On Tuesday, July 13, 2021, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (collectively, the “Agencies”) invited public comment on proposed interagency guidance on managing risks associated with third-party relationships (the “Proposed Guidance”). By harmonizing for the first time the

On June 3, 2021, in Lacewell v. OCC, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (the “Second Circuit”) dismissed the New York State Department of Financial Services’ (“DFS”) lawsuit against the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”). DFS challenged the OCC’s decision to commence accepting applications for special-purpose national bank (“SPNB”) charters from financial technology companies (“fintechs”) that do not accept deposits. The Second Circuit ultimately decided the case on justiciability grounds, holding that DFS lacked standing and that its claims were constitutionally unripe without reaching the merits of DFS’s claims.
Continue Reading Second Circuit Rejects New York State Department of Financial Services’ Lawsuit Against the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

On March 31, 2021, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) rescinded a range of policy statements issued under the leadership of former Director Kathleen L. Kraninger.  These rescissions concerned one policy statement governing communications between institutions subject to CFPB supervision and their examiners, and seven policy statements issued during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide regulatory

On Tuesday, May 18, 2021, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) announced that it will reconsider its June 5, 2020 final rule (“final rule”) overhauling its regulations implementing the Community Reinvestment Act (the “CRA”).  The final rule, which applies only to national banks, federal savings associations, and insured federal branches (“OCC-regulated banks”), made the first major revisions to CRA regulations in nearly twenty-five years and would have established new general performance standards based on more quantitative measures of CRA performance than the tests set forth in existing CRA regulations.  Our client alert summarizes key aspects of the final rule.
Continue Reading OCC to Reconsider June 2020 Community Reinvestment Act Final Rule

On Monday, May 17, 2021, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) issued a request for information and comment (“RFI”) regarding the current and potential digital asset activities of insured depository institutions (“IDIs”).  The RFI is intended to inform the FDIC’s understanding of digital asset activities, including associated risk and compliance management issues.  Comments on the RFI are due by July 16, 2021.

The RFI categorizes digital asset activities into five use cases and solicits comments based on this framework.  The five use cases are (i) technology solutions, such as token-based systems and distributed ledgers; (ii) asset-based activities, such as investments and margin lending; (iii) liability-based activities, such as deposit services and reserves; (iv) custodial services; and (v) other activities, which could include market-making and decentralized financing.  The RFI requests comment on whether additional use cases should be included within this framework and which use cases have the greatest demand in the marketplace.  The RFI also requests that commenters provide more detailed information about the use cases that IDIs currently conduct or are considering conducting.


Continue Reading FDIC Issues Request for Information on Digital Assets

On April 22, 2021, the Federal Reserve Board, FDIC, and OCC (the “agencies”) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require banks that file tax returns as part of a consolidated tax filing group to enter into income tax allocation agreements with their parent companies and other members of the consolidated group that join in the filing, and would set forth specific requirements for the contents of those agreements.  The proposal would apply to all insured depository institutions and OCC-chartered uninsured institutions that are not registered as Subchapter S corporations (collectively, “covered institutions”).

Continue Reading Federal Banking Regulators Issue Proposal on Income Tax Allocation Agreements

On March 11, 2021, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the “CFPB” or “Bureau”) announced it was rescinding its “Statement of Policy Regarding Prohibition on Abusive Acts or Practices” (the “2020 Policy Statement”).  The rescission is the latest in a series of actions under Acting Director David Uejio that demonstrate a recalibration in the Bureau’s regulatory

On March 9, 2021, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB” or “Bureau”) issued an interpretive rule clarifying that the Equal Opportunity Credit Act (“ECOA”) and its implementing regulation, Regulation B, prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  The CFPB made clear that this prohibition also extends to “actual or perceived nonconformity with traditional sex- or gender-based stereotypes, and discrimination based on an applicant’s social or other association.”  Specifically, the Bureau found that, under ECOA and Regulation B:

The UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s January 2021 report—entitled “Preventing Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking: An Agenda for Action across the Financial Services Sector” (the “report”)—has concluded that there is a significant lack of awareness of modern slavery risks within the financial services sector (the “sector”).

The Commissioner, Dame Sara Thornton, notes that “modern slavery has been estimated to generate $150 billion in profits annually” constituting “one of the top three international crimes alongside drug trafficking and trade in counterfeit goods.”  The report accordingly calls on the sector to “detect and disrupt this serious organised criminality” and to take proactive steps to mitigate the various risks associated with modern slavery, including financial, regulatory, legal, governance and reputational risks.


Continue Reading The UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s January 2021 Report: Mitigating Modern Slavery in Financial Services

A heightened focus on green finance and green investments has renewed legislative impetus, culminating in a series of regulatory developments across the European Union and more recently, the UK.  Some of these notable developments encompass green efforts by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures; the European Non-Financial Reporting Directive 2014/95/EU; and the European Commission’s ongoing Sustainable Finance Action Plan.

At the end of December 2019, as part of a package of legislative reforms published by the European Commission (the “Commission”) in March 2018, the EU Regulation on sustainability-related disclosures in the financial services sector (Regulation (EU) 2019/2088) (the “Disclosure Regulation”) came into force, with most of its provisions due to take legal effect by March 2021.
Continue Reading Sustainability in Financial Services: The EU Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation and the Taxonomy Regulation