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  • Federal Reserve Publishes Stress Test, CCAR FAQs

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On January 8, the Federal Reserve Board (Fed) published an updated set of questions and answers to assist financial institutions in complying with the Dodd-Frank Act-mandated stress tests (DFAST) and Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR). According to the Fed, the FAQs are designed to provide answers concerning DFAST and CCAR reporting requirements and related guidance, and generally cover applicable questions that have been asked by covered financial institutions since August 1, 2017. The Fed instructs financial institutions that CCAR projections should only reflect new accounting standards if the standards were implemented prior to December 31 of the previous calendar year. For material business changes occurring in the fourth quarter of a year, financial institutions should discuss any changes that may materially impact the institution’s capital adequacy and funding profile in their CCAR filings. The Fed will review the information when making modelling projections and may request additional information. The Fed also explains the circumstances in which a bank is required to issue replacement capital to stay in compliance with its capital plan.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Reserve Stress Test CCAR Dodd-Frank

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  • House Passes Legislation Modifying Systemic Risk Designation Requirements

    Federal Issues

    The House voted 288-130 on December 19 to pass legislation modifying Dodd-Frank Act asset requirements for systemic risk designations of bank holding companies. Under H.R. 3312, the Systemic Risk Designation Improvement Act of 2017, bank holding companies that are subject to increased capital requirements and heightened supervision by the Federal Reserve (Fed) will no longer be automatically designated as systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs) if their asset threshold is $50 billion or greater. Instead, the Fed will review a bank holding company’s size, interconnectedness, infrastructure, “global cross-jurisdictional activity,” and complexity to determine whether it should be designated as a SIFI. Relatedly, the Senate Banking Committee is currently considering a separate measure, S. 2155, which would, among other things, increase the SIFI asset threshold to $250 billion.

    Federal Issues Federal Legislation Dodd-Frank SIFIs Bank Regulatory

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  • Senate Banking Committee Approves Financial Regulatory Relief Bill

    Federal Issues

    On December 5, the Senate Banking Committee approved bill S.2155, Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, which would alter certain financial regulations under the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. While not as sweeping as previous legislative relief proposals (see previous InfoBytes coverage on House Financial CHOICE Act of 2017), the bill was introduced and passed the Committee with bipartisan support. The bill’s highlights include, among other things:

    • Consumer Access to Credit. The bill deems mortgage loans held in portfolios by insured institutions with less than $10 billion in assets to be “qualified mortgages” under TILA, and removes the three-day waiting period for TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures if the second credit offer is a lower rate. The bill also instructs the CFPB to provide “clearer, authoritative guidance” on certain issues such as the applicability of TRID to mortgage assumptions and construction-to-permanent loans. Additionally, the bill eases appraisal requirements on certain mortgage loans and exempts small depository institutions with low mortgage originations from certain HMDA disclosure requirements.
    • Regulatory Relief for Certain Institutions. The bill exempts community banks from Section 13 of the Bank Holding Company Act if they have, “[i] less than $10 billion in total consolidated assets, and [ii] total trading assets and trading liabilities that are not more than five percent of total consolidated assets” – effectively allowing for exempt banks to engage in the trading of, or holding ownership interests in, hedge funds or private equity funds. Additionally, the bill raises the threshold of the Federal Reserve’s Small Bank Holding Company Policy Statement and the qualification for certain banks to have an 18-month examination cycle from $1 billion to $3 billion.
    • Protections for Consumers. Included in an adopted “manager’s amendment,” the bill requires credit bureaus to provide consumers unlimited free security freezes and unfreezes. The bill also limits certain medical debt information that can be included on veterans’ credit reports.
    • Changes for Bank Holding Companies. The bill raises the threshold for applying enhanced prudential standards from $50 billion to $250 billion.

    The bill now moves to the Senate, which is not expected to take up the package before the end of this year.

    Federal Issues Senate Banking Committee Dodd-Frank Federal Legislation TILA RESPA TRID Federal Reserve OCC FDIC Mortgages HMDA Credit Reporting Agency

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  • Legal Battle Begins Over Mulvaney Appointment as Acting Director of CFPB

    Federal Issues

    On November 26, the newly appointed Deputy Director of the CFPB, Leandra English, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against President Trump and Mick Mulvaney, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), seeking declaratory judgments that English is the Acting Director of the CFPB – and Mulvaney is not – as well as emergency temporary restraining orders preventing the President from appointing anyone other than English as Acting Director and preventing Mulvaney from acting as the Acting Director.

    The legal action results from the November 24 resignation of Richard Cordray as the Director of the CFPB and his naming of English as the Bureau’s Deputy Director (previously covered by a Buckley Sandler Special Alert) citing to section 1011(b)(5) of the Dodd-Frank Act (DFA), which provides that the CFPB’s Director may appoint the Deputy Director who “shall…serve as acting Director in the absence or unavailability of the Director.” Following Cordray’s official resignation, the White House issued an announcement appointing Mulvaney as Acting Director under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (FVRA).

    On November 25, the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Legal Counsel released a memorandum in support of the President’s authority to designate Mulvaney as the Acting Director of the Bureau under the FVRA. According to the DOJ, while Congress recognized there would be cases in which FVRA was not the “exclusive means” for succession, Congress did not intend for the FVRA to be “unavailable” when another statute provides an alternative for succession. Accordingly, the DOJ asserts that, notwithstanding the succession provision in the DFA, FVRA gives the President the authority to, “rely upon it in designating an acting official in a manner that differs from the order of succession otherwise provided by an office-specific statute.” In her complaint, English argues that the succession provision in the DFA controls over the FVRA and that the appointment of a White House official is inconsistent with the CFPB’s independent structure.

    Similarly, on November 25, the General Counsel for the CFPB, Mary Mcleod, issued a statement to the senior leaders of the Bureau concurring with the DOJ’s conclusion that “the President may use the [FVRA] to designate an acting official, even when there is a succession statute under which another official may serve as acting.” Mcleod concluded that Mulvaney is the Acting Director of the CFPB and encouraged all Bureau staff to act consistently with that conclusion.

    Oral arguments on English’s emergency motion were held on November 27 by Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee. Judge Kelly did not rule on the motion and granted the government’s request to file papers responding to English’s arguments.

    Federal Issues Courts CFPB Trump Dodd-Frank DOJ OMB CFPB Succession

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  • OCC Proposes Changes to Annual Stress Test Rule

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On October 27, the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) issued proposed changes to its “stress test” rules for covered financial institutions required by the Dodd-Frank Act. Specifically, the proposal would, (i) extend the window by three months to allow the OCC to choose an appropriate “as-of” date in the trading and counterparty default component of the stress test (intended to conform with recent rule changes by the Federal Reserve); and (ii) extend the transition process for certain banks and savings associations that cross the $50 billion asset threshold before stress testing requirements are applicable. 

    Comments for the proposed changes must be received on or before December 26.

    In addition to this proposal, on October 6, the Fed, FDIC, and the OCC, issued a joint notice and request for comment, which proposes to combine the agencies’ three separate, identical stress test report forms into a single new Federal Financial Institutional Examination Council (FFIEC) report (FFIEC 016) under the Dodd-Frank Act (previously covered by InfoBytes here).

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC CCAR Stress Test Federal Reserve Dodd-Frank

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  • OCC Acting Comptroller Shares Thoughts on Opportunities to Reduce Regulatory Burdens

    Federal Issues

    On October 5, OCC Acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika spoke before the 2017 Midsize Bank Coalition of America Chief Risk Officer Meeting to discuss opportunities for regulatory reform.

    According to Noreika, one area of concern relates to the adverse effect arbitrary asset thresholds pose to the annual stress test requirements required under the Dodd-Frank Act because the burden “is not commensurate with the systemic risks presented by an institution.” Given the amount of diversity in the business models of banks who have around $10 billion in assets, “regulators need the ability and authority to tailor their supervision to the unique risks presented by individual banks.” Noreika suggested an approach that would give federal banking agencies the authority to tailor statutory stress testing requirements without an asset threshold, thus reducing the risk of banks growing beyond the threshold to offset increased costs or staying below the threshold to avoid unwelcome scrutiny.

    Noreika also urged for interagency harmonization of guidance and policies to avoid conflicting regulatory guidance when addressing cybersecurity issues.

    Additionally, Noreika addressed the CFPB’s arbitration rule as an example of the need to work “to ensure regulation is balanced and appropriate by speaking up when we see proposed rules that may adversely affect the business of banking, have systemic effects, or result in perverse unintended consequences.” Noreika stated that prior to the publication of the final arbitration rule, the OCC requested access to the data the CFPB used to develop and support the rule in order to conduct an independent review. However, it was not until after the rule was published that the CFPB made the data available. According to OCC findings, the rule will adversely impact consumers by increasing costs. Community banks, Noreika noted, will also bear the burden of increased legal costs from defending lawsuits.

    Finally, Noreika commented that banks continue to face challenges when trying to implement Bank Secrecy Act compliance programs and adapt to new requirements under TRID, HMDA, and the Military Lending Act.

    Federal Issues Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC Bank Compliance Dodd-Frank Stress Test Arbitration CFPB Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security

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  • Federal Banking Agencies Issue Request for Comment on Proposed Combined Dodd-Frank Stress Test Report

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On October 6, the Federal Reserve Board (Fed), the FDIC, and the OCC (agencies)—all members of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC)—issued a joint notice and request for comment on a proposal to combine the agencies’ three separate, identical stress test report forms into a single new FFIEC report (FFIEC 016) under the Dodd-Frank Act. In addition to replacing the Fed’s FR Y–16, the FDIC’s DFAST 10–50, and the OCC’s DFAST 10–50B, a limited number of revisions would be made to align FFIEC 016 with “recent burden-reducing changes to the FFIEC 031 and FFIEC 041 Consolidated Reports of Condition and Income and the Fed’s FR Y–9C Consolidated Financial Statements for Holding Companies.” Under the proposal, institutions who have a Legal Entity Identifier will also be asked to include it on the report form.

    FFIEC 016 respondents are depository institutions and holding companies with at least $10 billion but less than $50 billion in total consolidated assets. The proposed FFIEC 016 will impact stress test reports with an as-of date of December 31, 2017, and have a submission deadline of July 31, 2018. Comments on the joint notice and request for comment must be received by December 5, 2017.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FFIEC Federal Reserve OCC FDIC Dodd-Frank Stress Test

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  • District Judge Denies Student Loan Servicer’s Motion to Dismiss, Rules CFPB is Constitutional

    Courts

    On August 4, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania denied a motion to dismiss brought by a student loan servicer, ruling that the CFPB is constitutional, and that it has the authority to act against companies without first adopting the rules used to define a specific practice as unfair, deceptive, or abusive. Further, the court found that the Bureau’s complaint is “adequately pleaded.” As previously reported in InfoBytes, the CFPB filed a complaint in January of this year, contending that the student loan servicer systematically created obstacles to repayment and cheated many borrowers out of their rights to lower repayments, causing them to pay much more than they had to for their loans.

    Citing numerous precedents, including several which have already examined the issue of the CFPB’s constitutionality, the court disposed of several arguments raised by the student loan servicer, finding that:

    • There is no merit in the argument that the “CFPB lack[ed] statutory authority to bring an enforcement action without first engaging in rulemaking to declare a specific act or practice unfair, deceptive, or abusive,” because under the provisions of Title X of Dodd-Frank, the CFPB has the authority to declare something as “unlawful” both through rulemaking and litigation.
    • The CFPB isn’t outside the bounds of the Constitution, in part because its provision making it difficult for the President to remove the CFPB’s director isn’t any more burdensome than those of other agencies, such as the FTC. By recognizing this, and that the CFPB director “is not insulated by a second layer of tenure and is removable directly by the President,” the court ruled that the “Bureau’s structure is not constitutionally deficient.”
    • The funding method utilized by the Bureau has parallels in other federal agencies and does not affect presidential authority, stating that “although the CFPB is funded outside of the appropriations process, Congress has not relinquished all control over the agency’s funding because it remains free to change how the Bureau is funded at any time.” The court therefore found that the President’s constitutional powers have not been curtailed.

    The court dismissed the student loan servicer’s assertion that it is unable to “reasonably prepare a response” due to the vague and ambiguous nature of the complaint. Rather, the court argues that the Bureau’s complaint provides enough “multiple specific examples” to warrant a response by way of an answer.

    Courts Student Lending CFPB Dodd-Frank Litigation UDAAP

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  • FHFA Reports Results of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Annual Stress Tests

    Federal Issues

    One August 7, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) published a report providing the results of the fourth annual stress tests conducted by government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs). In March 2017, the FHFA issued orders directing the GSEs to report the results of the required Dodd-Frank Act stress test to enable financial regulators to determine whether the companies have sufficient capital to support operations in adverse or severely adverse economic conditions. (See previous InfoBytes coverage here.) According to the report, Dodd-Frank Act Stress Tests Results – Severely Adverse Scenario—which provides modeled projections on possible ranges of future financial results and does not define the entirety of possible outcomes—the GSEs will need to draw between $34.8 billion and $99.6 billion in incremental Treasury aid under a “severely adverse” economic crisis, depending on how deferred tax assets are treated. The losses would leave $158.4 billion to $223.2 billion available to the companies under their current funding commitment agreements. Notably, the projected bailout need is lower than what the FHFA reported last year, which ranged between $49.2 billion and $125.8 billion.

    Federal Issues Lending Mortgages Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Stress Test Dodd-Frank FHFA

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  • OCC, Federal Reserve Solicit Public Comments on Volcker Rule

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On August 2, the OCC announced it is seeking public comments on ways to improve regulations implementing the Volcker Rule, however the agency stressed it is not seeking comment on changes to the underlying statute. The draft notice outlines issues with the rule, which bans banks from engaging in proprietary trading and restricts their ownership of certain funds, explaining that there is “broad recognition that the final rule [implementing the Volcker Rule] should be improved both in design and in application.” Referring to the Treasury Department’s June 2017 report, which identified problems with the design of the final rule and offered recommendations for revision, the OCC’s notice asked for suggestions on how to improve implementation with the understanding that any revisions would require a joint undertaking by the OCC, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the FDIC, and consultation with the SEC and the CFTC. Specifically, the notice seeks comments in the following four areas: (i) scope of entities subject to the final rule; (ii) proprietary trading prohibitions; (iii) covered fund prohibitions; and (iv) requirements for compliance program and metrics reporting.

    Comments must be received within 45 days from publication in the Federal Register.

    Separately, on August 2, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Fed) issued a notice seeking comment on whether to extend for three years the Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Disclosure Requirements Associated with Proprietary Trading and Certain Interests in and Relationships with Covered Funds (Regulation VV).  Regulation VV imposes information reporting requirements on certain banks engaged in significant trading activities, to ensure compliance with the Volcker Rule. Among other things, the Fed invited comment on whether the proposed collection of information is necessary and has practical utility, and ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the collected information, while minimizing the burden on respondents. In its notice, the Fed stated that the information collection “is required in order for covered entities to obtain the benefit of engaging in certain types of proprietary trading or investing in, sponsoring, or having certain relationships with a hedge fund or private equity fund, under the restrictions set forth in [the Volcker Rule].”

    Comments must be received by October 2, 2017.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Department of Treasury OCC Volcker Rule Dodd-Frank Federal Register Securities Federal Reserve

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