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  • Federal Banking Agencies Issue Proposed Rulemaking to Amend Appraisal Requirement Threshold for Commercial Real Estate Transactions

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On July 19, the Federal Reserve Board, the FDIC, and the OCC issued a joint notice of proposed rulemaking to raise the threshold for commercial real estate transactions requiring an appraisal from $250,000 to $400,000 in an effort to reduce costs and streamline transactions. The proposal was issued, in part, in response to concerns raised by financial industry representatives during the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act review process that adjustments have not been made to the current thresholds despite increases in property values and a scarcity of appraisers in rural areas. FDIC Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg issued a statement announcing that the proposal will significantly reduce the number of transactions requiring an appraisal. Evaluations, rather than appraisals, would now be required for commercial real estate transactions at or below the proposed threshold.

    Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted for 60 days from date of publication in the Federal Register.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Reserve FDIC OCC Commercial Lending Appraisal

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  • FDIC Adopts Revised Supervisory Appeals Guidelines

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On July 18, the FDIC adopted revised guidelines for appeals of certain material supervisory determinations to expand the circumstances under which banks may appeal a material supervisory determination. The revisions incorporate changes suggested by commentators during a request for comments in 2016. The revised guidelines also 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; and (iv) draw up other limited technical and conforming amendments.

    The guidelines are effective immediately.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FDIC Bank Supervision

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  • FDIC Releases List of Enforcement Actions Taken Against Banks and Individuals in May 2017

    Federal Issues

    On June 30, the FDIC released its list of 36 orders in administrative enforcement actions taken against banks and individuals in May. Several of the orders on the list assess civil money penalties for violations of the Flood Disaster Protection Acts of 1973 and 1968 and their flood insurance requirements including: (i) failing to obtain flood insurance before loan origination; (ii) failure to maintain adequate insurance coverage on loans; (iii) failure to provide the required notification and failure to provide timely notification on loans; (iv) failing to maintain adequate flood insurance during the term of the loan; (v) allowing flood insurance to lapse during the term of the loan; and (vi) failing to provide written notice to the borrower concerning flood insurance before renewing a loan.

    Also on the list are 14 assessments of civil money penalties, three of which are coupled with orders of restitution. Additionally, there are six orders for removal and prohibition for bank employees breaching fiduciary duties and using positions of control to “facilitate and conceal schemes perpetrated by Bank customers” that caused the bank to violate the Bank Secrecy Act.

    There are no administrative hearings scheduled for July 2017.

    Federal Issues FDIC Enforcement Bank Secrecy Act National Flood Insurance Program Banking

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  • Senate Banking Committee Seeks Perspectives of Midsized, Regional, and Large Institutions, Regulators on Economic Growth

    Federal Issues

    On June 15, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs (Committee) held a hearing entitled, “Fostering Economic Growth: Midsized, Regional and Large Institution Perspective”. This is the third in a series of hearings to address economic growth. Frequent topics of discussion in the hearing included stress testing and capital planning—specifically the Federal Reserve’s Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review stress test. Also discussed was the Systemically Important Financial Institution designation and costs incurred as a result, as well as the Volker Rule.

    Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Chairman of the Committee, remarked in his opening statement that the current regulatory framework is “insufficiently tailored for many of the firms subject to it.”

    Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) – ranking member of the Committee—released an opening statement in which he stated “Let me be clear: proposals to weaken oversight of the biggest banks have no place in this committee’s process. . . Having said that, I am optimistic that there is room for agreement on a modified regime for overseeing regional banks.”

    The June 15 hearing—a video of which can be accessed here—included testimony from the following witnesses:

    • Mr. Harris Simmons, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Zions Bancorporation, on behalf of the Regional Bank Coalition (prepared statement)
    • Mr. Greg Baer, President of The Clearing House Association (prepared statement)
    • Mr. Robert HillChief Executive Officer of South State Corporation, on behalf of the Midsize Bank Coalition of America (prepared statement)
    • Ms. Saule Omarova, Professor of Law at Cornell University Law School (prepared statement)

    On June 22, the Senate Banking Committee held another hearing entitled “Fostering Economic Growth: Regulator Perspective, the fourth in its series of hearings focusing on economic growth. The hearing is available via webcast here.

    Federal Issues Senate Banking Committee Systemic Risk Bank Regulatory Bank Supervision FDIC OCC NCUA Federal Reserve Volker Rule CCAR

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  • OCC, Fed Supervisory Guidance on Model Risk Management Followed by FDIC

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On June 7, the FDIC issued Financial Institution Letter FIL-22-2017 announcing that, in order to provide consistency across institutions and agencies, it is adopting the 2011 model risk management supervisory guidance that was issued by the Federal Reserve (SR 11-7 ) and the OCC (OCC Bulletin 2011-12) thereby making the guidance applicable to certain FDIC-supervised institutions, namely those with $1 billion or more in total assets. The FDIC guidance defines the term “model” as “a quantitative method, system, or approach that applies statistical, economic, financial, or mathematical theories, techniques, and assumptions to process input data into quantitative estimates.” The FDIC indicated that banks’ heavy reliance on models in financial decision-making can come with costs, especially when the decisions are “based on models that are incorrect or misused.”

    According to the FIL, the guidance contains “technical conforming changes” that make it relevant to institutions that are regulated by the FDIC, such as a “revised definition of 'banks' to reflect the FDIC's supervisory authority.”

    Among other things, the FIL highlights that an effective model risk management framework should include the following:

    • “disciplined and knowledgeable development that is well documented and conceptually sound”;
    • “controls to ensure proper implementation”;
    • “processes to ensure correct and appropriate use”;
    • “effective validation processes”; and
    • “strong governance, policies, and controls.”

    For institutions with assets totaling less than $1 billion, the guidance will only apply in certain circumstances, such as when “the institution's model use is significant, complex, or poses elevated risk to the institution.”

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FDIC Risk Management OCC Federal Reserve Bank Supervision

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  • House Passes Financial CHOICE Act of 2017

    Federal Issues

    On June 8, by a vote of 233-186 with no Democrats voting in favor of the bill and one Republican voting against, the House passed the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017 (H.R. 10), as amended, which would repeal or modify provisions of Dodd-Frank and restructure the CFPB. Committee Report 115-163 accompanying House Resolution 375, which provided for consideration H.R. 10 and recommended that the resolution be adopted, outlines the provisions introduced to overhaul existing financial regulations. Included were five additional amendments incorporated into H.R. 10 introduced by members of Congress:

    • Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.): “Revises provisions subjecting certain FDIC and National Credit Union Association functions to congressional appropriations, relating to appointments of positions created by [H.R. 10], and providing congressional access to non-public [Financial Security Oversight Council] information”;
    • Rep. Joseph Hollingsworth (R-Ind.): “Allows closed-end funds that are listed on a national securities exchange, and that meet certain requirements to be considered ‘well-known seasoned issuers’”;
    • Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-Pa.): “Expresses the sense of Congress that consumer reporting agencies and their subsidiaries should implement stronger multi-factor authentication procedures when providing access to personal information files to more adequately protect consumer information from identity theft”;
    • Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.): “Requires the Department of Treasury” to submit a report to Congress regarding its efforts to work with Federal bank regulators, financial institutions, and money service businesses to ensure that legitimate financial transactions along the southern border move freely”; and
    • Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), “Requires the [General Services Administration] to study the [Consumer Law Enforcement Agency’s] real estate needs due to changes in the Agency’s structure. It would then authorize the GSA to sell the current CLEA building if CLEA’s real estate needs have changed and there is no government department or agency that can utilize the building.”

    See previous InfoBytes here and here for additional coverage.

    The bill now advances to the Senate where it is unlikely to pass in its current form—a fact acknowledged by both Democrats and Republicans.

    Federal Issues House Financial Services Committee Financial CHOICE Act Congress Federal Legislation Dodd-Frank FDIC NCUA FSOC CFPB Treasury Department

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  • FDIC Releases List of Enforcement Actions Taken Against Banks and Individuals in April 2017

    Courts

    On May 26, the FDIC released its list of 18 administrative enforcement actions taken against banks and individuals in April. Among the consent orders on the list are civil money penalties for violations of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 and its flood insurance requirements. Also on the list are a cease and desist order and a civil money penalty assessment issued to a Louisiana-based bank (Bank) for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), EFTA, RESPA, TILA, HMDA, and the National Flood Insurance Program. According to the cease and desist order, the FDIC Board of Directors agreed with the Administrative Law Judge’s recommended decision that the Bank engaged in unsafe or unsound practices, which warranted a cease and desist order and civil money penalty. The order also addressed a number of shortcomings identified by the Bank’s examiners, including the following: (i) the Bank’s BSA program lacked adequate internal controls to ensure compliance; (ii) it failed to provide correct and compete electronic funds transfer disclosures to consumers; (iii) borrowers were provided “untimely and improperly completed” good faith estimates; and (iv) the Bank repeatedly failed to accurately report required HMDA information to federal agencies.

    An additional eight actions listed by the FDIC related to unsafe or unsound banking practices and breaches of fiduciary duty, including five removal and prohibition orders. There are no administrative hearings scheduled for June 2017. The FDIC database containing all of its enforcement decisions and orders may be accessed here.

    Courts Consumer Finance Enforcement FDIC Litigation National Flood Insurance Program Bank Secrecy Act EFTA RESPA TILA HMDA

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  • Senators Introduce Bill to Provide Relief to Community Banks

    Federal Issues

    On May 26, Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Angus King (I-Me.), and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) introduced bipartisan legislation intended to provide regulatory relief to small financial intuitions. According to a press release issued by Sen. Hatch’s office, the Community Bank Relief Act (S. 1284) would increase the asset threshold from $1 billion to $5 billion, thereby expanding the number of institutions covered by the Small Bank Holding Company Policy Statement (Statement). Based on FDIC data, raising the asset threshold would affect 443 bank holding companies (BHC) and other financial institutions. Additionally, 96 percent of BHCs and savings and loan holding companies would be covered by the Statement compared to 87 percent as of December 31, 2016, according to the Federal Reserve (Fed). The legislators believe the bill will improve the Dodd-Frank Act “without compromising safety standards” and help “small financial institutions provide households and small businesses more quality-based loans” that will advance economic growth. Notably, the Fed will still be able to exclude any BHC or savings and loan company if it determines the action is warranted.

    Federal Issues Community Banks Federal Legislation FDIC Federal Reserve Dodd-Frank Bank Holding Companies

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  • FDIC Chairman Discusses Efforts to Reach Out to Unbanked Communities

    Federal Issues

    On May 23, at the Bank On 2017 National Conference in Washington, DC., Chairman of the FDIC, Martin J. Gruenberg, discussed his agency’s efforts to reach out to unbanked communities.  In his prepared remarks, “Connecting Unbanked Communities to Mainstream Financial Services: The Vital Role of Bank On Coalitions,” Gruenberg shared results from an FDIC survey of unbanked and underbanked households and spoke about initiatives the agency has developed to help increase access to the banking system by unbanked and underbanked households. (See previous InfoBytes coverage on the report.) “Economic inclusion goes to the heart of the FDIC’s mission of maintaining the public’s confidence in the banking system,” Gruenberg stated. “By working together to promote access to safe accounts and integrate financial services into important local initiatives, we expand opportunities for people to save, invest, meet basic financial goals, and more fully participate in our economy.”

    Findings cited in the report, which provide measurements on access to and use of the traditional banking system at the national and state level, include the following: (i) seven percent of households were unbanked, without any account relationship at an insured institution; (ii) 19.9 percent of households were underbanked, defined as households in which a member had a bank account, but nevertheless used alternative financial services providers to address needs such as check cashing or payday loans; and (iii) use of online and mobile banking to access accounts increased substantially from 2013 to 2015. 36.9 percent of respondents reported online banking as their primary method for accessing a bank account, compared to 28.2 percent relying on bank tellers. After examining the results of the survey, Gruenberg emphasized the need to expand economic inclusion to reach unbanked consumers and provide awareness of available safe banking services. Gruenberg noted that “a key area of focus has been creating access to low-cost, safe transaction accounts.” Gruenberg praised the expansion of the FDIC Safe Account project, which “enrolled consumers in electronic transaction accounts that relied on debit cards, without a check-writing feature, to provide access to funds.” Additionally, he cited the recently updated National Account Standards for the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. The FDIC provides technical assistance to economic inclusion partnerships and coalitions—which includes banks, community groups, state and local officials, and others—with the goal of expanding opportunities to fully participate “in the mainstream banking system.” Finally, Gruenberg stated that survey results show that underserved consumers believe mobile technology has the potential to “enhance the level of control, convenience, and affordability” associated with banking relationships. Therefore, he suggested that offering explicit strategies to support those who would enroll in mobile financial services could be beneficial.

    Federal Issues Banking FDIC

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  • FDIC Releases Third and Fourth Quarter CRA Examination Schedule

    Federal Issues

    On May 31, the FDIC issued its Third Quarter Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Examination Schedule for the following regions: New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco. Additionally, the Agency released the CRA Examination Schedule for the Fourth Quarter in the following regions: New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco. In an effort to be “more responsive and transparent to the public” as well as to provide more time for review and comment, going forward, the FDIC will release the upcoming examination schedule for two quarters rather than one. The institutions listed on the schedules were chosen for CRA examinations based on the FDIC’s criteria which states that, absent reasonable cause, for institutions with $250 million or less in assets, those with a CRA rating of “Satisfactory” would be examined no more than once every 48 months, and those institutions with a CRA rating of “Outstanding” would be examined no more than once every 60 months. Public comments on the institutions to be examined under the CRA are encouraged and will be considered if received prior to the completion of the examination.

    Federal Issues Banking CRA FDIC

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