Over the first quarter of 2020, Guidehouse observed a decrease in federal and state regulatory activities, likely due to decreased regulatory scrutiny surrounding COVID-19. Although the volume of enforcement actions decreased significantly in Q1 2020, we expect the regulatory climate to become more stringent as the Federal and State Governments begin enforcing new programs (including the Paycheck Protection Program) and resume regular inspections of institutions. Regulators have provided guidance related to current and future enforcement activity including:
March 24, 2020: The Federal Reserve board stated: “To minimize disruption and to focus on outreach and monitoring, the Federal Reserve will temporarily reduce its examination activities, with the greatest reduction in activities occurring at the smallest banks”
April 3, 2020: The federal financial institution regulatory agencies and the state financial regulators issued a joint policy statement providing needed regulatory flexibility to enable mortgage servicers to work with struggling consumers affected by COVID-19
April 3, 2020: The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued a statement that describes the agencies’ flexible approach to supervision and enforcement with respect to certain Regulation X provisions that require consumer notices and loss mitigation provisions due to COVID-19
April 27th, 2020: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a statement reminding servicers that they are expected to comply with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) in their extension of PPP loans to small businesses
May 6th, 2020: The CFPB released a FAQ guide related to “the Bureau’s Equal Credit Opportunity Act and Regulation B FAQs related to the COVID-19 Emergency” which primarily discusses the decisioning process and timelines
In addition to this guidance, States are also updating / revising laws and guidance to address the changing consumer finance environment. It is critical in this time that institutions regulatory change management systems are in place and document how updated guidance impacts current processes and technology. This document presents the latest regulatory and state actions that have most recently occurred.
Evolving Regulatory Environment
The federal-level and state-level regulatory environment has been rapidly evolving throughout COVID-19. Some noted regulatory changes include:
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Bulletin on Flood Insurance Renewal Premiums
27 distinct Regulatory Updates from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, and USDA including:
FHA Mortagee Letters
USDA Stakeholder Announcements
108 enacted bills and 140 pending bills from 56 states, districts, and territories
Financial institutions should be cognizant of the importance of a strong regulatory change management process at all times, but particularly during times of economic uncertainty as this is often when regulatory bodies will introduce new regulations to protect consumers. Institutions that were not prepared now face the challenging task of catching up to the rapid changes that have been occurring. Guidehouse offers services that help financial institutions meet their regulatory change management goals to follow industry best practices or become industry leaders so they can consistently keep up with any regulatory changes.
Guidehouse’s Financial Services Enforcement Actions Tracker compiles publicly available data from both federal and state regulators regarding quarterly enforcement actions against financial institutions. First published in 2016, the Tracker showcases the types of activities that consumer finance-focused regulators are currently monitoring and helps the audience better address the trends and challenges in today’s regulatory environment. Subscribe to the Financial Services Enforcement Actions Tracker.
Special thanks to contributors: Siwen Tang and Evan Ruschell.