January 8, 2020                                                                                                      No copyright infringement intended
 

 
 
 
 
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Concerns Raised on Cannabis Safe Harbor    
 
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) requested public feedback on legislation to establish a cannabis-banking safe harbor. Crapo said he does not support the bipartisan SAFE Banking Act (H.R. 1595/S. 1200) that passed the House earlier this year and has concerns related to money laundering and cannabis marketing and research.
 
With the Senate next in line to consider the bill, ICBA will continue working with Crapo and other senators to explain the benefits of creating a safe harbor for financial institutions and ancillary companies that serve cannabis-related businesses in states where cannabis is legal.
 
ICBA supports opening the traditional banking system to these businesses to address regulatory compliance concerns, reduce cash-motivated crimes, increase the efficiency of tax collections, and improve cannabis industry transparency.
 
 
Agencies Release Annual CRA Asset-Size Threshold Adjustments    
 
The federal bank regulatory agencies today announced the annual adjustment to the asset-size thresholds used to define small bank, small savings association, intermediate small bank, and intermediate small savings association under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations.
 
The annual adjustments are required by the CRA rules. Financial institutions are evaluated under different CRA examination procedures based upon their asset-size classification. Those meeting the small and intermediate small institution asset-size thresholds are not subject to the reporting requirements applicable to large banks and savings associations unless they choose to be evaluated as a large institution.
 
Annual adjustments to these asset-size thresholds are based on the change in the average of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), not seasonally adjusted, for each 12-month period ending in November, with rounding to the nearest million.
 
As a result of the 1.62 percent increase in the CPI-W for the period ending in November 2019, the definitions of small and intermediate small institutions for CRA examinations will change as follows: "Small bank" or "small savings association" means an institution that, as of December 31 of either of the prior two calendar years, had assets of less than $1.305 billion.
 
"Intermediate small bank" or "intermediate small savings association" means a small institution with assets of at least $326 million as of December 31 of both of the prior two calendar years and less than $1.305 billion as of December 31 of either of the prior two calendar years.
 
These asset-size threshold adjustments were effective January 1, 2020.
 
Extended Hours Finalized to Facilitate Same-Day ACH    
 
The Federal Reserve finalized new operating hours and procedures for the National Settlement Service and Fedwire Funds Service to facilitate adoption of a third same-day ACH processing and settlement window.
 
The Fed will extend NSS operating hours by one hour to 6:30 p.m. ET, extending the time for initiating Fedwire transfers on behalf of third parties by 45 minutes to 6:45 p.m. ET and closing Fedwire half an hour after the NSS at 7 p.m. ET. To minimize late openings of Fedwire, the reserve banks will raise the threshold for granting extensions to the Fedwire closing time from $1 billion to $3 billion and maintain a minimum 90-minute window, down from two hours, between Fedwire closing and re-opening.
 
The changes are effective in March 2021, aligning with Nacha's effective date of March 19, 2021, for implementing the later same-day ACH window. The Fed approved corresponding changes to its Policy on Payment System Risk. 
 
 
'Regular Rate of Pay' Final Rule    
 
The Department of Labor issued a final rule clarifying which types of compensation must be included in determining an employee's "regular rate" of pay. The final rule takes effect on Jan. 15, 2020.
 
The calculation of an employee's regular rate of pay is important because, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, banks and other employers must pay an employee 1.5 times the employee's regular rate of pay for any hours in excess of 40 hours that the employee works in a workweek, unless that employee is exempt from overtime requirements. An employee's regular rate of pay may differ from the employee's hourly rate of pay because the regular rate includes certain payments and benefits provided to the employee.
 
DOL's final rule clarifies that tuition assistance, benefit plan contributions, certain sign-on bonuses and the cost of providing wellness programs, gym access and coffee and snacks may be excluded from the regular rate. The final rule also incorporates several changes advocated for as part of an industry coalition. The final rule excludes student loan repayments and adoption assistance from the regular rate and clarifies that travel reimbursement that follows the Internal Revenue Services' guidelines is reasonable.
 
 
Answer of the Week

Question:   
If the geocoding system does not provide proper census data, could this be a bona fide error? 
               
Answer
A census tract error is not a violation of HMDA
or Regulation C if the Financial Institution obtained the census tract number from a geocoding tool on the Bureau's website. However, a Financial Institution's failure to provide the correct census tract number because the geocoding tool did not provide any census tract number for the property address is not excused as a bona fide error. Similarly, the failure to enter the correct census tract number because the Financial Institution entered an incorrect property address into the geocoding tool is not excused as a bona fide error.
 
Reference: A Guide to HMDA Reporting Getting it Right, 2018, page 183. Regulation C Official Staff Interpretation 12 CFR 1003.6(b).
 




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