OCC Hosts Compliance and Operational Risk Workshops in St. Louis

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) will host two workshops July 26-27 in St. Louis for directors of community banks and federal savings associations supervised by the OCC.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) will host two workshops July 26-27 in St. Louis for directors of community banks and federal savings associations supervised by the OCC.

Read more / Original news source: https://www.occ.gov/news-issuances/news-releases/2022/nr-occ-2022-78.html

Rep. Lee commends House committee advancement of cannabis amendment

U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) is commending the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations action advancing an amendment protecting legal cannabis programs.© Shutterstock The committee’s advancement of the fiscal year 2023 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies bill included the Lee-Joyce amendment, which was introduced by Lee and U.S. Rep. David Joyce (R-OH). The amendment […]

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U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) is commending the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations action advancing an amendment protecting legal cannabis programs.

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The committee’s advancement of the fiscal year 2023 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies bill included the Lee-Joyce amendment, which was introduced by Lee and U.S. Rep. David Joyce (R-OH).

The amendment prohibits the Department of Justice (DOJ) from interfering with states, territories, and tribes, allowing them to uphold their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana.

“This amendment simply restores the protections, preventing the Department of Justice from prosecuting those that comply with their state, tribal or territorial laws,” Lee, a member of the House Appropriations Committee and chair of the Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, said. “Currently, there is a gap between federal law and those states, territories, and tribes with legal cannabis. This amendment will also prevent the inefficient use of DOJ resources to prosecute those in compliance with state, territory, and tribal laws.”

Lee said most Americans reside in a jurisdiction where the medical or adult use of cannabis is legal under state law.

“We believe that the federal government should not interfere with these programs and should respect the will of the people residing in these states, territories, and tribal jurisdictions,” she said. “It is critically important that we protect states, territories, and tribes that have made progress toward restorative justice by not interfering with their local laws.”

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Read more / Original news source: https://financialregnews.com/rep-lee-commends-house-committee-advancement-of-cannabis-amendment/

SEC charges Ernst & Young for allegations of employees cheating on CPA exams

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently outlined charges against Ernst & Young LLP, alleging the audit firms’ professionals cheated on exams required to obtain and maintain Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licenses.© Shutterstock The SEC also alleges Ernst & Young withheld evidence from the SEC’s Enforcement Division during the Division’s investigation of the matter. […]

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently outlined charges against Ernst & Young LLP, alleging the audit firms’ professionals cheated on exams required to obtain and maintain Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licenses.

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The SEC also alleges Ernst & Young withheld evidence from the SEC’s Enforcement Division during the Division’s investigation of the matter.

Ernst & Young admitted to the facts underlying the SEC’s charges and agreed to pay a $100 million penalty and undertake extensive remedial measures to fix the ethical issues.

“This action involves breaches of trust by gatekeepers within the gatekeeper entrusted to audit many of our Nation’s public companies,” SEC Enforcement Division Director Gurbir S. Grewal said. “It’s simply outrageous that the very professionals responsible for catching cheating by clients cheated on ethics exams of all things. And it’s equally shocking that Ernst & Young hindered our investigation of this misconduct. This action should serve as a clear message that the SEC will not tolerate integrity failures by independent auditors who choose the easier wrong over the harder right.”

According to the SEC, Ernst & Young admitted that over multiple years a significant number of the company’s audit professionals cheated on the ethics component of CPA exams and various continuing professional education courses required to maintain CPA licenses, including ones ensuring accountants can properly evaluate whether clients’ financial statements comply with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

“The SEC will not permit the submission of misleading information or any action that delays or frustrates our mandate to protect investors and our markets,” SEC Enforcement Division Associate Director Melissa R. Hodgman said. “Ernst & Young faces significant sanctions and extensive remediation to ensure that its culture and conduct meet the ethical standards required of those responsible for the integrity of our capital markets.”

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Read more / Original news source: https://financialregnews.com/sec-charges-ernst-young-for-allegations-of-employees-cheating-on-cpa-exams/

CFPB rule affirms that states can establish their own credit reporting laws

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a rule affirming the ability of states to establish their own fair credit reporting laws. © Shutterstock This allows states to enact state-level laws that are stricter than the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), reflecting the challenges and risks affecting their local economies and residents. For example, […]

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a rule affirming the ability of states to establish their own fair credit reporting laws.

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This allows states to enact state-level laws that are stricter than the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), reflecting the challenges and risks affecting their local economies and residents. For example, tenant screening reports may contain questionable or incorrect information that impedes renters’ access to housing. States can enact protections against abuse to mitigate these consequences.

“Given the intrusive surveillance that Americans face every day, it is critical that states can protect their citizens from abuse and misuse of data,” CFPB Director Rohit Chopra said. “The legal interpretation issued today makes clear that federal law does not automatically hit delete on state data protections.”

Congress made clear when the Fair Credit Reporting Act was enacted in 1970 that it preempts only narrow categories of state laws. This new rule affirms that, saying states have broad authority to protect people from harm due to credit reporting issues. It adds that state laws are not preempted unless they conflict with the Fair Credit Reporting Act or fall within narrow preemption categories. As federal regulators learned from the 2007-2008 mortgage crisis, federal preemption of state laws can stop state regulators from identifying dangerous patterns and mitigating market risks.

The issuance of this rule arises from the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General notifying the CFPB of pending litigation that included an allegation the FCRA preempted a New Jersey consumer protection statute.

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Read more / Original news source: https://financialregnews.com/cfpb-rule-affirms-that-states-can-establish-their-own-credit-reporting-laws/

INX Digital inks deal with SICPA to help governments digitize their monetary systems

INX Digital, a broker-dealer and owner of a digital asset trading platform, signed an agreement with a Swiss company, SICPA, to help governments digitize their monetary systems.© Shutterstock The partnership between INX and SICPA — a leading provider of security inks and identification, traceability and authentication technologies – paves the way for the development of […]

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INX Digital, a broker-dealer and owner of a digital asset trading platform, signed an agreement with a Swiss company, SICPA, to help governments digitize their monetary systems.

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The partnership between INX and SICPA — a leading provider of security inks and identification, traceability and authentication technologies – paves the way for the development of a new solution to utilize digital currencies in a secure, scalable environment. Ultimately, the planned joint venture between INX and SICPA aims to allow governments to expand their access to payments infrastructure, facilitate cross-border payments, maintain sovereign currency control through rigorous regulation, and introduce privacy and safety measures.

Under the terms of the agreement, INX will work with SICPA to establish a blockchain solution for Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) and the supporting ecosystem. It will be designed to assist clients in bolstering monetary sovereignty and efficiently growing overall country GDP. The two companies plan to expand interoperability between different stakeholders across borders through this joint venture.

“We believe that the unique form of CBDC we are working toward is an ecosystem and not only a tech solution,” INX’s Deputy CEO and COO Itai Avneri said. “Along with SICPA, our distinguished partner, we harness the power of blockchain (trust, efficiency, cross-border, programmability, compliance, traceability, and more) to cultivate a holistic solution that addresses the key requirements for CBDC, which include privacy-preserving, security, financial inclusion, resilience, and more.”

As an advisor to central banks worldwide, SICPA has expertise in identification and security solutions, strong digital capabilities, and extensive knowledge of the use of physical cash that allows for the development of forgery-proof security features to protect monetary sovereignty.

“In line with our purpose of enabling trust, our ambition is to develop with our partners a CBDC solution that is efficient, inclusive, and safe, enabling trustworthy and privacy-preserving transactions for all, complementary to the use of cash,” SICPA CEO and Chairman Philippe Amon said. “We look forward to collaborating with INX and leveraging our extensive experience in working with central banks to develop a relevant CBDC solution.”

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Read more / Original news source: https://financialregnews.com/inx-digital-inks-deal-with-sicpa-to-help-governments-digitize-their-monetary-systems/

CFPB Rescinds Special Regulatory Treatment for Payactiv

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued an order today terminating Payactiv’s Sandbox Approval Order relating to its earned wage access products. The CFPB had given Payactiv special regulatory treatment, including as to liability under a…

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued an order today terminating Payactiv’s Sandbox Approval Order relating to its earned wage access products. The CFPB had given Payactiv special regulatory treatment, including as to liability under a relevant federal consumer financial law with respect to these products. Payactiv requested the termination in order to make changes to its fee model.

Read more / Original news source: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/newsroom/cfpb-rescinds-special-regulatory-treatment-for-payactiv/

Industry trade groups urge CFPB to extend comment period on late fees rule

Several industry trade associations are urging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to grant a 60-day extension for comments on its proposed rule on credit card late fees that financial institutions collect. © Shutterstock The proposed rule would reduce the $12 billion financial institutions collect in credit card late fees each year. “In making this […]

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Several industry trade associations are urging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to grant a 60-day extension for comments on its proposed rule on credit card late fees that financial institutions collect.

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The proposed rule would reduce the $12 billion financial institutions collect in credit card late fees each year.

“In making this request, the undersigned Associations note that CFPB is choosing to reopen a rule that was enacted by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve in 2010 with little controversy and has continued to operate without substantial amendment through the tenure of former CFPB leaders,” wrote the groups to CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “The most recent adjustment to the allowable late fees occurred in just the last year when the CFPB under your leadership published a final rule setting the current first instance safe harbor ($30) and the second instance safe harbor ($41).”

The letter was signed by the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU), Credit Union National Association (CUNA), American Bankers Association, Bank Policy Institute, Consumer Bankers Association, and Independent Community Bankers of America.

The groups noted that the CFPB’s regulatory action on fees was not included in its spring 2022 regulatory agenda, so they requested more time to process and analyze the proposed rule. They said the typical 30-day comment period is not a sufficient enough period of time to go through the large volume of data.

“The information sought in this ANPR is complex and comprehensive, requiring significant analysis and internal coordination to enable firms to provide a meaningful contribution to the public comment record in furtherance of the CFPB’s consideration of credit card late fees and late payments,” the letter reads. “Many of the data points requested have not previously been requested by the CFPB, and respondents require more time than has been provided to properly validate their data production methods and to actually produce what is expected to be a large volume of data.”

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Read more / Original news source: https://financialregnews.com/industry-trade-groups-urge-cfpb-to-extend-comment-period-on-late-fees-rule/

OCC report examines overall mortgage performance

A recently released Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) report found that the performance of the federal banking system first-lien mortgages improved during the first quarter of 2022.© Shutterstock The OCC Mortgage Metrics Report, First Quarter 2022 determined 96.9 percent of mortgages included in the analysis were current and performing at the end […]

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A recently released Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) report found that the performance of the federal banking system first-lien mortgages improved during the first quarter of 2022.

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The OCC Mortgage Metrics Report, First Quarter 2022 determined 96.9 percent of mortgages included in the analysis were current and performing at the end of the quarter, in comparison to 94.2 percent the prior year.

Additionally, seriously delinquent mortgages were at 1.8 percent in the first quarter of 2022, compared to 2.3 percent in the prior quarter and 4.6 percent a year ago. The OCC defines seriously delinquent mortgages as those that are 60 or more days past due and all mortgages held by bankrupt borrowers whose payments are 30 or more days past due.

There were 19,524 new foreclosures initiated by servicers during the first quarter of this year, with new foreclosure volume in the first quarter of 2022 being comparable to pre-COVID-19 pandemic foreclosure volumes and reflects the expiration of federal foreclosure moratoria.

According to the assessment, the 42,427 modifications completed by servicers in the first quarter of 2022 represented a decrease of 10.7 percent from the previous quarter – with 80.8 percent of the modifications reducing borrowers’ monthly payments.

The report also showed that first-lien mortgages made up 22 percent of all residential mortgage debt outstanding in the United States or approximately 12.2 million loans totaling $2.6 trillion in principal balances.

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Read more / Original news source: https://financialregnews.com/occ-report-examines-overall-mortgage-performance/

JEC issues response to president’s economic report

The U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC) released its response to the Economic Report of the President, making recommendations to improve the economy. © Shutterstock The JEC is required by law to respond to the president’s report, which is released each year by the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). This year’s economic report, released in […]

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The U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC) released its response to the Economic Report of the President, making recommendations to improve the economy.

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The JEC is required by law to respond to the president’s report, which is released each year by the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). This year’s economic report, released in April, was the first by President Joe Biden.

The JEC response outlines a path forward to lower costs and advance economic growth. Specifically, the JEC calls for investments that improve productivity and increase labor force participation. That, combined with efforts to ensure the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share of taxes, will help bring down inflationary pressures and promote economic growth.

“President Biden inherited an economy in turmoil. Working together, the Biden Administration and Democrats in Congress contained the economic fallout and jumpstarted a record-breaking economic rebound,” U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), chair of the JEC, said. “Today, the U.S. has recovered 96% of the jobs lost during the pandemic, and the speed and strength of our economic recovery has exceeded expectations across nearly every metric. Even as we faced new waves of the pandemic, we met them from a position of strength. Our economy remained resilient, and demand remained strong.”

The JEC noted that the United States had added almost 8.7 million jobs under Biden, and the unemployment rate had fallen to 3.6 percent – down from 6.4 percent when Biden took office. However, it notes the challenges created by pandemic supply chain disruptions and inflation.

“But decades of declining public investment eroded the underlying foundation of our economy, leading to corporate concentration, vulnerable supply chains, and fragile household finances. The coronavirus pandemic exposed these cracks in our foundation, and Putin’s recent invasion of Ukraine has exposed the precariousness of dependence on fossil fuels,” Beyer said. “Emergency pandemic relief was effective at helping families weather the worst of the coronavirus, and now more is needed to alleviate inequalities, bring down costs, and create economic opportunity for all.”

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Read more / Original news source: https://financialregnews.com/jec-issues-response-to-presidents-economic-report/

CFPB Moves to Reduce Junk Fees Charged by Debt Collectors

Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued an advisory opinion affirming that federal law often prohibits debt collectors from charging “pay-to-pay” fees. These charges, commonly described by debt collectors as “convenience fees,” ar…

Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued an advisory opinion affirming that federal law often prohibits debt collectors from charging “pay-to-pay” fees. These charges, commonly described by debt collectors as “convenience fees,” are imposed on consumers who want to make a payment in a particular way, such as online or by phone.

Read more / Original news source: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/newsroom/cfpb-moves-to-reduce-junk-fees-charged-by-debt-collectors/