March 2019 Compliance Journal: Compliance Notes

FDIC has added a new, online Information and Support Center to the agency’s existing educational resources. Consumers can use the Center to easily check the status of inquiries or complaints they have made about a financial institution. Also included is a new FDIC Knowledge Center, which provides easy-to-find answers to questions about banking and lending. The notice may be viewed at: https://www.fdic.gov/news/news/press/2019/pr19013.html 


OCC issued a bulletin to notify banks about key data fields that OCC has determined examiners will typically use to test and validate the accuracy and reliability of home mortgage loan data collected beginning in 2018. The bulletin may be viewed at: https://www.occ.gov/news-issuances/bulletins/2019/bulletin-2019-12.html


CFPB issued a report titled Suspicious Activity Reports on Elder Financial Exploitation: Issues and Trends. The report analyzes a non-public data set to shed light on the volume and characteristics of elder financial exploitation. The study explores the Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) filed with the federal government by financial institutions such as banks and money services businesses, finding that SAR filings on elder financial exploitation quadrupled from 2013 to 2017. The report may be viewed at: https://s3.amazonaws.com/files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/cfpb_suspicious-activity-reports-elder-financial-exploitation_report.pdf


FRB has released December 31, 2018, compiled quarterly data on depository institutions that participate in the Treasury’s Minority Bank Deposit Program. The data may be viewed at: https://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/mob/current/default.htm 


In anticipation of the effective date for its prepaid rule, CFPB has developed a number of guides and tools, including a new electronic submission system that allows an issuer to submit its required prepaid account agreements online. The resources may be viewed at: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/data-research/prepaid-accounts/


FFIEC issued a policy statement on the report of examination to promote consistency, clarity and ease of reference for the presentation of information in examination reports. The policy statement may be viewed at: https://www.ffiec.gov/guidance/PolicyStatement030619.pdf


CFPB announced that that 40 new organizations have joined the 2019 Your Money, Your Goals cohort. Each year, organizations that are selected for the cohort receive training and technical assistance on how to use the Your Money, Your Goals tools to help them discuss money topics with the people they serve in their communities. The announcement may be viewed at: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/2019-your-money-your-goals-cohort/


CFPB has developed a program titled “Get Homebuyer Ready,” an email course to educate consumers on the homebuying process and equip them with resources. The course may be viewed at: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/buying-home-sign-our-buying-house-newsletter/


FRB has voted to affirm the Countercyclical Capital Buffer (CCyB) at the current level of 0 percent. In making this determination, FRB followed the framework detailed in the Board’s policy statement for setting the CCyB for private-sector credit exposures located in the United States. The buffer is a macroprudential tool that can be used to increase the resilience of the financial system by raising capital requirements on internationally active banking organizations when there is an elevated risk of above-normal future losses and when the banking organizations for which capital requirements would be raised by the buffer are exposed to or are contributing to this elevated risk–either directly or indirectly. The buffer could also help moderate fluctuations in the supply of credit. The CCyB is designed to be released when economic conditions deteriorate, in order to support lending and economic activity more broadly. The announcement may be viewed at: https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/pressreleases/bcreg20190306c.htm


CFPB has posted an article on IRS imposter scams. The article outlines how to identify if the call is a scam and ways consumers can protect themselves. The article may be viewed at: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/tax-season-protect-yourself-irs-imposter-scams/ 


FTC announced that imposter scams topped the list of consumer complaints submitted in 2018 to the Federal Trade Commission’s nationwide Consumer Sentinel database, driven in part by a jump in reports about government imposter scams. In all, the FTC received nearly three million complaints from consumers in 2018. Consumers reported losing nearly $1.48 billion to fraud in 2018—38 percent more than the year before. Debt collection complaints dropped to the number two spot after topping the FTC’s list of consumer complaints for the previous three years. The report may be viewed at: https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2019/02/imposter-scams-top-complaints-made-ftc-2018


CFPB has issued the small entity compliance guide for the Payday Lending Rule. The guide may be viewed at: https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/cfpb_payday_small-entity-compliance-guide.pdf 


FRB presented its semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress. The report indicated that Economic activity in the United States appears to have increased at a solid pace, on balance, over the second half of 2018, and the labor market strengthened further. Inflation has been near the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) longer-run objective of 2 percent, aside from the transitory effects of recent energy price movements. The report may be viewed at: https://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/2019-02-mpr-summary.htm 


OFAC’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement (OCE) is issuing OCE’s Data Delivery Standards Guidance: Preferred Practices for Productions to OFAC. OCE’s Data Delivery Standards provides guidance regarding submissions and the technical standards for the preferred format in which to submit electronic document productions to OCE, including administrative subpoena responses, self-disclosures, and other documents or reports. The guidance may be viewed at: https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Documents/ofac_data_delivery.pdf


CFPB has announced an initiative to help promote the importance of savings among Americans. The Start Small, Save Up initiative offers tips, tools and information to help consumers build a basic savings cushion and saving habit, as a foundation for securing their financial futures. More information on the initiative may be viewed at: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/start-small-save-up/


FHFA reported that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac completed 245,620 refinances in the fourth quarter of 2018, compared with 253,135 in the third quarter. FHFA’s fourth quarter Refinance Report also shows that 1,390 loans were refinanced through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), bringing the total number of HARP refinances to 3,494,395 since inception of the program in 2009 and completion in Dec. 31, 2018. The report may be viewed at: https://www.fhfa.gov/Media/PublicAffairs/Pages/Fannie-Mae-and-Freddie-Mac-Refinance-Volume-Decreases-In-4th-Quarter-2018.aspx 


FTC will host a forum on small business financing on May 8, 2019, to examine trends and consumer protection issues in this marketplace, including the recent proliferation of online loans and alternative financing products. The forum, which is free and open to the public, will be at the Constitution Center, 400 7th St., SW, Washington, D.C. It will be webcast live on the FTC’s website. A full schedule and other details on the forum will be announced. Information on the forum may be viewed at: https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/events-calendar/strictly-business-ftc-forum-small-business-financing

By, Ally Bates