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On January 13, the Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) published a request for comments on proposed amendments to provide greater transparency and clarity to the existing rules of practice and procedure governing temporary waiver proceedings. The existing temporary waiver proceedings, which were promulgated in 1992 under FIRREA, allow temporary waivers to be granted if a state appraiser regulatory agency makes a written determination that a scarcity of state-certified or licensed appraisers in a state or geographical area is causing significant delays in the performance of real estate appraisals utilized in connection with federally related transactions. Temporary waivers terminate once the ASC determines that the significant delays have been eliminated.
The FFIEC’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) seeks “to clarify the procedural differences in processing a Request for Temporary Waiver accompanied by a written determination as compared to a Petition requesting the ASC exercise its discretion to initiate a temporary waiver proceeding.” Among other things, the NPRM would allow the ASC to draw a clear distinction between: (i) a state appraiser regulatory agency’s request that is accompanied by a written determination (referred to in the NPRM as a “Request for Temporary Waiver”); and (ii) information received from other persons or entities, which could include a state appraiser regulatory agency (referred to as a “Petition”). As presented in the NPRM’s accompanying flowchart, the procedures will vary depending on whether the ASC has received a Request for Temporary Waiver or a Petition requesting the initiation of a temporary waiver proceeding. Comments on the NPRM must be received by March 14.
On January 10, the Federal Reserve announced a final rule regarding reporting requirements for member banks related to adjusting subscriptions to Federal Reserve Bank capital stock. Specifically, the Fed noted that the “technical rule” amends Regulation I to decrease the quarterly reporting burden for member banks by automating the application process for adjusting their subscriptions to Federal Reserve Bank capital stock, except in the context of mergers. Under the new process, Reserve Banks will adjust a member bank’s stock subscription each time the member bank files a Call Report, eliminating the need for member banks to file applications to adjust their stock subscriptions (except in the context of mergers). Additionally, the Fed codified its current practices of requiring a surviving member bank to apply to adjust its stock subscription prior to merging or consolidating with another bank. The final rule is effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.
Recently, the CFPB, CFTC, FDIC, FinCen, FHFA, and OCC provided notice in the Federal Register regarding adjustments to the maximum civil money penalties due to inflation pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015. Each notice or final rule (see CFPB here, CFTC here, FDIC here, FinCen here, FHFA here, and OCC here) adjusts the maximum amounts of civil money penalties and provides a chart reflecting the inflation-adjusted maximum amounts associated with the penalty tiers for particular types of violations within each regulator’s jurisdiction. The OCC’s adjusted civil money penalty amounts are applicable to penalties assessed on or after January 12. The new CFPB, CFTC, FDIC, and FHFA civil money penalty amounts are applicable to penalties assessed on or after January 15. FinCEN's adjusted civil money penalty amounts are effective January 24.
Recently, the CFPB released its annual lists of rural counties and rural or underserved counties for lenders to use when determining qualified exemptions to certain TILA regulatory requirements. In connection with these releases, the Bureau also directed lenders to use its web-based Rural or Underserved Areas Tool to assess whether a rural or underserved area qualifies for a safe harbor under Regulation Z.
On December 22, the CFPB updated its Mortgage Origination Examination Procedures to reflect amendments to Regulation Z’s Qualified Mortgage (QM) provisions. The Mortgage Origination Examination Procedures address various elements of the mortgage origination process and provide guidance for examinations of mortgage brokers and mortgage lenders. As previously covered by InfoBytes, last April the Bureau issued a final rule extending the mandatory compliance date of the General QM final rule to October 1, 2022. By extending the mandatory compliance date, lenders will now have the option of complying with either the revised General QM definition or the original DTI-based General QM definition on applications received on or after March 1, but prior to October 1, 2022.
On January 6, NYDFS issued a comment letter responding to the CFPB’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), “Small Business Lending Data Collection under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (Regulation B).” The NPRM—mandated under Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act—would require a broad swath of lenders to collect data on loans they make to small businesses, including information about the loans themselves, the characteristics of the borrower, and demographic information regarding the borrower’s principal owners. This information would be reported annually to the Bureau, and eventually published by the Bureau on its website, with some potential modifications. According to the Bureau, the statute’s stated intent is to “facilitate enforcement of fair lending laws and enable communities, governmental entities, and creditors to identify business and community development needs and opportunities of women-owned, minority-owned, and small businesses.” (Covered by a Buckley Special Alert.)
In its comment letter, NYDFS discussed its responsibilities for examining state-chartered banking institutions’ compliance with the New York Community Reinvestment Act (NYCRA), New York Banking Law § 28-b, which NYDFS noted largely mirrors the current federal Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Additionally, NYDFS stated that it examines regulated institutions for compliance with state fair lending requirements and agreed with the Bureau that “collecting critical information about minority- and women-owned businesses (MWOBs) to address fair lending concerns and allow financial institutions to identify gaps in the market” is an important goal. To that end, NYDFS is in the process of implementing its own MWOB data collection regulation under the NYCRA, which would require New York state-chartered banking institutions to start collecting MWOB-related data. (Covered by InfoBytes here.) Due to similarities between the proposed regulation and the Bureau’s NPRM, and to avoid imposing an undue burden on institutions covered by both regulations, NYDFS’s proposed regulation includes language that would “permit, but not obligate, NYDFS to treat compliance with the CFPB’s rule implementing Section 1071 as compliance with the NYCRA’s MWOB-related data collection regulation.”
Two specific issues were raised in response to the Bureau’s NPRM. First, NYDFS expressed concerns about the NPRM’s silence as to whether the Bureau intends to share more detailed data with state regulators to help states identify fair lending violations and enforce anti-discrimination laws, even if this information is not made available to the public. NYDFS urged the Bureau to include specific language stating it “may share all data submitted by financial institutions with state regulators in accordance with information sharing agreements between the CFPB and the state regulators.” Second, NYDFS asked the Bureau to reconsider its proposal to require data collection only for MWOBs with a threshold of $5 million or less in gross annual revenue. In particular, NYDFS warned of the risk of “dissimilarity in data collected by lenders for submission to the CFPB and the NYDFS” as NYDFS’s proposed regulation “requires evaluation of MWOB lending without respect to size.” NYDFS stressed that this dissimilarity “may prevent the NYDFS from deeming compliance with the CFPB regulation sufficient to comply with the NYDFS regulation.”
On December 29, the FDIC released an update to the Questions and Answers Related to the Brokered Deposits Rule. The FDIC clarified in a new FAQ that, with respect to third-party administrators of health savings accounts (HSAs) that hire third parties, “the HSA exception applies when: ‘[t]he agent or nominee places, or assists in placing, customer funds into deposit accounts for the primary purpose of paying for or reimbursing qualified medical expenses under section 223 of the Internal Revenue Code.’” Therefore, a third party that is an agent or nominee of a customer may qualify for the HSA exception where the third party’s primary purpose is to help place customer funds into HSAs to facilitate the payment for or reimbursement of qualified medical expenses. The updated FAQs also explained that entities relying upon the “25 percent test” to calculate their percentage of total assets under administration at IDIs for reporting purposes must submit a notice and provide quarterly reporting to the FDIC that “include[s] calculations based upon the average daily balance of funds placed at IDIs over the course of each reporting quarter.” Non-compliance with the reporting requirement may lead to revocation of the primary purpose exception and removal from the FDIC’s public register of entities that rely on the primary purpose exception on the FDIC’s webpage. An annual certification is required within 30 days of the anniversary date of the original filing.
On December 23, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) published a final rule amending the Bank Secrecy Act civil penalty regulations concerning requirements for reporting foreign financial accounts and transactions with foreign financial agencies. Specifically, the final rule removes civil penalty language that was made obsolete by the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004’s enactment of statutory revisions to the computation of a civil money penalty, which included provisions for increasing the maximum penalty for willful violations. The final rule took effect immediately.
On December 17, the OCC released revised interagency HMDA examination procedures for HMDA compliance. The revised examination procedures address changes made to the effective dates for banks meeting or exceeding either the closed-end mortgage loans or the open-end lines of credit loan-volume threshold in each of the two preceding calendar years. Effective July 1, 2020, a bank that “originated at least 100 closed-end mortgage loans in each of the two preceding calendar years, or originated at least 500 open-end lines of credit in each of the two preceding calendar years meets or exceeds the loan-volume threshold.” Effective January 1, 2022, the temporary 500 open-end lines of credit provision expires, and a bank that “originated at least 100 closed-end mortgage loans in each of the two preceding calendar years, or originated at least 200 open-end lines of credit in each of the two preceding calendar years” will now meet or exceed the loan-volume threshold. The revised examination procedures also outline changes to partial exemptions for an application or covered loan. A partial exemption applies to: (i) applications for originations of, and purchases of closed-end mortgage loans when the bank originated fewer than 500 closed-end mortgage loans in each of the two preceding calendar years, and (ii) applications for originations of, and purchases of open-end lines of credit provided the bank originated fewer than 500 open-end lines of credit in each of the two preceding calendar years.
Bulletin 2021-63 rescinds OCC Bulletin 2010-8, “Compliance Policy: Revised Home Mortgage Disclosure Act Examination Procedures,” as well as OCC Bulletin 2019-19, “Home Mortgage Disclosure Act: Revised Interagency Examination Procedures.”
On December 16, the OCC announced draft principles intended to support the identification and management of climate-related financial risks at OCC-regulated institutions with over $100 billion in total consolidated assets. (See also OCC Bulletin 2021-62.) The principles address, among other things: (i) governance; (ii) polices, procedures and limits; (iii) strategic planning; (iv) risk management; (v) data, risk measurement, and reporting; and (vi) scenario analysis. According to the OCC, the principles are meant to support banks’ efforts to focus on key aspects of climate-related financial risk management and to provide a high-level framework for climate-related financial risk management consistent with existing OCC rules and guidance. The OCC also noted that though all banks, regardless of size, could potentially experience material exposures to climate-related financial risks, the principles are targeted at the largest banks. According to the announcement, the OCC intends “to elaborate on these principles in subsequent guidance that would distinguish roles and responsibilities of boards and management, incorporate the feedback received on the principles, and consider lessons learned and best practices from the industry and other jurisdictions.” Comments are due by February 14, 2022.
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss “Be Your Compliance Best in 2022” at the California Mortgage Bankers Association webinar
- Lauren R. Randell to discuss “Significant legal developments in the Northeast” at the 37th Annual National Institute on White Collar Crime
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss “Small business & regulation: How fair lending has evolved & where it is heading?” at the Consumer Bankers Association Live program
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss “Regulators always ring twice: Responding to a government request” at ALM Legalweek
- Jonice Gray Tucker and Kari Hall to discuss “Equity, equality, regulation and enforcement – The evolving regulatory landscape of fair lending, redlining, and UDAAP” at the ABA Business Law Committee Hybrid Spring Meeting