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On September 9, the OCC announced an updated version of its “Federal Branches and Agencies” booklet of the Comptroller’s Licensing Manual. According to Bulletin 2020-80, the revised booklet clarifies and updates the OCC’s policies and processes covering the establishment, operations, and other corporate activities of federally licensed offices of foreign banks, including (i) notice and application filing requirements; (ii) decision factors and criteria; and (iii) removal of internal licensing procedures.
On August 4, the FDIC published responses to exception requests pursuant to the Recordkeeping for Timely Deposit Insurance Determination rule (Rule). The notice outlines two time-limited exceptions for covered institutions effective as of July 28. The Rule, codified at 12 CFR Part 370 (and amended last year—covered by InfoBytes here), requires covered institutions to implement information technology systems and recordkeeping capabilities in order to calculate quickly the available amount of deposit insurance coverage for each deposit account in the event of failure. The FDIC allows covered institutions to request an exception from one or more of Part 370’s requirements should circumstances “make it impracticable or overly burdensome to meet those requirements.” Additionally, a covered institution may—upon notice to the FDIC—rely upon another covered institution’s FDIC-granted exception request, if the two institutions have substantially similar facts and circumstances.
The first exception grants an exception of up to 18 months from certain information technology and general recordkeeping requirements to allow covered institutions to perform system updates and remediation efforts to ensure certain sole proprietorship deposit accounts are correctly classified by an institution’s information technology system. The second exception grants an exception of up to 12 months from certain information technology and general recordkeeping requirements “for a limited number of joint accounts that a covered institution has not confirmed are ‘qualifying joint accounts’ entitled to separate deposit insurance coverage.”
California Department of Business Oversight will monitor licensees’ compliance with face covering guidance
The California Department of Business Oversight announced that it will monitor licensees’ compliance with face covering guidance issued by the California governor and the California Department of Public Health. All customers must be required to wear appropriate face coverings under circumstances outlined in the guidance, and those who refuse to comply and do not meet the outlined exemptions should be refused entry to banks, credit unions, and other places of business.
On July 7, the Kansas Office of the State Bank Commissioner again extended its remote work guidance for mortgage companies, mortgage loan originators, supervised loan licenses, credit service organizations, money transmitters, and credit notification registrations, previously covered here. With the update, working from home is permitted through September 15.
On July 1, the Federal Reserve Board and FDIC released a letter to address 2021 resolution plan submission requirements for the eight largest and most complex domestic banking organizations. The letter identifies targeted information required to be included in the 2021 resolution plans (due July 1, 2021), including certain core elements such as capital, liquidity, and recapitalization strategies, in addition to information on how each banking organization has integrated changes and lessons learned as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The agencies intend to use the banking organization’s response to the stress caused by the pandemic to inform their assessment of the banking organization’s resolution-related capabilities and infrastructure. According to the announcement, these will be the “first ‘targeted’ resolution plan[s]” following the agencies’ adoption of a final rule last year, which, among other things, amended the resolution planning requirements for large domestic and foreign firms with more than $100 billion in total consolidated assets (covered by InfoBytes here).
On June 2, the FDIC, the Federal Reserve Board, 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.
North Carolina Attorney General announces joint relief effort for North Carolinians facing Covid-19 financial hardship
On June 4, the North Carolina attorney general announced the Carolina Relief Plan, a voluntary agreement whereby participating financial institutions will offer certain financial relief to customers facing Covid-19 financial hardships. Relief includes, among other things, allowing eligible customers to request a forbearance on residential mortgage payments not otherwise covered by the CARES Act, assistance for payment extensions of auto loan accounts, and relief from monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees, and CD early withdrawal penalties. Under the agreement, any participating financial institution also must: (1) offer to place a moratorium on residential mortgage foreclosures and consumer auto repossessions through at least June 30, 2020; (2) refrain from reporting loans subject to Covid-19 accommodations; and (3) inform customers about the assistance they are being offered and of the heightened risk of scams. One financial institution has signed onto the relief plan as of the time of the announcement.
The New Hampshire Banking Department has issued guidance on the reopening of branches and other financial institution offices that were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Banks or credit unions planning to reopen branch offices or other offices are requested to provide notice to the in the manner specified in the guidance and must also ensure that customers and members are aware of any planned reopening. Banks and credit institutions are urged to consult Emergency Order 40 for guidance on precautions to protect the safety of the institutions’ staff and customers.
On May 21, the OCC released a list of recent enforcement actions taken against national banks, federal savings associations, and individuals currently and formerly affiliated with such entities. Included among the actions is an April 14 consent order to resolve the OCC’s claims that a California-based bank engaged in Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) compliance program violations. According to the consent order, an OCC examination identified deficiencies in the bank’s BSA/AML compliance program, including failure to implement a compliance program that “adequately covered the required BSA/AML program elements,” and failure to correct a previously identified BSA/AML compliance program problem. The consent order requires the bank to, among other things, (i) appoint a compliance committee of independent directors ; (ii) submit a written strategic plan to the OCC covering at least the next three years; (iii) ensure competent management and staff is in place to ensure compliance with the order, applicable laws, and rules and regulations; (iv) appoint a “permanent, qualified, and experienced BSA Officer”; (v) create and adopt a “written program of policies and procedures to provide for compliance with the BSA”; (vi) adopt a “written risk-based program of internal controls and processes to ensure compliance with the requirements to file SARs”; (vi) develop policies and procedures for performing customer due diligence; (vii) implement a program to manage BSA/AML and Office of Foreign Assets Control risk associated with processing wire transfers; and (viii) conduct a SAR “look-back” review, implement an independent BSA/AML audit program, and develop a comprehensive training program for bank employees.
On May 26, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced an interim final rule that would permit national banks and federal savings associations to hold all board of director, shareholder and member meetings telephonically or electronically, including after the Covid-19 emergency ends. The OCC also published optional model bylaws for mutual savings associations and federal savings associations to authorize and govern telephonic and electronic meetings. The interim final rule takes effect on May 28, and comments must be received by July 13, 2020.