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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

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  • CFPB seeks comment on mobile-device disclosures

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On August 11, the CFPB issued a notice and request in the Federal Register for comments on a Generic Information Collection titled, “Electronic Disclosure on Mobile Devices.” According to the notice, the CFPB is planning “to conduct several studies using methodologies rooted in psychology and behavioral economics to understand electronic disclosure on mobile devices.” Through these studies, the CFPB intends to collect information about demographics, reading electronic disclosures, and how consumers engage with their finances on different devices. Comments are due by September 10.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB Disclosures Federal Register

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  • OCC updates CRA, FHA, and ECOA notices

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On August 5, the OCC issued Bulletin 2021-35, which informs national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign banking organizations (collectively, banks) of the names and addresses for notices required by the CRA, ECOA, and for posters under the Fair Housing Act. Banks are required to make the appropriate changes to their notices and posters, as necessary, within 90 days of August 5.

    This bulletin rescinds OCC Bulletin 2011-41, “Community Reinvestment Act Notices, Fair Housing Act Posters, Equal Credit Opportunity Act Notices: Guidance.”

     

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC ECOA CRA Fair Housing Act

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  • FCC takes action against robocalls

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On August 5, the FCC announced a “fair and consistent” process for reviewing actions regarding a voice service provider’s ability to comply with the FCC’s anti-spoofing caller ID authentication rules. FCC rules require broad implementation of the STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication framework on voice service providers’ IP networks. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the STIR/SHAKEN framework addresses, among other things, “unlawful spoofing by confirming that a call actually comes from the number indicated in the Caller ID, or at least that the call entered the US network through a particular voice service provider or gateway.” Since June 30, all major phone companies are using the STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication framework in their IP networks (covered by InfoBytes here). To combat illegal spoofing, the STIR/SHAKEN standards are considered a common digital language utilized by phone networks, which facilitates valid information to be passed from provider to provider. The standards also allow most caller ID information to be verified for providers and third-party consumer protection services to use that information to inform call blocking or warning services to protect customers. According to the FCC, “[t]he widespread implementation of STIR/SHAKEN is a major step forward in the FCC’s fight against malicious spoofing and scam robocalls.”

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FCC Robocalls Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security Consumer Protection

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  • President Biden extends student loan moratorium

    Federal Issues

    On August 6, President Biden announced the final extension of the moratorium on collecting student loans until January 31, 2022, which will “give the Department of Education and borrowers more time and more certainty as they prepare to restart student loan payments,” and will “ensure a smoother transition that minimizes loan defaults and delinquencies that hurt families and undermine our economic recovery.” In a statement issued by the Department of Education, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona stated that it is the “Department’s priority to support students and borrowers during this transition and ensure they have the resources they need to access affordable, high quality higher education.” The moratorium was scheduled to expire on September 30.

    Federal Issues Biden Student Lending Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Covid-19

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  • CFPB releases Juneteenth timing guidance rule

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On August 5, the CFPB clarified that it will not penalize mortgage lenders that did not adjust some time-sensitive borrower protections for Juneteenth, noting that the quick enactment of the law designating the holiday left the industry “unsure of how to treat the day for purposes of regulatory compliance.”

    The CFPB released an interpretive rule to provide guidance on the impact of the new Juneteenth federal holiday on Regulation Z timing requirements related to the provision of the TRID Closing Disclosure at least three “business days” prior to closing and a consumer’s right to rescind a transaction until midnight on the third “business day” following settlement.

    On the afternoon of June 17, President Biden signed a bill establishing June 19, Juneteenth, as a federal holiday. The bill amends 5 U.S.C. § 6103(a) which codifies legal public holidays. Because June 19 fell on a Saturday this year, the holiday was observed on Friday, June 18. 

    The timing requirements for purposes of delivering the Closing Disclosure prior to closing and for establishing a consumer’s rescission period are measured in “specific business days” defined as “all calendar days except Sundays and legal public holidays” as specified in 5 U.S.C. § 6103(a). Thus, for some transactions, Saturday June 19 counted as a business day when Closing Disclosures were issued or the rescission period began, but no longer counted as a business day at the end of the relevant time period. In its interpretive rule, the Bureau states that it interprets the definition of “specific business day” to mean the “the version of the definition in effect when the relevant time period begins.” Accordingly, for the 2021 Juneteenth holiday and the affected timing requirements, if the relevant time period began on or before June 17, 2021, then June 19, 2021 is a business day. If the relevant time period began after June 17, 2021, then June 19, 2021 is counted as a federal holiday and not a business day for purposes of the specific business day definition. 

    As such, it appears that the Bureau will not penalize mortgage lenders for not adding an additional day to the applicable waiting periods to the extent that the waiting periods began on or before the day President Biden established Juneteenth as a federal holiday, while also noting the obvious that nothing prohibits creditors from providing longer wait periods. As an interpretive rule to advise the public prospectively how an agency proposes to exercise a discretionary power, the Bureau’s guidance is exempt from the notice and comment provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB Mortgage Servicing Consumer Finance Regulation X Regulation Z

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  • CFPB updates mortgage servicing small entity compliance guide

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On August 4, the CFPB updated the mortgage servicing Small Entity Compliance Guide to include guidance on the 2021 Mortgage Servicing COVID-19 Final Rule and the 2020 Mortgage Servicing COVID-19 Interim Final Rule. In June, the Bureau finalized amendments to certain federal mortgage servicing regulations, which added provisions applicable to borrowers as federal foreclosure protections ended. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the CFPB previously released new FAQs regarding the Mortgage Servicing Rule and Regulation X and Regulation Z relating to escrow account guidance and analysis. The guide clarifies the servicing file requirements under the existing mortgage servicing rules and provides guidance regarding compliant use of multiple electronic systems. The guide also reflects updates made to the final rule regarding, among other things: (i) loss mitigation foreclosure protections; (ii) loss mitigation incomplete application requirements; (iii) and early intervention live contact. The final rule provisions addressed in the guide are temporary and phase out over time. Miscellaneous administrative changes have been made throughout the guide, as well.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB Mortgage Servicing Consumer Finance Regulation X Regulation Z

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  • OCC issues bulletin to community banks on SBA lending activities

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On August 5, the OCC issued Bulletin 2021-34 to inform banks and examiners on risk management principles consistent with safe and sound banking practices when engaging in SBA guaranteed lending programs. According to the OCC, “[a] bank’s SBA lending activities, including purchasing investments backed by SBA-guaranteed loans, should be consistent with the bank’s overall business plans, strategies, risk appetite, and sound risk management.” The bulletin notes that primary risk areas associated with SBA lending activities are credit, operational, compliance, liquidity, price, and strategic risks. The bulletin also highlights sound risk management principles, such as strategic planning, policies and processes, personnel, and control systems, and highlights that the bank’s board “should have satisfactory knowledge of and engage in sound oversight of SBA lending.”

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC Small Business Lending SBA

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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

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  • CFPB confirms final debt collection rules still set to take effect November 30

    Federal Issues

    On July 30, the CFPB officially announced that the agency’s two final debt collection rules, which implement the FDCPA, will take effect as scheduled on November 30. Earlier in April, the Bureau proposed delaying the effective date by 60 days to provide affected parties additional time to comply due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic (covered by InfoBytes here). However, the Bureau determined that an extension is unnecessary and will publish a formal notice in the Federal Register withdrawing the April notice of proposed rulemaking. According to the Bureau, “public comments generally did not support an extension. Most industry commenters stated that they would be prepared to comply with the final rules by November 30, 2021.” The Bureau pointed out that while “consumer advocate commenters generally supported extending the effective date, they did not focus on whether additional time is needed to implement the rules.” Rather, the “alternative basis for an extension that many commenters urged, a reconsideration of the rules, was beyond the scope of the NPRM and could raise concerns under the Administrative Procedure Act,” the Bureau stated, adding that the decision does not preclude the Bureau from reconsidering the debt collection rules at a later date.

    As previously covered by InfoBytes, the first debt collection rule, issued in October 2020, addressed debt collection communications and prohibitions on harassment or abuse, false or misleading representations, and unfair practices. The second debt collection rule, issued in December 2020, clarified the information debt collectors must provide to consumers at the outset of collection communications and provided a model validation notice containing such information (covered by InfoBytes here).

    Federal Issues CFPB Debt Collection Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FDCPA

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  • Agencies clarify LIBOR transition on regulatory capital instruments

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On July 29, the FDIC, Federal Reserve Board, and OCC (see FDIC FIL-54-2021, Fed SR 21-12, and OCC Bulletin 2021-32) provided answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the impact on regulatory capital instruments under 12 CFR 324 when transitioning from LIBOR to another reference rate. Among other things, the agencies clarified that “such a transition would not change the capital treatment of the instrument, provided the alternative rate is economically equivalent with the LIBOR-based rate.” Specifically, the FAQs clarify that the agencies do “not consider the replacement or amendment of a capital instrument that solely replaces a reference rate linked to LIBOR with another reference rate or rate structure to constitute an issuance of a new capital instrument for purposes of the capital rule.” Additionally, such a replacement or amendment would not create an incentive to redeem, provided “there are no substantial differences from the original instrument from an economic perspective.” Supervised financial institutions should conduct an appropriate analysis demonstrating that the replacement or amended instrument is not substantially different from the original instrument from an economic perspective and may be asked to provide the analysis to the agencies. “Considerations for determining that a replacement or amended capital instrument is not substantially different from the original instrument from an economic perspective could include, but are not limited to, whether the replacement or amended instrument has amended terms beyond those relevant to implementing the new reference rate or rate structure,” the FAQs state. 

    Find continuing InfoBytes coverage on LIBOR here.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FDIC LIBOR

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