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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

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  • CFPB announces 2021 HMDA-modified LAR availability

    Federal Issues

    On March 23, the CFPB announced that the HMDA modified loan/application register (LAR) is available on the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s HMDA Platform for approximately 4,316 HMDA filers. According to the announcement, the modified LARs provide each financial institution's loan-level HMDA data, as modified to protect applicant and borrower privacy in accordance with the CFPB’s final policy guidance on the disclosure of HMDA data. Additionally, the 2021 HMDA data will be available later this year in other forms to provide users insights into the data, which will include: (i) a nationwide loan-level dataset with all publicly available data for all HMDA reporters; (ii) aggregate and disclosure reports with summary information by geography and lender; and (iii) the HMDA Data Browser to allow users to customize datasets, reports, and data maps. Additionally, the FFIEC released an updated version of “A Guide To HMDA Reporting: Getting It Right!," which is designed to be an "easy-to-use summary of certain key requirements" of Regulation C.

    Federal Issues CFPB FFIEC HMDA Mortgages

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  • Agencies emphasize illegality of appraisal discrimination

    Federal Issues

    On February 4, CFPB Fair Lending Director Patrice Ficklin, along with senior staff from the Federal Reserve Board, OCC, FDIC, NCUA, HUD, FHFA, and DOJ, sent a joint letter to The Appraisal Foundation (TAF) emphasizing that discrimination prohibitions under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and ECOA extend to appraisals. The joint letter, sent in response to a request for comments on proposed changes to the 2023 Appraisal Standards Board Ethics Rule (Ethics Rule) and Advisory Opinion 16, noted that while provisions prohibit an appraiser from relying on “unsupported conclusions relating to characteristics such as race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, marital status, familial status, age, receipt of public assistance income, disability, or an unsupported conclusion that homogeneity of such characteristics is necessary to maximize value,’” the “provisions do not prohibit an appraiser from relying on ‘supported conclusions’ based on such characteristics and, therefore, suggest that such reliance may be permissible.” The letter noted that the federal ban on discrimination under the FHA and ECOA is not limited only to “unsupported” conclusions, and any discussions related to potential appraisal bias should be consistent with all applicable nondiscrimination laws. The joint letter encouraged TAF to present the nondiscrimination requirements as “an essential part of any guidance provided in the Ethics Rule or Advisory Opinion 16 to ensure compliance with fair housing and fair lending laws.”

    In a blog post, Ficklin noted that despite the fact that federal law prohibits racial, religious, and other discrimination in home appraisals, there are still reports of appraisers making “value judgments on biased, unfounded assumptions about borrowers and the neighborhoods in which they live.” Additionally, Ficklin noted that the Bureau is carefully reviewing findings presented in a report funded by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council's Appraisal Subcommittee, which raised serious concerns related to existing appraisal standards and provided recommendations with respect to fairness, equity, objectivity, and diversity in appraisals and the training and credentialing of appraisers.

    Federal Issues CFPB Appraisal Fair Lending Fair Housing Act ECOA Federal Reserve OCC FDIC NCUA HUD FHFA DOJ FFIEC Bank Regulatory

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  • FFIEC issues final update for Examination Modernization Project

    On January 21, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) issued a statement presenting the results of the final phase of its Examination Modernization Project. The project, which was initiated to identify and assess measures to improve the community bank safety and soundness examination process, sought feedback on examination processes from select supervised institutions and examiners. FFIEC released previous project updates, which focused on meaningful supervisory burden reduction and tailoring examination plans and procedures based on risk (covered by InfoBytes here). The final phase addressed feedback related to examination requests and authentication requirements for FFIEC members’ supervision systems. Identified best practices include that: (i) information requests should be risk-focused and relevant to an examination; (ii) supervised institutions should be allowed sufficient time to produce requested information; (iii) examiners should coordinate information requests among the exam team to avoid duplication and redundancy; (iv) requests should be made through an institution’s designated regulatory examination point-of-contact; and (v) requests should be clearly articulated in writing. With respect to feedback received related to authentication requirements, FFIEC noted that its Task Force on Supervision has approved a common authentication solution to allow member agencies and supervised institutions “to securely authenticate to supervision systems, while eliminating the need for multiple credentials to access regulator systems.”

    Bank Regulatory Federal Issues Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FFIEC Examination Community Banks Supervision

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  • FFIEC proposes amendments to temporary waiver proceedings

    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.

    Bank Regulatory Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FFIEC Appraisal FIRREA Temporary Waiver State Issues

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  • Agencies release 2020 CRA data

    On December 21, the three federal banking agency members of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) with Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) responsibility—the Federal Reserve Board, the FDIC, and the OCC—announced the release of the 2020 small business, small farm, and community development CRA data. The analysis contains information from 687 lenders about originations and purchases of small loans (loans with original amounts of $1 million or less) in 2020, a 1.2 percent decrease from the 695 lenders that reported data in 2019. According to the analysis, the total number of originated loans decreased by approximately 1.7 percent from 2019, with the dollar amount of originations increasing by roughly 7.9 percent. The analysis further noted that 621 banks reported community development lending activity totaling nearly $169 billion in 2020, a 52 percent increase from 2019.

    Bank Regulatory Federal Issues FDIC OCC Federal Reserve CRA FFIEC

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  • FFIEC updates BSA/AML examination manual

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On December 1, the Federal Financial Institutions Examinations Council (FFIEC) published updated versions of three sections and one new section of the Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) Examination Manual (Manual), which provides examiners with instructions for assessing a bank or credit union’s BSA/AML compliance program and adherence to BSA regulatory requirements. The new section is Introduction – Customers, and the revisions include the following updated sections: Charities and Nonprofit Organizations, Independent Automated Teller Machine Owners or Operators, and Politically Exposed Persons. The FFIEC noted that the “updates should not be interpreted as new instructions or as a new or increased focus on certain areas,” but rather are intended to “provide information and considerations related to certain customers that may indicate the need for bank policies, procedures, and processes to address potential money laundering, terrorist financing, and other illicit financial activity risks.” In addition, the Manual itself does not establish requirements for financial institutions, which are found in applicable statutes and regulations. (See also FDIC FIL-12-2021 and OCC Bulletin 2021-10.) As previously covered by InfoBytes, in June, the FFIEC updated the following sections of the Manual: International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments ReportingPurchase and Sale of Monetary Instruments RecordkeepingReports of Foreign Financial Accounts, and Special Measures.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FDIC Federal Reserve OCC FFIEC NCUA Bank Secrecy Act Anti-Money Laundering Of Interest to Non-US Persons Financial Crimes Bank Regulatory

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  • Agencies adopt standardized approach for counterparty credit risk Call Report

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On November 9, the FDIC, Federal Reserve Board, and the OCC announced the publication of final regulatory reporting changes in the Federal Register applicable to three versions of the Call Report (FFIEC 031, FFIEC 041, and FFIEC 051). In July, the agencies proposed to revise and extend the Call Report for three years, and requested public comments on proposed changes to clarify instructions for reporting of deferred tax assets (DTAs) and to add a new item related to the standardized approach for counterparty credit risk (SA–CCR). (See FIL-53-2021.) Following the comment period, the agencies are proceeding with the proposed SA-CCR-related reporting change to the Call Report, which will take effect with the December 31, 2021 report date, subject to approval by the Office of Management and Budget. However, proposed instruction revisions related to DTAs are not final as the agencies continue to consider comments received on the proposed rule on tax allocation agreements. (See FIL-29-2021.) Supervised financial institutions are encouraged to review the proposed regulatory change. Redline copies of the Call Report and related draft reporting instructions are available on the FFIEC’s webpage here.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FDIC Federal Reserve OCC Call Report OMB FFIEC Bank Regulatory

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  • FFIEC gives authentication and access guidance to financial institutions

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On August 11, the Federal Financial Institutions Examinations Council (FFIEC) published guidance, on behalf of its members, to provide financial institutions with examples of effective authentication and access risk management principles and practices for customers, employees, and third parties accessing digital banking services and financial institution information systems. Among other things, the guidance: (i) acknowledges significant risks associated with the cybersecurity threat landscape, which reinforces the need for financial institutions to effectively authenticate users and for customers to protect information systems, accounts, and data; (ii) provides examples of effective risk assessment practices, such as inventory of information systems and inventory of digital banking services and customers; and (iii) indicates that single-factor authentication with layered security is inadequate, therefore, multi-factor authentication or controls of equivalent strength with layered security may be more effective.

    The guidance replaces the FFIEC-issued Authentication in an Internet Banking Environment (2005) and the Supplement to Authentication in an Internet Banking Environment (2011).

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FFIEC Risk Management Fintech Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security

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  • OCC outlines EFTA remittance transfer examination procedures

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On August 2, the OCC issued Bulletin 2021-33, which outlines supplemental examination procedures on remittance transfers used by OCC examiners and rescinds certain related booklets and bulletins. The examination procedures supplement EFTA procedures issued by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council that were adopted by the OCC in 2019 and address several provisions for implementing Regulation E’s requirement to disclose the exact cost of remittance transfers. These include: (i) a safe harbor threshold increase, which “excludes certain banks from the requirements for a bank that provides remittance transfers for consumers in the normal course of the bank’s business,” and (ii) certain allowable exchange rate and third-party fee disclosure exceptions. The bulletin also provides a summary of the CFPB’s Regulation E amendments concerning remittance transfers that took effect July 2020 (covered by InfoBytes here).

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC EFTA Examination Remittance Transfer Rule FFIEC Regulation E Bank Regulatory

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  • FFIEC releases “Architecture, Infrastructure, and Operations” booklet

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On June 30, the Federal Financial Institutions Examinations Council (FFIEC) published the “Architecture, Infrastructure, and Operations” booklet of the FFIEC Information Technology Examination Handbook, which provides guidance to examiners on assessing the risk profile and adequacy of an entity’s information technology architecture, infrastructure, and operations (AIO). According to FDIC FIL-47-2021, the booklet, among other things: (i) describes the principles and practices that examiners should review in order to assess an entity’s AIO functions; (ii) focuses on “enterprise-wide, process-oriented approaches regarding the design of technology within the overall enterprise and business structure, implementation of information technology infrastructure components, and delivery of services and value for customers”; and (iii) mentions “assessing an entity’s governance of common AIO-related risks, enterprise-wide IT architectural planning and design, implementation of virtual and physical infrastructure, and on assessing an entity’s related operational controls.” In addition, according to an OCC announcement, the booklet discusses how appropriate governance of the AIO functions and related activities can: (i) promote risk identification across banks, nonbank financial institutions, bank holding companies, and third-party providers; (ii) support implementation of effective risk management; (iii) assist management through the regular assessment of an entity’s strategies; and (iv) promote alignment and integration between the functions. The booklet replaces the Operations booklet issued in July 2004.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC FDIC CFPB FFIEC Risk Management Bank Regulatory

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