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  • SEC provides companies the opportunity to review their diversity policies

    Securities

    On June 5, the SEC began its biennial collection of Diversity Self-Assessment Submissions from regulated entities. Regulated entities included, among others, brokers and dealers, investment advisers, and transfer agents. Notably, publicly-traded companies were not included. The Commission will provide organizations the opportunity to review their own diversity and inclusion policies for strengths, opportunities, and risks as part of the voluntary self-assessment. The data collection supported an interagency policy statement issued in 2015 which established joint standards for assessing regulated entities diversity policies and practices. The SEC used data from the submissions to assess and report on progress and trends in regulated entity diversity-related activities. Participation will be voluntary and will not be part of any examination process. Regulated entities may use the Diversity Self-Assessment Tool or submit self-assessments in another format.

    Securities Securities Exchange Commission Diversity Diversity and Inclusion Assessments

  • Agencies adjust civil money penalties for 2024

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    Recently, the CFPB, NCUA, FDIC, FTC, and OCC provided notice in the Federal Register of adjustments to the maximum civil money penalties due to inflation pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended by the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 and further amended by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015. Each notice or final rule (see CFPB here, FDIC here, OCC here, FTC here, and NCUA here) adjusts the maximum civil money penalties available and documents the inflation-adjusted maximum amounts associated with the penalty tiers for each type of violation within a regulator’s jurisdiction. For violations occurring on or after November 2, 2015, the OCC’s adjusted maximum penalties go into effect as of January 8; the CFPB and FDIC’s adjustments go into effect January 15; and the FTC and NCUA’s adjustments go into effect January 10.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Issues Bank Regulatory OCC CFPB Assessments Fees Civil Money Penalties

  • OCC announces 2023 assessment schedule

    On December 1, the OCC released its 2023 assessment schedule. Among other things, the OCC noted that it would reduce the rates in the general assessment fee schedule and maintain assessment rates from 2022 for the independent trust and independent credit card fee schedules. The changes include reductions by 40 percent for all banks on their first $200 million in total balance sheet assets, and a 20 percent reduction for balance-sheet assets above $200 million and up to $20 billion. The OCC also noted that it is not adjusting the assessment rates for inflation. Additionally, the OCC said that it will increase the hourly fee for special examinations from $155 to $161. The OCC also highlighted that assessments are due March 31 and September 30, based on Call Report information as of December 31 and June 30. The OCC further explained that the schedule continues to include a surcharge for national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign banks that require increased supervisory resources.

    Bank Regulatory Federal Issues OCC Assessments

  • Hsu discusses challenges facing community banks

    On September 1, acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael J. Hsu delivered remarks before the Texas Bankers Association in Dallas focusing on the importance of community banks and the challenges and opportunities of digitalization. In his remarks, Hsu emphasized the OCC’s commitment to community banks, noting that more than 85 percent of the charters that the OCC supervises are community banks, which total nearly 900 individual institutions. He said that the OCC seeks to support community banks in five areas: (i) assessments; (ii) de novo licensing; (iii) risk-based supervision; (iv) local presence and national perspective; and (v) regulation. In particular, Hsu said the OCC is working to provide increased support for community banks by streamlining the licensing process for de novo banks and updating its approach to risk-based supervision. Hsu noted that the recent reduction in assessments is part of an effort by regulators to encourage community banks to invest in digital technologies. He stated that his “experiences in the 2008 financial crisis taught [him] about the disastrous consequences that can result from an unlevel playing field where regulatory arbitrage and races to the bottom are allowed to fester.” He added that while he has been at the OCC, the agency has been “requiring fintechs seeking a bank charter to be subject to the same requirements as all national banks and we are engaging with our peer agencies to limit regulatory arbitrage.” Hsu also noted that in order to “level the playing field,” the OCC will make a 40 percent reduction in assessment fees on a bank's first $200 million in assets and a 20 percent reduction on bank assets between $200 million and $20 billion. Hsu said that the cuts will result in a $41.3 million reduction in assessments for community banks in 2023. Hsu explained that “[t]he purpose of this adjustment is to level the playing field with the cost of supervision compared to state community bank charters, and that “[t]he recalibration will not reduce the quality of OCC supervision or the resources available to community banks.” Hsu mentioned that he is “hopeful” that the reduction gives community banks “extra breathing space and capacity to invest and seize opportunities related to digitalization, compliance, cybersecurity, and personnel.”

    Bank Regulatory Federal Issues OCC Community Banks Assessments Fintech Digitalization

  • Agencies adjust civil penalties to account for inflation

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    Recently, the CFPB, CFTC, FDIC, FinCen, FHFA, and OCC provided notice in the Federal Register regarding adjustments to the maximum civil money penalties due to inflation pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015. Each notice or final rule (see CFPB here, CFTC here, FDIC here, FinCen here, FHFA here, and OCC here) adjusts the maximum amounts of civil money penalties and provides a chart reflecting the inflation-adjusted maximum amounts associated with the penalty tiers for particular types of violations within each regulator’s jurisdiction. The OCC’s adjusted civil money penalty amounts are applicable to penalties assessed on or after January 12. The new CFPB, CFTC, FDIC, and FHFA civil money penalty amounts are applicable to penalties assessed on or after January 15. FinCEN's adjusted civil money penalty amounts are effective January 24. 

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC CFPB CFTC FDIC FHFA Bank Regulatory Assessments Fees Civil Money Penalties FinCEN

  • OCC releases 2022 fees and assessments schedule

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On December 1, the OCC issued Bulletin 2021-58, which informs all national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign banks of the agency’s 2022 fees and assessment rates. The OCC noted that for the 2022 assessment year, among other things, (i) there will be no inflation adjustment to assessment rates; (ii) new entrants to the federal banking system will be assessed on a prorated basis using call report information as of December 31 or June 30, depending on the entrance date; and (iii) the hourly fee for special examinations and investigations will increase from $150 to $155. The bulletin takes effect January 1, 2022.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC Bank Regulatory Assessments Fees

  • OCC releases 2021 fees and assessments schedule

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On December 1, the OCC issued Bulletin 2020-106, which informs all national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign banks of the agency’s 2021 fees and assessment rates. For 2021, the OCC is reducing the rates in all fee schedules by 3 percent, which “reflects cost savings in the OCC’s operations and projections of the OCC’s revenues and expenses.” Additionally, the OCC notes that for the 2021 assessment year, among other things, (i) there will be no inflation adjustment to assessment rates; (ii) new entrants to the federal banking system will be assessed on a prorated basis using call report information as of December 31 or June 30, depending on the entrance date; and (iii) the hourly fee for special examinations and investigations will increase from $140 to $150. The bulletin takes effect January 1, 2021.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC Fees Assessments

  • OCC amends 2020 assessment structure

    Federal Issues

    On August 7, the OCC released an amended fees and assessments structure for 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The announcement includes information on the OCC’s interim final rule (covered by InfoBytes here), which intended to lower assessments for supervised banks making assessments due on September 30 based on the December 31, 2019 Call Report for each institution, rather than the June 30 Call Report. Additionally, the OCC notes that for the 2020 assessment year, among other things, (i) there will be no inflation adjustment to assessment rates; (ii) new entrants to the federal banking system will be assessed on a prorated basis using call report information as of December 31 or June 30, depending on the entrance date; and (iii) the hourly fee for special examinations and investigations is increasing from $110 to $140.

    Federal Issues Covid-19 OCC Fees Assessments

  • FDIC and OCC mitigate Covid-19 assessment effects

    Federal Issues

    On June 22, the FDIC and the OCC released separate rules aimed at mitigating the assessment effects of participation in Covid-19 programs. Specifically, the FDIC issued a final rule to limit the deposit insurance effects of participation in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Paycheck Protection Program Liquidity Facility (PPPLF), and Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility (MMLF). Among other things, the final rule (i) removes the effect of PPP lending and borrowings under the PPPLF in calculating risk measures for an insured depository institution’s assessment rate; (ii) provides an offset to the total assessment amount for the increase in assessment base due to participation in the PPP and MMLF; and (iii) removes the effect of PPP and MMLF participation when classifying institutions as small, large, or highly complex for assessment purposes. The final rule is applicable as of April 1.

    Under the OCC’s interim final rule (see also Bulletin 2020-63), the assessments due on September 30 for covered banks will be based on the December 31, 2019 Call Report for each institution, rather than the June 30 Call Report, in order to lower the assessments for supervised banks. However, if an institution’s June 30 Call Report is lower than the December 31, 2019 report, the OCC will use the lower of the two options. The interim final rule expires after the September 30 assessment collection.

    Federal Issues Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Covid-19 SBA OCC FDIC Small Business Lending Assessments

  • OCC finalizes assessment fee refunds

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On August 21, the OCC published in the Federal Register a final rule providing partial assessment refunds to banks under OCC jurisdiction that exit the OCC’s jurisdiction within the prescribed timeframe. As previously covered by InfoBytes, in March, the OCC proposed to maintain semiannual assessment fee payments, but allow for partial refunds equal to the prospective half of the assessment for banks that leave the OCC’s jurisdiction between the date of the applicable Call Report and the date of collection. The final rule was adopted without substantive changes to the proposed rule and is effective as of September 20.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC Assessments

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