonk.
  • ABA Calls for Careful Testing, Tailoring of Potential CRA Metric (11/16/18)
    In its comments on CRA modernization, ABA also highlighted the pros and cons of creating a quantitative metric for measuring banks' CRA performance, a key question posed in the advance notice of proposed rulemaking. ABA noted that under the current framework, regulators often apply unofficial and unpublished CRA goals, and that adoption of a quantitative metric could provide banks with a more objective and predictable measure.  ​
  • McWilliams Highlights Potential Risks as Banking Services Migrate Outside Regulated Entities (11/15/18)
    As technology and innovation lead to more financial products and services migrating outside the regulated banking sector, regulators must be mindful of systemic risks posted to the financial system, FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams said in remarks. She used as an example mortgage originations, which have long been a staple bank product but are which are increasingly shifting outside the banking sector as new lending options become available.
  • FDIC's McWilliams Previews Role of Office of Innovation (11/14/18)
    After announcing during the ABA Annual Convention last month that the FDIC will create an innovation office, FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams offered additional insight into what such an office would look like when up and running. In remarks at a fintech event hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, McWilliams said FDIC staff will focus specifically on how the agency can provide a safe environment for innovation that is already ongoing; how it can promote technological development at community banks with limited resources; what policy changes are needed to support financial services innovation; and how the FDIC can transform itself to enhance financial system stability, ensure consumer protection and reduce regulatory burden.
  • FDIC Seeks Information on Small-Dollar Loans (11/15/18)
    The FDIC is seeking public feedback on the steps it can take to encourage FDIC-supervised banks to offer small-dollar credit products to meet the needs of consumers, the agency announced. Comments will be due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Specifically, the FDIC is seeking information about consumer demand for small-dollar credit products, features and characteristics of these products, and the benefits and risks to banks offering them. The FDIC is also interested in the challenges that stand in the way of banks’ ability to offer small-dollar credit products, how technology can play a role in offering these products or assessing the creditworthiness of potential borrowers, and how alternative products or services could supplement or complement small-dollar credit offerings.
  • Pennsylvania Attorney General Shapiro Solicits Redlining Complaints from Consumers (11/9/18)
    Attorney General Josh Shapiro is urging mortgage borrowers and home loan applicants in the Philadelphia area to file complaints if they believe they may have been victims of redlining or experienced irregularities when looking for a mortgage or home loan. Shapiro cited an investigative article published earlier this year that purportedly identified a pattern of discrimination in which African American borrowers were 2.7 times more likely to be denied a home mortgage in Philadelphia than white borrowers as the basis for his call for complaints and ongoing investigation of redlining in the Philadelphia area. ABA anticipates that the publication of the 2018 HMDA data will generate additional redlining investigations and urges members to consider joining ABA’s HMDA Benchmarking Study​ to ensure that institutions understand and can explain their HMDA data.
  • Associations Support Creation of a Federal Privacy Framework (11/9/18)
    In a comment letter to NTIA, ABA, BPI and SIFMA expressed their support in the creation of a federal privacy framework, but point out that the financial sector has long been subject to comprehensive federal, state, and international standards on the privacy and security of customer information. While it makes sense to have a uniform approach across all sectors, the existing foundation that applies to the financial sector must be recognized and incorporated into any broader framework. Any new framework must not be inconsistent or duplicative of the existing mandates that apply to the financial sector, the associations said. For more information, contact ABA's Rob Rowe.​
  • ABA Issues Comment Letter Writing Guide to Help Bankers Draft CRA Comments  (11/9/18)
    ABA has developed a comment letter writing guide to help bankers draft letters in response to the OCC's advanced notice of proposed rulemaking on modernizing the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). With the comment deadline of Nov. 19 fast approaching, it is critical that regulators receive feedback from as many banks as possible, regardless of regulator. The guide includes directions for filing comment letters and suggests several key themes bankers could address, including the challenges of the current CRA framework, CRA performance standards, assessment areas, and the various activities that count toward CRA credit. Bankers need not address all points in their letters; comments that provide one example or describe one CRA challenge can be very impactful. The financial regulatory agencies have signaled that banker feedback will play an important role as they work collaboratively to update the CRA regulations. For bankers, this initiative is a critical opportunity to make meaningful changes that will help bring the 30-year-old statute into the 21st century. For more information, contact ABA's Krista Shonk.
  • FHFA, Bureau Release Mortgage Origination Data (11/9/18)
    The Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection released a new loan-level data set collected through its National Survey of Mortgage Originations. The survey — which asks borrowers about their experiences obtaining a mortgage, perceptions of the mortgage market and future expectations — is part of the agencies' National Mortgage Database. The NMDB was established in 2012 and includes detailed information from more than 10 million borrowers. ABA previously raised concerns about the survey initiative, particularly regarding the scope of the data collected and about consumer privacy. Specifically, ABA noted that the data could be used to identify individual borrowers and that consumer privacy could be at risk in the event of a data breach. The association is reviewing this data release and will continue to engage with FHFA and the Bureau on their data collection efforts going forward.
  • Agencies Issue Proposal to Reduce Call Report Burden on Small Institutions (11/8/18)
    The financial regulatory agencies proposed changes that would expand the number of banks eligible to file a more streamlined version of the Call Report, as directed by S. 2155, the new regulatory reform law. Under the proposal, non-complex institutions with less than $5 billion in assets would be permitted to file the FFIEC 051 Call Report. Banks filing the FFIEC 051 Call Report would also see a reduction of the number of data items required in their first and third quarter filings, the agencies said. Comments on the proposal are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. For more information, contact ABA's Alison Touhey.
  • Fed to Host Webinar on Fair Lending Hot Topics (11/7/18)
    The Federal Reserve will host an interagency webinar on Monday, Dec. 3, at 2 p.m. EST, to discuss emerging fair lending issues and hot topics. Presenters from seven agencies will be on hand to discuss a host of topics, including redlining, risk-based assessment, marital status discrimination and disability discrimination. A Q&A session will follow the presentation.
  • ABA, BPI Petition Regulators to Codify Joint Statement on Regulatory Guidance (11/6/18)
    After regulators in September issued a joint statement clarifying that regulatory guidance does not have the force and effect of law, ABA and the Bank Policy Institute submitted a rare petition to each agency calling on them to institutionalize the statement by codifying it in a formal rulemaking. The associations asked regulators specifically to clarify that matters requiring attention (MRA), matters requiring immediate attention (MRIA) and other such supervisory actions may only be based on a violation of statute or regulation, and not on a failure to comply with supervisory guidance. The associations emphasized that while codifying the interagency statement would raise the threshold for the issuance of MRAs or MRIAs and other adverse supervisory actions, it should not limit examiners' ability to engage with banks constructively on matters that do not rise to that threshold. For more information, contact ABA's Wayne Abernathy.
  • OIG Releases Report on Bureau's Information Security Program (11/6/18)
    The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection's information security program is consistently implemented and performs at a higher maturity level, according to a recent OIG report. Using a rating level from a low of 1 to a high of 5, the OIG rated the Bureau's program across several areas. Overall, the Bureau's information security program is operating at level 3 (consistently implemented). The Bureau’s information security continuous monitoring process is effective and operating at level 4 (managed and measurable). The OIG made several recommendations to strengthen the Bureau's information security program in the areas of configuration management, identity and access management, and data protection and privacy. The Bureau agreed with the recommendations.
  • McWilliams: Innovation Needed to Bring Consumers Back to Financial Services Sector (11/2/18)
    In an op-ed published in American Banker, FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams noted the importance of bringing underbanked and unbanked consumers into the regulated banking system. McWilliams recounted her own experience of being unbanked when she first immigrated to the United States from the former Yugoslavia as a young adult. With just $500 to her name and no credit history, she obtained a secured credit card shortly after arriving, which she noted was a critical first step on the road to financial success. As technology continues to advance, she added that she sees opportunities to bring more unbanked and underbanked consumers back into the banking sector, particularly through mobile banking. Watch McWilliams' recent session at the ABA Annual Convention​. ​​

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