Over the second quarter of 2020, Guidehouse observed an increase in Federal Regulatory activities, likely due to rebounding efforts as regulatory agencies begin to acclimate to enforcement during COVID-19. Guidehouse simultaneously observed a decrease in state enforcement actions over the prior quarter, possibly because many of the historically active state regulatory bodies are states which have had the most restrictive lock-down efforts. As Guidehouse expected, the regulatory climate is becoming more stringent as the Federal and State Governments begin attempting to return to normal. Guidehouse expects further increased enforcement as these agencies resume regular inspections of institutions. Regulators have provided guidance related to current and future enforcement activity pertaining to COVID-19 including:
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 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
Jun 18th, 2020: The FDIC, the Federal Reserve Board, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the National Credit Union Administration in conjunction with the state bank and credit union regulators issued guidance for assessing the safety and soundness of institutions given the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
Regulatory agencies have shown some leniency throughout 2020 as COVID-19 impacted businesses, but Guidehouse has noted an increase in enforcement activity in Q2 2020 and anticipates that this trend will continue as regulatory agencies learn to cope with the difficulties of working remote while attempting to resume normal activities.
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.
Special thanks to contributing authors Evan Ruschell and Siwen Tang.