Regulatory Roundup

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OPEN FOR COMMENT

Identity Theft

Proposed guidelines by the banking and thrift regulators to deter identity theft. Banks would have to establish a system for identifying personal information at risk of being stolen, and develop a response system for securing all accounts of victims and notifying customers in certain circumstances. Published Aug. 12. Comments due Oct. 14.

Predatory Lending I

A two-pronged proposal by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency that would impose a new anti-predator requirement on lenders and broaden the agency's preemption powers. The first part would require national banks to make loans on the basis of borrowers' ability to repay, not on the foreclosure value of collateral. That standard had been recommended in guidelines but is not mandatory. The second part would assert that state laws that deal with licensing, credit terms, interest rates, disclosure, deposit-taking, and other issues would be preempted.

The proposal also asks whether the OCC should assert even broader preemption authority on mortgage loans. Published Aug. 5. Comments due Oct. 6.

Basel Committee I

An advance notice of proposed rulemaking by the four bank and thrift regulators detailing how the Basel II plan would be implemented in the United States. The regulators also issued a series of draft guidelines outlining how various pieces of the new rules would work. The guidelines focused on corporate credit and operational risk. Future guidelines are expected on retail credit and securitization. Published Aug. 4. Comments due Nov. 3.

Acquired Loans

A proposal by the Federal Housing Finance Board that would simplify the rules under which Home Loan banks may purchase loans from member institutions. The rule also would allow the banks to purchase an interest in a pool of loans securitized by member institutions. Published July 1. Comments due Sept. 2.

Living Trusts

A proposal by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. that offers two plans to simplify coverage rules for living trust accounts. The first option would give $100,000 of coverage per grantor, while the second would give $100,000 per beneficiary for such accounts. Published June 30. Comments due Aug. 29.

Regulatory Relief

A proposal by the five banking, thrift, and credit union agencies that outlines a timetable for identifying unnecessary or overly burdensome regulations and suggesting changes. The plan calls for the review to be completed in three years, during which regulators would periodically request comment on particular regulations. Each round of comments would be summarized in a report, with the agencies suggesting changes to Congress. Published June 16. Comments are due Sept. 15.

RECENT ACTIONS

Auditor Discipline

Federal banking and thrift regulators issued a rule Aug. 8 that will let them suspend or bar for "good cause" an accountant or a firm from performing auditing services at financial institutions with assets of $500 million or more.

An auditor may be barred or suspended for certain violations of law, negligent conduct, or reckless violations of professional standards in work for banks or other businesses. Accountants or firms will be prohibited from working for big banks and thrifts if they have been suspended or banned by any of the agencies, or if they have been disciplined by the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. Effective Oct. 1.

Predatory Lending II

The OCC preempted the Georgia Fair Lending Act on July 31, and the Office of Thrift Supervision overrode a New Jersey anti-predator law on July 23.

Discount Window

Federal regulators on July 23 issued guidelines to help banks, thrifts, and credit unions take advantage of two discount window programs that the Federal Reserve System introduced in January. …