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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

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  • Agencies again defer action against foreign funds under Volcker Rule

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On July 17, the FDIC, the Federal Reserve Board, and the OCC (collectively, the “agencies”) announced that they will not take action against foreign banks for qualifying foreign excluded funds, subject to certain conditions, under the Volcker Rule for an additional two years. The announcement notes that the agencies consulted with the SEC and the CFTC on the decision. Since 2017, the agencies have deferred action on qualifying foreign funds that might be covered under the Volcker Rule (covered by InfoBytes here and here). In a joint statement, the agencies note that they have not finalized revisions to regulations implementing Section 13 of the Bank Holding Company Act, and in order to “provide interested parties greater certainty about the treatment of qualifying foreign excluded funds in the near term,” the agencies are proposing not to take action through July 21, 2021.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Volcker Rule FDIC Bank Compliance Of Interest to Non-US Persons Federal Reserve SEC CFTC

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  • Agencies adopt final rules excluding community banks from the Volcker Rule; simplify regulatory capital rules

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On July 9, the Federal Reserve Board (Fed), CFTC, FDIC, OCC, and SEC adopted a final rule implementing sections of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act to grant an exclusion for community banks from the Volcker Rule, which generally restricts banking entities from engaging in proprietary trading and from owning, sponsoring, or having certain relationships with hedge funds or private equity funds. Qualifying financial institutions must have fewer than $10 billion in total consolidated assets and total trading assets, as well as liabilities that are equal to or less than five percent of their total consolidated assets. The rule also permits, under certain circumstances, a hedge fund or private equity fund organized and offered by a banking entity to share a name with a banking entity that is its investment advisor that is not an insured bank or bank holding company. The rule will take effect upon publication in the Federal Register.

    The same day, the Fed, FDIC, and OCC also finalized a rule “intended to simplify and clarify a number of the more complex aspects of the agencies’ existing regulatory capital rules” for banks with less than $250 billion in total consolidated assets and less than $10 billion in total foreign exposure. Among other changes, the rule alters the capital treatment for mortgage servicing assets, certain deferred tax assets, as well as investments in the capital instruments of unconsolidated financial institutions. The final rule will be effective as of April 1, 2020, for the amendments to simplify capital rules, and as of October 1, 2019 for revisions to the pre-approval requirements for the redemption of common stock and other technical amendments.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Reserve CFTC FDIC OCC SEC Compliance Volcker Rule EGRRCPA

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  • Federal Reserve releases Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review results

    Federal Issues

    On June 27, the Federal Reserve (Fed) released the results of the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR) conducted for 18 banking firms. The Fed considers quantitative and qualitative factors in its evaluation, including projected capital ratios under hypothetical severe economic conditions and the strength of the firm’s capital planning process, including its risk management, internal controls, and governance practices. The Fed did not object to the capital plans of any of the 18 firms, but did require one to address “limited weaknesses” the test identified. The Fed noted that, “On balance, virtually all firms are now meeting the Federal Reserve's capital planning expectations, which is an improvement from last year's assessment. The firms in the test have significantly increased their capital since the first round of stress tests in 2009.”

    Federal Issues Federal Reserve CCAR Stress Test

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  • CFPB and Fed issue final amendments to Regulation CC

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On June 24, the CFPB and the Federal Reserve Board (Fed) announced a final rule amending Regulation CC to adjust dollar amounts cited in the rule for inflation. The Dodd-Frank Act requires that the dollar amounts be adjusted for inflation every five years by the annual percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). The agencies selected July as the CPI-W month and will use July 2011 to July 2018 as the initial inflation measurement period. If there is no aggregate percentage increase in the CPI-W or it is negative, the dollar amounts will not be adjusted. The final rule also implements certain measures of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act , including extending coverage of the Expedited Funds Availability Act to American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam.

    The compliance date for the adjustment amounts is July 1, 2020. Other amendments are effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

     

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB Federal Reserve Regulation CC

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  • Fed stress tests conclude largest banks can absorb economic shock

    Federal Issues

    On June 21, the Federal Reserve Board released the results of its supervisory Dodd-Frank Act bank stress tests conducted on 18 financial institutions, which collectively hold 70 percent of bank assets in the U.S. Under the most severe scenario tested by the Fed, consisting of a severe global recession— “with the U.S. unemployment rate rising by more than 6 percentage points to 10 percent, accompanied by a large decline in real estate prices and elevated stress in corporate loan markets”— the Fed projected losses at the 18 institutions would total $410 billion and the aggregate common equity tier 1 capital ratio would fall from an actual 12.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018 to 9.2 percent. Vice Chairman, Randal K. Quarles, noted that “[t]he results confirm that our financial system remains resilient,” and “the nation’s largest banks are significantly stronger before the crisis and would be well-positioned to support the economy after a secure shock.”

    Federal Issues Stress Test Dodd-Frank Federal Reserve EGRRCPA

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  • Agencies release 2019 list of distressed, underserved communities

    Federal Issues

    On June 17, the OCC, together with the Federal Reserve and the FDIC, released the 2019 list of distressed or underserved communities where revitalization or stabilization efforts by financial institutions are eligible for Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) consideration. According to the joint release from the agencies, the list of distressed nonmetropolitan middle-income geographies and underserved nonmetropolitan middle-income geographies are designated by the agencies pursuant to their CRA regulations and reflect local economic conditions, including changes in unemployment, poverty, and population. For any geographies that were designated by the agencies in 2018 but not in 2019, the agencies apply a one-year lag period, so such geographies remain eligible for CRA consideration for another 12 months.

    Similar announcements from the Federal Reserve and the FDIC are available here and here.

    Federal Issues OCC FDIC Federal Reserve CRA

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  • Agencies finalize streamlined small-institution reporting

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On June 17, the FDIC, the OCC, and Federal Reserve issued the final rule to streamline regulatory reporting for qualifying small institutions to implement Section 205 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. The agencies adopted the final rule as proposed in November 2018 (covered by InfoBytes here). The final rule permits depository institutions with less than $5 billion in assets—previously set at $1 billion—that do not engage in certain complex or international activities to file the FFIEC 051 Call Report, the most streamlined version of the Call Reports. Additionally, the rule reduces the existing reportable data items in the FFIEC 051 Call Report by approximately 37 percent for the first and third calendar quarters. The rule also includes similar provisions for uninsured institutions with less than $5 billion in total consolidated assets that are supervised by the Federal Reserve and the OCC. The rule notes that the agencies are also committed to “exploring further burden reduction and are actively evaluating further revisions to the FFIEC 051 Call Report, consistent with guiding principles developed by the FFIEC.” The rule will take effect 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC FDIC Federal Register Federal Reserve Call Report EGRRCPA

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  • Fed tailors state member bank exams to risk

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On June 3, the Federal Reserve Board issued supervisory letter SR 19-9 to provide guidance on its enhanced process for determining the scope of safety-and-soundness examinations of community and regional state member banks (SMB). Under the “Bank Exams Tailored to Risk” (BETR) process, the Fed intends to “gauge the risk of a bank’s various activities [and] facilitate[] a more data-driven approach to the risk tailoring of supervisory work.” A SMB’s level of risk within individual risk dimensions—such as credit, liquidity, and operational risk—will be derived from a combination of surveillance metrics and examiner judgment.

    Among other things, BETR’s objectives are to (i) apply appropriately streamlined examination work programs to identified low-risk activities, in order to conserve supervisory staff resources and minimize regulatory burden; (ii) direct enhanced supervisory resources and attention to identified high-risk activities; and (iii) implement average intensity examination work programs to moderate-risk activities. Examiners are to tailor examination procedures to the size, complexity, and risk profile of an SMB, with examiners focusing on “developing an appropriate assessment of bank management’s ability to identify, measure, monitor, and control risk.”

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Reserve Supervision Examination Risk Management

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  • Federal agencies release host state loan-to-deposit ratios

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On May 28, the Federal Reserve Board, the FDIC, and the OCC released the current host state loan-to-deposit ratios for each state or U.S. territory, which the agencies use to determine compliance with Section 109 of the Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act of 1994. Under the Act, banks are prohibited from establishing or acquiring branches outside of their home state for the primary purpose of deposit production. Branches of banks controlled by out-of-state bank holding companies are also subject to the same restriction. Determining compliance with Section 109 requires a comparison of a bank’s estimated statewide loan-to-deposit ratio to the yearly host state loan-to-deposit ratios. If a bank’s statewide ratio is less than one-half of the yearly published host state ratio, an additional review is required by the appropriate agency, which involves a determination of whether a bank is reasonably helping to meet the credit needs of the communities served by the bank’s interstate branches.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC Federal Reserve FDIC Bank Compliance

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  • Federal Reserve issues enforcement actions for flood insurance, BSA/AML violations

    Federal Issues

    On May 16, the Federal Reserve Board (Board) announced an enforcement action against a Nebraska-based bank for allegedly violating the National Flood Insurance Act (NFIA) and Regulation H, which implements the NFIA. The consent order assesses a $69,000 penalty against the bank, but does not specify the number or the precise nature of the alleged violations. The maximum civil money penalty for a pattern or practice of violations under the NFIA is $2,000 per violation.

    The same day, the Board issued an order of prohibition against a former employee and institution-affiliated party of an Illinois-based bank for allegedly engaging in unsafe and unsound lending practices, including engaging in improper lending practices and failing to implement adequate Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering controls and training. The terms of the order prohibit the individual from, among other things, “participating in any manner in the conduct of the affairs of any financial institution or organization specified in section 8(e)(9)(A) of the [Federal Deposit Insurance Act],” or “voting for a director, or serving or acting as an institution-affiliated party.”

    Federal Issues Federal Reserve Enforcement Flood Insurance National Flood Insurance Act Bank Secrecy Act Anti-Money Laundering

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