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On January 5, the CFPB announced the launch of its nonbank supervision program. With a Director now in place, the Obama Administration believes that the CFPB can now exercise authority granted to it by the Dodd-Frank Act to supervise companies that offer or provide consumer financial products or services, but that do not have a bank, thrift, or credit union charter. (Republican senators have expressed disagreement; in their view, the Dodd-Frank Act grants that authority only when a CFPB Director has been confirmed by the Senate.) Nonbank supervision will proceed in two phases, with immediate focus on nonbank mortgage, payday lending, and private education companies, regardless of such a company's size. A second phase will expand supervision to large debt collection, consumer reporting, auto financing, and money-service businesses. The CFPB expects soon to propose a rule defining "larger participants" in those second-phase markets, a predicate to exercising its supervisory authority over such institutions. The CFPB also noted that it may supervise any nonbank whose conduct poses risks to consumers with regard to consumer financial products or services. Rules describing procedural guidelines for exercising that authority will be published in the future.
On January 4, the CFPB issued Bulletin 12-01 regarding treatment of privileged and confidential information collected during CFPB's supervisory processes. The Bulletin addresses the concern of supervised institutions that providing attorney-client privileged or work product documents during the supervisory process will waive such privileges with respect to third parties. The CFPB contends in the Bulletin that any privilege would not be waived by obligatory production to the CFPB, and that the CFPB "will not consider waiver concerns to be a valid basis for the withholding of privileged information responsive to a supervisory request." Nonetheless, the Bulletin indicates that the CFPB will give "due consideration" to requests to limit the scope of requests for privileged information, and invites institutions to "memorialize privilege claims when conveying privileged documents" to the CFPB. The Bulletin also clarifies all information obtained in the supervisory process will be exempt from production in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, but that sharing of information between federal and state supervisory and enforcement authorities may be required or appropriate in certain circumstances.
Treasury Publishes Proposed Rule Establishing Assessment Schedule for Large Bank Holding Companies and Certain Nonbank Financial Firms
On January 3, the Treasury Department published a proposed rule to implement Section 155 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires Treasury to establish an assessment schedule to cover expenses of the Office of Financial Research and the Financial Stability Oversight Council, as well as the costs of implementing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's orderly liquidation authority. Under the proposal, Treasury would collect assessments twice each year from (i) domestic bank holding companies with total consolidated assets of $50 billion or more, (ii) foreign banking organizations with at least $50 billion in total consolidated assets in U.S. operations, and (iii) nonbank financial companies supervised by the Federal Reserve Board. Treasury proposes to establish a flat rate one month prior to each collection date, and to apply that rate to the total consolidated assets of each covered firm to determine each's assessment. For foreign firms, only total U.S. operations would be considered in calculating the assessment. Treasury expects to (i) finalize the rule before the end of May 2012, (ii) announce the first assessment rate in June 2012, and (iii) collect the first assessment on July 20, 2012.
On January 4, the OCC announced that it placed print and radio public service advertisements to inform mortgage borrowers of the Independent Foreclosure Review program launched by the OCC in November 2011. The print feature explains that borrowers foreclosed upon between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010 are eligible to have their foreclosures independently reviewed to determine if the borrowers suffered financial injury as a result of any errors by certain large, federally regulated mortgage servicers. The ads will run in Spanish and English in 7,000 small newspapers and on 6,500 small radio stations.
On December 30, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced a 10 basis point increase of the guaranty fee charged for all mortgages delivered for securitization on or after April 1, 2012. The credit fee on whole loans will also increase by the same amount. The increases are required by the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act enacted on December 23, 2011, and a subsequent directive from the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The Act uses the increase in fees to cover fiscal costs associated with a two-month extension of a payroll tax reduction.
On January 5, Freddie Mac issued Bulletin 2012-1, which revises the Freddie Mac Relief Refinance Mortgage - Same Servicer program requirements for mortgages with loan-to-value (LTV) ratios less than or equal to 80 percent. Effective immediately, the minimum Indicator Score requirement for such loans is eliminated, provided the principal and interest payment does not increase by more than 20 percent. Freddie Mac also eliminated the maximum total LTV and Home Equity Line of Credit total LTV ratio requirement of 105 percent for Relief Refinance Mortgages - Same Servicer and Relief Refinance Mortgages - Open Access with LTV ratios of less than or equal to 80 percent.
On January 6, multiple media outlets reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a policy change related to settlement of securities fraud cases. Under the new policy, settling defendants no longer will be permitted to neither admit nor deny civil liability, while concurrently being convicted of, or admitting guilt with regard to, criminal charges. The policy change also will apply to civil cases in which a defendant has entered into a deferred or non-prosecution agreement in a parallel criminal matter. Under the traditional SEC approach, a defendant found guilty of criminal conduct still could settle civil claims brought by the SEC without admitting or denying those civil charges. Going forward, in cases with parallel criminal actions, the SEC will (i) remove the "neither admit nor deny" language from its settlement agreements, (ii) recite the fact and nature of the criminal conviction, and (iii) allow staff to determine whether to include in the settlement facts obtained from the criminal conviction. The SEC's current prohibition on defendants denying the SEC's allegations or making statements those allegations are without merit will be retained. The new policy will not alter the "neither admit nor deny" approach used when settling cases that involve neither a criminal conviction nor allegations of criminal law violations.
In late December, The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council's (FFIEC) Consumer Compliance Task Force approved revised interagency examination procedures for Regulation Z, Truth in Lending. The new procedures reflect changes to rules implementing the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act, as well as revisions required by the Dodd-Frank Act, including an increased threshold for exempt consumer credit transactions.
In late December, Michigan enacted several bills related to certain of the state's foreclosure rules. HB 4542 and 4543 alter and extend through the end of 2012 Michigan's pre-foreclosure notice and mediation procedures. Among the changes is a shift from mandatory to optional filing of a one-time pre-foreclosure notice publication. The new laws also (i) make clear that a borrower's housing counselor may initiate a pre-foreclosure mediation on the borrower's behalf, (ii) extend to thirty days the time for a borrower or housing counselor to respond to a pre-foreclosure notice, and (iii) allow foreclosure by advertisement before the end of the 90-day stay period if a borrower fails to return a completed financial package within sixty days of the pre-foreclosure notice. Additionally, pre-foreclosure notices mailed on or after February 1, 2012 must (i) provide certain detailed contact information related to scheduling mediation, (ii) state the length of the redemption period, and (iii) include certain statements regarding responsibility for property damaged during the redemption period. Finally, HB 4544, among other things, reduces to six months the redemption period on non-agricultural properties over three acres when the amount claimed due exceeds two-thirds of the original mortgage balance.
On January 4, the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) published a final rule eliminating certain exemptions to the state's mortgage licensing and registration requirements. The rule narrows the definition of "exempt organization" by excluding nonbanking subsidiaries of bank holding companies, including, for example, subsidiaries acting as insurance, escrow, or title companies. Such subsidiaries now will be required to either register or become licensed with the DFS before soliciting, negotiating, placing, processing or making mortgage loans. Newly covered entities must file an application for licensure or registration by April 3, 2012 and complete such processes by July 2, 2012. The rule allows the DFS Superintendent to adjust the compliance dates.
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss "MCCA's blueprint for selling & buying - A pitch workshop for outside counsel" at the Minority Corporate Counsel Association Creating Pathways to Diversity Conference
- Buckley Webcast: Get ready for CCPA
- Daniel P. Stipano to discuss "BSA/AML culture of compliance roundtable" at the FiSCA Annual Conference
- Daniel P. Stipano to discuss "Is there a better way to fight money laundering" at the FiSCA Annual Conference
- Michelle L. Rogers to discuss "What's trending in enforcement" at the Mortgage Bankers Association Annual Convention & Expo
- Kathryn L. Ryan and Moorari K. Shah to discuss "Today's regulatory environment - Are you in the know?" at the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association Annual Convention
- Buckley Webcast: Smoke and mirrors: Navigating the regulatory landscape in banking the marijuana industry
- H Joshua Kotin to discuss "CMS - Components of a successful monitoring program" at the RegList Annual Workshop
- Tim Lange to discuss "Temporary authority to operate - Are you prepared? Hear what the states are doing" at the RegList Annual Workshop
- Sherry-Maria Safchuk to discuss "Cybersecurity" at the RegList Annual Workshop
- Jeffrey P. Naimon to discuss "Hot topics in mortgage origination" at the Conference on Consumer Finance Law Annual Consumer Financial Services Conference
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss "Fintech regulatory developments, crypto-assets, blockchain and digital banking, and consumer issues" at the Practising Law Institute Banking Law Institute
- Amanda R. Lawrence to discuss "How to balance a successful (and stressful) career with greater personal well-being" at the American Bar Association Women in Litigation Joint CLE Conference