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On July 15, the OCC marked the one-year anniversary of Project REACh, an initiative launched by the agency last year to promote greater financial inclusion of underserved populations. As previously covered by InfoBytes, Project REACh (Roundtable for Economic Access and Change) brings together leaders from the banking industry, national civil rights organizations, and various businesses and technology organizations to identify and reduce barriers to accessing capital and credit. While the project’s scope in its first year included a national workstream and a regional effort centered on Los Angeles, acting Comptroller Michael Hsu announced that Project REACh will soon expand its regional focus to Washington, D.C., Dallas, and Detroit in order “to replicate the success of the project’s national workstream.” In prepared remarks, Hsu emphasized that addressing economic inequality needs to be “transformational, not transactional,” pointing out that “the financial system can perpetuate inequality” as “traditional credit scores, traditional overdraft practices, and predatory lending make it expensive to be poor, while wealthy clients can borrow and access a wide range of financial services at lower cost.” Hsu explained that Project REACh’s structure and approach allows for collaborative problem identification and problem solving and creates opportunities for business and community representatives to incubate ideas and pilots “that can later be implemented on a broader scale than possible by any one institution.”
On July 10, the OCC launched an initiative to promote greater financial inclusion of underserved populations. Project REACh (Roundtable for Economic Access and Change) brings together leaders from the banking industry, national civil rights organizations, and various businesses and technology organizations who will identify and reduce barriers to accessing capital and credit. REACh program participants will focus on “inherent policy and structural issues at the national and local levels” to expand financial inclusion, and convened on July 10 to discuss which financial inclusion projects to address.
On June 23, the CFPB issued an interpretive rule to provide guidance for creditors and others involved in mortgage origination on the CFPB’s process for determining which counties and areas are considered “underserved” for a given calendar year. This interpretive rule supersedes certain parts of the official commentary to Regulation Z that became obsolete when HMDA data points were replaced or otherwise modified by the 2015 HMDA Final Rule. Lenders use the CFPB’s annual list of rural counties and rural or underserved counties when determining qualified exemptions to certain TILA regulatory requirements, such as “the exemption from the requirement to establish an escrow account for a higher-priced mortgage loan and the ability to originate balloon-payment qualified mortgages,” and use the CFPB’s Rural or Underserved Areas Tool to assess whether a rural or underserved area qualifies for a safe harbor under TILA’s Regulation Z. Under the interpretive rule, the CFPB will determine whether an area is considered “underserved” by counting first-lien originations from HMDA data from the preceding calendar year. The interpretive rule also discusses certain “covered transaction” exclusions that will not be counted related to (i) construction methods and total units; (ii) open-end lines of credit and reverse mortgages; (iii) business or commercial purposes; and (iv) demographic information where both the applicant’s and co-applicant’s ethnicity, race, sex, and age are all reported as “not applicable.” The interpretive rule is effective upon publication in the Federal Register.
- Jeffrey P. Naimon to provide “Fair lending update” at the Colorado Mortgage Lenders Association Operational and Compliance Forum
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss “Justice for all: Achieving racial equity through fair lending” at CBA Live
- Warren W. Traiger to discuss “On the horizon for CRA modernization” at CBA Live
- APPROVED Webcast: Strategy & Technology: A dynamic duo for successful regulatory exams
- Daniel R. Alonso to discuss “Primer on cross-border prosecutions in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico for U.S. criminal lawyers” at a New York City Bar Association webinar
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss "Fair lending" at the Mortgage Bankers Association Regulatory Compliance Conference
- Michelle L. Rogers to discuss “State law regulatory and enforcement trends” at the Mortgage Bankers Association Regulatory Compliance Conference
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss “Government investigations, and compliance 2021 trends” at the Corporate Counsel Women of Color Career Strategies Conference
- Max Bonici to discuss “BSA/AML trends: What to expect with the implementation of the AML Act of 2020” at the American Bar Association Banking Law Fall Meeting
- H Joshua Kotin to discuss “Modifications and exiting forbearance” at the National Association of Federal Credit Unions Regulatory Compliance Seminar
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss “Fintech trends” at the BIHC Network Elevating Black Excellence Regional Summit
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss "Consumer financial services" at the Practising Law Institute Banking Law Institute