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  • FTC Unveils Agenda for Upcoming FinTech Forum

    Federal Issues

    On October 17, the FTC released the agenda for its upcoming FinTech forum, which is the second in an ongoing event series. The FTC’s half day event will take place on October 26 in Washington, DC from 1:00 to 4:30 pm. The event will consist of panel discussions relating to (i) peer-to-peer payment systems, which allow consumers to exchange money electronically; and (ii) crowdfunding, which is the use of online platforms to fund a project or venture by raising money from a large number of people.

    Federal Issues Digital Commerce FTC Payments Fintech Marketplace Lending

  • FFIEC Releases FAQs on Cybersecurity Assessment Tool

    Federal Issues

    On October 17, the FFIEC published a Frequently Asked Questions guide related to the Cybersecurity Assessment Tool (Assessment) that was released in Summer 2015. Developed to assist financial institutions identify risks and to assess cybersecurity preparedness, use of the Assessment is voluntary. The FAQs guide explains that management may use the Assessment to determine an institution’s cybersecurity maturity level within five different domains: (i) Cybersecurity Risk Management and Oversight; (ii) Threat Intelligence and Collaboration; (iii) Cybersecurity Controls; (iv) External Dependency Management; and (v) Cyber Incident Management and Resilience. The FAQs guide clarifies that “the Assessment is not designed to identify an overall cybersecurity maturity level.” Regarding third-party oversight, FAQ number 10 explains that the Assessment may be used as a resource for management’s “oversight of third parties as part of the institution’s comprehensive third-party management program.” Additional topics addressed in the FAQs include, but are not limited to, the following: (i) how the Assessment aligns with the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework; (ii) whether an automated version of the Assessment will be released; (iii) the Assessment’s ability to determine an institution’s Inherent Risk Profile; and (iv) the expectations for Inherent Risk Profile levels to align with an institution’s Cybersecurity Maturity.

    Federal Issues FFIEC Bank Supervision NIST Risk Management Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security

  • CFPB Orders Credit Union to Pay $28.5 Million Over Debt Collection Practices

    Federal Issues

    On October 11, the CFPB issued a consent order to a Virginia-based federal credit union to resolve allegations that its debt collection activities were unfair and deceptive in violation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. According to the CFPB’s consent order, the credit union failed to implement adequate compliance controls and employee training on debt collection communications. The credit union’s actions involved employees who sent letters to “hundreds of thousands” of consumers containing various misrepresentations regarding the handling of consumer debt. The consent order alleged that these debt collection letters falsely threatened legal action, wage garnishment, and contacting servicemembers’ commanding officers for failure to remit payments. The consent order also noted that the same threats were made via telephone. The CFPB further contends that the credit union (i) sent approximately 68,000 letters misrepresenting the credit consequences of falling behind on a loan, alleging that members would “find it difficult, if not impossible, to obtain additional credit because of [their] present unsatisfactory credit rating” (internal quotations omitted); and (ii) restricted consumers’ electronic account access and electronic accounts services – without providing adequate notice – once their accounts became delinquent. Pursuant to the consent order, the credit union must (i) pay $23 million in consumer redress; (ii) pay a $5.5 million civil money penalty; and (iii) establish a comprehensive compliance plan regarding its policies and procedures on consumer debt collection communications and electronic account restrictions.

    Federal Issues Consumer Finance CFPB Dodd-Frank UDAAP Debt Collection

  • CFPB Releases Updated TRID Compliance Guide

    Federal Issues

    On October 12, the CFPB issued an updated version of its small entity compliance guide on the Know Before You Owe TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) Rule. The updated TRID compliance guide incorporates guidance from CFPB webinars on various topics, including (i) record retention; (ii) Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure requirements, including format and delivery; (iii) good faith standards and determinations; (iv) disclosures related to seller-paid costs; and (v) construction loans. The newly released TRID compliance guide replaces the CFPB’s July 2015 guide. The CFPB also issued a separate revised guide for completing the Loan Estimate and Disclosure forms.

    Federal Issues Mortgages Consumer Finance CFPB TILA RESPA TRID

  • CFPB Names John Coleman Deputy General Counsel for Litigation and Oversight

    Federal Issues

    On October 13, the CFPB announced various senior leadership changes. John Coleman will now serve as the CFPB’s Deputy General Counsel for Litigation and Oversight in the Legal Division. Coleman joined the CFPB in November 2010 and has since served as Assistant General Counsel for Litigation and as Senior Litigation Counsel. Additional leadership changes include Stacy Canan serving as Assistant Director for the Office for Older Americans, and Sonya White serving as Deputy General Counsel for General Law and Ethics in the Legal Division.

    Federal Issues Consumer Finance CFPB

  • Federal Reserve Board Member Recognizes Blockchain Technology's Potential; Warns of Associated Risks

    Federal Issues

    On October 7, at the Institute of International Finance Annual Meeting Panel on Blockchain, Federal Reserve Board member Lael Brainard delivered a speech titled “Distributed Ledger Technology: Implications for Payments, Clearing, and Settlement.” Brainard acknowledged blockchain technology as possibly the “most significant development in many years in payments, clearing, and settlement” and outlined its potential “to transform the way financial market participants transfer, store, and maintain ownership records of digitized assets.” Brainard highlighted payment technology changes as a particular regulatory focus and emphasized the Federal Reserve’s “responsibilities for promoting the safety and efficiency of the payments and settlements systems; supervising financial institutions engaged in payments, clearing and settlement; and safeguarding financial stability.” The following potential benefits of blockchain technology are among those discussed in Brainard’s speech: (i) faster processing and reduced costs in cross-border payments and trade finance; (ii) transparency, reduced costs, and faster settlements within securities markets; and (iii) cryptography as a secure way of transmitting and storing data. Brainard cautioned that, notwithstanding the technology’s promise, certain risks associated with financial technological developments and innovation remain, particularly in the areas of settlement, operations, cybersecurity, money laundering, and terrorist financing. Brainard concluded by highlighting the Federal Reserve’s commitment to industry engagement as blockchain technology evolves, noting that stakeholders “will work together to foster socially beneficial innovation, while insisting that risks are thoroughly understood, managed, and controlled.”

    Federal Issues Digital Assets Payment Systems Federal Reserve Payments Blockchain Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security Distributed Ledger

  • OFAC Publishes Fact Sheet and FAQ Related to Termination of Burma Sanctions Program; Updates SDN List

    Federal Issues

    On October 7, OFAC published a Fact Sheet and Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) number 481 regarding the implementation of the President’s Executive Order entitled “Termination of Emergency with Respect to the Actions and Policies of the Government of Burma.” OFAC’s fact sheet explains that all OFAC-administered restrictions and authorizations under the Burma sanctions program pertaining to banking with Burma, including 2012 and 2013 OFAC general licenses that authorized certain correspondent account activity with Burmese banks, are terminated pursuant to the Executive Order. FAQ 481 clarifies that “[p]ending OFAC enforcement matters will proceed irrespective of the termination of OFAC-administered sanctions on Burma, and OFAC will continue to review apparent violations of the [Burmese Sanctions Regulations], whether [such violations] came to the agency’s attention before or after the Burma sanctions program was terminated.” In connection with terminating the Burma-related sanctions program, OFAC made several deletions to its SDN List.

    Federal Issues Banking International Sanctions OFAC Obama

  • OFAC Publishes Fact Sheet and FAQ Related to Termination of Burma Sanctions Program; Updates SDN List

    Federal Issues

    On October 7, OFAC published a Fact Sheet and Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) number 481 regarding the implementation of the President’s Executive Order entitled “Termination of Emergency with Respect to the Actions and Policies of the Government of Burma.” OFAC’s fact sheet explains that all OFAC-administered restrictions and authorizations under the Burma sanctions program pertaining to banking with Burma, including 2012 and 2013 OFAC general licenses that authorized certain correspondent account activity with Burmese banks, are terminated pursuant to the Executive Order. FAQ 481 clarifies that “[p]ending OFAC enforcement matters will proceed irrespective of the termination of OFAC-administered sanctions on Burma, and OFAC will continue to review apparent violations of the [Burmese Sanctions Regulations], whether [such violations] came to the agency’s attention before or after the Burma sanctions program was terminated.” In connection with terminating the Burma-related sanctions program, OFAC made several deletions to its SDN List.

    Federal Issues Banking International Sanctions OFAC Obama

  • OFAC Updates Iran-Related FAQs

    Federal Issues

    On October 7, OFAC updated its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) relating to the Listing of Certain U.S. Sanctions under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In addition to adding three FAQs related to due diligence (see M.10 through M.12), OFAC amended two FAQs (C.7 and C.15) regarding Financial and Banking Measures and one FAQ (K.19) related to Foreign Entities Owned or Controlled by U.S. Persons. FAQ M.10 clarifies that while “[i]t is not necessarily sanctionable for a non-U.S. person to engage in transactions with an entity that is not on the SDN List but that is minority owned, or that is controlled in whole or in part, by an Iranian or Iran-related person on the SDN List,” it is recommended that persons engaging in such transactions exercise caution to ensure that they do not involve Iranian or Iran-related persons on the SDN List. FAQs M.11 and M.12, respectively, address (i) due diligence expectations related to the screening of potential Iranian counterparties; and (ii) the circumstances under which OFAC expects a non-U.S. financial institution to repeat the due diligence their customers have already performed on an Iranian customer.

    Federal Issues Banking International Sanctions OFAC

  • OFAC Updates Iran-Related FAQs

    Federal Issues

    On October 7, OFAC updated its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) relating to the Listing of Certain U.S. Sanctions under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In addition to adding three FAQs related to due diligence (see M.10 through M.12), OFAC amended two FAQs (C.7 and C.15) regarding Financial and Banking Measures and one FAQ (K.19) related to Foreign Entities Owned or Controlled by U.S. Persons. FAQ M.10 clarifies that while “[i]t is not necessarily sanctionable for a non-U.S. person to engage in transactions with an entity that is not on the SDN List but that is minority owned, or that is controlled in whole or in part, by an Iranian or Iran-related person on the SDN List,” it is recommended that persons engaging in such transactions exercise caution to ensure that they do not involve Iranian or Iran-related persons on the SDN List. FAQs M.11 and M.12, respectively, address (i) due diligence expectations related to the screening of potential Iranian counterparties; and (ii) the circumstances under which OFAC expects a non-U.S. financial institution to repeat the due diligence their customers have already performed on an Iranian customer.

    Federal Issues Banking International Sanctions OFAC

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