On May 10, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) held a field hearing and issued a notice and request for information related to the small business lending market. Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act amended the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to require “financial institutions” (as defined in Section 1071) to compile, maintain and report information concerning credit applications made by women-owned, minority-owned and small businesses. The purpose of the data collection is to facilitate enforcement of fair lending laws and to enable communities, governmental entities and creditors to identify business and community development needs and opportunities of women-owned, minority-owned and small businesses.
Continue Reading CFPB Requests Information Regarding the Small Business Lending Market

On Thursday, June 2, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released proposed rules affecting the payday and short-term loan industry as part of its authority to prohibit the use of unfair or abusive acts and practices in connection with the provision of consumer financial products and services under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
Continue Reading Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Releases Proposed Payday Rules

On March 21, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (collectively, the “regulators”) issued new guidance related to the application of customer identification (CIP) program requirements to prepaid card customers. The regulators issued the guidance in connection with their authority under Section 326 of the US Patriot Act.
Continue Reading Regulators Issue New Guidance Related to Certain Prepaid Cards

On January 22, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued the “Government Securities Act” booklet of the Comptroller’s Handbook. This new booklet, part of the Securities Compliance series, consolidates certain guidance from the Comptroller’s Handbook for Compliance, “Securities Activities” booklet, issued in September 1991, and the Comptroller’s Handbook booklet “Investment Securities,” issued in March 1990. The new booklet also replaces section 563, “Government Securities Act,” issued in May 1998, as part of the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) Examination Handbook for the examination of federal savings associations (FSAs).
Continue Reading OCC Issues New Comptroller’s Handbook Sections Relating to Securities Compliance, Litigation and Conflicts of Interest

On January 20, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) finalized two minor modifications to the “Know Before You Owe” mortgage disclosure rules. The changes, which were proposed in October 2014, address when consumers will receive updated disclosures after locking in an interest rate, and how consumers receive information regarding certain construction loans.

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On December 16, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS), a state banking watchdog group, released a draft model regulatory framework on virtual currency (Draft Framework) that is less stringent than the originally released BitLicense proposal from the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS). 
Continue Reading Conference of State Bank Supervisors Issues Draft Model Regulatory Framework on Virtual Currency

On December 18, New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky delivered remarks on the revised BitLicense framework at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, DC. If adopted, the proposed BitLicense framework would regulate and license companies performing virtual currency business activities. Superintendent Lawsky explained that the changes to the BitLicense framework were intended to provide additional flexibility to virtual currency firms while maintaining consumer protection. 
Continue Reading DFS Superintendent Lawsky Discusses Revised BitLicense Framework

On January 30, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) published two administrative rulings (Administrative Rulings) clarifying that certain participants in the Bitcoin economy (and other convertible virtual currency economies) do not constitute money services businesses (MSBs) under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).  The Administrative Rulings elaborate upon guidance issued by FinCEN on March 18, 2013 (Guidance), which excluded from the definition of MSB “users” (Users) that obtain convertible virtual currency and use such convertible virtual currency to purchase real or virtual goods or services. In the Guidance, FinCEN established that Users are not MSBs since they are not engaged in money transmission services (i.e., “accepting” and “transmitting” currency, funds or other value).
Continue Reading FinCEN Issues MSB Guidance for Bitcoin Miners, Investors and Software Developers

On January 10, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a final rule (ATR Rule) to implement provisions related to the ability to repay (ATR) standards and the definition of a “qualified mortgage” (QM) as required by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the Dodd-Frank Act). The final rule becomes effective in January 2014.


Continue Reading Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Releases Final Qualified Mortgage Rule and Proposed Amendments to Ability to Repay Rule