September 16, 2020                                                                                                      No copyright infringement intended
 
 
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Community Banks Say 'No Thanks' to Reg Relief
 
Most community banks qualified for the Community Bank Leverage Ratio based on reported leverage ratios, but a majority declined to take advantage of the single ratio designed to reduce reporting requirements.
 
Bankers said the regulatory relief has failed to gain traction due to a lack of significant time savings, difficulty comparing performance with peers and an influx of both deposits and loans stressing leverage ratios. Nearly 100 banks exited the CBLR after adopting it in the first quarter, and more than 2,700 community banks that qualified as of June 30, based on asset and leverage requirements, declined to adopt it.
 
The CBLR allows certain banks below $10 billion in total assets to report only one leverage ratio instead of the four capital ratios required under Basel III. In the first quarter, banks needed a leverage ratio of greater than 9% to take advantage, but that was reduced to 8% as part of the CARES Act. The minimum will move up to 8.5% in 2021 and return to 9% in 2022. Banks that adopt the CBLR and then report a leverage ratio no more than 1 percentage point below the minimum are allowed a two-quarter grace period. 
Source:  S&P Global Market Intelligence 

 
NCUA Needs Expanded Third-Party Oversight
 
The National Credit Union Administration needs authority over credit union service organizations and vendors to identify and reduce risks they pose to credit unions, the agency's inspector general said.
 
In a recent report, the NCUA Office of Inspector General said the third-party oversight would help protect the industry's Share Insurance Fund. The audit also notes that the last four NCUA board chairmen have advocated amending the Federal Credit Union Act to provide the agency with such oversight authority.
 
ICBA is calling for expanded oversight of CUSOs and third-party vendors as part of its "Wake Up" campaign spotlighting the risky practices, costly tax subsidies, and irresponsibly lax oversight of the nation's credit unions.
Source:  NCUA Office of Inspector General
 
Main Street Lending Program Off to Slow Start 
 
$1.4 billion of the Federal Reserve's $600 billion Main Street Lending Program, or about 0.2%, were issued as of Sept. 10.  Some of the biggest lenders have called for stricter lending terms, while other banks have decided not to participate at all. The small take-up threatens to stall economic recovery and impact efforts to protect jobs, a Bloomberg News report noted. 
Source:   Bloomberg News
 
ICBA Bancard Launches Digital Payments Strategy Guide
 
ICBA Bancard launched an interactive tool to help its community bank clients create a custom digital payments strategy to support their small-business customers. The second ICBA Bancard Digital Payments Strategy Guides-Small Business Edition was designed in partnership with Aite Group.
 
The guide offers a responsive Q&A assessment questionnaire so community banks can refine their digital payments infrastructure by evaluating their market opportunity, assessing existing offerings and identifying gaps, examining product development approaches, assessing customer awareness and outreach tactics, and creating a realistic digital payments roadmap.
 
ICBA Bancard clients have exclusive access to the guide until it is released to all ICBA members in November.
Source:   ICBA BanCard 
 
Articles To Include Unlawfully Disclosed SARs
 
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is aware that various media outlets intend to publish a series of articles based on unlawfully disclosed Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs), as well as other sensitive government documents, from several years ago.  As FinCEN has stated previously, the unauthorized disclosure of SARs is a crime that can impact the national security of the United States, compromise law enforcement investigations, and threaten the safety and security of the institutions and individuals who file such reports.  FinCEN has referred this matter to the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Inspector General.
 
Source:  Financial Crimes Enforcement Network  
 
Fed Continues Increasing Coin Allocations
 
The Federal Reserve increased maximum coin allocations under its program that manages coin distributions due to low inventories caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In a message to Federal Reserve Cash Services customers, the Fed outlined the increases to small, medium, large, X-large, and XX-large "endpoint" groups.
 
The sizing regime is based on historical ordering volumes and doesn't correspond to bank size, with branches, cash vaults, and outsourced handlers potentially serving as endpoints. With the allocation increases, the various groups are now nearer their pre-coronavirus average, with the Fed ultimately seeking to reach 100 percent of historical averages as supply chains normalize.
 
Source:  Federal Reserve 
 
USDA Housing Program Launches Applicant Platform
 
The USDA Single-Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program launched a new online platform that will direct applicants to approved lender websites. The platform allows potential applicants to choose from an alphabetized list of approved lenders in their state.
 
USDA Rural Development separately outlined its actions to help borrowers affected by Presidentially Declared Disaster areas during the coronavirus pandemic.
 
Source:   USDA