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Banker's Toolbox solidifies its position as the premier solution for fast-growing financial institutions with the release of BAM+ 4.0 upgrade.
Banker's Toolbox continues to lead the BSA/AML and Fraud prevention marketplace with the release of BAM+ 4.0. This solution provides increased detection with more versatility, transparency and control. BAM+ 4.0 also boasts a new customer due diligence platform, Due Diligence Manager, which will keep institutions compliant with the impending beneficial ownership mandates. (Read full press release here.)

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FinCEN updates FAQ on BSA questions

FinCEN announced on Friday it has updated its Answers to Frequently Asked Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) Questions on its website. The updates removed several outdated questions, updated references to the Code of Federal Regulations, and modified the answer to question 16 regarding how to address a current issue involving the Designation of Exempt Person (DEP) form.


OCC releases enforcement actions

The OCC has released new enforcement actions taken against national banks, federal savings associations, and individuals currently and formerly affiliated with national banks and federal savings associations, during the months of October and November 2017. Included were two civil money penalty orders, one removal/prohibition order with restitution, one removal/prohibition order, and one cease and desist order. There were also five orders terminating existing enforcement actions.

One of the civil money penalties was issued to Citibank, N.A., Sioux Falls, SD, and its operating subsidiary CitiMortgage, Inc., in the amount of $452,000, for a pattern or practice of Flood Act violations. See our penalty page for additional information. The other civil money penalty order was issued to a former Iowa bank director for violations of Regulation O and related infractions. The former CFO and director of an Arkansas bank was banned from the industry and ordered to pay $100,000 restitution to his former bank.


NCUA Board approves final rules

The National Credit Union Administration Board held its tenth open meeting of 2017 yesterday, and unanimously approved two items:


FDIC and SRB sign cooperation arrangement

A joint press release from the European Union's Single Resolution Board (SRB) and the FDIC announced the execution of a cooperation arrangement which further strengthens the close cooperation between the two organizations in compliance with the legal frameworks in the United States and the European Union. The purpose of this arrangement is to provide a basis for the exchange of information and cooperation in resolution planning and the implementation of such planning for financial institutions with operations in the Banking Union as well as the USA.

The Single Resolution Board is the central resolution authority within the Banking Union (BU). Together with the NRAs of participating Member States it forms the Single Resolution Mechanism. The SRB works closely with the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the European Banking Authority and national competent authorities. Its mission is to ensure an orderly resolution of failing banks with minimum impact on the real economy and public finances of the participating Member States and beyond.


Fed Board approves increase in discount rate

The Federal Reserve Board announced it approved actions yesterday by the Boards of Directors of the Federal Reserve Banks of Chicago, St. Louis, and Minneapolis increasing the discount rate (the primary credit rate) at the Banks from 1-3/4 percent to 2 percent, effective immediately.


FSOC annual report released

The Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) has published its 2017 annual report. The report describes significant financial market and regulatory developments, potential emerging threats to U.S. financial stability, recommendations to promote financial stability, and the activities of the FSOC. The report notes that the U.S. financial regulatory system should promote economic growth by preventing financial crises and also minimizing regulations that increase costs without commensurate benefits.


Treasury sanctions LRA supporters

Treasury has announced OFAC's designation of Okot Lukwang and Musa Hatari for facilitating the transfer of ivory, weapons, and money in support of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). See our OFAC Update for identification information.


Fed raises target rate by 25 basis points

The Federal Reserve Board and Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) have released the FOMC statement following the December 12-13 FOMC meeting, and the economic projections used in the FOMC meeting. In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1-1/4 to 1‑1/2 percent, an increase of 1/4 percent. The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, to support strong labor market conditions and a sustained return to 2 percent inflation.


DoD updates MLA rule interpretations

The Department of Defense has published at 82 FR 58739 in this morning's Federal Register an amendment to its interpretive Q&A on the Military Lending Act regulations, "Limitations on Terms of Consumer Credit Extended to Service Members and Dependents," at 32 CFR Part 232. On August 26, 2016, the Department issued the first set of interpretations of that regulation in the form of questions and answers; the present interpretive rule amends and adds to those questions and answers to provide guidance on certain questions the Department has received regarding compliance with the July 2015 Final Rule. The new interpretive rule is effective today, December 14, 2017. Among the answers in the revisions are:

  • Purchase money secured loans such as those for vehicles will still qualify for an exemption from the MLA regulation when related items such as warranties are added to the loan. Financing credit-related costs, however, will disqualify the transaction for the exception.
  • Depository institutions can take a security interest in checking, savings, or other financial accounts by describing a permissible security interest granted by covered borrowers.
  • Creditors may exercise the right to take a security interest in funds deposited into a covered borrower’s account in connection with all types of consumer credit covered by the MLA regulation, including credit card accounts, provided this is not otherwise prohibited.
  • There are also clarifications on the use of remotely created checks to make loan payments and the timing for checking military status under the safe harbor provision in the MLA regulation.


NCUA releases third quarter performance data

The NCUA has released performance data for the credit union system for the third quarter of 2017. Key items in the NCUA announcement included:

  • Total assets in federally insured credit unions rose by $86 billion, or 6.8 percent, over the year ending in the third quarter of 2017, to $1.36 trillion.
  • Total loans outstanding increased $90 billion, or 10.6 percent, over the year to $937.0 billion. The average outstanding loan balance in the third quarter of 2017 was $14,708, up $561, or 4.0 percent, from one year earlier.
  • Net income totaled $10.5 billion at an annual rate in the third quarter of 2017, up $0.76 billion, or 7.8 percent, from the same period a year ago.
  • The number of federally insured credit unions declined to 5,642 in the third quarter of 2017 from 5,844 in the third quarter of 2016. In the third quarter of 2017, there were 3,536 federal credit unions and 2,106 federally insured, state-chartered credit unions. The year-over-year decline is consistent with long-running industry consolidation trends.
  • Federally insured credit unions added 4.3 million members over the year, and credit union membership in these institutions reached 110.5 million in the third quarter of 2017.


SCRA § 303 sunset dates extended

The president has signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (H.R. 2810). Section 557 of the Act extends for two years, until December 31, 2019, the "sunset" on the temporary change of "90 days" in § 303(b) and (c) of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (50 U.S.C. § 3953) to "one year." This, of course, means that the wording of the current HUD-SCRA delinquency notice for past-due mortgage payments will remain correct for the next two years, and the current notices can be used past the 12/31/2017 "expiration date." And, of course, servicemembers remain entitled to the protections in § 303 during periods of active duty and for one year thereafter.


Treasury analysis of economic growth initiatives

The Department of the Treasury released Monday a summary analysis from the Office of Tax Policy (OTP) of the expected tax receipts associated with the Administration's economic growth initiatives. Among the key findings is that $1.8 trillion of additional revenue would be generated over 10 years based upon expected growth.


FTC to host workshop on consumer injury from misuse of personal information

The Federal Trade Commission will host a workshop today in Washington, D.C. to examine consumer injury in the context of privacy and data security. The workshop will address questions such as how to best characterize these injuries, how to accurately measure such injuries and their prevalence, and what factors businesses and consumers consider when evaluating the tradeoffs between providing information and potentially increasing their exposure to injuries. The workshop will be webcast live.


Early registration for NMLS Conference still open

The early bird registration deadline for the 2018 NMLS Annual Conference & Training in New Orleans on February 6-9 has been extended to Friday, December 15.


Comments on changes to Payment System Risk Policy requested

The Federal Reserve Board yesterday requested public comment on proposed policy changes to procedures governing the provision of intraday credit to U.S. branches and agencies of foreign banking organizations (FBOs). The changes are intended to refine the methods for determining the level of intraday credit that these branches and agencies can receive from the Federal Reserve Banks, according to the Board's press release.

UPDATE: Published 12/14/2017 at 82 FR 58764, with a 60-day comment period ending 2/14/2018.


FCC and FTC to sign MOU on online consumer protection

The Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission announced their intent to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding under which the two agencies would coordinate online consumer protection efforts following the expected adoption of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order by the FCC.


FATF issues evaluation of Portugal’s ML program

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has issued its evaluation of Portugal’s measures to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation of weaponry.


Fed plans for three new reference rates announced

On Friday, the Federal Reserve Board posted a notice of final plans for the production of three new reference rates based on overnight repurchase agreement (repo) transactions secured by Treasury securities. The three reference rates will be produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY), in cooperation with the U.S. Office of Financial Research. The three rates, intended as replacements for Libor, will be published beginning in the second quarter of 2018.

UPDATE: Also published December 12, 2017, in the Federal Register.


Montgomery new Fed payments security strategy leader

The Baord of Governors of the Federal Reserve System has announced their appointment of Kenneth Montgomery, the first vice president and chief operating officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, as the System's new payments security strategy leader. In this role, Montgomery will lead the Federal Reserve's effort to reduce fraud risk and advance the safety, security and resiliency of the U.S. payment system. His responsibilities will include chairing the Secure Payments Task Force, which comprises more than 200 industry stakeholders.


NCUA seal revised

The White House has released an Executive Order approving a revised seal for the National Credit Union Administration.


IBERIABANK paying $11.69M in DOJ settlement

The Department of Justice has announced that IBERIABANK Corporation, IBERIABANK and IBERIABANK Mortgage Company have agreed to pay the United States $11,692,149 to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by falsely certifying they were complying with Federal requirements in order to obtain insurance on mortgage loans from the Federal Housing Administration. IBERIABANK Corporation is headquartered in Lafayette, Louisiana, with branches across the Southeast, including Arkansas. From 2005 through 2014, IBERIABANK was a direct endorsement lender, and is alleged to have falsely endorsed for FHA insurance loans that were ineligible for coverage. See "IBERIABANK to pay $11.69M for false loan guarantee claims," in our Penalty pages, for more information.


FHA stops insuring new PACE assessment mortgages

The FHA has issued Mortgage Letter 2017-18 announcing it is reversing a short-lived policy announced in July of 2016 and will no longer insure new mortgages on properties that include Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) assessments.


Fed stress testing program proposals

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System has announced it is requesting comment on a package of proposals that would increase the transparency of its stress testing program while maintaining the Federal Reserve's ability to test the resilience of the nation's largest and most complex banks. In response to feedback, one of the proposals would release greater information about the models the Federal Reserve uses to estimate the hypothetical losses in the stress tests, including as applied in the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR). In particular, the following information would be made public for the first time:

  • A range of loss rates, estimated using the Board's models, for loans held by CCAR firms
  • Portfolios of hypothetical loans with loss rates estimated by the Board's models
  • More detailed descriptions of the Board's models, such as certain equations and key variables that influence the results of those models.

Comments are due by January 22, 2018.


Consumer credit expands

The Federal Reserve Board's October 2017 G.19 Consumer Credit report shows that consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6-1/2 percent. Revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 10 percent, while nonrevolving credit increased at an annual rate of 5-1/4 percent.


U.S. banking agencies support conclusion of Basel III

The Fed, FDIC, and OCC have issued a joint press release announcing their support for the conclusion of efforts to reform the international bank capital standards initiated in response to the global financial crisis. The Governors and Heads of Supervision and the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision Thursday announced the finalization of the reforms to the "Basel III" agreement on bank capital standards. With this agreement, the Basel Committee will bring to conclusion the international reforms initiated in response to the global financial crisis.


OCC authorizes closings due to wildfires

The OCC has issued a proclamation allowing national banks and federal savings associations affected by wildfires in California to close.


2018 FHA loan limits

HUD has announced FHA’s new schedule of loan limits for 2018. Most areas of the country will experience an increase in loan limits in the coming year. The 2018 limits will apply to FHA case numbers assigned on or after January 1, 2018. In high-cost areas of the country, FHA's loan limit ceiling will increase to $679,650 from $636,150. FHA will also increase its floor to $294,515 from $275,665. Additionally, the National Mortgage Limit for FHA-insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs), or reverse mortgages, will increase to $679,650 from $636,150. FHA's current regulations implementing the National Housing Act's HECM limits do not allow loan limits for reverse mortgages to vary by MSA or county; instead, the single limit applies to all mortgages regardless of where the property is located.


FTC sending refund checks

The Federal Trade Commission is mailing 442,898 refund checks totaling more than $8 million to people who bought weight-loss supplements that were deceptively marketed using illegal spam email, baseless weight-loss claims, and fake celebrity endorsements. Consumers who bought products marketed by Sale Slash, LLC and related defendants will receive checks averaging $18.24.


CFPB Ombudsman issues annual report

The Bureau has released its Ombudsman’s Office 2017 annual report.


FTC action bans fake debt collectors

The Federal Trade Commission has announced that three defendants who allegedly posed as lawyers and falsely threatened to sue people or have them arrested for failing to pay on debts they did not owe have been banned from the debt collection business due to a complaint filled by the agency.


Company pays $1.2M to settle OFAC sanctions violations

OFAC has announced a $1,220,400 payment from a Delaware-based dental supply company under an agreement to settle its potential civil liability for 37 apparent violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR) from 2009 through 2012.


HUD homeless assessment report

HUD’s 2017 Annual Homeless Report To Congress has been delivered. It indicates homelessness crept up in the U.S., especially among individuals with long-term disabling conditions. The report found that 553,742 persons experienced homelessness on a single night in 2017, an increase of 0.7 percent since last year. Homelessness among families with children declined 5.4 percent nationwide since 2016, but local communities report the number of persons experiencing long-term chronic homelessness and Veterans increased. There is a great deal of variation in the data in different parts of the country, however, and many places continue to see reductions in homelessness. Thirty states and the District of Columbia reported decreases in homelessness between 2016 and 2017. Challenges in some major metropolitan areas, however, have had a major impact on the national trend lines.


NIST issues second draft of cybersecurity framework

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has issued Draft 2 of Version 1.1 of its Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity for public review and comment. It also issued a draft version of the companion NIST Roadmap for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity Version 1.1. The update drafts aim to clarify, refine, and enhance the Cybersecurity Framework, amplifying its value and making it easier to use. Comments are due by Friday, January 19, 2018.


FEMA suspending communities in seven states

The Federal Emergency Management Agency of the Department of Homeland Security has published at 82 FR 57680 in today's Federal Register a final rule identifying communities in New Jersey, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas where the sale of flood insurance has been authorized under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that are scheduled for suspension on December 21, 2017, because of noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program.


CFPB updates TRID forms guide

The CFPB has updated the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Guide to the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure forms that is available on the Bureau's TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule implementation page. The updated guide incorporates amendments and clarifications in the Bureau's July 7, 2017, final rule amending the TRID requirements.


ISIS recruiter designated by OFAC

OFAC has announced the designation of Abdullah Ibrahim al-Faisal (Faisal), a Jamaica-based Islamic cleric, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist who provided recruitment services to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Faisal assisted in, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of, ISIS. As a result of yesterday's designation, all property and interests in property of Faisal subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with him. See our OFAC Update for identification information for Faisal.


FHFA non-performing loan sales

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has released its fourth report providing information about the sale of non-performing loans (NPLs) by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises). The Enterprise Non-Performing Loan Sales Report includes information about NPLs sold through June 30, 2017. It reflects borrower outcomes on NPLs sold through that date. The report shows that the Enterprises sold 82,359 NPLs representing a total unpaid principal balance of $16 billion.


CRA ratings released

The OCC and the FDIC have released lists of recent CRA evaluations. The OCC listed 29 evaluations of national banks and federal savings associations, including five rated "outstanding," 23 "satisfactory" and one "needs to improve."

The FDIC identified 63 state nonmember banks recently evaluated, including two rated "outstanding," 59 "satisfactory," and two "needs to improve."


FDIC State Profiles released

The FDIC has released its third quarter 2017 State Profiles, which provide a quarterly data sheet summation on banking and economic conditions in each state.


Alabama credit union liquidated

The National Credit Union Administration has announced the liquidation of Riverdale Credit Union of Selma, Alabama. Jefferson Financial Federal Credit Union of Metairie, Louisiana, immediately assumed Riverdale Credit Union’s membership, shares, loans, and most other assets. Riverdale was placed into conservatorship on June 22, 2017, as a result of unsafe and unsound practices at the credit union. The NCUA made the decision to liquidate Riverdale and discontinue its operations after determining the credit union was insolvent and had no prospect for restoring viable operations. Riverdale is the fifth federally insured credit union liquidation in 2017.


Hurricane Harvey foreclosure avoidance awareness campaign

HUD and the Texas General Land Office (GLO) have announced the launch of a public awareness campaign to inform owners of homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey that help is available to avoid foreclosure and to finance repairs. Over one-quarter of home loans in Texas are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), an agency within HUD, which offers a range of payment and other relief options for borrowers living in Presidentially Declared Major Disaster Areas (PDMDAs). Borrowers who are having trouble making mortgage payments can contact their servicers to discuss available resources. In addition, HUD-approved housing counselors can assist in connecting impacted homeowners with the right options for relief. HUD also offers help for borrowers and loan servicers through its FHA Resource Center.


FHFA update on UMBS initiative

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has announced it has published An Update on Implementation of the Single Security Initiative and the Common Securitization Platform. detailing progress toward further implementation of the Common Securitization Platform (CSP) and launch of a single, common security called the Uniform Mortgage-Backed Security (UMBS).


Fed Board proposes Reg A amendments

The Federal Reserve Board is requesting public comment on a proposal to amend its Regulation A, which governs extensions of credit by Federal Reserve Banks, to make certain technical adjustments, including changes to reflect the expiration of the Term Asset Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) program. The proposed amendments would revise the provisions regarding the establishment of the primary credit rate at the discount window in a financial emergency, and would delete obsolete provisions relating to the use of credit ratings for collateral for extensions of credit under the former TALF program. Comments will be accepted for 30 days following publication in the Federal Register.

Update: Published at 82 FR 57886 on December 8, 2017. Comments are due by January 8, 2018.


Fall 2017 FDIC Consumer News

The new issue of the FDIC Consumer News offers tips on dealing with debt and information on protections in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. There is also an article on recent enhancements to BankFind, the FDIC's online database of individual insured banks, which can help consumers identify unfamiliar bank names and websites.


FinCEN Exchange launched

FinCEN has announced the launch of its FinCEN Exchange program to enhance information sharing with financial institutions. As part of this program, FinCEN, in close coordination with law enforcement, will convene regular briefings with financial institutions to exchange information on priority illicit finance threats, including targeted information and broader typologies. The program will enable financial institutions to better identify risks and focus on high priority issues, and will help FinCEN and law enforcement receive critical information in support of their efforts to disrupt money laundering and other financial crimes.


FTC targets credit card scam

The Federal Trade Commission has announced it has filed a complaint in the Federal District Court for the Middle District of Florida seeking to halt an alleged credit card interest-rate reduction scam that deceives consumers struggling with credit card debt. The complaint alleges that the individuals charged in this case, who previously worked for a nearly identical telemarketing operation shut down by court order in 2016 at the request of the FTC, set up a new operation selling similar bogus credit-card interest-rate-reduction services within weeks of the court order shuttering the earlier operation.


2016 Terrorist assets report

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has released its 2016 Terrorist Assets Report.


Agenda for NMLS conference

The NMLS has posted the working agenda for the 2018 NMLS Annual Conference and Training, February 6–9, 2018, in New Orleans.


FRB leaves CCyB at current level

The Federal Reserve Board has announced it has affirmed the Countercyclical Capital Buffer (CCyB) at the current level of 0 percent. In making this determination, the Board followed the framework detailed in the Board's policy statement for setting the CCyB for private-sector credit exposures located in the United States. The buffer is a macroprudential tool that can be used to increase the resilience of the financial system by raising capital requirements on internationally active banking organizations when there is an elevated risk of above-normal future losses and when the banking organizations for which capital requirements would be raised by the buffer are exposed to or are contributing to this elevated risk, either directly or indirectly.


Foreign exchange rates report

The November 2017 G.5 Foreign Exchange Rates Report, which shows the average rates of exchange together with comparable figures for other months, has been released by the Federal Reserve. Averages are based on daily noon buying rates for cable transfers in New York City certified for customs purposes by the Federal Reserve Bank.


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