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  • OCC Acting Comptroller Reiterates Request for CFPB Arbitration Rule Data

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On July 17, OCC Acting Comptroller Keith Noreika delivered a letter to the CFPB reiterating his request to review the supporting data used to develop the Bureau’s final arbitration rule prohibiting the use of mandatory pre-dispute arbitration clauses in certain contracts for consumer financial products and services. While the CFPB issued assurances that the final rule would not impact the safety or soundness of the financial banking system, Noreika argued that because the Bureau is not a “safety and soundness prudential regulator,” the OCC, as the prudential regulator for the federal banking system, should be allowed to review the underlying data to address potential concerns under Section 1023 in Title X of the Dodd-Frank Act. In response, CFPB Director Richard Cordray stated his team is in the process of gathering the requested data but questioned the “plausible basis” for Noreika’s claim that the final arbitration rule could pose a safety and soundness issue.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Arbitration CFPB OCC Prudential Regulators Dodd-Frank

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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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  • FTC Chairman Announces Reforms for Bureau of Consumer Protection, Aims to Improve Transparency

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On July 17, FTC Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen announced process reforms designed to reduce burden and improve transparency in investigations conducted by its Bureau of Consumer Protection (BCP). The initiative, which is part of the FTC’s reform efforts announced in April of this year, is designed to “protect consumers and promote competition without unduly burdening legitimate business activity.” To streamline information requests for CIDs in consumer protection cases, the BCP intends to:

    • Provide plain language descriptions of the CID process and develop business education materials to help small businesses understand how to comply;
    • Add detailed descriptions of the scope and purpose of investigations to assist companies in better understanding the information the FTC seeks;
    • Limit relevant time periods to minimize undue burden on companies when possible;
    • Significantly reduce the length and complexity of CID instructions for providing electronically stored data; and
    • Increase response times (for example, 21 days to 30 days for targets, and 14 days to 21 days for third parties) to improve the quality and timeliness of compliance by recipients.

    BCP will continue its current practice of communicating with investigation targets at least every six months once the CID has been complied with to provide investigation status updates.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FTC Enforcement Investigations

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  • ABA, CFPB to Host Webinar for Financial Institutions on New HMDA Submission Platform

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On July 17, the ABA and CFPB announced a joint webinar on August 8 at 2:00 pm EDT, which will instruct compliance, operations, and loan processing professionals on how to use the new platform for submitting HMDA data. The webinar will provide an overview of the new tool and data collection process that all financial institutions must use to submit HMDA data beginning January 1, 2018 for data collected during 2017 and going forward.

    Notably, however, on July 14, the CFPB issued a request for comments on proposed amendments to its HMDA reporting threshold for calendar years 2018 and 2019 to ease the burden on small-volume lenders. The comment period ends July 31, 2017. (See previous InfoBytes summary here.)

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB ABA HMDA Mortgages Bank Compliance

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  • CFPB Seeks Comments on Proposed Amendments to HMDA Reporting Threshold

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On July 14, the CFPB announced and requested comments on proposed amendments to Regulation C, which concerns reporting requirements for banks and credit unions issuing home-equity lines of credit under HMDA. The amendments would raise the threshold from 100 loans to 500 for calendar years 2018 and 2019 to ease the burden on small-volume lenders. During this time, the Bureau will determine based on feedback whether the threshold should be permanently changed. The comment period ends July 31, 2017.

    As previously reported in InfoBytes, earlier this year the Bureau solicited and received comments on its proposal to clarify data collection and reporting requirements under the 2015 HMDA rule. The amendments are scheduled to take effect January 1, 2018.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB HMDA Lending Mortgage Origination

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  • CFPB Extends Comment Deadline for Small Business Lending Request for Information

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On July 12, the CFPB issued a notice in the Federal Register announcing that, in response to a request from 13 industry trade associations for an additional comment period extension, the Bureau has extended the comment period of the “Request for Information Regarding the Small Business Lending Market” for another 60 days. As previously covered in InfoBytes, the Bureau is seeking responses to its questions regarding the small business lending market and how the implementation of Section 1071 Dodd-Frank Act will affect small business financing. The Bureau also hopes to receive feedback on privacy concerns related to the Section 1071 disclosures. In light of the extension, comments must now be received by September 14.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Issues CFPB Dodd-Frank Small Business Lending Federal Register

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  • 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

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  • OCC Issues Branch Closings Booklet, General Policies and Procedures Booklet

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On June 29, the OCC issued Bulletin OCC 2017-24, announcing its revised Comptroller’s Licensing Manual booklet, “Branch Closings,” replacing the booklet issued in April 2003. According to the Bulletin, the revised booklet describes the 90-day advance notice to the OCC and branch customers that a bank must observe before closing a branch. It also explains the specific timing, procedures, and forms of notice the bank must supply. The booklet, which applies to all national banks and federal savings associations, summarizes the different notice requirements for each under Section 42 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act. It also lists steps for filing branch closing notices including: (i) sending advance notice to the OCC at least 90 days before closing; (ii) mailing notices to customers at least 90 days in advance; (iii) posting conspicuous notices at the branch at least 30 days in advance; and (iv) sending final closing notice to the OCC after the branch closes.

    The notice requirement of Section 42 assists the OCC in assessing a bank’s record of opening and closing branches. The OCC reviews this record in examinations for compliance with Section 42 and in assessing performance under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The OCC, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) adopted a “Joint Policy Statement on Branch Closing Notices and Policies” (Joint Policy Statement) in June 1991 to provide guidance regarding the requirements of the branch closing statute.

    On July 5, the OCC issued an additional bulletin, OCC Bulletin 2017-25, revising the “General Policies and Procedures” booklet of the Comptroller’s Licensing Manual issued in March 2008. This booklet explains how to file applications or notices with the OCC, requirements of the filings, and the OCC processes for licensing filings. The revised booklet applies to national banks, federal savings associations, and other entities that are involved in certain transactions including: (i) organizing a new bank; (ii) opening or closing a branch; (iii) establishing subsidiaries; (iv) some changes to capital or debt; and (v) certain other transactions. The booklet describes important policies and includes sample forms, filing requirements, and fees. It also covers the OCC’s review, approval or denial, and subsequent consummation requirements and appeal procedures.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC Banking Licensing

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  • FTC Releases Updates to COPPA Compliance Plan

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On June 21, the FTC released updated guidance designed to assist businesses when complying with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA), which regulates what websites and online services are required to do to ensure the protection of children’s privacy and safety online. Specifically, the updates address the following issues: (i) the method by which companies monitor the collection of personal data as technology evolves in order to stay compliant; (ii) they ways COPPA impacts the “Internet of Things” as new “connected devices” continue to expand beyond websites and mobile apps; and (iii) new methods such as “ knowledge-based authentication questions and using facial recognition to get a match with a verified photo ID” to obtain parental consent. Additionally, the FTC revised its Six-Step Compliance Plan for Your Business to help companies determine whether they are covered by COPPA and how to comply with the rule.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FTC Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security Compliance Internet of Things

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