On July 21, the Federal Reserve System’s Faster Payments Task Force issued its “U.S. Path to Faster Payments – Final Report Part Two: A Call to Action.”
The report stated the U.S. payments industry has a “historic opportunity to realize the vision for a payment system … that is faster, ubiquitous, broadly inclusive, safe, highly secured, and efficient by 2020.” It calls for all stakeholders, including competing faster payments solution operators, payment service providers, end users, and others to work collaboratively to creating a system where “all payment providers are capable of receiving faster payments and making those funds available to customers in real time.” The report offers recommendations for a final governance framework, enhanced infrastructure and ongoing evolution.
Read the full report here.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation announced July 31 it is amending its regulations which require insured depository institutions in a troubled condition to keep records relating to qualified financial contracts to which they are party. The final rule augments the scope of QFC records required to be maintained by a depository institution that is subject to the FDIC’s recordkeeping requirements.
The amendments are effective Oct. 1.
To learn more, read the Federal Register notice.
On July 19, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Reserve announced a notice of proposed rulemaking to raise the threshold for commercial real estate transactions requiring an appraisal to $400,000.
The agencies believe raising the threshold from its current level of $250,000 will significantly reduce the number of transactions that require an appraisal and will not pose a threat to the safety and soundness of financial institutions, according to a joint agency news release.
The proposal would require that commercial real estate transactions at or below the new threshold receive an evaluation instead of an appraisal. Comments on the proposal will be accepted through Sept. 29.
The full press release is available here.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation announced July 26 the agency’s update to its Risk Management Manual of Examination Policies.
The Report of Examination Instructions were updated primarily to incorporate guidance from the FDIC Board of Directors to examiners regarding supervisory recommendations, including matters requiring board attention and deviations from safety and soundness principles underlying statements of policy. Instructions also were added for new Report of Examination schedules or updated for existing schedules as needed. The updated manual is available on the FDIC’s website as a resource for all FDIC-supervised institutions.
To learn more, click here.
On July 19, Acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika discussed the agency’s initiatives to support responsible innovation during remarks before the Exchequer Club in Washington, D.C. He also discussed the agency’s work related to granting national bank charters to financial technology companies.
Click here to read the full speech.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation on July 18 revised its guidelines for appeals of certain material supervisory determinations to expand the circumstances under which banks may appeal such a determination and to enhance consistency with the appeals processes of other federal banking agencies. The revised guidelines are effective immediately. The FDIC sought comment on proposed changes in July 2016. The revised guidelines adopt the amendments as proposed in July, and include additional amendments based on feedback received from commenters.
To learn more, read the FDIC news release.
The National Credit Union Administration is hosting its third and final round for low-income credit unions to qualify to use the streamlined application for certification as community development financial institutions. The deadline for the final CDFI certification round is Sept. 1.
The NCUA and the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund developed a streamlined process for low-income credit unions to submit data on loan originations and their target markets to the NCUA’s Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives. The agency will then analyze each credit union’s products and services and other indicators to determine its likelihood for certification.
If the credit union is qualified to use the streamlined process, the NCUA will provide an application form and the data necessary to complete it. The credit union then completes the application and sends it to the CDFI Fund for final determination of certification.
Eighteen federally insured, low-income credit unions already have obtained certification through the streamlined process. Low-income credit unions that do not qualify for the streamlined program may still obtain a CDFI certification through the CDFI Fund’s standard application.
To learn more, click here.
The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control on July 25 updated frequently asked questions on President Trump’s recent announcement regarding changes to the Cuba sanctions program.
The FAQs address how the changes in the Trump administration’s policy will impact relations with Cuba, including travel, business interactions involving U.S. companies doing business in Cuba, and other issues. The OFAC is expected to issue regulatory amendments on the announced changes in the coming months.
To read the FAQs, click here.
On July 27, the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced that CSE TransTel Pte. Ltd. (“TransTel”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the international technology group CSE Global Limited, both of which are located in Singapore, has agreed to pay more than $12 million to settle its potential civil liability for 104 apparent violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations.
Between on or about June 4, 2012, and on or about March 27, 2013, TransTel is alleged to have caused at least six separate financial institutions to engage in the unauthorized exportation or re-exportation of financial services from the U.S. to Iran by originating 104 U.S. dollar wire transfers totaling more than $11 million involving Iran. The OFAC determined TransTel did not voluntarily self-disclose the apparent violations, and they constitute an egregious case.
For more information on the OFAC enforcement action, click here.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network on July 27 announced the assessment of civil money penalties of $110 million against BTC-e, also known as Canton Business Corporation, for willfully violating U.S. anti-money laundering laws. FinCen also assessed a $12 million penalty against Russian national Alexander Vinnik, one of the operators of BTE-c, for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act.
BTC-e is an Internet-based, foreign-located money transmitter that exchanges fiat currency as well as the convertible virtual currencies Bitcoin, Litecoin, Namecoin, Novacoin, Peercoin, Ethereum and Dash. BTC-e and Vinnik have been indicted in the Northern District of California for money laundering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, engaging in unlawful monetary transactions, and the operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business. BTC-e has conducted more than $296 million in transactions of Bitcoin alone and tens of thousands of transactions in other convertible virtual currencies. The agency said BTC-e operated a virtual currency exchange for facilitating ransomware and Dark Net drug sales. This was FinCEN’s first enforcement action against a foreign-located MSB.
To learn more, read the FinCEN news release.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control announced July 20 the assessment of a $2 million civil monetary penalty against ExxonMobil Corp. of Irving, Texas, including its U.S. subsidiaries ExxonMobil Development Co. and ExxonMobil Oil Corp., for violations of the Ukraine-Related Sanctions Regulations.
The OFAC found that in May 2014, ExxonMobil violated the Ukraine-related rules when the presidents of its U.S. subsidiaries signed eight legal documents related to oil and gas projects in Russia with Igor Sechin, president of Rosneft OAO, and an individual identified on the OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons. OFAC also determined ExxonMobil did not voluntarily self-disclose the violations to OFAC, and that the violations constitute an egregious case.
To learn more about the enforcement action, click here.