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  • CFPB Clarifies Remittance Transfer Rule Compliance

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    As previously covered in InfoBytes, the CFPB recently released its summer 2017 Supervisory Highlights (Highlights) outlining its supervisory progress this year. Included among the issues highlighted by the Bureau is its recent activity in the remittance transfer rule (RTR) space under Regulation E. The Highlights indicate that the CFPB intends to continue its focus on RTR compliance at both large and small institutions. Of particular note, the Bureau—for the first time—has provided informal guidance on international mobile top-up products for telephone airtime. Prior to the Highlights, it was unclear to what extent these products were subject to the RTR. The Highlights confirm that the CFPB will take the position that these products fall within the scope of the rule and has action against at least one institution for that institution’s failure to treat international mobile top-ups in excess of $15 as remittance transfers subject to the RTR.

    This edition of the Highlights helps to clear up prior confusion around the industry regarding international mobile top-ups and bill pay products, as discussed in a recent article.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB Remittance Remittance Transfer Rule Regulation E Mobile Top-Ups Compliance

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  • CFPB Announces Final Rule Modifying ECOA Regulations, Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Disclosure of HMDA Data

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On September 20, the CFPB announced its Final Rule amending Regulation B, which implements the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), as well as a notice of proposed policy guidance requesting public comment on modifications to loan-level HMDA data that will be made publicly available beginning in 2019.

    Amendments to Regulation B. The Final Rule, among other things, permits institutions not subject to HMDA reporting requirements to choose, on an “application-by-application basis,” between two approaches to collecting race and ethnicity data from applicants for certain dwelling-secured loans: either collect such data in the aggregate or use the disaggregated and more expansive categories required for HMDA-reporting institutions under revisions to Regulation C effective in 2018.  According to the Final Rule, this means that creditors that are not HMDA reporters could transition to using the 2016 Uniform Residential Loan Application, which was updated to comply with the upcoming changes to Regulation C. As previously covered in InfoBytes, the justification for the change was to provide consistency and clarity with respect to other Bureau rules.

    Proposed Policy Guidance Regarding Publicly Available Loan-Level HMDA Data. The CFPB has issued a notice of proposed policy guidance with a request for public comment concerning modifications that it intends to apply to publicly available loan-level HMDA data that financial institutions will be required to report in connection with the new HMDA data reporting requirements that become effective January 1, 2018. The CFPB is specifically seeking comment on whether certain data fields should be included or modified in the publicly available loan-level HMDA data; these fields include the universal loan identifier, application date, loan amount, action taken date, property address, age, credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and property value, among others. As previously covered in InfoBytes, the CFPB issued its final rule amending Regulation C in August. Comments on the proposed guidance are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Consumer Finance CFPB ECOA HMDA Mortgages Regulation B Regulation C

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  • CFPB Publishes Small Entity Compliance Guide on Arbitration Rule

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On September 15, the CFPB published a small entity compliance guide concerning the Bureau’s final arbitration rule that became effective this month. Compliance is required for “pre-dispute arbitration agreements” entered into on or after March 19, 2018. This guide provides a summary of the rule and highlights the parties and consumer financial products and services covered by the rule, as well as exclusions from the rule’s requirements. In addition, the guide includes descriptions of provisions to be included in pre-dispute arbitration agreements, clarifies the rule’s prohibition on relying on pre-dispute arbitration agreements to block class actions, and explains the record submission requirements under the rule.

    However, as previously discussed in InfoBytes, while the arbitration rule went into effect September 18, the House earlier passed a disapproval resolution, in July, to repeal the rule, with a similar measure set for discussion in the Senate.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB Arbitration Compliance Class Action

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  • FTC to Host Second Economic Liberty Task Force Public Roundtable to Discuss Licensure Requirements, Acting Chairman Testifies on Licensing Effects

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On September 11, the FTC announced its Economic Liberty Task Force (Task Force) will hold its second roundtable in Washington, DC on November 7, to examine the “economic and legal aspects of occupational licensing regulations” and the need for reform. The discussion will include input from economic and policy experts on licensing costs and benefits, and cover the ways licensure requirements affect employers, workers, consumers, and the overall economy. The Task Force notes that almost 30 percent of U.S. jobs now require some form of license, which, based on recent studies, causes the burden of “excessive occupational licensing” to disproportionally affect economically disadvantaged citizens—especially military families—and causes harm due to the “complexity and duplication of state-by-state licensing requirements and fees, combined with a lack of reciprocity among states.” An alternative policy approach, the Task Force notes, might include voluntary certification or other methods that would offer protection against unqualified service providers. Earlier this year, the Task Force held its first roundtable to discuss interstate license portability.

    In conjunction with the announcement of the roundtable, on September 12, Acting Federal Trade Commission Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law to describe the FTC’s efforts to study the effects of occupational licensing. Acting Chairman Ohlhausen’s written testimony emphasized the need for regulatory analysis and reform and cautioned that “excessive occupational licensing can leave consumers and workers worse off, by impeding competition without offering meaningful protection from legitimate health and safety risks.”

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FTC Licensing House Judiciary Committee

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  • Agencies Issue Proposed Rulemaking to Amend CRA Regulations to Conform With HMDA Regulation Changes

    Lending

    On September 13, the Federal Reserve Board, the FDIC, and the OCC (Agencies) issued a joint notice of proposed rulemaking to amend Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations to conform to the CFPB’s changes to Regulation C, which implements the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). The proposed amendments revise the definition of “home mortgage loan” and “consumer loan,” update the public file content requirements to comply with recent Regulation C changes, and make various technical corrections. In addition, the proposal will eliminate obsolete references to the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), an initiative created by HUD to help stabilize communities contending with foreclosures and abandonment. In 2016, under CRA regulations, NSP-eligible activities were no longer considered “community development.” The Agencies anticipate that the proposed rule will become effective on January 1, 2018, when most of the changes to the HMDA rules go into effect.

    Home Mortgage Loan. Under the 2015 HMDA Rule changes, “most consumer-purpose transactions, including closed-end mortgage loans, closed-end home equity loans, home-equity lines of credit, and reverse mortgages will be reported under HMDA if they are secured by a dwelling.” To conform to the Regulation C amendments, effective January 1, 2018, for purposes of CRA regulations, a “home mortgage loan” will now mean a “closed-end mortgage loan” or an “open-end line of credit,” both of which will now apply only to loans that are secured by a dwelling. Financial institutions will now have the option to decide whether they want home improvement loans that are not secured by a dwelling, which will no longer be HMDA, considered for CRA purposes, although the Agencies note that they may choose to still evaluate some of these loans in certain circumstances “where the consumer lending is so significant a portion of an institution’s lending by activity and dollar volume of loans that the lending test evaluation would not meaningfully reflect lending performance if consumer loans were excluded.”

    Consumer Loan. The proposed rulemaking would no longer include “home equity loans” in the list of “consumer loan” categories for CRA purposes, as it will now be included within the proposed revised definition of a “home mortgage loan.”  

    Comments on the proposal will be accepted for 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

    Lending Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC Federal Reserve FDIC CFPB CRA HMDA Mortgages

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  • OCC Updates Comptroller’s Licensing Manual to Provide Revised Guidance on Flood Insurance Requirements

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On September 7, the OCC released OCC Bulletin 2017-35 announcing a replacement of its handbook titled “Flood Disaster Protection Act” (FDPA)—last issued in 1999—to reflect recent amendments to the FDPA and implement regulations that resulted from the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (Biggert-Waters Act) and the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014. The booklet, which is part of the Comptroller’s Licensing Manual, clarifies the following changes, among other things:

    • flood insurance requirement exemptions for certain detached nonresidential structures;
    • a requirement that banks—or servicers acting on behalf of a bank—escrow flood insurance premiums and fees for “any loan secured by a residential improved real estate or a mobile home that is made, increased, extended, or renewed on or after January 1, 2016,” and also lists exemptions to the requirement;
    • a requirement that banks and servicers “subject to the escrow requirement” must provide borrowers the option to escrow flood insurance premiums and fees and are required to implement the escrow “as soon as reasonably practicable” after the request has been received;
    • FDPA provisions on force-placed insurance, including termination and refund requirements; and
    • “examination procedures for determining compliance with the detached structure, escrow, and force placement provisions.”

    Notably, the OCC stated that the Biggert-Waters Act provision, which requires the acceptance of private flood insurance policies that meets specified criteria to satisfy the mandatory purchase requirement, has not yet been adopted and will be addressed separately.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC Flood Insurance Licensing Treasury Department Force-placed Insurance Escrow Mortgages

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  • FDIC Releases Revised Supervisory Appeals Guidelines, Updates FAQs on New Accounting Standards, and Announces FFIEC Industry Outreach Website

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On September 6, the FDIC released revised guidelines (FIL-42-2017) for appeals of certain material supervisory determinations to expand the circumstances under which banks may submit an appeal with the Division Directors and the Supervision Appeals Review Committee. The guidelines apply to all FDIC-supervised depository institutions. As previously reported in InfoBytes, the guidelines will provide consistency with the appeals processes of other federal banking agencies and will, among other things, (i) permit the appeal of the level of compliance with an existing formal enforcement action; (ii) provide that formal enforcement-related actions or decisions do not affect a pending appeal; (iii) allow for additional opportunities for appeal rights available under the guidelines with respect to material supervisory determinations in certain circumstances; (iv) annually publish the Division Directors’ material supervisory determinations decisions and (v) draw up other limited technical and conforming amendments. With the issuance of these guidelines, the FDIC is rescinding FIL-52-2016 (“FDIC Seeks Comment on Bank Appeals Guidelines”) and FIL-113-2004 (“FDIC Appeals Processes’).

    On the same day, the FDIC also issued FIL-41-2017, which presents updates to its “Frequently Asked Questions on the New Accounting Standard on Financial Instruments—Credit Losses” for financial intuitions and examiners. The FAQs apply to all FDIC-supervised banks, savings associations, and community institutions. The updates address topics such as “qualitative factors, data to implement [credit loss methodology], purchased credit-deteriorated assets, the evaluation of the public business entity criteria, the mechanics of adopting the standard for Call Report purposes, and collateral-dependent loans.” They also contain a reminder to institutions that credit loss methodology can be scaled base on an institution’s size, and encourage readiness and preparation plans to transition to the new accounting standard.

    Finally, the FDIC also issued FIL-40-2017 to announce the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s (FFIEC) new Industry Outreach website, which was created as a way for financial institutions, trade associations, third-party providers, and consultants to access information related to supervisory guidance and regulations. The website will also provide information on FFIEC-sponsored webinars.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FDIC Bank Compliance FFIEC

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  • CFPB, Treasury, and FinCEN Release Memorandum Emphasizing Financial Institutions’ Role in Preventing Elder Financial Exploitation

    Consumer Finance

    On August 30, the CFPB, Treasury Department, and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (the agencies) issued a joint memorandum concerning elder financial exploitation (EFE). The agencies note that EFE—which is defined as “the illegal or improper use of an older person’s funds, property or assets”—has become the most common form of elder abuse in the U.S. The Memorandum on Financial Institution and Law Enforcement Efforts to Combat Elder Financial Exploitation emphasizes that financial institutions can play a key role in detecting, responding to, and preventing EFE, encourages collaboration with law enforcement and local adult protective service agencies to facilitate the timely response to reports, and outlines guidance relating to the filing of suspicious activity reports (SARs). According to the memorandum, “SARs can play an important role in the fight against EFE by providing information and references to any supporting documentation that can trigger an investigation, support an ongoing investigation, or identify previously unknown subjects and entities.” The agencies cautioned, however, that “access to SARs and their use is restricted under federal law” and that law enforcement agencies should contact FinCEN for assistance in SAR-related inquiries.

    Consumer Finance CFPB FinCEN SARs Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Treasury Department

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  • CFPB Releases Updated Compliance Management Procedures in Supervision and Examination Manual

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On August 30, the CFPB posted revisions to its Compliance Management Review Examination Procedures—part of its Supervision and Examination Manual—that is intended to provide guidance for institutions when developing and maintaining compliance management systems (CMS). The Bureau advises that to maintain legal compliance, institutions must integrate and support an effective CMS “into the overall framework for product design, delivery, and administration across their entire product and service lifecycle,” and are required to manage relationships with service providers to ensure compliance with applicable federal consumer financial laws. The CFPB notes that an effective CMS is comprised of two interdependent control components: (i) “Board and Management Oversight”; and (ii) a “Compliance Program,” including policies and procedures, training, monitoring and/or auditing, and consumer complaint response processes. Updates have been made to the Examination Report Template–which provides the scope of review and consumer compliance rating based on the findings of the exam—and the Supervisory Letter Template–which references matters requiring attention or that need to be corrected based on the Bureau’s review.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB Bank Compliance Vendor Management

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  • OCC Updates Comptroller’s Licensing Manual to Provide Revised Guidance on Change in Bank Control Process

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On September 1, the OCC released OCC Bulletin 2017-33 announcing a new booklet to provide guidance for persons seeking to acquire control of national banks and federal savings associations. The “Change in Bank Control” booklet, which is part of the Comptroller’s Licensing Manual, provides, among other things:

    • an overview of evaluation criteria and considerations taken into account when the OCC reviews a notice of change;
    • timeframe requirements and information regarding the notice process;
    • the required contents of an application and application process; and
    • references and links to informational resources, including sample forms and documents and statutory/regulatory requirements.

    Reflected in the newly issued booklet are updates to procedures and regulations that have been implemented since 2007, including the integration of the Office of Thrift Supervision into the OCC in 2011 and the issuance of revised regulation 12 C.F.R. § 5 that went into effect July 1, 2015.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC Licensing

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