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  • Federal Reserve Requests Comments on Proposals Seeking Transparency Increases in Stress Testing Programs

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    The Federal Reserve Board (Fed) issued a request for comments on three proposals designed to increase stress testing transparency while also testing the resiliency of large, complex banks. Earlier in June, Fed Chair Janet Yellen underscored the Fed’s understanding of the need to provide transparency in its Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR) process and stress test scenarios. (See previous InfoBytes coverage here.) The first December 7 proposal, “Enhanced Disclosure of the Models Used in the Federal Reserve’s Supervisory Stress Test,” announces the Fed’s plans to publically release, for the first time, information concerning the models and methodologies used during supervisory stress tests, including those applied in the CCAR, including:

    • “enhanced descriptions of supervisory models, including key variables;”
    • “modeled loss rates on loans grouped by important risk characteristics and summary statistics associated with the loans in each group;” and,
    • “portfolios of hypothetical loans and the estimated loss rates associated with the loans in each portfolio.”

    The information will offer banks expanded details as to how the Fed’s models treat different types of loans under stress, along with insight into the determination of annual stress test results.

    The second request for comments concerns the “Stress Testing Policy Statement,” which elaborates on prior disclosures and outlines details on the principles and policies that govern the Fed’s development, implementation, and validation of its stress testing models.

    Finally, the Fed issued a proposed policy statement to request comments on introduced amendments to the design of its annual hypothetical economic scenarios framework. The “Amendments to Policy Statement on the Scenario Design Framework for Stress Testing” is intended to enhance transparency and provide clarification on hypothetical economic scenarios, including the direction of housing prices, as well as the Fed’s commitment to exploring additional variables to test for funding risks.

    All comments must be received by January 22, 2018.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Issues Federal Reserve Stress Test CCAR

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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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  • Fed Fines Kansas State Bank for Alleged Deceptive Mortgage Acts

    Consumer Finance

    On November 28, the Federal Reserve Board (Fed) announced it had entered into a consent order with a Kansas state bank over allegations that the bank engaged in deceptive mortgage origination practices in violation of the FTC Act. Specifically, the order alleges that the bank told borrowers that they were paying for discount points that would lower their interest rate, but did not in fact provide those borrowers an interest rate reflective of the price paid for the discount points or, in some cases, a reduced rate at all. The Fed’s order requires the bank to pay restitution to the affected borrowers, but did not impose a further civil money penalty. The bank has decided to terminate all operations of its national mortgage business by year-end 2017.

    Consumer Finance Federal Reserve Mortgages FTC Act Settlement

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  • Federal Reserve Governor Calls for Collaboration Between Regulators, Banks, Data Aggregators, and Fintech Firms for Financial Data Sharing Standards

    FinTech

    On November 16, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard spoke at a fintech conference sponsored by the University of Michigan regarding consumers’ right to understand and control how their financial data is used by third-party aggregators, and in developing fintech technology. “There's an increasing recognition that consumers need better information about the terms of their relationships with aggregators, more control over what is shared, and the ability to terminate the relationship,” Brainard noted. “Consumers should have relatively simple means of being able to consent to what data are being shared and at what frequency. And consumers should be able to stop data sharing and request the deletion of data that have been stored.”

    Brainard emphasized that regulators, data aggregators, bank partners, and fintech developers should jointly develop a common, consistent message for how customer data is shared and protected within the fintech space and “other areas experiencing significant technological change.” As previously reported in InfoBytes, on October 18, the CFPB issued principles concerning the security and transparency of financial data sharing when companies—including fintech firms—get authorization from consumers to access their account data that reside in separate organizations to provide products and services.

    Fintech Federal Reserve Consumer Finance Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security EFTA CFPB Third-Party

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  • Federal Banking Agencies Amend CRA Regulations to Conform With HMDA Regulation Changes

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On November 24, the Federal Reserve Board, FDIC, and OCC published a joint final rule in the Federal Register, amending their respective Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations. The amended regulations conform with the CFPB’s amendments to Regulation C, which implements the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). The amendments are designed to reduce the burden associated with CRA performance evaluation reporting requirements. Specifically, the amended regulations (i) modify the definitions of “home mortgage loan” and “consumer loan”; (ii) revise the public file content requirements; and (iii) make technical corrections and remove obsolete references to the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (see previous InfoBytes coverage here).

    As previously reported in InfoBytes, amendments to Regulation C generally take effect January 1, 2018, with the agencies’ specific amendments to the CRA regulations taking effect the same day.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC Federal Reserve FDIC HMDA Regulation C CRA Federal Register

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  • Agencies Announce Availability of 2016 Small Business and Farm CRA Data

    Federal Issues

    On November 21, the three federal banking agency members of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) with Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) responsibility—the Federal Reserve Board, the FDIC, and the OCC—announced the release of the 2016 small business and small farm CRA data. The analysis contains information from 726 lenders reporting data about originations and purchases of small loans (loans with original amounts of $1 million or less) in 2016, a 3.3 percent decrease from 2015.

    The FFIEC disclosure statement on the data for each reporting lender is available here.

    Federal Issues CRA FFIEC OCC FDIC Federal Reserve

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  • Agencies Announce Changes to Threshold Amounts for Truth in Lending Act and Consumer Leasing Act

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On November 8, the CFPB and the Federal Reserve Board (Board) finalized the annual dollar threshold adjustments that govern the application of Regulation Z (Truth in Lending Act) and Regulation M (Consumer Leasing Act) to credit transactions as required by the Dodd-Frank Act. Each year the thresholds must be readjusted based on the annual percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). The exemption threshold for 2018, based on the annual percentage increase in the CPI-W, is now $55,800 or less, except for private student loans and loans secured by real property, which are subject to TILA regardless of the amount.

    Additionally, on November 8, the OCC, along with the CFPB and the Board, finalized amendments to the official interpretations for the regulations implementing section 129H of TILA, which determines the threshold amount for a small loan’s exemption from the special appraisal requirements that apply to higher-priced mortgage loans. The threshold for 2018, based on the annual percentage increase in the CPI-W, is now $26,000.         

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB Federal Reserve OCC TILA CLA

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  • Federal Reserve Releases Survey on Bank Lending Practices

    Lending

    On November 6, the Federal Reserve Board (Fed) released its October 2017 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices. Responses came from both domestic banks and U.S. branches and agencies of foreign banks, and focused on bank loans made to businesses and households over the past three months. The October survey results indicated that over the third quarter of 2017, on balance, lenders eased their standards on commercial and industrial loans with demand for such loans decreasing. However, lenders left their standards on commercial real estate (CRE) loans unchanged and reported that demand for CRE loans weakened. As to loans to households, banks reported that standards for all categories of residential real estate (RRE) lending “either eased or remained basically unchanged,” and that the demand for RRE loans also weakened.

    The survey also included two sets of special questions addressing changes in household lending conditions.

    The first set of these special questions asked banks to specify the reasons for changing this year their credit policies on credit card and auto loans to prime and subprime borrowers. Respondents’ most reported reasons for tightening standards or terms on these types of loans were (i) “a less favorable or more uncertain economic outlook”; (ii) “a deterioration or expected deterioration in the quality of their existing loan portfolio”; and (iii) “a reduced tolerance for risk.” Auto loan reasons also focused on “less favorable or more uncertain expectations regarding collateral values.”

    The second set of these special questions asked banks for their views as to why they have experienced stronger or weaker demand for credit card and auto loans over this year. Respondents’ reported that a strengthening of demand for credit card and auto loans from prime borrowers could be attributed to customers’ confidence as well as their improved ability to manage debt service burdens. The most reported reasons for weakened demand for credit card and auto loans from prime borrowers were an increase in interest rates and a shift in customers’ borrowing “from their bank to other bank or nonbank sources.”

    For additional details see:

    Lending Federal Reserve Consumer Lending Auto Finance Credit Cards Consumer Finance

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  • Federal Banking Agencies Seek Comments on Proposal to Further Streamline Call Reports

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On November 2, the Federal Reserve Board, FDIC, and OCC (agencies)—all members of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC)—issued a joint notice and request for comment on a proposal to further streamline the Consolidated Reports of Condition and Income (Call Reports) in an effort to reduce data reporting requirements and regulatory burdens for financial institutions. The proposal would modify Call Reports applicable to banks with (i) domestic offices only and less than $1 billion in total assets (FFIEC 051); (ii) domestic offices only (FFIEC 041); and (iii) domestic and foreign offices (FFIEC 031). The proposed revisions, which would eliminate or combine several data items and revise certain existing reporting thresholds, would take effect as of the June 30, 2018, report date. Comments on the proposal are due within 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register.

    Previous requests for proposed burden-reducing Call Report revisions were submitted by the agencies in August 2016 and June 2017. (See InfoBytes’ coverage of the August request here.)

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Reserve FDIC OCC FFIEC Call Report Federal Register

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  • Federal Reserve Board Issues Consent Order for the Alleged Deceptive Marketing of Balance Transfer Credit Cards

    Consumer Finance

    On October 26, the Federal Reserve Board (Fed) announced it had entered into a consent order with Mid America Bank & Trust Company (Mid America) over allegations that the bank engaged in deceptive practices in violation of the FTC Act involving balance transfer credit cards issued to consumers through third party independent service organizations. On the same day, the Fed announced its approval of an application by Reliable Community Bankshares, Inc. to acquire Mid America’s holding company, Mid America Banking Corporation. The allegations pertain to the adequacy of marketing materials, disclosures and other customer communications that described certain terms of the balance transfer cards such as credit reporting, available credit, and application of the statute of limitations to transferred balances. The Fed’s order requires the bank to refund certain fees, account balances and payments to its cardholders and other non-monetary actions, including compliance program enhancements. The order did not impose a civil money penalty.

    Consumer Finance Credit Cards Settlement FTC Act Federal Reserve

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