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Triangle Background

Rose Oswald PoelsBy Rose Oswald Poels

Last week, bankers from Wisconsin and Illinois traveled to Washington D.C. together for in-person meetings with banking regulators. This trip, organized for the last 11 years by WBA, has for the last two years also welcomed bankers from Illinois.

I have always found this trip to be productive given the intentionally smaller group of bankers who attend and the senior level officials who meet with us. This year was no exception!

Like visits to Washington D.C. to meet with our elected officials, meetings with regulators do not result in meaningful, visible change overnight. However, if we don’t share the stories demonstrating the impact that regulations have on banking operations and consumers in the Midwest, their perspective is only what they know and see in Washington D.C. As the burden of federal regulations remains substantial on banks, it is critical that we continually advocate so to lessen the impact.

This year, our primary list of issues included small business data collection (1071 Rule), NSF/representment of checks and UDAAP (Unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts and practices), overdraft programs, deposit insurance assessment rates, CRA, and the definition of tangible equity capital in Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) rules.

Our group had several meaningful conversations over the short two-day trip with senior officials from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and FHFA, as well as with Director Chopra from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). During these conversations we learned it is likely that both the final CRA modernization rule and the 1071 rule would be issued at around the same time; however, there could be a phased-in implementation period for 1071.

The general counsel for FHFA heard from several of us in attendance regarding the very real and negative impact the current definition of tangible equity capital could have on community banks’ ability to borrow from the Federal Home Loan Banks and promised to share this impact with decisionmakers starting that afternoon. Overall, I was very pleased with the active involvement of the bankers during the meetings and the level of engagement we had with the various regulators.

I would like to thank the following Wisconsin bankers for joining me and WBA’s Vice President – Legal Heather MacKinnon on this trip:

  • WBA Chair Dan Peterson, Stephenson National Bank and Trust in Marinette
  • Al Araque, Johnson Financial Group in Racine
  • PJ Childers, Crossbridge Community Bank in Tomahawk
  • Kristen Gagliano, North Shore Bank in Brookfield
  • Corey Hoze, Associated Bank in Milwaukee
  • Mark Oldenberg, Security Financial Bank in Eau Claire
  • Terry Rosengarten, Unity Bank in Augusta
  • Theresa Wiese, First Business Bank in Madison

I would also like to thank Dave Feldhaus from the FHLBank of Chicago for joining us on this trip and the FHLBank of Chicago for sponsoring our dinner.

If you are interested in joining WBA on its annual regulatory advocacy trip in October of 2023, please let me know. As you can tell, we accomplish a lot in a short period of time and your continued advocacy for our industry makes the greatest impact in ushering the movements most important to our communities.

Rose Oswald PoelsBy Rose Oswald Poels

Given recent rate increases by the Federal Reserve and the overall market impact of the current economy, banks that have lines with a Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLBank) need to be mindful of how FHLBank regulation can impact a member bank’s ability to obtain new FHLBank advances or letters of credit. With this Executive Letter, I wanted to be certain FHLB member banks are aware of the possibility.

Under FHLBank Regulation 12 CFR 1266.4(b), a FHLBank cannot make a new advance to a member bank whose tangible capital is not positive. To make a determination of whether a member bank has negative tangible capital, the FHLBank will use the member bank’s most recently available Call Report data. A member bank would not be considered to have negative tangible capital until its quarterly report is filed.

As an exception, a new advance may be made if the member bank’s prudential federal regulator (the Federal Reserve or OCC) or federal insurer (FDIC) requests, in writing, the FHLBank lend to the member bank. It is my understanding that the federal regulators are currently not willing to issue such instruction unless a particular member bank has a dire liquidity need for the advance.

Historically, bank capital calculations of the prudential federal banking regulators and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) were similar. However, recent changes made to capital calculations by the banking regulators have not been adopted by FHFA. In particular, under FHLBank regulations the definition of tangible capital is inclusive of Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income (AOCI). Therefore, this difference will impact those member banks that made the election to opt-out of the requirement to include components of AOCI when calculating common equity tier 1 capital under Basel III rules.

It is important to note that the FHLBank regulation does allow member banks with negative tangible capital to renew outstanding advances, for successive terms of up to 30 days each. There is no limit to the number of times a member bank may roll over an existing advance. Such member banks may also renew outstanding advances for a term greater than 30 days at the written request of the appropriate federal banking regulator or FDIC as federal insurer.

It is also important to note that the limitation for a new advance does not impact a member bank’s use of Community Investment Products or for a member bank’s ability to sell loans into FHLBank’s Mortgage Partnership Finance (MPF) Program.

FHLBank member bankers who may be impacted by this limitation should work closely with their FHLBank Sales Director for more information specific to the member. Affected member banks should also work closely with your accounting and investment resources as there may be options to consider as a means to avoid reaching a negative tangible capital position. Accounting and investment resources will also be able to explain the impact of such options to the member bank in areas other than under FHLBank regulation.

WBA is monitoring the impact of this FHLBank regulation component and is working for a resolution whereby banks whose tangible capital is negative due to a difference in tangible capital calculations are not negatively impacted by an inability to obtain new FHLBank advances. WBA plans to advocate for a change in the rule starting with addressing the issue directly with FHFA later this month during our D.C. Regulatory Trip. In addition, WBA is also working to organize an all-member call on this issue — please watch our publications for an announcement of a complimentary webinar in the near future.

Triangle Background

Rose Oswald PoelsBy Rose Oswald Poels

In recent conversations with state bankers associations across the country, as well as bankers here in Wisconsin, it is clear that regulators, particularly the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), are very focused on certain deposit-related activities citing them as violations in examinations, and also identifying them as potential unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP) violations. As a result, I want to highlight these concerns again for the membership as a follow-up to my April 5 Executive Letter e-pub.

In that document, I shared information about how FDIC has identified (a) the assessment of overdraft fees for “force pay” transactions and (b) charging multiple non-sufficient funds fees (NSF fees) for the same transactions presented multiple times against insufficient funds as deposit-related activities which FDIC believes may result in a heightened risk of violations of UDAAP. In that same publication, I made recommendations to help banks take action.

In Wisconsin, as in other states, current FDIC compliance examinations include a review of disclosures and charges for these activities. FDIC examiners have been aggressive with their new interpretations, and time is of the essence for banks to act. In some cases, WBA understands that banks receiving these violations are told to go back at least 12 months to determine consumer harm.

With FDIC adopting a new interpretation that disclosing that one NSF fee would be charged “per item” or “per transaction” is not clearly defined and does not explain that the same transaction might result in multiple NSF fees if re-presented, banks should review disclosures to determine whether FDIC’s new interpretation affects the bank. If it does, banks should revise disclosure language accordingly and consider other risk-mitigating steps as outlined by FDIC in the recent publications included in the April 5 Executive Letter.

A bank needs to also understand its actual presentment process and whether it has any ability or inability to identify items resubmitted by a merchant for payment. Review should also include whether the bank can track or identify when a check — presented in physical form the first time — is represented as Automated Clearing House (ACH) the second time by the merchant. Banks should be prepared to explain to examiners their processes and any operational and system limitations in the ability to identify represented items or to trace items if an item was converted when represented.

With respect to the issue of assessing overdraft fees for “force pay” transactions, if a “no pay” bank used the Regulation E model Form A-9 to solicit a consumer’s authorization or opt-in to assess overdraft fees for ATM and one-time point-of-sale (POS) debit card transactions in “force pay” transactions, that model form should not be used in that manner. It was not intended for such transactions. In such situations, banks should review how best to disclose their practice for “force pay” transactions with their counsel.

Failure of a bank to take action will likely result in FDIC citing a UDAAP violation and potentially imposing consumer reimbursement of charges in connection with these deposit-related activities.

With the mandatory compliance date for the new, revised General QM loan definition just on the horizon, banks should ensure their implementation plans are in place. In terms of a quick-look at dates, CFPB issued a final rule on December 29, 2020 (Final Rule) which amends the General QM loan definition in Regulation Z. The Final Rule included a mandatory compliance date of July 1, 2021. However, on April 27, 2021, CFPB extended that mandatory compliance date to October 1, 2022. The General QM Final Rule was effective on March 1, 2021 and, among other things, replaces the existing 43 percent debt-to-income ratio limit with price-based thresholds. As such, it presents the potential for significant changes to a bank’s mortgage lending operation.

To expand upon the new price-based thresholds with a general summary: a loan meets the revised General QM definition only if the annual percentage rate exceeds the average prime offer rate for a comparable transaction by less than the applicable threshold set forth in the Final Rule as of the date the interest rate is set. Additionally, the Final Rule removes Appendix Q as well as any requirements to use Appendix Q for General QM loans. Consequently, it amends the consider and verify requirements in Regulation Z and its associated commentary. First, it outlines the minimum considerations required by creditors, including, for example, the consumer’s current or reasonably expected income or assets. Second, it requires that creditors verify those considerations using reasonably reliable third-party records and reasonable methods and criteria.

Banks have likely already taken time to evaluate the categories of QMs they originate, and how the revised General QM definition may or may not affect its current loan policy and underwriting procedures. Even banks which originate Small Creditor QMs should still consider the extent to which they may or may not original General QMs. For example, does bank originate General QMs? Will it continue to do so, or will it exclusively utilize the Small Creditor QM exception, if applicable?

Given the mandatory compliance date of October 1, 2022 banks should confirm that their implementation steps are in place. Banks should prepare to fully transition current policies and procedures to conform with the new definition and consider what training might be necessary in advance of and after the transition.

As an additional resource, WBA has prepared an ATR/QM Toolkit to assist bankers.

Rose Oswald Poels By Rose Oswald Poels

Last week, the Federal Reserve Board (FRB), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) released a joint statement proposing changes to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations. The joint proposal would both strengthen and modernize the regulations by expanding access to credit, investment, and basic banking services; adapt to internet and mobile banking changes; provide greater clarity and consistency with both banks and their customers; and create unique CRA evaluations requirements.

The CRA, originally enacted in 1977, encourages banks and savings associations to help meet the need of all borrowers — including low- and moderate-income individuals. In recent years, the industry has seen the agencies attempt to modernize CRA to better address new technologies and community-investment opportunities. However, those efforts left much frustration for the industry when OCC implemented its own “updated” CRA regulation in June 2020, while FDIC and FRB retained existing standards, interpretations, and regulations.

WBA advocated heavily against separate CRA regulations in meetings with the agencies and in filed comment letters. Successfully, late last year, OCC repealed its independent CRA regulation and now the agencies are once again acting together in proposing a unified CRA regulation. I am pleased to see the expansion of transparency between agencies.

The new joint proposal has the following key elements:

  • Expand access to credit, investment, and basic banking services in low- and moderate-income communities. Under the proposal, the agencies would evaluate bank performance across the varied activities they conduct and communities in which they operate so that CRA is a strong and effective tool to address inequities in access to credit. The proposal would promote community engagement and financial inclusion. It would also emphasize smaller value loans and investments that can have high impact and be more responsive to the needs of LMI communities.
  • Adapt to changes in the banking industry, including internet and mobile banking. The proposal would update CRA assessment areas to include activities associated with online and mobile banking, branchless banking, and hybrid models.
  • Provide greater clarity, consistency, and transparency. The proposal would adopt a metrics-based approach to CRA evaluations of retail lending and community development financing, which includes public benchmarks, for greater clarity and consistency. It also would clarify eligible CRA activities, such as affordable housing, that are focused on LMI, undeserved, and rural communities.
  • Tailor CRA evaluations and data collection to bank size and type. The proposal recognizes differences in bank size and business models. It provides that smaller banks would continue to be evaluated under the existing CRA regulatory framework with the option to be evaluated under aspects of the new proposed framework.
  • Maintain a unified approach. The proposal reflects a unified approach from the bank regulatory agencies and incorporates extensive feedback from stakeholders.

I highly encourage you to join WBA in commenting on this joint proposal by August 5, 2022. Please contact WBA’s Heather Mackinnon, vice president – legal, at hmackinnon@wisbank.com and Scott Birrenkott, assistant director – legal, at sbirrenkott@wisbank.com if you have any questions regarding the proposed regulation updates.

Rose Oswald PoelsBy Rose Oswald Poels

In two separate publications, FDIC has recently identified deposit-related activities which, depending upon how banks disclose charges for such activities, may result in a heightened risk of violations of Section 5 of the FTC Act — otherwise known as unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP).

FDIC has identified the assessment of overdraft fees for “force pay” transactions and charging multiple NSF fees for same transactions presented multiple times against insufficient funds as the deposit-related activities of concern. I have outlined both scenarios below.

Potential Issues with Assessing Overdraft Fees for “Force Pay” Transactions  

In a quarterly newsletter issued by its Dallas Region, FDIC outlined potential issues with assessing overdraft fees for “force pay” transactions in certain situations. There may be times when a bank authorizes an ATM or one-time POS debit card transaction based on sufficient funds in a consumer’s account at the time of authorization; however, at settlement, the account has insufficient funds to cover the transaction. Due to a bank’s contract with its payment network providers, the bank is required to pay these transactions even though the customer does not have sufficient funds in their account at settlement. FDIC refers to this type of transaction as a “force pay” transaction.

As outlined by FDIC, some banks have a policy and practice of declining to authorize and pay any ATM or one-time POS debit card transactions when a customer has insufficient funds available in the account to cover the transaction. FDIC refers to these banks as “no pay” banks. Other banks may offer an overdraft program, but some consumers do not qualify, have not yet met all eligibility requirements, or do not opt-in to participate.

FDIC has identified that some “no pay” banks solicit a consumer’s authorization or opt-in, using an overdraft opt-in form similar to the Regulation E model form A-9, to assess overdraft fees for ATM and one-time POS debit card transactions in “force pay” transactions.

FDIC stated it believes the use of the A-9 model form for this purpose may be considered deceptive, as a reasonable consumer may be misled into believing that the bank would generally pay all overdrafts caused by ATM and one-time POS debit card transactions. Additionally, the A-9 model form does not disclose that force pay transactions would be paid regardless of whether the consumer opts in. FDIC also identified how force pay transactions could lead to concerns at banks that offer overdraft programs, although those are more nuanced transactions and are not discussed here.

FDIC offered the following suggestions to mitigate risks:

  • Maintain policies and procedures to ensure compliance with applicable regulatory requirements under Regulation E;

  • Ensure that disclosures provided to consumers are clear and conspicuous, accurately reflect bank practices, and do not suggest that the bank offers an overdraft program when it does not;

  • Confirm a customer’s opt-in is deactivated in the deposit processing platform when he/she does not have access to the overdraft program;

  • Verify a customer’s opt-in is deactivated in the deposit processing platform when he/she revokes his/her opt-in election or when the bank terminates the customer’s access to the overdraft program; and

  • Notify customers as soon as possible if the bank independently terminates their access to the overdraft program.

Potential Issues with Re-Presentment of Unpaid Transactions 

In a separate publication, Consumer Compliance Supervisory Highlights, FDIC outlined potential issues with charging multiple NSF fees for re-presentment of unpaid transactions. FDIC found disclosing that one NSF fee would be charged “per item” or “per transaction” is not clearly defined and did not explain that the same transaction might result in multiple NSF fees if re-presented. FDIC stated it believes there is risk of unfairness if multiple fees are assessed for the same transaction in a short period of time without sufficient notice or opportunity for consumers to bring their account to a positive balance.

FDIC also addressed that re-presented transactions have been the subject of recent class action lawsuits involving banks, including FDIC-supervised institutions. The lawsuits typically allege breach of contract due to the omission of important information about when the fee would be assessed.

FDIC again offered suggestions to mitigate risks, including:

  • Eliminating NSF fees

  • Declining to charge more than one NSF fee for the same transaction, regardless of whether the item is represented

  • Disclosing the amount of NSF fees and how such fees will be imposed, including:

  • Information on whether multiple fees may be assessed in connection with a single transaction;

  • The frequency with which such fees can be assessed; and

  • The maximum number of fees that can be assessed in connection with a single transaction.

  • Reviewing customer notification practices related to NSF transactions and the timing of fees to provide the customer with an ability to avoid multiple fees for re-presented items

  • Conducting a comprehensive review of policies, practices, and disclosures related to re-presentments to ensure the manner in which NSF fees are charged is communicated clearly and consistently

  • Working with service providers to retain comprehensive records so that re-presented items can be identified

Conclusion 

I would not recommend the use of Regulation E model form A-9 as a means to obtain a consumers’ authorization or opt-in for a force pay transaction. There is not a model form for such transactions and banks need to review how best to disclose their practice for force pay transactions with their counsel. For banks offering overdraft programs, banks need to be careful how it treats a consumer’s opt-in if the opt-in election was provided but access to the overdraft protection coverage has not yet begun and when the bank terminates access to the overdraft program.

I would also recommend banks review their deposit account disclosures, statement of fees, and account rules documents to further determine how to accurately disclose an NSF fee on a re-presented item, if applicable.

If using FIPCO forms, the WBA 384 Deposit Account Rules document was revised in March 2021 to further clarify that a financial institution may charge a fee each time the same check, transfer request, or withdrawal request is returned unpaid. Language was also added to state that the depositor should review the schedule of fees for a listing and amount of such fees. Additionally, the revised form instruction also set forth that if the user intends to charge a fee each time the same check, transfer request, or withdrawal request is returned unpaid, it is important that the schedule of fees explains the financial institution’s intent to charge a fee each time rather than one fee regardless of the number of times the check, transfer request, or withdrawal request is returned unpaid.

If scrutinized by a regulator for charging multiple NSF fees for a re-presented item, I recommend the bank explain to the regulator the actual presentment process and any inability to identify items resubmitted by a merchant for payment.

Wisconsin DFI sets escrow interest rate at 0.09% for 2022

By Scott Birrenkott

Q: Has the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions set the Interest Rate on Required Residential Mortgage Loan Escrow Accounts for 2022?

A: Yes. The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, Division of Banking (DFI), has calculated the interest rate required to be paid on escrow accounts for residential mortgage loans subject to Wisconsin Statute Section 138.052(5) to be 0.09% for 2022. The interest rate shall remain in effect through December 31, 2022.

Note that while Wisconsin Section 138.052 previously required financial institutions to pay interest on the balance on any required escrow accounts, Wisconsin Act 340 modified this requirement so that it only applies to loans originated prior to the effective date of the Act (April 18, 2018). Thus, financial institutions must continue to pay interest on required escrow accounts prior to April 18, 2018. Any escrow account associated with a loan originated after the effective date of Act 340, 138.052 no longer requires payment of interest. Wis. Stat. Section 138.052 applies to loans secured by a first lien or first lien equivalent in a 1-4 family dwelling that is used as the borrower’s principal residence.

The escrow rate notice may be found here.

By Scott Birrenkott

Q: Has CFPB Released its Truth in Lending (Regulation Z) Annual Threshold Adjustments for 2022?

A: Yes. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has revised the threshold dollar amounts for Regulation Z, which implements the Truth in Lending Act (TILA). Specifically, has revised the dollar amounts for provisions implementing amendments to TILA under the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (CARD Act), the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA) and the ability to repay/qualified mortgage (ATR/QM), and the dollar threshold for exempt consumer credit transactions. Effective January 1, 2022, the following thresholds will be adjusted to the new dollar amounts.

For HOEPA loans, the adjusted total loan amount threshold is $22,969, an increase from $22,052 in 2021. The adjusted points and fees dollar trigger for high-cost mortgages is $1,148, an increase from $1,103 from 2021.

For qualified mortgages (QMs) under the General QM loan definition in §1026.43(e)(2), the thresholds for the spread between the annual percentage rate (APR) and the average prime offer rate (APOR) in 2022 will be: 2.25 or more percentage points for a first-lien covered transaction with a loan amount greater than or equal to $114,847; 3.5 or more percentage points for a first-lien covered transaction with a loan amount greater than or equal to $68,908 but less than $114,847; 6.5 or more percentage points for a first-lien covered transaction with a loan amount less than $68,908; 6.5 or more percentage points for a first-lien covered transaction secured by a manufactured home with a loan amount less than $114,847; 3.5 or more percentage points for a subordinate-lien covered transaction with a loan amount greater than or equal to $68,908; or 6.5 or more percentage points for a subordinate-lien covered transaction with a loan amount less than $68,908.

For all categories of QMs, the thresholds for total points and fees in 2022 will be 3 percent of the total loan amount for a loan greater than or equal to $114,847; $3,445 for a loan amount greater than or equal to $68,908 but less than $114,847; 5 percent of the total loan amount for a loan greater than or equal to $22,969 but less than $68,908; $1,148 for a loan amount greater than or equal to $14,356 but less than $22,969; and 8 percent of the total loan amount for a loan amount less than $14,356.

For open-end consumer credit plans under the CARD Act amendments to TILA, the adjusted dollar amount in 2022 for the safe harbor for a first violation penalty fee will increase to $30 and the adjusted dollar amount for the safe harbor for a subsequent violation penalty fee will increase to $41.

Lastly, based on the annual percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers as of June 1, 2021, the dollar threshold for exempt consumer credit transactions under Regulation Z will increase from $58,300 to $61,000 effective January 1, 2022.

If you have any questions on this topic or other matters of compliance, contact WBA’s legal call program at 608-441-1200 or wbalegal@wisbank.com.

On Tuesday, WBA hosted a virtual meeting with bankers and OCC to discuss concerns of the industry and to gather insight of OCC’s perspective as Wisconsin’s banking industry continues moving forward through pandemic recovery. Discussion included: CTR filings for bank cash orders handled by Thillens, continued efforts of CECL implementation, monitoring CRE and the impact of vacancies as office space needs change, thinking through liquidity contingencies, LIBOR, cybersecurity and importance of good business resumption plans, importance of strong underwriting practices, awareness of loan downpayments amounts, and careful review of evaluations due to the current hot real estate market. Bankers shared concerns over exams losing the focus of being risk-based.  

Those attending the meeting included National Bank of Commerce President and CEO Steven Burgess, National Exchange Bank & Trust President and CEO James Chatterton, OCC Assistant Deputy Comptroller Mike Larabee, OCC Associate Deputy Comptroller Ben Lemanski, and OCC Central District Deputy Comptroller Brian James. WBA staff present included Rose Oswald Poels, Daryll Lund, Scott Birrenkott, and Heather MacKinnon.

When asked of their current expectations regarding struggling borrowers, OCC stated they are using the same approach as was taken during the pandemic; banks should continue to work with struggling borrowers, document position taken, and to feel free to have further conversations with the exam team and OCC district office regarding the treatment or classification of a particular borrower. OCC also shared that discussions continue at a high level on the topics of fair lending, climate changes, bank collaborations with fintechs, and OCC’s efforts to work collaboratively on CRA.  

WBA continues to engage in small group virtual meetings with each of the banking regulators over the course of the next few months. Normally, we host these meetings in person in Madison in addition to visiting the industry’s regulators in Washington each fall. If you are interested in participating in a small group virtual conversation with your bank’s regulator, please contact WBA’s VP-Legal Heather MacKinnon at hmackinnon@wisbank.com. In addition to sharing which regulator is your bank’s primary federal regulator, please also provide Heather with any specific topic or issue you’d like to make sure is raised during these conversations.   

By, Alex Paniagua

The below article is the Special Focus section of the July 2019 Compliance Journal. The full issue may be viewed by clicking here.

On July 3, 2019, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (FRB) and the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (CFPB) published a jointly issued final rule (rule) amending Regulation CC that implements a requirement to periodically adjust dollar amounts under the Expedited Funds Availability Act (EFA Act). This requirement stems from a Dodd-Frank Act amendment to the EFA Act a number of years ago. 

The rule also extends Regulation CC’s coverage to American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam, and makes certain other technical amendments. This article will only focus on the dollar amount adjustment provisions of the rule.

Specified Dollar Amounts Subject to Adjustment

Subpart B of Regulation CC implements the requirements set forth in the EFA Act regarding the availability schedules within which institutions must make funds available for withdrawal, exceptions to those schedules, disclosure of funds availability policies, and payment of interest. 

The EFA Act and subpart B of Regulation CC contain the following specified dollar amounts concerning funds availability which are subject to adjustment: (1) The minimum amount of deposited funds that institutions must make available for withdrawal by opening of business on the next day for certain check deposits (“minimum amount’’) under 229.10(c)(1)(vii); (2) the amount an institution must make available when using the EFA Act’s permissive adjustment to the funds availability rules for withdrawals by cash or other means (‘‘cash withdrawal amount’’) under 229.12(d); (3) the amount of funds deposited by certain checks in a new account that are subject to next-day availability (‘‘new account amount’’) under 229.13(a); (4) the threshold for using an exception to the funds availability schedules if the aggregate amount of checks on any one banking day exceed the threshold amount (‘‘large deposit threshold’’) under 229.13(b); (5) the threshold for determining whether an account has been repeatedly overdrawn (‘‘repeatedly overdrawn threshold’’) under 229.13(d); and (6) the civil liability amounts for failing to comply with the EFA Act’s requirements under 229.21(a).

Frequency of Adjustments; Initial and Subsequent Adjustment Dates

The rule specifies that amounts for the six enumerated categories listed above must be adjusted every five years in accordance with a calculation set forth in the rule, with the first adjustment taking effect on July 1, 2020. Thus, each subsequent adjustment following July 1, 2020 will take effect every fifth July 1, (e.g. July 1, 2025; July 1, 2030, etc.).

Calculation Methodology of the Adjustment Amount

The adjustment amount will be calculated across an “inflation measurement period” (defined in the regulation) by the aggregate percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), rounded to one decimal, and then multiplied by the applicable existing dollar amount, the result of which being rounded to the nearest multiple of $25. However, no dollar amount adjustment will be made if the aggregate percentage change is zero or is negative, or when the aggregate percentage change multiplied by the applicable existing dollar amount and rounded to the nearest multiple of $25 results in no change.

When there is an aggregate negative percentage change over an inflation measurement period, or when an aggregate positive percentage change over an inflation measurement period multiplied by the applicable existing dollar amount and rounded to the nearest multiple of $25 results in no change, the aggregate percentage change over the inflation measurement period will be included in the calculation to determine the percentage change at the end of the subsequent inflation measurement period. That is, the cumulative change in the CPI–W over the two (or more) inflation measurement periods will be used in the calculation until the cumulative change results in publication of an adjusted dollar amount in the regulation. 

Adjustments will likely be published in the Federal Register at least one year in advance of their effective date. The Agencies stated they anticipate publishing in the first half of 2024 the adjustment amounts that will take effect on July 1, 2025.

Initial Adjustment Amounts

The following is a list of current dollar amounts that apply prior to July 1, 2020, and the set of first adjustment amounts that will take effect on July 1, 2020.

  1. For purposes of the minimum amount under § 229.10(c)(1)(vii), the dollar amount in effect prior to July 1, 2020 is $200; effective July 1, 2020, the amount will be $225;
  2. For purposes of the cash withdrawal amount under § 229.12(d), the dollar amount in effect prior to July 1, 2020, the amount is $400; effective July 1, 2020, the amount will be $450;
  3. For purposes of the new account amount, large deposit threshold, and the repeatedly overdrawn threshold under §S 229.13(a), (b), and (d) respectively, the dollar amount in effect prior to July 1, 2020, the amount is $5,000; effective July 1, 2020, the amount will be $5,525; and
  4. For purposes of the civil liability amounts under § 229.21(a), the dollar amounts in effect prior to July 1, 2020, are $100, $1,000, and $500,000 respectively; effective July 1, 2020, the amounts will be $100, $1,100, and $552,500 respectively.

Updating Disclosures & Notices

Institutions will need to update funds availability policies, disclosures, and notices (including change-in-terms notices for existing accounts) that will be provided on and after the applicable effective date to reflect the appropriate adjusted amount(s). It should be noted that rule has not changed the timing or content requirements for such policies, disclosures, and notices.

Revised and New Commentary Examples in the Regulation

The rule has revised and added certain examples in the commentary to reflect the July 1, 2020 adjustment amounts, and to address the new adjustment amount calculation methodology. However, the rule neither addresses nor modifies model hold notice verbiage or format, as a separate rulemaking is underway for that purpose.

Conclusion

Fortunately, the rule provides a substantial period of time before the first set of adjusted amounts is effective on July 1, 2020. Institutions should read the rule and begin reviewing their funds availability policies, disclosures, and notices to identify needed changes, and devise an implementation strategy for accounts opened prior to July 1, 2020, and those opened on or after that date. In addition, the plan should address procedures for future adjustments. The final rule may be viewed at: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-07-03/pdf/2019-13668.pdf 

By, Ally Bates

Events

A summary of the bank funding types, liquidity issues and management of capital. Learn what funding is used by banks; how liquidity needs may be addressed by storing liquidity on the balance sheet or by securing additional funding; and bank capital’s purpose, regulatory requirements and the effect on profitability.

Audience: This course is designed for individuals involved in managing the bank’s investment portfolio.

The required textbook for this course is Bank Management, 8th Edition.

IMPORTANT:  Be sure to order the required book for this course if you do not have it.  We recommend that you FIRST select and add your course session to the shopping cart, then select your preferred format of book from the “Recommended Training” options that appear alongside the shopping cart.

*Please note this book is used for all four Bank Management courses: Managing Funding, Liquidity, and Capital, Managing Interest Rate Risk, Analyzing Bank Performance, and Managing the Bank’s Investment Portfolio.*

Price: $660