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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

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  • Georgia proposes temporary authority for MLOs

    On November 18, the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance issued a notice of proposed rulemaking, which would require several state specific requirements for mortgage loan originators (MLO) seeking to utilize temporary authority (Temporary Authority) in the state of Georgia pursuant to Section 106 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act—which is set to take effect November 24. Specifically, the proposed rule outlines the following additional requirements:

    • Disclosure requirements. Mortgage companies are required to provide additional written disclosures to consumers showing that the MLO is not licensed and may ultimately not be granted a license. This written disclosure shall be “made no later than the date the consumer signs an application or any disclosure, whichever event occurs first,” and must be maintained by the company. Additionally, the disclosure must state that the Department “may take administrative action against the [MLO] that may prevent such individual from acting as a [MLO]” before a loan is closed. The language in the rule must appear on the loan documentation in 10-point bold-face type.
    • Education requirements. Any MLO who qualifies to utilize Temporary Authority must submit proof to the Department that they have enrolled in a class to satisfy education requirements and have registered to take the national MLO test. Both notifications must be submitted within 30 days of the MLO’s application submission.
    • Advertising requirements. All advertisements must “clearly and conspicuously” indicate that MLOs operating under Temporary Authority are currently unlicensed and have pending applications with the Department. Moreover, the advertisement must state that the “Department may grant or deny the license application.”
    • Transaction journal requirements. Mortgage companies must maintain a journal of mortgage loan transactions that clearly identifies when any MLO utilizes Temporary Authority at any point in the application or loan process. The transaction journal should also notate the outcome of the MLO’s license application as either “approved, withdrawn, or denied.”
    • Signature requirements. Any MLO operating under temporary authority must indicate “TAO,” (temporary authority to operate) or use a substantially similar designation next to any signature on a loan document, including those that relate to the negotiation of terms or the offering of a loan.
    • Administrative fines. Mortgage companies who employ a person who does not satisfy the federal Temporary Authority requirements but engages in licensable MLO activities under Georgia law will be subject to a fine of $1,000 per occurrence and the mortgage companies’ license shall be subject to suspension or revocation.

    Comments on the proposed rule must be received by December 18.

    Visit here for additional guidance on MLO temporary authority from APPROVED.

    Licensing State Regulators Mortgage Origination MLO State Issues EGRRCPA

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  • CFPB says some organizations won’t need to comply with screening and training requirements for temporary MLOs

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On November 15, the CFPB issued an interpretive rule, which clarifies the screening and training requirements for mortgage loan originators (MLOs) with temporary authority under Regulation Z. As previously covered by InfoBytes, Section 106 of Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act amends the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 (SAFE Act) to establish temporary authority, providing a way for eligible MLOs who have applied for a new state loan originator license to act as a loan originator in the application state while the state considers the application. Regulation Z currently requires organizations to perform criminal screenings (including whether the applicant has been convicted of enumerated felonies within specified timeframes) and training requirements before permitting the individual to originate loans. According to the Bureau, Regulation Z is “ambiguous” as to whether these requirements would apply to MLOs with temporary authority and therefore, the interpretive rule clarifies that an organization is not required to conduct the criminal screening or ensure the training of any MLOs with temporary authority under the SAFE Act.

    The interpretive rule is effective November 24, the same day the SAFE Act amendments take effect.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB Mortgages Licensing SAFE Act EGRRCPA Regulation Z

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  • Agencies simplify capital calculation for community banks

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On October 29, the Federal Reserve Board, the FDIC, and the OCC (agencies) issued a final rule to simplify capital rule compliance requirements and reduce the regulatory burden for community banks in accordance with the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. Among other things, the final rule allows qualifying community banks to adopt a simple community bank leverage ratio to measure capital adequacy, removing requirements for calculating and reporting risk-based capital ratios. Qualifying community banks must have less than $10 billion in total consolidated assets and meet additional criteria such as a leverage ratio greater than 9 percent. The agencies estimate that approximately 85 percent of community banks will qualify. The final rule also grants a community bank that temporarily fails to comply with the framework a two-quarter grace period to come back into full compliance, as long as its leverage ratio remains above 8 percent. According to the agencies, banking organizations will be permitted to use the community bank leverage ratio framework in their March 31, 2020 Call Report or Form FR Y-9C, as applicable. The final rule will take effect January 1, 2020.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Reserve FDIC OCC Community Banks EGRRCPA

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  • Agencies finalize living will requirements

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On October 28, the Federal Reserve Board and the FDIC issued a joint press release to announce the adoption of a final rule amending resolution planning requirements (known as living wills) for large domestic and foreign firms with more than $100 billion in total consolidated assets, while tailoring requirements to the level of risk a firm poses to the financial system. The final rule—which is substantially similar to the April 2019 proposal (previous InfoBytes coverage here)—makes improvements to the November 2011 joint resolution plan rule, and is consistent with amendments to Dodd-Frank made by the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. Among other things, the final rule tailors resolution planning requirements by using four “risk-based categories,” and extends the default resolution plan filing cycle. Global systemically important bank holding companies (GSIBs) will continue to be required to submit resolution plans on a two-year cycle; however, firms that do not pose the same systemic risk as GSIBs will only be required to submit their resolution plans on a three-year cycle. The agencies note in their release that both groups will alternate between submitting full and targeted resolution plans, and that “[f]oreign firms with relatively limited U.S. operations would be required to submit reduced resolution plans.” Additionally, firms with less than $250 billion in total consolidated assets that do not meet certain risk criteria will now be  exempt under the final rule. The agencies also emphasize a change from the proposed rule: only smaller and less complex firms may request changes to their full resolution plans, subject to approval by both agencies prior to taking effect.

    The final rule takes effect 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FDIC Federal Reserve Living Wills Of Interest to Non-US Persons EGRRCPA

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  • FDIC approves final stress-test revisions

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On October 15, the FDIC approved the final rule revising stress testing requirements for FDIC-supervised institutions, consistent with changes made by Section 401 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. The final rule remains unchanged from the proposed rule, which was issued by the FDIC in December 2018 (previously covered by InfoBytes here). The final rule (i) changes the minimum threshold for applicability from $10 billion to $250 billion; (ii) revises the frequency of required stress tests for most FDIC-supervised institutions from annual to biannual; and (iii) reduces the number of required stress testing scenarios from three to two.  FDIC-supervised institutions that are covered institutions will “be required to conduct, report, and publish a stress test once every two years, beginning on January 1, 2020, and continuing every even-numbered year thereafter.” The final rule also adds a new defined term, “reporting year,” which will be the year in which a covered bank must conduct, report, and publish its stress test. The final rule requires certain covered institutions to still conduct annual stress tests, but this is limited to covered institutions that are consolidated under holding companies required to conduct stress tests more frequently than once every other year. Lastly, the final rule removes the “adverse” scenario—which the FDIC states has provided “limited incremental information”—and requires stress tests to be conducted under the “baseline” and “severely adverse” stress testing scenarios. The final rule is effective thirty days after it is published in the Federal Register.

    As previously covered by InfoBytes, on October 4, the OCC issued its final rule incorporating the same revisions as the FDIC.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FDIC OCC Stress Test EGRRCPA

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  • Federal Reserve finalizes capital and liquidity requirement rules for large firms; proposes changes to assessment fees

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On October 10, the Federal Reserve Board approved final rules, consistent with changes made by the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, to establish a framework that revises the criteria for determining the applicability of regulatory capital and liquidity requirement for large U.S. banking organizations and U.S. intermediate holding companies (IHC) of certain foreign banking organizations with $100 billion or more in total assets. The framework—jointly developed with the FDIC and the OCC—establishes “four risk-based categories for determining the regulatory capital and liquidity requirements applicable to large U.S. banking organizations and the U.S. intermediate holding companies of foreign banking organizations, which apply generally based on indicators of size, cross-jurisdictional activity, weighted short-term wholesale funding, nonbank assets, and off-balance sheet exposure.” According to the Fed, while the framework is “generally similar” to proposals released for comment over the past year (see InfoBytes coverage here and here), the final rule further simplifies the proposals by applying liquidity standards to a foreign bank’s U.S. IHC that are based on the IHC’s risk profile instead of the combined U.S. operations of the foreign bank. For larger firms, the framework applies standardized liquidity requirements at the higher end of the range that was originally proposed for both domestic and foreign banks.

    The following categories are established under the framework: (i) Category I will be reserved for U.S.-based global systemically important banks; (ii) Category II will apply to U.S. and foreign banking organizations with total U.S. assets exceeding $700 billion or $75 billion in cross-border activity that do not meet Category I criteria; (iii) Category III will apply to U.S. and foreign banking organizations with more than $250 billion in U.S. assets or $75 billion in weighted short-term wholesale funding, nonbank assets, or off balance sheet exposure; and (iv) Category IV will apply to other banking organizations with total U.S. assets of more than $100 billion that do not otherwise meet the criteria of the other three categories.

    The framework will take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

    Additionally, the Fed separately issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to raise the minimum threshold for being considered an assessed company and to adjust the amount charged to assessed companies. The notice also announces the Fed’s intention to issue a capital plan proposal that will “align capital planning requirements with the two-year supervisory stress testing cycle and provide greater flexibility for Category IV firms.” Comments on the proposal are due December 9.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Reserve EGRRCPA Stress Test Of Interest to Non-US Persons

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  • OCC issues final stress test revisions

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On October 2, the OCC issued the final rule revising the stress testing requirements for OCC-supervised institutions, consistent with changes made by Section 401 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. The final rule remains unchanged from the proposed rule, which was issued by the OCC in December 2018 (previously covered by InfoBytes here). The final rule (i) changes the minimum threshold for applicability from $10 billion to $250 billion; (ii) revises the frequency of required stress tests for most FDIC-supervised institutions from annual to biannual; and (iii) reduces the number of required stress testing scenarios from three to two. Specifically, OCC-supervised institutions that are covered institutions will “be required to conduct, report, and publish a stress test once every two years, beginning on January 1, 2020, and continuing every even-numbered year thereafter.” The final rule also adds a new defined term, “reporting year,” which will be the year in which a covered bank must conduct, report, and publish its stress test. The final rule requires certain covered institutions to still conduct annual stress tests, but this is limited to covered institutions that are consolidated under holding companies required to conduct stress tests more frequently than once every other year. Lastly, the final rule removes the “adverse” scenario—which the OCC states has provided “limited incremental information”—and requires stress tests to be conducted under the “baseline” and “severely adverse” stress testing scenarios. The final rule is effective November 24.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC Stress Test EGRRCPA

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  • Agencies raise residential appraisal requirement to $400,000

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On September 27, the OCC, the Federal Reserve Board, and the FDIC announced a final rule increasing the threshold for residential real estate transactions requiring an appraisal from $250,000 to $400,000. As previously covered by InfoBytes, in November 2018, the agencies proposed the threshold increase in response to feedback that the exemption threshold had not increased to keep pace with the price appreciation in the residential real estate market. The final rule also includes the rural residential appraisal exemption included in the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (previously covered by InfoBytes here), and implements the Dodd-Frank Act mandate that institutions appropriately review appraisals for compliance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. The final rule is effective the first day after publication in the Federal Register, except for the evaluation requirement for transactions exempted by the rural residential appraisal exemption and the requirement to review appraisals for compliance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, which are effective January 1, 2020.

    The FDIC press release is available here, the Federal Reserve Board press release is available here, and the concurrence letter from the CFPB is available here.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Mortgages Appraisal OCC Federal Register Federal Reserve FDIC EGRRCPA CFPB Dodd-Frank

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  • CFPB issues FAQs on SAFE Act amendments

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On September 25, the CFPB published four FAQs pertaining to compliance with federal SAFE Act amendments created by the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (the Act), which take effect on November 24. According to the Bureau, the Act’s amendments “establish temporary authority, which provides a way for eligible loan originators who have applied for a new state loan originator license to act as a loan originator in the application state while the state considers the application.” Specifically, the FAQs address (i) residential mortgage loan originator categories and requirements; (ii) the temporary authority to act as a loan originator, as added by Section 106 of the Act; (iii) guidance concerning state transitional license availability under the SAFE Act; and (iv) the impact of the Act’s amendments on the permissibility of state transitional licensing under the SAFE Act and Regulation H.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB EGRRCPA Licensing SAFE Act Mortgage Origination

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  • Indiana issues rule providing temporary authority for mortgage loan originators

    On August 28, the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions published in the Indiana Register an emergency rule providing 120-day temporary authority for certain mortgage loan originators (MLOs) to originate loans in Indiana without a state license, pursuant to Section 106 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. The new rule provides that in order to be eligible for temporary authority to operate, an MLO, among other things, must have been licensed as an MLO in another state continuously during the past 30 days or operating as a registered MLO for a depository institution continuously for the past year. The rule permits an eligible MLO applicant to engage in mortgage transactions while their application is pending for licensure for up to 120 days or upon approval of the licensing application, whichever is sooner, beginning November 24.

    Licensing State Issues State Regulators Mortgages EGRRCPA Mortgage Licensing Mortgage Origination

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