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On June 14, the CFPB issued a request for information (RFI) seeking public comments “related to relationship banking and how consumers can assert the right to obtain timely responses to requests for information about their accounts from banks and credit unions with more than $10 billion in assets, as well as from their affiliates.” Section 1034(c) of the CFPA gives consumers the right to access information, including supporting written documentation, in a timely manner about their accounts from these large financial institutions. The Bureau noted in its announcement that to date, the agency “has not enforced or issued additional policy guidance under this legal provision.”
The Bureau pointed out that many large financial institutions are shifting toward algorithmic banking and moving away from relationship banking. As a result of this decline, some consumers are unable to receive customized advice, basic information, or have their problems addressed in a timely fashion, the Bureau said. The RFI seeks input on, among other things, (i) the types of information requested by consumers, how they are using this information, and what information they are unable to obtain from their banks; (ii) differences in accessing information when consumers visit in person, call, or access information online; (iii) customer service representative compensation and incentives; (iv) customer service obstacles that may adversely impact consumers’ ability to bank; (v) obstacles consumers face that adversely affect their ability to bank; (vi) unique obstacles facing immigrants, rural communities, and older consumers; (vii) call center practices; and (viii) changes in customer engagement due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition to examining consumers’ relationships with their depository institutions, CFPB Director Rohit Chopra stated that the Bureau intends to closely examine methods to improve the bank merger process to ensure mergers are meeting the convenience and needs of communities.
Comments on the RFI are due 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.
On June 8, the CFTC published a request for information (RFI) in the Federal Register seeking public responses on climate-related financial risks related to the derivatives markets and underlying commodities markets. Among other things, the Commission is seeking input on the types of data that could help the CFTC evaluate climate-related financial risk exposures, scenario analysis and stress testing, risk management, disclosures, product innovation, digital assets, financially vulnerable communities, mechanisms for public-private partnerships/engagement, and coordination with other regulatory bodies. The CFTC emphasized that the responses “will help to inform the Commission’s next steps in furtherance of its purpose to, among other things, promote responsible innovation, ensure the financial integrity of all transactions subject to the Commodity Exchange Act, and avoid systemic risk.” Additionally, the Commission noted that it “may use this information to inform potential future actions including, but not limited to, issuing new or amended guidance, interpretations, policy statements, regulations or other potential commission action within its authority under the Commodity Exchange Act, as well as its participation in any domestic or international fora.”
Comments on the RFI are due August 8.
On June 6, the Federal Reserve Board published a notice in the Federal Register regarding Regulation XX (Concentration Limit) to announce that the Fed will publish the aggregate financial sector liabilities by July 1 of each year. Regulation XX generally “prohibits a merger or acquisition that would result in a financial company that controls more than 10 percent of the aggregate consolidated liabilities of all financial companies (‘aggregate financial sector liabilities’).” The Fed explained in the notice that aggregate financial sector liabilities are “equal to the average of the year-end financial sector liabilities figure (as of December 31) of each of the preceding two calendar years.”
On June 3, the SEC announced a final rule requiring certain forms to be filed or submitted electronically. The final rule also amends forms to require structured data reporting and remove outdated references. According to the SEC, the final rule is “intended to promote efficiency, transparency, and operational resiliency by modernizing how information is filed or submitted to the Commission and disclosed to the public.” The SEC also noted that electronic filings will be more accessible and available on the SEC website in searchable formats. The public comment period will be open for 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. The SEC released a Fact Sheet providing information on the amendments to electronic filing requirements. According to a statement released by SEC Chair Gary Gensler, the final rule “will modernize and increase the efficiency of the filing process—for filers, investors, and the SEC.”
On June 1, the FHFA announced a final rule requiring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs) to submit annual capital plans and provide prior notice for certain capital actions “consistent with the regulatory framework for capital planning for large bank holding companies.” As previously covered by InfoBytes, in December 2021, FHFA issued the noticed of proposed rulemaking. These capital plans must include several mandatory elements, including (i) “[a]n assessment of the expected sources and uses of capital over the planning horizon that reflects the [GSE]’s size, complexity, risk profile and scope of operations, assuming both expected and stressful conditions”; (ii) “[e]stimates of projected revenues, expenses, losses, reserves and pro forma capital levels,” along with any additional capital measures the GSEs deem relevant; (iii) “[a] description of all planned capital actions over the planning horizon”; (iv) a discussion of stress test results and how the capital plans will account for these results; and (v) a discussion of any anticipated changes to a GSE’s business plan that may likely have a material impact on the GSE’s capital adequacy or liquidity. The final rule noted that the FHFA intends to review the capital plans for comprehensiveness, reasonableness, and relevant supervisory information, and plans to review the GSE’s regulatory and financial reports, as well as the results of any conducted stress tests and any other information required by FHFA or related to the GSE’s capital adequacy. Should the GSEs determine that there has been or will be a material change to their risk profile, financial condition, or corporate structure since the submission of the last plan (or if directed by FHFA), they must resubmit their capital plans within 30 days. The final rule also incorporates the determination of the stress capital buffer into the capital planning process, which will be provided to the GSEs by August 15 of each year, along with an explanation of the results of the supervisory stress test. The final rule is effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Under the final rule, each GSE will submit its first capital plan by May 20, 2023.
On April 18, HUD issued Mortgagee Letter 2022-07, which establishes a 40-year loan modification as part of the Covid-19 Recovery Loss Mitigation Options. According to HUD, the new option is “designed to help those borrowers who cannot achieve a minimum targeted 25 percent reduction in the Principal and Interest portion of their mortgage payment through FHA’s existing 30-year mortgage modification with a partial claim.” Mortgage servicers may start implementing the new 40-year modification with partial claim option immediately; however, servicers must offer this solution to eligible borrowers with FHA-insured Title II forward mortgages, except those funded through Mortgage Revenue Bonds under certain circumstances, within 90 calendar days. As previously covered by InfoBytes, HUD published a proposed rule to increase the maximum term limit allowable on loan modifications for FHA-insured mortgages from 360 to 480 months. Comments are due by May 31.
On April 13, the FDIC, OCC, Federal Reserve Board, and NCUA (collectively, “agencies”) announced they are issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to modernize the agencies’ Uniform Rules of Practice and Procedure (Uniform Rules) applicable to formal administrative enforcement proceedings for insured depository institutions. As previously covered by InfoBytes, in March, the agencies issued an interagency proposal to update policies and procedures governing administrative proceedings for supervised financial institutions, which accounted for the routine use of electronic presentations in hearings and for use of technology in administrative proceedings, among other things. The proposed rule would recognize the use of electronic communications and technology in all aspects of administrative hearings to increase the accuracy and fairness of administrative adjudications. Among other things, the NPRM would (i) allow electronic signatures and filings; (ii) permit depositions to be held by remote means; (iii) modernize language and definitions; and (iv) extend certain filing time limits. Amended provisions also address additional topics including the authority of administrative law judges, adjudicatory proceedings, good faith certifications, ex parte communications, conflicts of interest, and expenses. The agencies also propose to modify their specific Local Rules of administrative practice and procedure applicable to enforcement actions brought by each agency. The OCC has already proposed to amend its rules on organization and functions to address service of process and to integrate its Uniform Rules and Local Rules so that a single set of rules applies to both national banks and federal savings associations Comments on both the interagency rulemaking and the OCC’s rulemaking are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.
On April 7, the CFPB released a proposed rule and solicited comments on regulations implementing amendments to the FCRA intended to assist victims of trafficking. The proposed rule would establish a method for a trafficking victim to submit documentation to consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) establishing that they are a survivor of trafficking, and would require CRAs to block adverse information in consumer reports after receiving such documentation. The proposed rules would amend Regulation V to implement changes to FCRA enacted in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022, also referred to as the “Debt Bondage Repair Act,” which was signed into law in December 2021. (Covered by InfoBytes here). Under the law, CRAs are prohibited “from providing consumer reports that contain any negative item of information about a survivor of trafficking from any period the survivor was being trafficked.” In announcing the proposal, the CFPB noted that “Congress required the CFPB to utilize its rulemaking authorities to implement the Debt Bondage Repair Act through rule changes to Regulation V, which ensures consumers’ credit information is fairly reported by CRAs.” According to the CFPB, the proposal “would protect survivors of human trafficking by preventing CRAs from including negative information resulting from abuse.” Comments are due 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.
On April 1, HUD published a proposed rule in the Federal Register to increase the maximum term limit allowable on loan modifications for FHA-insured mortgages from 360 to 480 months. According to the proposed rule, the update would allow mortgagees to provide a 40-year loan modification option to borrowers who may not qualify for loss mitigation options and is intended to help borrowers experiencing a financial hardship, including those impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, obtain affordable monthly payments. The proposed rule noted that “[i]ncreasing the maximum term limit to 480 months would allow mortgagees to further reduce the borrower’s monthly payment as the outstanding balance would be spread over a longer time frame, providing more borrowers with FHA-insured mortgages the ability to retain their homes after default.” Additionally, the proposal would align FHA with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, “which both currently provide a 40-year loan modification option.” Comments are due by May 31.
On March 28, the SEC announced two proposed rules, which would require market participants, such as proprietary (or principal) trading firms, who assume certain dealer functions, in particular those who as act as liquidity providers in the markets, to register with the SEC, to become members of a self-regulatory organization (SRO), and comply with federal securities laws and regulatory obligations. According to the SEC, the rules would establish that a market participant engaging in the activities described in the rules is a “dealer” or “government securities dealer” and, absent an exception or exemption, is required to: (i) register with the Commission under Section 15(a) or Section 15C, as applicable; (ii) become a member of an SRO; and (iii) comply with federal securities laws and regulatory obligations, including as applicable, SEC, SRO, and Treasury rules and requirements. A footnote in the proposal indicates that its new rules would apply to any digital asset that is regarded as a security or a government security within existing laws. The SEC also released a Fact Sheet regarding the proposals, which provides information on why the proposal matters and how it applies. Comments are due 60 days after publication of the proposing release on the SEC’s website or 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, whichever period is longer. SEC Chair Gary Gensler released a statement stating he believes that the proposed rules “reflect Congress’s statutory intent that firms engaging in important liquidity-providing roles in the securities markets, including in the U.S. Treasury market, be registered with the Commission.”