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On June 25, two community coalitions filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California asking the court to block the OCC’s final rule to modernize the regulatory framework implementing the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The complaint claims that the OCC failed to provide for meaningful public input on key revisions to the agency’s final rule, and argues that the May 20 rule (covered by a Buckley Special Alert) failed to consider the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and is in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. Notably, neither the FDIC nor the Federal Reserve Board joined in promulgating the final rule, the complaint notes. Among other things, the complaint argues that the final rule “guts the [CRA] and eviscerates the backing it provides to the [low- and moderate-income (LMI)] communities and communities of color that have long suffered from discrimination by financial institutions,” and will dilute benefits for these communities. The complaint also alleges that the final rule “will allow banks to claim credit for massive projects that they undoubtedly would have financed anyway; whose benefit to LMI people is questionable and speculative; and that are so costly that they will allow banks to fill up their CRA credits without making real investments in LMI communities as the CRA intended.” Additional arguments include that the final rule limits the coalitions’ ability to advocate for greater access to credit for LMI communities, issue evidence-based reports on banks’ CRA activity, and negotiate CRA funding increases with banks for specific communities. The complaint further alleges that the final rule includes definitions of “CRA deserts”—areas where banking services are not available—that were not part of the proposal, and fails to provide supporting data for many of the provisions. The coalitions seek injunctive and declaratory relief that would block the final rule from taking effect.
On June 25, the Federal Reserve Board released the results of the Dodd-Frank Act stress tests for 2020 (DFAST 2020) and another report analyzing additional sensitivities due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The additional sensitivities report assessed the resiliency of large banks under three hypothetical recessions, which could result from the Covid-19 pandemic. Overall, under the hypothetical scenarios, loan losses for the 34 banks ranged from $560 billion to $700 billion in the sensitivity analysis, and aggregate capital ratios declined from 12 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 to between 9.5 percent and 7.7 percent. The Fed concludes that due to strong current capital levels, “the large majority of banks remain sufficiently capitalized over the entirety of the projection horizon in all scenarios.” The Fed notes that this analysis did not incorporate the effects of government stimulus payments or expanded unemployment insurance. In response to the results, the Fed notes that all large banks are now required to, among other things, resubmit their capital plans later this year to reflect the current stresses, and the Fed intends to conduct additional analysis each quarter to determine if other response adjustments are needed.
Additionally, the results of the full DFAST 2020—which was designed prior to the Covid-19 pandemic—suggest that the 33 banks subject to the test would “experience substantial losses under the severely adverse scenario but could continue lending to businesses and households, due to the substantial buildup of capital since the financial crisis.”
On June 25, the Small Business Administration (SBA) updated the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) FAQs to include new details about the maturity dates of the PPP loans. Specifically, the FAQs note that if a PPP loan received an SBA loan number on or after June 5, the loan has a five-year maturity. Any loan that received an SBA loan number prior to June 5 has a two-year maturity, unless the borrower and lender agree to extend the term to five years. Additionally, the SBA updated two additional questions to reflect changes made by the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (the Flexibility Act), previously covered by InfoBytes here. First, the Flexibility Act extended the covered period for loan forgiveness from eight weeks after the date of loan disbursement to 24 weeks. The FAQs note that the 24-week period applies to all borrowers, but any borrower that received an SBA loan number prior to June 5, may still use the eight-week period. Finally, the FAQs now reflect the new felony conviction standards of PPP eligibility. On June 12, the SBA reduced the look-back period from five years to one year for any felony conviction that does not involve fraud, bribery, embezzlement, or a false statement in a loan application or an application for federal financial assistance of any owner of 20 percent or more of the equity in the applicant (covered by InfoBytes here).
On June 24, the Michigan governor announced Executive Order 2020-131, which extends a previous order that temporarily allowed e-signatures on official documents and remote notarizations (previously discussed here). Any notarial act may be performed by a notary that holds a valid notarial commission in Michigan using two-way real-time audiovisual technology if certain conditions are met. The order sets forth additional requirements for remote notarizations and continues through July 31, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
On June 24, Fannie Mae updated Lender Letter 2020-02 to temporarily modify the minimum liquidity requirements for non-depository institutions. Beginning with the financial quarter ending on June 30, 2020, the Agency Seriously Delinquent Mortgage Rate will include an adjustment for mortgage loans in a Covid-19-related forbearance plan that are 90 days or more delinquent but were current at the start of the Covid-19-related forbearance plan. The letter notes that the Mortgage Bankers Financial Reporting Form will be modified by June 30 to capture forbearance activity.
On June 24, Freddie Mac issued Bulletin 2020-24, which modifies the financial liquidity requirements for non-depository institutions. Specifically, the liquidity requirement is amended to take into account forbearances granted in association with Covid-19. Previously, the liquidity calculation was based in part on a premium on the amount of servicing for loans that are nonperforming (at least 90 days delinquent). The calculation now takes into account loans a lesser percentage with respect to forbearance loans that were current at the time they entered forbearance. For purposes of the liquidity requirement, if a mortgage exits forbearance during a calendar quarter, it will continue to be treated as being in forbearance until the end of that quarter for purposes of the liquidity requirement. The liquidity updates are effective on June 30, 2020.
On June 24, the Director of Regulatory Policy & Policy Counsel at CSBS, Mike Townsley, wrote a blog post in response to the OCC’s Bulletin on Covid-19 preemption, arguing that the bulletin does not have the force and effect of law. As previously covered by InfoBytes, on June 17, the OCC issued a Bulletin stating that banks are governed primarily by federal standards and generally are not subject to state law limitations. The OCC acknowledged states’ efforts to respond to the economic disruptions as “well-intended,” but noted that the competing requirements could risk banks’ safety and soundness. The Bulletin also provided specific examples of the types of state laws that do not apply to banks’ lending and deposit activities.
In response, Townsley asserts that the Bulletin has no preemptive effect, because the OCC did not follow the “process required by the National Bank Act (NBA) to determine that these state COVID-19 relief measures are preempted.” Specifically, Townsley argues that through the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act, Congress “amended the NBA to overturn the OCC’s preemption regulations and establish substantive procedural requirements for the determination of whether the NBA preempts a state law.” The requirements include a court or the OCC having to conclude that the law “‘prevents or significantly interferes with the exercise by the national bank of its powers,’” which determination, according to Townsley, if made by the OCC, must be on a case-by-case basis, and include a notice and comment period and the backing of “‘substantial evidence’ on the record.” Townsley also seeks to cast further doubt as to whether the preemption regulations cited by the Bulletin can serve as a guide on procedural grounds, observing that Dodd-Frank requires the OCC to review and decide, through notice and comment, whether to “continue or rescind” each preemption determination every five years, and it has been “well over five years” since the rules were adopted and no such review has ever been conducted. Townsley concludes by citing to the 19th century Supreme Court decision Nat'l Bank v. Commonwealth, stating that national banks “’are subject to the laws of the State.’”
On June 24, the FTC and the Small Business Administration (SBA) sent warning letters to six companies that they may be misleading small businesses seeking SBA loans due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The press release highlights specific claims from each company that the letters assert “could lead consumers to believe the companies are affiliated with the SBA,” or that consumers could use their websites to apply for loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or other programs authorized by the CARES Act. These cited claims include, among others, (i) offering “'COVID-19 SBA Loan Programs”; (ii) offering “SBA Lending experts” and “SBA Loan Officers”; and (iii) stating “Get matched with a PPP lender now!” The letters warn the recipients to remove all deceptive claims and advertisements and remediate any harm to small business consumers that may have been caused. The letters further instruct the companies to notify the FTC within 48 hours of the actions they take in response. Copies of all six warning letters are available via links in the press release.
On June 23, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced that recordings of webinars offered to lenders and businesses on June 18 concerning the federal Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application are available online.
On June 23, the federal financial institution regulatory agencies (Federal Reserve Board, OCC, FDIC, and NCUA), in conjunction with the state bank and credit union regulators, issued interagency examiner guidance for assessing the safety and soundness of financial institutions in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The joint guidance states that due to the “unique, evolving, and potentially long-term nature of the issues confronting institutions” from the Covid-19 pandemic, examiners will “exercise appropriate flexibility in their supervisory response.” The guidance acknowledges that Covid-19 can have an adverse impact on the financial condition and operational capabilities of financial institutions that have appropriate governance and risk management systems in place.
Among other things, the guidance notes that examiners will (i) “continue to assign supervisory ratings in accordance with the interagency CAMELS and ROCA rating systems”; and (ii) “assess the reasonableness of management’s actions in response to the pandemic given the institution’s business strategy and operational capacity.” The guidance also provides details on things such as capital adequacy and asset quality for examiners to consider when assigning composite and component CAMELS and ROCA ratings.
- Daniel R. Alonso to discuss "When can trial lawyers take their case to the public? The Harvey Weinstein case and beyond" at a New York City Bar Association webcast
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss "Fair servicing in wake of Covid-19" at an American Bar Association webinar
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- Daniel P. Stipano to discuss "Cram for the exam: Best prep strategies for a regulatory examination" at an ACAMS webinar
- Melissa Klimkiewicz to discuss "Flood insurance basics" at the NAFCU Virtual Regulatory Compliance School
- Sasha Leonhardt to discuss "Privacy laws clarified" at the National Settlement Services Summit (NS3)