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On March 26, the OCC issued Bulletin 2020-26 announcing the revision of the Interest Rate Risk booklet of the Comptroller’s Handbook, which replaces the June 1997 version of the same name. The revised booklet “incorporates and reflects applicable statutes and regulations, guidance, and examination procedures,” and expands model risk and model risk management discussions, “including developing, reviewing, and stress testing model assumptions.” The revised booklet also provides guidelines “consistent with the Pillar 2 supervisory approach outlined in the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision’s Interest Rate Risk in the Banking Book.”
On March 27, the CFPB’s Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law issued a request for information (RFI) seeking input on consumer protection areas for the taskforce to focus its research and analysis, and requesting suggestions for “harmonizing, modernizing, and updating the federal consumer financial laws.” Specifically, the taskforce seeks information on “fair, transparent, and competitive” consumer financial service areas that are currently functioning well, as well as areas that may benefit from regulatory improvements to “facilitate competition and materially increase consumer welfare.” Areas of interest include: (i) automobile financing; (ii) consumer credit and reporting; (iii) debt collection and settlements; (iv) deposit accounts, electronic payments, money transfers, and prepaid cards; (v) mortgage origination and servicing; (vi) small-dollar lending; and (vii) student lending and servicing. Responses are due 60 days after the RFI is published in the Federal Register.
On March 24, the FHFA published a final rule amending its stress testing requirements consistent with changes made by section 401 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. The final rule adopts amendments proposed last December (covered by InfoBytes here) without change, increasing the minimum threshold for FHFA-regulated entities to conduct stress tests from $10 billion to $250 billion in total consolidated assets, removing the requirements for Federal Home Loan Banks to conduct stress tests, and reducing the number of stress test scenarios from three to two by removing the “adverse” scenario. The final rule took effect March 24.
On March 23, the FDIC issued FIL-23-2020 to announce a request from the agency’s Office of Minority and Women Inclusion for 2019 diversity self-assessments from FDIC-regulated financial institutions in accordance with Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Act. Financial institutions with 100 or more employees should refer to the FIL for instructions on completing the voluntary self-assessment. The FDIC strongly encourages financial institutions to use the new automated portal: Diversity Self-Assessment of FDIC Regulated Financial Institutions when completing self-assessments, as it allows for multiple authorized users and the ability to view previous submissions, as well as provides additional resources for participants. Self-assessments are due May 31.
On March 17, the Federal Reserve Board (Fed) published a final policy, which revises the internal appeals process for institutions that receive an adverse material supervisory determination, as well as its policy regarding the Fed’s Ombudsman. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the Fed requested comments on proposed amendments intended to improve and expedite the appeals process. Among other things, the final amendments (i) clarify that Matters Requiring Attention and Matters Requiring Immediate Attention “are appealable material supervisory determinations”; (ii) “permit an institution’s senior management to file an appeal, provided that management informs the institution’s board of directors of their decision to file an appeal and keeps the board informed of the status of the appeal”; (iii) “permit an institution to request an extension of time to file an appeal in appropriate circumstances”; and (iv) “clarify that, at an institution’s request, the initial review panel must schedule a meeting with the institution.” The amendments and final policy are applicable starting April 1, and the final appeals process will apply to all material supervisory determination appeals initiated after that date.
On March 18, the FDIC announced (see here and here) the approval of two deposit insurance applications, which will allow for the creation of two de novo industrial banks. The first approval order will permit a California-based company to originate commercial loans to merchants that process card transactions through the company’s payments system and will operate from a main office located in Utah. The second approval order will permit a Nebraska-based corporation to originate and service private student loans and other consumer loans. The new bank will operate as an internet-only bank from a main office located in Utah. Both companies now await approval from the Utah Department of Financial Institutions.
Separately, on March 17, the FDIC announced that it is seeking comments on a proposed rule that would require certain conditions and commitments for approval or non-objection to certain filings involving industrial banks and industrial loan companies (collectively, “industrial banks”), such as deposit insurance, change in bank control, and merger filings. The proposed rule applies to industrial banks whose parent company is not subject to consolidated supervision by the FRB. The proposed rule would require a covered parent company to enter into written agreements with the FDIC and the industrial bank to: (i) address the company's relationship with the industrial bank; (ii) require capital and liquidity support from the parent company to the industrial bank; and (iii) establish appropriate recordkeeping and reporting requirements.
The proposed rule would require prospective covered companies to agree to a minimum of eight commitments, which, for the most part, the FDIC has previously required as a condition of granting deposit insurance to industrial banks. These include: (i) providing a list of all parent company subsidiaries annually; (ii) consenting to examinations of the parent company and its subsidiaries; (iii) submitting to annual independent audits; (iv) maintaining necessary records; (v) limiting the parent company’s representation on the industrial bank’s board to 25 percent; (vi) maintaining the industrial bank’s capital and liquidity requirements “at such levels deemed appropriate” for safety and soundness; (vii) entering into tax allocation agreements; and (viii) implementing contingency plans “for recovery actions and the orderly disposition of the industrial bank without the need for a receiver or conservator.” Comments on the proposed rule will be due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.
On March 6, the CFPB released seven updated FAQs to assist reporting institutions in complying with HMDA and Regulation C. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the Federal Financial Institutions Examinations Council’s issued the 2020 edition of the “Guide to HMDA Reporting: Getting It Right!” in February. The FAQs offer guidance for reporting the following data points: (i) universal loan identifier (ULI); (ii) legal entity identifier (LEI); (iii) ethnicity, race, and sex; (iv) discount points; and (v) construction and construction/permanent transactions. Highlights are listed below:
- Regulation C does not “require a financial institution to provide the ULI on loan documents.” It requires a financial institution to “collect, record, and report a ULI for applications for covered loans that is receives, covered loans that it originates, and covered loans that it purchases for each calendar year.”
- “For applications taken by telephone…a person collecting the race or ethnicity information [is required] to orally state the information in the collection form unless the information pertains uniquely to applications taken in writing, for example, the italicized language in the sample data collection form.”
- “[A] financial institution should not correct the race or ethnicity as reported by the applicant, even if the applicant has entered clearly incorrect or inappropriate information.”
- “Where a natural person applicant does not provide ethnicity, race, or sex information for a mail, internet, or telephone application, and a financial institution does not have an opportunity to collect this information during an in person meeting during the application process, the financial institution may report either that the information was not collected on the basis of visual observation or surname (code 2) or that the requirement to report this data field is not applicable (code 3).”
- “For construction and permanent loans where the construction loan is a separate transaction, the financial institution reports only the loan term of the permanent loan. Because the separate construction loan is designed to be replaced by permanent financing, it is excluded as temporary financing.”
On March 12, the OCC issued Bulletin 2020-14 announcing the revision of the Deposit-Related Credit booklet of the Comptroller’s Handbook that was issued in September 2018. The revised booklet provides guidance for OCC examiners in connection with the examination and supervision of national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign banking organizations that provide small-dollar, unsecured credit products and services such as check credit, overdraft protection, and deposit advance products. The revised booklet includes, among other things, (i) updated guidance following the rescission of OCC Bulletin 2018-28, Deposit-Related Credit: Updated Comptroller’s Handbook Booklet Advance Products (previously covered by InfoBytes here); (ii) changes to OCC issuances, laws, and regulations made since the last booklet; (iii) information explaining the applicability of references to covered savings associations; and (iv) clarifying edits regarding supervisory guidance and sound risk management practices. An appendix containing a sample request letter is also included.
On March 6, the FDIC and the Federal Reserve Board issued a joint notice and request for comment on their proposal for updates to resolution plan guidance for certain large foreign banking organizations (FBOs). Pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, FBOs must submit resolution plans—also known as “living wills”—which detail the strategic plans for their U.S. operations and subsidiaries for rapid and orderly resolution in bankruptcy in the event that the banks fail or fall under material financial distress. Updates in the proposal focus on the FBO’s derivatives and trading activities and payment, clearing, and settlement activities and are informed by responses from FBOs to the prior 2018 FBO guidance and 2019 domestic guidance. In addition, the proposal contains an appendix of frequently asked questions with answers provided by agency staff. The agencies also seek comments “on objective, quantitative criteria to determine its applicability.” Comments must be received by May 5.
CFPB announces advisory opinion program, updates business conduct bulletin, proposes whistleblower award legislation
On March 6, the CFPB announced three new measures it is undertaking to prevent customer harm, including (i) implementing an advisory opinion program; (ii) updating its bulletin regarding responsible business conduct; and (iii) advancing whistleblower award legislation through engagement with Congress. Details of each measure are as follows:
- Advisory Opinion Program. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the Bureau issued three new innovation policies last September to reduce regulatory uncertainty and improve compliance. Similarly, the Bureau’s March 6 announcement states that the advisory opinion program should “provide clear guidance to assist companies in better understanding their legal and regulatory obligations.” The program directs that requests for advisory opinions should be submitted through the CFPB website. The opinions will then be published in the Federal Register and on its website.
- Responsible Business Conduct Bulletin. The amended bulletin, originally released in 2013, “clarif[ies] [the Bureau’s] approach to responsible business conduct” and emphasizes “the importance of such conduct.” The updated bulletin presents four categories of “responsible conduct” that entities are encouraged to adopt to improve the culture of compliance and that the CFPB will use to evaluate whether credit is warranted in an enforcement investigation or supervisory matter, including (i) self-assessment; (ii) self-reporting; (iii) remediation; and (iv) cooperation.
- Whistleblower Award Legislation. The proposed legislative language would amend Title X of the Dodd-Frank Act and authorize the Bureau to create a whistleblower award program. For individuals that volunteer information leading to a “successful enforcement action,” the program would enable the Bureau to provide a monetary award of between 10 to 30 percent of the collected penalty amount, up to $10 million.