On January 30, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the Board) adopted a final rule to simplify and increase the transparency of determinations of when a company has the ability to exercise a controlling influence over another company for purposes of the Bank Holding Company Act or the Home Owners’ Loan Act. The rule takes the form of amendments to Regulation Y.
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On January 30, the five regulators responsible for Section 13 of the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (the “Volcker Rule”) each approved a set of amendments intended to modify and clarify the covered fund provisions of the regulations implementing the Volcker Rule. (The five regulators are the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission.)
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On January 9, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) (together known as the Banking Agencies) published proposed rules in the Federal Register that are designed to make the regulatory framework related to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) more “objective, transparent, consistent, and easy to understand” (Proposal). The last major revisions to the CRA were made in 1995.

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On December 3, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the National Credit Union Administration (the Banking Agencies) released interagency guidance related to the use of alternative data for purposes of underwriting credit (the Guidance).
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On October 9, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) proposed regulations to eliminate tax issues that might otherwise arise due to the modification of instruments and transactions as a result of discontinuation of interbank offered rates (IBORs) used in debt instruments and non-debt contracts (such as derivatives). Under current rules, material alteration of the terms of instruments and contracts can result in tax events, including the realization of gain or loss for income tax purposes.

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On September 17, the directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) approved a joint notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) with respect to the prudential regulator margin rules for non-cleared swaps. The joint form of the NPR indicates that the other prudential swap regulators (the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Farm Credit Administration and the Federal Housing Finance Agency) will all be approving the same NPR in the near future.
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On August 20, the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) approved their version of a set of amendments intended to simplify some of the requirements of the regulations implementing Section 13 of the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (the “Volcker Rule”), which was enacted as Section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The Volcker Rule generally prohibits banking entities from engaging in proprietary trading and from owning or controlling hedge funds or private equity funds subject to numerous qualifications and exemptions set forth in the Volcker Rule regulations, which are identical sets of rules adopted by each of the Volcker Rule regulators (the FDIC, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Federal Reserve), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the Securities and Exchange Commission). These final amendments incorporate the responses of the Volcker Rule regulators to the numerous comments they received when they initially proposed a set of amendments in 2018.
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On April 29, Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Chris Giancarlo sent a letter to Randy Quarles, the Vice Chair for Supervision of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, in which he proposed that the US regulators responsible for the administering the margin rules for uncleared swaps should collaborate in providing some relief to non-dealer swap market participants who may become subject to initial margin requirements in 2020. The specific relief would be the issuance of the same guidance issued by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) and the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) in March (for more information, see the March 8, 2019 edition of Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest), which stated that in-scope parties do not have to put in place compliant documentation and custodial relationships if there is no expectation that the exposure associated with their swaps will actually exceed the regulatory threshold for posting initial margin ($50 million for the United States).
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On March 4, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) to seek information from the public about certain issues related to Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. In particular, the CFPB issued the ANPR to obtain more information (1) about the relationship between an assessment of a consumer’s “ability to repay” and the terms of a PACE financing agreement, and (2) related to the extension of Truth In Lending Act (TILA) general civil liability to PACE transactions.

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