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  • NYDFS Issues Interpretative Guidance Regarding Banking Law Approval Requirements

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On May 22, the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) announced it was issuing interpretative guidance regarding the New York Banking Law requirement that mandates prior NYDFS approval for an acquisition or change of control of a banking institution. The guidance was released in response to a request by the New York Bankers Association amid concerns that some investors have been developing non-transparent methods of acquiring and controlling banking institutions without obtaining NYDFS’ review and approval. According to the guidance, “control” is achieved by having direct or indirect power to direct or cause the direction of a banking institution’s management and policies through the ownership of voting stocks or otherwise, and that control is achieved when individuals or entities work together or act in concert to acquire control of a banking institution but with each individual or entity staying below the threshold required for seeking NYDFS’ prior review and approval. The Superintendent of Financial Services, Maria T. Vullo issued a reminder to state-chartered banks that “all proposed changes of control in any banking institution must be submitted to the Department for prior approval under our mandate to safeguard the institutions we supervise and regulate, and to protect the public they serve.”

    The guidance was released the same day Vullo testified at a New York State Assembly hearing on the “Practices of the Online Lending History,” which sought to “explore . . . predatory online lending practices which need to be mitigated, and potential regulatory or legislative action which may be needed to address [this issue].” Vullo urged legislators to clarify the statutory definition of “making loans” to include a wider range of companies and “to include situations where an entity, in addition to soliciting a loan, is arranging or facilitating the funding of a loan, or ultimately purchasing or acquiring the loan.”

    Agency Rulemaking & Guidance Online Lending NYDFS

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  • FDIC Announces Nationwide Seminars for Bank Officers and Employees

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On May 18, the FDIC issued FIL-18-2017 announcing that, between June 6, 2017 and December 4, 2017, it will conduct four identical live seminars regarding FDIC deposit insurance coverage for bank employees and bank officers. The seminars will include an overview of popular topics such as (i) the Electronic Deposit Insurance Estimator—an interactive tool used to calculate deposit insurance coverage; (ii) the BankFind Directory, which allows users to confirm if a bank is FDIC-insured; and (iii) the Financial Institution Employee’s Guide to Deposit Insurance developed to help bankers provide detailed information about deposit insurance coverage to their depositors. In addition to the live seminars, the FDIC posted to its YouTube channel three separate seminars, entitled (i) Fundamentals of Deposit Insurance Coverage; (ii) Deposit Insurance Coverage for Revocable Trust Accounts; and (iii) Advanced Topics in Deposit Insurance Coverage. Both the live seminars and the YouTube seminars will provide bank employees and officers with an understanding of how to calculate deposit insurance coverage. Bankers interested in attending the seminars should visit the FDIC’s website.

    Agency Rulemaking & Guidance FDIC

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  • FDIC Vice Chairman Discusses Forces of Change in Banking Industry, Proposes Regulatory Relief

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On May 12, FDIC Vice Chairman Tom Hoenig spoke at the Systemic Risk and Organization of the Financial System Conference in California. He delivered prepared remarks on “Financial Markets and Accountability: A Better Way Forward.” Specifically, Hoenig discussed his views on the need for change in the banking industry and how his recently introduced reform proposal would strengthen the financial system and provide regulatory relief and long-term economic growth.

    Hoenig argued that his proposal, “Regulatory Relief and Accountability for Financial Holding Companies Engaged in Nontraditional Banking Activities,” would help cure the ills and vulnerabilities of the current U.S. financial system, in which the largest banks have grown disproportionately big with activities that are too consolidated, resulting in a financial system that remains “heavily subsidized, increasingly concentrated, and less competitive.”

    Hoenig’s proposal outlines ideas to address too-big-to-fail, enhance financial stability, and return the “safety net to its original purpose of depositor and payment system protection.” The proposal requires the largest banks to hold more capital, while partitioning nonbank activities away from the safety net. Hoenig stated that his proposal is intended to enhance competition by creating a more level playing field between insured and noninsured financial firms. The proposal also inhibits the intermingling of funding and operations between affiliates, which, while advantageous during good times, provides “far greater advantages” during bad times. Hoenig stated this would provide more stability and more consistent economic growth, and facilitate resolution using bankruptcy.

    ICBA Support. Independent Community Bankers of America President and CEO Camden R. Fine issued a statement on Hoenig’s remarks, agreeing that “excessive regulatory burdens have exacerbated the dangerous consolidation of the banking industry into fewer and fewer hands,” and that “[t]o combat excessive consolidation and concentration of resources in the largest and most systemically risky financial firms, ICBA advocates comprehensive regulatory relief for community banks.” ICBA recently published a white paper entitled Community Bank Regulatory Relief: A Roadmap to Economic Growth and Prosperity outlining its views on regulatory reform.

    Agency Rulemaking & Guidance FDIC ICBA Bank Regulatory

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  • OCC to Host Workshops for Community Bank Directors in June

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On June 20 and 21, the OCC will be hosting two workshops in Nashville for directors of national community banks and federal savings associations supervised by the OCC. The June 20 “Credit Risk” workshop will focus on ways to identify trends and recognize problems within a loan portfolio. In addition, the workshop will discuss board and management roles, how to stay informed of changes in credit risk, and how to effect change. The June 21 “Operational Risk” workshop will focus on the key components of operational risk, and also cover governance, third-party risk, vendor management, and cybersecurity.

    Additionally, from June 26 to 28, the OCC will be hosting a “Building Blocks for Directors” workshop in Atlanta for directors, senior management team members, and other key executives of national community banks and federal savings associations supervised by the OCC. The workshop will: (i) focus on the duties and core responsibilities of directors and management; (ii) discuss major laws and regulations; and (ii) provide insight on the examination process.

    Agency Rulemaking & Guidance OCC Risk Management

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  • OCC Issues Revised Comptroller’s Licensing Manual Booklets

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On May 8, the OCC announced the release of a revised Fiduciary Powers booklet of the Comptroller’s Licensing Manual, which replaces the version issued in June 2002, and applies to all national banks and federal savings associations proposing to exercise fiduciary powers. This revised booklet incorporates updated procedures and requirements following the integration of the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) into the OCC in 2011 and the revisions to 12 C.F.R. § 5 (effective July 1, 2015), which address applications for national banks and federal savings associations proposing to exercise fiduciary powers. Specifically, the revised booklet addresses the: (i) policies and procedures to guide a bank in submitting a request to exercise fiduciary powers or submitting a notice to the OCC that it is exercising fiduciary powers in a new state; and (ii) procedures for a bank to surrender its fiduciary powers and for the OCC to revoke those powers. The booklet also lists references and links to informational resources to assist applicants during the filing process.

    That same day, the OCC also released a revised Public Notice and Comments booklet of the Comptroller’s Licensing Manual, which replaces the version updated in March 2007. This revised booklet incorporates public notice and comments procedures and requirements that were updated following the integration of OTS into the OCC, and the issuance of revised 12 CFR Part 5, and applies to national banks and federal savings associations, unless otherwise noted, as well as federal branches and agencies of foreign banks. In particular, the booklet addresses the “general requirements related to the public notice process, impact of Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) performance on certain applications or notices (filings), application of the convenience and needs standard under the Bank Merger Act, and requirements and procedures for conducting public hearings, public meetings, and private meetings.”

    Agency Rulemaking & Guidance OCC Licensing

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  • CFPB Issues Request for Information on Small Business Lending; Prepares to Implement Section 1071 of Dodd Frank Act

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On May 10, the CFPB announced the issuance of a Request for Information on various aspects of the market for small business loans as the Bureau prepares to implement Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which amends the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) to require financial institutions to compile, maintain, and report information concerning credit applications made by women-owned, minority-owned, and small businesses. The Request includes questions grouped in five categories: (i) defining what constitutes a small business; (ii) data points the Bureau will require to be submitted and collected; (iii) types of lenders involved in small business lending and the appropriate institutional coverage for the data collection requirements; (iv) types of financial products offered to small businesses generally, and those owned by women and minorities in particular; and (v) privacy concerns related to the data collection.

    The CFPB also released Director Cordray’s prepared remarks in advance of a field hearing on small business lending where he introduced the Request for Information and issued a related press release. Comments are due 60 days after the Request for Information is published in the Federal Register. The Bureau also released a report, entitled “Key Dimensions of the Small Business Lending Landscape,” which presents the CFPB's perspective on the market for lending to small, minority-owned and woman-owned firms and gaps in its understanding.

    A couple of industry groups have already weighed in regarding expected difficulties with the application of Section 1071. In a letter sent Tuesday in advance of the field hearing, the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU) urged the CFPB to exempt its members from any rulemaking that compels disclosure of business loan information. NAFCU Regulatory Affairs Counsel Andrew Morris cites the unique characteristics of credit unions, and that such data collection “may yield confusing information about credit unions and further restrict lending activity as a result of increased compliance costs.” The letter notes that “[c]redit unions serve distinct fields of membership, and as a result, institution-level data related to women-owned, minority-owned and small business lending substantially differs in relation to other lenders.”

    And, in a white paper provided to the Treasury Department, the American Bankers Association criticizes what amounts to Section 1071’s conflation of consumer and commercial lending, “recommend[ing] the elimination of any vestige of Bureau regulatory, supervisory, or enforcement authority over commercial credit or other commercial account and financial services.”

    Agency Rulemaking & Guidance CFPB Small Business Lending Dodd-Frank ECOA NAFCU ABA Treasury Department

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  • American Bankers Association White Paper Addresses Concerns Over HMDA Expansion

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On May 2, the American Bankers Association (ABA) issued a white paper to the Treasury Department on the implementation of the 2015 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) rule as part of its continuing response to President Trump’s executive order outlining “core principles” for financial regulation (see previously issued Special Alert here). The white paper, HMDA – More Really is Less: The Data Fog Frustrates HMDA, presents several views held by the ABA including that the CFPB should (i) rescind requirements to collect any data fields not expressly required by HMDA; (ii) suspend the effective date of the 2015 HMDA rule until privacy and security concerns are addressed (see previously issued Special Alert here); (iii) exclude commercial loans from HMDA coverage; and (iv) revoke the new HMDA data elements added by the Dodd-Frank Act. The ABA noted that the Dodd-Frank Act added more than 13 new categories to the statutory HMDA data fields lenders are required to collect, and in the implementing regulation, Regulation C, the CFPB added 25 new data fields to the existing 23 fields. The ABA noted that the CFPB estimates that, in addition to existing costs of HMDA compliance, the additional annual costs of operations will be approximately $120.6 million conservatively (more if reporting quarterly) and lenders will incur a one-time additional cost of between $177 million and $326.6 million. Furthermore, the ABA states there still remains a need to address the “significant” privacy issues presented by the “vast trove of data points added by Dodd-Frank,” and that “the collection and transfer and warehousing of greatly increased and more sensitive data will necessitate even more robust and costlier private sector and government systems.” However, the ABA noted the Bureau has not initiated rulemaking to address the privacy issues presented.

    Notably, last month, the CFPB issued a proposal in the Federal Register to amend the 2015 HMDA rule (see previously issued Special Alert here). The changes are primarily for the purpose of clarifying data collection and reporting requirements, and most of the clarifications and revisions would take effect in January 2018. The deadline to submit comments on the CFPB’s proposal is May 25, 2017.

    Agency Rulemaking & Guidance HMDA CFPB ABA

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  • CFPB Seeks Public Comment on its Plans for Assessing RESPA Mortgage Servicing Rule

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On May 4, the CFPB issued a request for comment on its plans for assessing the 2013 Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) servicing rule’s effectiveness in meeting the purposes and objectives outlined in the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires the CFPB to assess each significant rule or order it adopts under Federal consumer financial laws. According to the request for comment and a May 4 blog post on the CFPB’s website, the self-assessment will focus on objectives to ensure that: (i) “[c]onsumers are provided with timely and understandable information to make responsible decisions about financial transactions”;  (ii) “[c]onsumers are protected from unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts and practices and from discrimination”;  (iii) “[o]utdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome regulations are regularly identified and addressed in order to reduce unwarranted regulatory burdens”;  (iv) “[f]ederal consumer financial law is enforced consistently”; and (v) “[m]arkets for consumer financial products and services operate transparently and efficiently to facilitate access and innovation.”

    In 2013, the Bureau adopted the 2013 RESPA Servicing Final Rule and further amended the rule several times to address questions raised by the industry, consumer advocacy groups, and other stakeholders. The CFPB deemed the 2013 RESPA Servicing Final Rule, effective January 10, 2014, a “significant rule” for purposes of the Dodd-Frank Act. Importantly, however, in Footnote 10 of its most-recent request for comment, the Bureau clarifies that it “is not seeking comment on the amendments to the mortgage servicing rules that became or will become effective after the January 10, 2014 effective date.” (emphasis added) Accordingly, it appears that the Bureau is not presently seeking comments on the Amendments to Regulation X and Regulation Z that the CFPB published as a Final Rule (12 CFR Parts 1024 and 1026) in the October 19, 2016 edition of the Federal Register – see earlier InfoBytes coverage here – and which are slated to take effect in part on October 19, 2017 and in full on April 19, 2018.

    Agency Rulemaking & Guidance CFPB RESPA Regulation X Regulation Z Mortgages Dodd-Frank UDAAP

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  • CFPB Releases “Core Outcomes” for Financial Empowerment Programs

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On April 27, the CFPB announced in a blog post its release of a core set of financial outcomes designed to help human services organizations integrate financial empowerment and capability initiatives into their programs. Strategies include implementing financial education tools and financial counseling or coaching. In its April report, Tracking Success in Financial Capability and Empowerment Programs, the Bureau identified the following five core outcomes to help consumers improve their financial capabilities: (i) planning and goals; (ii) savings; (iii) bill payment; (iv) credit profile; and (v) financial well-being. According to the report, which assists the financial empowerment field in encouraging commonality in outcomes, core outcomes are designed to:

    • “help inform and guide service delivery organizations and those who design, fund, or evaluate service programs as they assess or document the value of integrating financial capability and empowerment strategies into the delivery of human services programs”;
    • “provide a suggested core set of common outcomes to measure for the financial empowerment field”;
    • “augment, not displace, current programmatic outcomes and accommodate a broad range of different program types”; and
    • “help provide consistency across programs by creating a common framework and language for demonstrating success for the provision of financial empowerment services as an element of other human services programs.”

    According to the Bureau’s Office of Financial Empowerment, it began identifying common core outcomes with input from multiple financial empowerment practitioners and researchers to “improve the financial well-being of “lower-income and economically vulnerable consumers.”

    Agency Rulemaking & Guidance Consumer Finance CFPB Consumer Education

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  • Fannie Mae to Allow Home Owners to Swap Student Loan Debt for Mortgage Debt

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On April 25, Fannie Mae issued updates to its Selling Guide allowing home owners to refinance their mortgages to pay off their student loan debt. The new policies will present opportunities for homeowners to (i) pay down student debt by refinancing their mortgage; (ii) no longer be required to include non-mortgage debt (credit cards, auto loans, and student loans) paid by others on loan applications; and (iii) increase the likelihood of qualifying for a mortgage loan while carrying student debt “by allowing lenders to accept student debt payments included on credit reports.” The updates also allow for debt to be excluded from the debt-to-income ratio if a lender can obtain documents showing that a non-mortgage debt has been paid by another party for at least 12 months. “These new policies provide . . . flexible payment solutions to future and current homeowners and, in turn, allow lenders to serve more borrowers,” stated Jonathan Lawless, Fannie Mae’s Vice President of Customer Solutions. The policy changes are effective immediately.

    Agency Rulemaking & Guidance Student Lending Mortgages Fannie Mae

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