February 6, 2019
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CRA Can't be One-Size-Fits-All    

Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard says that there is "general agreement" among stakeholders on the need to update the Community Reinvestment Act regulations. Brainard provided an overview of the comments that have been submitted from financial groups, community organizations and others on CRA reform, noting that many of them "asked that the three banking agencies work together toward a joint rulemaking proposal so that CRA policies can be clearly and consistently applied."


Brainard noted that there is general agreement among commenters on updating, but not completely overhauling, assessment areas and support for retaining different performance tests for different types of banks. Commenters were also in broad agreement that "CRA regulations cannot be one-size-fits-all," she said.


Additionally, she noted that "there is an openness to expanding the use of metrics that evaluate components of a bank's activity on an assessment area level, while recognizing the importance of also leveraging performance context information, including of a qualitative nature, so that bankers and examiners are able to identify and understand local community needs."

New Fedwire Fraud Protection
The Federal Reserve Banks implemented several new features to help Fedwire Funds Service participants using the FedPayments Manager application prevent or detect possible fraud.

The new features include a new "Manager" access level that allows credentialed subscribers to designate up to five email addresses to receive funds-transfer notifications.

"Manager" access is available to senior management and bankers in a control function or with no other operational responsibilities.

To establish this access level, users will need to identify their FedLine connection's End User Authorization Contact to submit a subscriber request.

Senate Plan Would Privatize Fannie, Freddie
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) released an outline for housing-finance legislation that would privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The initial outline says non-depository private companies would be guarantors of mortgages securitized through a platform operated by Ginnie Mae.

The plan would also reform Federal Housing Finance Agency governance to be run by a bipartisan board of directors instead of a single director. It also would replace current affordable housing and duty-to-serve requirements with a Market Access Fund to provide grants and loans to underserved communities.

The White House said last week that it will work with Congress to develop a plan for housing-finance reform and will issue a framework "shortly."

ICBA continues working with Congress and the administration to ensure housing-finance reform preserves community bank access to the secondary market, adequately capitalizes Fannie and Freddie, and minimizes disruptions to the housing-finance system.   

Advisory on Education Loan Rehabilitation Programs
The Federal Reserve and FDIC issued an advisory on voluntary private education loan rehabilitation programs alerting banks to an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act that was included in the S. 2155 regulatory reform law.
Under the law, consumers may request that a financial institution remove a reported default regarding a private education loan under certain conditions. Banks have the option to establish loan rehabilitation programs and, provided they meet the statutory requirements, become entitled to a safe harbor from potential claims under the FCRA of inaccurate reporting for removing a reported default from a consumer's credit report.
The advisory directs banks wishing to offer these programs to submit a written request to their appropriate regulatory agency. The agencies will provide a decision or feedback within 120 days of receiving a program approval request.

Advisory  >>

USDA Extends Farm Service Agency Deadlines
The USDA released a list of deadline extensions for Farm Service Agency programs. The extensions apply to the FSA's Market Facilitation Program, Marketing Assistance Loans, and more.
Extensions  >> 

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