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  • OCC Updates Comptroller’s Licensing Manual to Provide Revised Guidance on Branching and Relocation Procedures

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On November 15, the OCC released Bulletin 2017-54 announcing a revised version of its “Branches and Relocations” booklet (replacing the booklet of the same title issued in October 2009), which includes updates related to procedures and requirements for national banks and federal savings associations submitting branch or relocation applications. The booklet, which is part of the Comptroller’s Licensing Manual, covers:

    • policies and criteria of general applicability, including the application and approval process; and
    • specific policies and requirements unique to national banks and those unique to federal savings associations.

    Reflected in the newly revised booklet are updates to procedures and regulations that have been implemented since 2009, including the integration of the Office of Thrift Supervision into the OCC 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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  • OCC Updates Comptroller’s Licensing Manual to Provide Revised Guidance on Business Combination Applications

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On November 14, the OCC released Bulletin 2017-53 announcing a revised version of its “Business Combinations” booklet (replacing the booklet of the same title issued in December 2006), which includes updates related to regulations addressing applications for national banks and federal savings associations proposing to execute a business combination. The booklet, which is part of the Comptroller’s Licensing Manual, covers:

    • policies and decision criteria that the OCC considers when evaluating applications from banks seeking to execute business combinations, including mergers, consolidations, certain purchase and assumption transactions, and reorganizations;
    • the application process, including the pre-filing, filing, review, decision, and post-consummation phases;
    • guidance on application requirements and circumstances under which a streamlined business combination is granted; and
    • references and links to informational resources for applicants to use during the filing process.

    Reflected in the newly revised booklet are updates to procedures and regulations that have been implemented since 2006, including the integration of the Office of Thrift Supervision into the OCC 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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  • OCC Updates Policies and Procedures to Clarify Impact of CRA Ratings on Licensing Applications

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On November 8, the OCC issued Bulletin 2017-51, updating guidance related to its approach when evaluating certain licensing applications from OCC-supervised banks that have “less than satisfactory” Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) ratings, either overall or in one or more particular geographic region. The revised Policies and Procedures Manual (PPM 6300-2) provides clarity on the OCC’s scrutiny of a bank’s CRA performance when an application is submitted to participate in a covered transaction such as (i) establishing or relocating a branch or main or home office; (ii) participating in a Bank Merger Act filing; (iii) converting from a state to a federal charter; and (iv) converting between federal charters. The revisions also allow applicants to document for the OCC how participating in such a transaction would “help the bank to achieve its CRA objectives” and “meet the credit needs of the community it serves, consistent with its safe and sound operation.”

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC CRA Licensing

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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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  • Acting Comptroller Argues for Removing Separation Between Banking and Commerce

    Federal Issues

    On November 8, Acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith A. Noreika addressed The Clearing House Annual Conference in New York, New York and called for an end to the separation between banking and commerce. Noreika noted that the topic may be considered “taboo” to banking regulators but nonetheless offered “an alternative to the popular narrative.” In his speech, Noreika acknowledged that the premise of the separation is to avoid the risks associated with entangling federally insured deposits with unreliable commercial enterprises. However, he argued, “the recent financial crisis actually demonstrated that there is nothing inherently safer about separating banking and commerce or traditional banking and investment banking,” and further noted that allowing for commingling could generate efficiencies and improve banking economic performance.

    Federal Issues OCC Banking

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  • Acting Comptroller Discusses Efforts to Promote Lending and Investment in Distressed Communities

    Lending

    On November 2, Acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith A. Noreika addressed the National Association of Affordable Home Lenders to emphasize the OCC’s efforts to support depository institution lending and investment in distressed communities. In his speech, Noreika discussed the guidance issued by the OCC in August (previously covered by InfoBytes), which covers owner-occupied residential mortgage originations with loan-to-value (LTV) ratios greater than 100 percent. The guidance is intended to aid in the revitalization of certain areas around the country and provide a framework for the OCC’s monitoring of these programs for safe and sound lending practices. Noreika concluded that since August “the guidance and the programs being established…are beginning to make differences in the communities that need reinvestment the most” and encouraged their continued use by reminding the conference that these programs can also provide banks credit under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).

    Lending OCC CRA Mortgage Lenders

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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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  • Trump Signs Legislation to End Arbitration Rule

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On November 1, President Trump signed a resolution repealing the CFPB’s embattled arbitration rule (Rule). The resolution, which passed the Senate two weeks ago, was issued under the Congressional Review Act (previously covered by InfoBytes here). Trump’s signature came two days after Richard Cordray, the Director of the CFPB, wrote to the President requesting he veto the resolution. In his letter, Cordray sought to appeal to the President’s business experience in an attempt to explain the necessity of going to court when “treated unfairly.” With Trump’s signing of the resolution, the Rule is now unenforceable. The Rule has previously come under scrutiny from federal regulators (see previous InfoBytes coverage here and here), as well as from industry trade groups (see previous InfoBytes coverage here). After the President’s signing, Keith A. Noreika, Acting Comptroller of the OCC, praised Congress and the President for vacating the rule, touting it as a “victory for consumers” because upholding the Rule would have “significantly increased the cost of credit.”

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Consumer Finance CFPB Arbitration CRA OCC

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  • FinCEN Assesses Penalties Against Texas Bank for AML Violations

    Financial Crimes

    On November 1, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced that it had assessed a $2 million civil money penalty against a Texas bank for “willfully violating” the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). According to FinCEN, the bank failed to comply with the specific due diligence requirements for correspondent banking relationships as required by section 312 of the USA PATRIOT ACT. In particular, FinCEN found that the bank failed to ask appropriate due diligence questions in connection with the foreign bank account relationship and did not verify the accuracy of responses to questions it did pose. FinCEN further found that the bank did not appropriately establish specific customer risk profiles and assign proper risk ratings, resulting in a failure to identify, review, and escalate potential anti-money laundering (AML) violations.

    In 2015, the bank previously resolved alleged BSA/AML deficiencies identified by the OCC and agreed to pay a $1 million civil money penalty. The bank’s payment of the $1 million OCC penalty is credited to the FinCEN penalty. FinCEN also acknowledged the considerable resources the bank invested in its BSA compliance operations and customer due diligence processes. 

    Financial Crimes FinCEN Bank Secrecy Act Anti-Money Laundering OCC

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  • OCC Presents First National Bank Charter Since the Financial Crisis

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On October 27, Acting Comptroller of Currency, Keith A. Noreika, issued the first full-service national bank charter since the financial crisis to a banking institution in Florida. The institution is also the first de novo national bank and de novo approved for federal deposit insurance in Florida since the financial crisis. While presenting the charter, Noreika commented on the rarity of de novo banks and encouraged better efficiency in the process for their establishment in order to, “create more economic opportunity for consumers, businesses, and communities across the nation.”

    As previously covered by InfoBytes, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing in March related to the “de novo drought” and to examine the impact the Dodd-Frank Act has had on the creation of new financial institutions.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Lending OCC Bank Regulatory Federal Issues

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