December 16, 2021
Paving the Payments Future
Your State Could Decide to Open a Bank

For many Americans with limited or no experience with bank accounts, navigating the fees and policies that would make them account holders can be intimidating. And many small business owners seeking loans just can’t meet the standards set by traditional banks.

While many retail banks have worked to demystify procedures and lower fees, advocates for state- or city-run banks say they can do it better by putting the public good ahead of profits.

The speed and convenience of accessing pandemic aid through direct deposit has highlighted the disadvantages of lacking a bank account, heightening interest in public banks. California this year enacted a law that could put the state on the path to government-run banks, and 13 other states considered similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Supporters say they are trying to create an alternative to commercial banks that could reach the unbanked or steer investment to underserved areas. But detractors, including commercial banks and some skeptical researchers, argue that retail banks already provide consumer-friendly services and that public banks might be magnets for political interference.

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New Mexico Credit Union Receives the Nation's First Financial Institution Certification for Cannabis and Hemp Banking Protocols

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Dec. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas announces that New Mexico-based US Eagle Federal Credit Union is the first financial institution to become certified in the country for outstanding U.S. monetary banking protocols in banking cannabis and hemp operations.

This honor is part of a financial services certification program overseen by the Policy Center for Public Health & Safety (PH&S) in collaboration with state attorneys general. It is also part of a broader certification effort being implemented by ASTM international and PH&S.

"The marijuana industry will soon be exploding in New Mexico, and it is important to have banking safeguards to mitigate illicit and criminal conduct. This is an important first step in partnering with legally compliant businesses in the marketplace," said New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas.

FDIC Statement on CFPB Statement

For Release
Earlier today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) posted on its website a document, purportedly approved by the FDIC, requesting comment on bank mergers. No such document has been approved by the FDIC.

The FDIC has longstanding internal policies and procedures for circulating and conducting votes of its Board of Directors, and for issuing documents for publication in the Federal Register. In this case, there was no valid vote by the Board, and no such request for information and comment has been approved by the agency for publication in the Federal Register.

The FDIC has a proud 88-year history of Board members working together in a collegial manner. This history has spanned many Presidential administrations, and countless philosophical differences on substantive issues among Board members over the years. Notwithstanding the actions taken today, the FDIC expects this time-honored tradition of collegiality and comity to continue.

Credit union opens new branch inside High School

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – Redstone Federal Credit Union opened a new location in Madison County Tuesday inside Hazel Green High School.

The credit union opened its first Madison County Schools branch. These credit unions will be run by student tellers who take deposits, cash checks, handle cash withdrawals and make money transfers.

“This gives them a hands-on in-depth real-world experience into finance, into banking, into the credit union sector. So they can make a decision into, ‘hey you know what, I like this.’,” Madison County Schools Superintendent Allen Perkins said.

Student workers will be serving their classmates and staff all under the supervision of a teacher advisor.

“We even have hired students after they have graduated from these high schools and gone off to college, we’ve hired them as full-time employees.” Joseph Newberry, President & CEO of Redstone Federal Credit Union told News 19. “So it gives them a broad opportunity for financial wellness.”

Urban League's new Black Card promises deals, support for programs fighting wealth inequality

HAMPTON, Va. - A new effort aims to help people score deals while supporting social and economic equality.

This holiday season, the Urban League of Hampton Roads debuted its new Black Card; a membership card for the non-profit that provides benefits to the holder.

"You get access to the businesses that are really helping us with our mission and wanting to give back to the community," said Patricia Gibson, Vice President for the Urban League's local Young Professionals group.

The Urban League is a nationwide organization providing resources to local African Americans and other groups for housing, employment, financial wellness and more. The goal is to eliminate racial disparities in income and wealth.

Membership fees for the Black Card support those programs, Gibson says, while promising benefits to the holder — including deals at local Black-owned businesses.

CFPB Fall 2021 Rulemaking Agenda

Consistent with the Bureau’s past practice, we have published the Bureau’s Fall 2021 Agenda as part of the Fall 2021 Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, which is coordinated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The Agenda lists the regulatory matters that we plan to pursue during the period from November 1, 2021 to October 31, 2022, as described further below. The complete Unified Agenda is available to the public at the following website:

Our Fall 2021 Agenda reflects the continuation of significant rulemakings that further our consumer financial protection mission and help to advance the country’s economic recovery from the financial crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We also continue to prioritize work that promotes racial and economic equity and supports underserved and marginalized communities by, among other things, facilitating access to fair and affordable credit. Our newly confirmed Director, Rohit Chopra, began his term on October 12, 2021, after we submitted the Bureau’s Fall 2021 agenda to OMB. We anticipate that Director Chopra’s regulatory priorities will be more fully reflected in the Spring 2022 Agenda.

Board Approves Language for Payday Loan Ballot Petition

A coalition took a step closer in its effort to have voters decide how Michigan should cap interest rates on payday loans.

LANSING, Mich (AP) — A coalition that wants voters to decide how Michigan should cap interest rates on payday loans won approval Tuesday of its summary language for a petition to put the issue on the November 2022 ballot.

Members of Michiganders for Fair Lending told the Board of State Canvassers that payday loans — short-term loans with high interest rates — often trap people in a cycle of debt because current state law allows interest rates equivalent to a more than 370% annual percentage rate.

The petition calls for a prohibition on fees on payday loans that total more than 36% APR.

Banks get behind CFPB’s tough approach to tech giants

Here’s one area where both large and small banks agree that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should flex its muscles: oversight of big technology companies and online payment platforms.

In recent comment letters, banking trade groups and industry lawyers were nearly unanimous in urging the CFPB to level the playing field with Big Tech platforms that offer similar services as traditional financial institutions but are not regulated in the same way.

“Similar to the examination and oversight authority prudential regulators have on the financial industry, regulators must play an equally active role in defining and identifying the risks big tech poses to consumers and businesses alike,” said Steven Estep, assistant vice president of operational risk at the Independent Community Bankers of America, in a letter to the bureau.

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