Skip to main content
Menu Icon Menu Icon
Close

InfoBytes Blog

Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Filter

Subscribe to our InfoBytes Blog weekly newsletter for news affecting the financial services industry.

  • OCC Issues Updates to Risk Management Principles

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On October 20, the OCC released modifications to its risk management principles for new, modified, or expanded financial products and services (collectively, new activities). Bulletin 2017-43 rescinds OCC Bulletin 2004-20 and section 760 of the Office of Thrift Supervision Examination Handbook. The Bulletin provides guidance on risks in the following categories: strategic, reputational, credit, operational, compliance, and liquidity. The Bulletin also outlines the main components of an effective risk management system, such as the need for:

    • “adequate due diligence and approvals before introducing a new activity”;
    • “policies and procedures to properly identify, measure, monitor, report, and control risks”;
    • “effective change management for new activities or affected processes and technologies”; and
    • “ongoing performance monitoring and review systems.”

    According to the OCC, the sophistication of a bank’s risk management system should be commensurate with the bank’s size, complexity, and risk profile. Further, “bank management and boards of directors should understand the impact of new activities on banks’ financial performance, strategic planning process, risk profiles, traditional banking models, and ability to remain competitive.”

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC Bank Supervision Risk Management Third-Party

    Share page with AddThis
  • Treasury Report Calls for Extensive Regulatory Relief to Capital Markets

    Federal Issues

    On October 6, the U.S. Treasury Department published a report that focuses on capital market oversight and outlines challenges and recommendations to reduce regulatory burdens. The report, “A Financial System That Creates Economic Opportunities: Capital Markets,” is the second in a series of four the Treasury plans to issue in response to President Trump’s Executive Order 13772, which mandated a review of financial regulations for inconsistencies with promoted “Core Principles.” (See Buckley Sandler Special Alert here.) The report notes that while certain capital market regulatory framework elements function well, there remain significant challenges. Specifically, the report recommends—among other things—reducing fragmentation, overlap, and duplication in the U.S. regulatory structure. This includes focusing on effecting changes to promote efficiency and more clearly defining regulatory mandates that would allow agencies to issue joint rulemaking and foster coordination. 

    Treasury’s recommendations focus primarily on market regulations but also build upon themes identified in the first report published in June 2017, which primarily focused on solutions for providing relief to banks and credit unions. The second report identifies recommendations, actions, and associated “Core Principles” within the following categories:

    • “promoting access to capital for all types of companies, including small and growing businesses, through reduction of regulatory burden and improved market access to investment opportunities”;
    • “fostering robust secondary markets in equity and debt”;
    • “appropriately tailoring regulations on securitized products to encourage lending and risk transfer”;
    • “recalibrating derivatives regulations to promote market efficiency and effective risk mitigation”;
    • “ensuring proper risk management for [central counterparties] and other financial market utilities because of the critical role they play in the financial system”;
    • “rationalizing and modernizing the U.S. capital markets regulatory structure and process”; and
    • “advancing U.S. interests by promoting a level playing field internationally.”

    A fact sheet accompanying the report further highlights Treasury’s recommendations to streamline regulations.

    Federal Issues Department of Treasury Securities Capital Requirements Risk Management

    Share page with AddThis
  • White House Releases Proclamation Announcing National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

    Privacy, Cyber Risk & Data Security

    On September 30, President Trump issued a Proclamation announcing October 2017 as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. As part of the initiative, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued tools and resources for both consumers and organizations to manage cybersecurity risk. As previously covered in InfoBytes, the President issued an Executive Order earlier this year entitled “Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure” that requires agencies to submit risk management reports to DHS and develop recommendations for cybersecurity improvements affecting all critical infrastructure, including the financial services industry.

    Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security Federal Issues Risk Management Trump Department of Homeland Security Executive Order

    Share page with AddThis
  • OCC Releases Bank Supervision Operating Plan for Fiscal Year 2018

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On September 28, the OCC’s Committee on Bank Supervision released its  bank supervision operating plan (Plan) for fiscal year (FY) 2018. The Plan outlines the agency’s supervision priorities and specifically highlights the following supervisory focus areas: (i) cybersecurity and operational resiliency; (ii) commercial and retail credit loan underwriting, concentration risk management, and the allowance for loan and lease losses; (iii) business model sustainability and viability and strategy changes; (iv) Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering compliance management; and (v) change management to address new regulatory requirements.

    The annual Plan guides the development of supervisory strategies for individual national banks, federal savings associations, federal branches, and federal agencies, and service providers.

    The OCC will provide updates about these priorities in its Semiannual Risk Perspective, as InfoBytes has previously covered.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC Risk Management Anti-Money Laundering Bank Secrecy Act Compliance Lending Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security

    Share page with AddThis
  • FDIC Updates Supervisory Guidance on Risk Management Examination Policies

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On July 26, the FDIC issued Financial Institution Letter FIL-31-2017 to announce updates to its Risk Management Manual of Examination Policies. The revisions, which incorporated guidance from the FDIC’s Board of Directors, updated the Report of Examination Instructions regarding matters requiring board attention and “deviations from the safety and soundness principles underlying statements of policy.” The revision also included updated instructions for examiners to use when complying with examination schedules. The letter applies to all FDIC-supervised financial institutions.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FDIC Risk Management Bank Supervision Vendor Management

    Share page with AddThis
  • Legislation Reintroduced to Base SIFI Determination on Risk Rather Than Asset Size

    Federal Issues

    On July 19, Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) reintroduced legislation designed to overhaul the process used to manage systemic risk by basing the regulation of financial institutions on risk rather than asset size alone. As set forth in a press release issued by Rep. Luetkemeyer’s office, the Systemic Risk Designation Improvement Act of 2017 would replace the $50 billion threshold for designating a bank holding company as a Systemically Important Financial Institution (SIFI) with a series of standards for evaluating risk. The legislation would require the Federal Reserve to evaluate an “institution’s size, interconnectedness, substitutability, global cross-jurisdictional activity, and complexity” before designating it as a SIFI. The legislation was previously introduced in the House, but discussion was delayed to provide Rep. Luetkemeyer with time to propose a method for funding the proposed changes, which are estimated to cost more than $115 million. (See previous InfoBytes summary here.)

    “This legislation supports economic growth throughout the country because it will free commercial banks to make loans while allowing financial regulators the ability to apply enhanced standards on banks based on actual risk posed to the financial system–rather than on arbitrary asset size alone," Luetkemeyer pronounced.

    Federal Issues Federal Legislation Risk Management Regulator Enforcement SIFIs Bank Holding Companies

    Share page with AddThis
  • OFAC Settles with International Insurance Group over Charges of Violating Sanctions Programs

    Financial Crimes

    On June 26, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) reached a settlement with an international financial services and insurance company based in New York for alleged violations of OFAC sanctions programs. OFAC claimed that the company “issued policies and insurance certificates, and/or processed claims and other insurance-related transactions that conferred economic benefit to sanctioned countries or persons and undermined the policy objectives of several U.S. economic sanctions programs.” Specifically, OFAC maintained the company violated the following sanctions programs: (i) Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 560 (ITSR); (ii) Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 544 (WMDPSR); (iii) Sudanese Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 538 (SSR); and (iv) Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 515 (CACR). The settlement requires the company to pay $148,698 to settle the claims, which the company voluntarily self-disclosed to OFAC.

    For others to avoid these issues, OFAC suggested that “the best and most reliable approach for insuring global risks without violating U.S. sanctions law is to insert in global insurance policies an explicit exclusion for risks that would violate U.S. sanctions laws.”

    Financial Crimes Federal Issues OFAC Insurance Sanctions Risk Management

    Share page with AddThis
  • OCC Releases Spring 2017 Semiannual Risk Report

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On July 7, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) announced the release of its Semiannual Risk Perspective for Spring 2017 indicating key risk areas for national banks and federal savings associations. Acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika pointed out in his remarks that, “[w]hile these are risks that the system faces as a whole, we note that the risks differ from bank to bank based on size, region, and business model. Compliance, governance, and operational risk issues remain leading risk issues for large banks while strategic, credit, and compliance risks remain the leading issues for midsize and community banks.”

    The report details the four top risk areas:

    • Elevated strategic risk—banks are expanding into new products and services as a result of fintech competition. According to the report, this competition is increasing potential risks. The OCC hopes to finish developing a special purpose banking charter for fintech companies soon.
    • Increased compliance risk—banks must comply with anti-money laundering rules and the Bank Secrecy Act in addition to addressing increased cybersecurity challenges and new consumer protection laws.
    • Upswing in credit risk—underwriting standards for commercial and retail loans have been relaxed as banks exhibit greater enthusiasm for risk and attempt to maintain loan market share as competition increases.
    • Rise in operational risk—banks face increasingly complex cyber threats while relying on third-party service providers, which may be targets for hackers.

    The report used data for the 12 months ending December 31, 2016.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC Risk Management Consumer Finance Payments Consumer Lending Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security Anti-Money Laundering Military Lending Act Compliance Bank Regulatory Vendor Management

    Share page with AddThis
  • Fed Fines New York Bank $3 Million for Violating Regulatory Risk Capital Requirements

    Federal Issues

    On June 26, the Federal Reserve fined a New York-based bank $3 million for unsafe and unsound banking practices after the firm allegedly assigned a lower risk weighting to a portfolio of assets in violation of then-applicable Basel I regulatory risk capital requirements. According to the consent order, between 2010 and 2014, the bank consolidated a portfolio of collateralized loan obligations onto its balance sheet. It allegedly assigned a zero-risk weighting to the assets improperly, and therefore overstated its risk-based capital ratios and set aside less capital than it should have.

    Federal Issues Federal Reserve Banking Risk Management Capital Requirements Enforcement Basel

    Share page with AddThis
  • OCC to Host Operational Risk Workshop, Will Hold Innovation "Office Hours"

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On July 25, the OCC will host an operational risk workshop in Charleston, WV for directors of national community banks and federal savings associations supervised by the OCC. The workshop will focus on the key components of operational risk, governance, third-party risk, vendor management, and cybersecurity.

    Additionally, on July 24 through the 26, the OCC’s Office of Innovation will hold “Office Hours” in New York City for national banks, federal savings associations, and fintech companies to provide an opportunity for attendees to discuss matters related to financial technology, new products and services, bank or fintech partnerships, as well as other items related to financial innovation. Meeting requests are due by July 5 and may be submitted here.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC Risk Management Vendor Management Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security

    Share page with AddThis

Pages