June 27, 2018

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The House voted 213-211 to pass its version of the farm bill, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2).

 The bill maintains commodity price protections and a strong crop insurance program. It also increases guaranteed farm loan limits to $1.75 million from $1.39 million.

The bill passed a month after being voted down on the House floor due to immigration politics and a lack of Democratic support for food-stamp work requirements. The Senate Agriculture Committee earlier this month passed its version (S. 3042), which excludes the House's controversial work requirements for nutrition benefits, on a 20-1 vote. If the full Senate considers its bill this week, a conference of the two versions would begin in July.    
103 lawmakers wrote to Attorney General Jeff Sessions seeking further clarity on how the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to websites. The letter came in response to numerous demand letters that banks and other businesses have received from plaintiffs' firms asserting that websites are not accessible to speech and hearing impaired customers, as required by ADA.
While there have been several recent court decisions on the applicability of ADA to websites - notably Domino's Pizza v. Robles, which held that requiring a company to provide an accessible website in the absence of a clear regulation would violate due process rights - the Department of Justice has indefinitely delayed plans to issue an official rule establishing website accessibility standards.
"We support the original spirit and intent of the ADA," the lawmakers said. "However, unresolved questions about the applicability of the ADA to websites as well as the Department's abandonment of the effort to write a rule defining website accessibility standards, has created a liability hazard that directly affects businesses in our states and the customers they serve."
A federal judge has ruled that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's structure - a single powerful director who cannot be removed at will by the president - is unconstitutional. In her decision, Judge Loretta Preska forbade the CFPB from pursuing its lawsuit - which it filed together with the state of New York - against New Jersey-based RD Legal Funding. The lawsuit alleged that the company misled customers into entering cash advance agreements that functioned as usurious loans that were void under state law. She added that the New York attorney general would be permitted to proceed with its lawsuit independently.
Judge Preska's ruling contradicts a ruling earlier this year by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which found in a complex ruling that the limitation on the president's power to remove is consistent with Supreme Court rulings on other federal agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities Exchange Commission.
President Trump signed into law a bill to strengthen the Small Business Administration's oversight of its loan programs and increase maximum lending authority. Championed in the Senate by Sens. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and in the House by Reps. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) and Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), the bill passed the House in May and was approved by the Senate earlier this month.
The bill strengthens the SBA's office of credit risk management; enhances the SBA's lender oversight review process; requires SBA to detail its oversight budget and perform a full annual risk analysis of the program; and clarifies factors that must be considered under the "credit elsewhere" test that lenders perform before applying for 7(a) financing.
Just months after receiving a legal rebuke for its efforts to loosen field-of- membership limitations on federal credit unions, the National Credit Union Administration issued a final rule that makes it easier for credit unions to evade these limits. Specifically, the final rule allows FCUs to use a "narrative" to apply for expansion of a community charter rather than relying on statistical benchmarks.
While NCUA did add a requirement for a public hearing when FCUs apply to include a statistical area larger than 2.5 million people in its field of membership, NCUA imposed strict limits on who may participate: only up to six entities may apply in writing within 10 days to oppose the expansion, and each will be limited to a 30-minute presentation. A seventh entity may be permitted to make a presentation, but only at the discretion of NCUA staff.
ICBA concluded a four-part series of messages to members of Congress showing how the credit union industry's evolution has put its tax exemption at risk.

The series features messages to Capitol Hill on how credit unions have used their tax exemption to expand, the transformation of the credit union charter, lessons from abroad, and emerging signs of change.

As illustrated in an infographic delivered to lawmakers, the campaign shows that the credit union industry's aggressive pursuit of growth and rejection of its original mission requires Congress to re-examine the outmoded credit union tax subsidy.
Infographic  >> 
ICBA released an updated summary of the Federal Reserve Board's final amendments to Regulation CC encouraging transition to a fully electronic check payment system.

The amendments affect electronic check forward collections and returns, electronically created items, and expeditious-return and notice-of-nonpayment requirements. They also establish new warranties for remote deposit capture and electronically-created items.

The final rule takes effect this Sunday, July 1. 
The Department of Housing and Urban Development began amending its use of the disparate-impact standard to comport with limitations imposed by the U.S. Supreme Court. HUD issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking seeking public input on possible amendments to its 2013 rule.

Under the rule, lenders may be held liable for neutral practices that have a disparate impact on certain classes of borrowers, even if the lenders have no intent to discriminate. In its 2015 decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project Inc., the high court held that disparate-impact cases cannot rely on statistics alone.
Credit cards and prepaid cards increased their share of payment instruments that households use in a typical month, according to results from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's 2016 and 2017 Surveys of Consumer Payment Choice. Credit card payments reversed a decline seen in 2015 and climbed by more than two percentage points to 23.2 percent of all payments. Prepaid cards continued steady growth, reaching a 2.1 percent share - up 44 percent from 2015.
Debit card use dipped slightly from previous years to 31.8 percent. Card payments combined grew to 57.1 percent share in 2017. Cash held steady at 27.4 percent of all payments, while paper checks continued their long-term decline, falling from a 6.5 percent share in 2015 to 5.6 percent in 2017. Electronic payments like bill pay fell from 9.6 percent to 8.3 percent share.
The survey showed that the average consumer made 70 payments per month, holding to a consistent trend over the past nine years. Online purchases accounted for 12 percent of all purchases, up from 10 percent in 2015. Person-to-person payments held steady at 4.4 percent of all payments.

September 18th and 19th
The Compliance Event of the year!
Brought to you by the Arkansas Community Bankers and
 Bankers Assurance.
Holiday Inn - Airport Convention Center 
November 8, 2018
ACB Annual Management & Directors Conference
Holiday Inn - Crowne Plaza - Little Rock