On December 2, Fed Governor Lael Brainard announced, at the Conference on Financial Innovation in Washington DC, that the Fed has formed a Fintech working group. The move comes as the OCC takes steps toward launching a fintech bank charter. According to Ms. Brainard, the group will incorporate personnel with a broad array of expertise and will be tasked with “facilitat[ing] innovation where it has the potential to yield broad social benefit, while ensuring that risks are thoroughly managed.” While Ms. Brainard highlighted several benefits from the growth of Fintech, the Fed Governor also raised certain concerns innovations relying on data sharing could create security, privacy, and data-ownership risks, despite increased convenience to consumers. Specifically, Ms. Brainard explained, the Fed must “be attentive to the potential social benefits of these new technologies, prepared to make the necessary regulatory adjustments if their safety and integrity are proven and . . . vigilant to ensure risks are well understood and managed.”
The Fed, FDIC, and OCC, as members of the FFIEC, recently announced that the implementation of a streamlined Call Report Form (FFIEC 051) for eligible small institutions—financial institutions with only domestic offices and less than $1 billion in total assets—which is proposed to take effect March 31, 2017. The FFIEC’s action is the result of an ongoing initiative to reduce the burden associated with Call Report requirements for community banks. Among other things, the streamlined Call Report reduces the existing Call Report from 85 to 61 pages, resulting from the removal of approximately 950 (or about 40 percent) of the nearly 2,400 data items in the Call Report. Because the OMB must approve the revisions before they can be implemented, the above-referenced banking agencies have also issued a joint notice reflecting that they have submitted the information collection to OMB for review.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia has posted the latest edition of Consumer Compliance Outlook. This edition features articles on subpart B of Regulation E on Remittance Transfers and the updated interagency questions and answers regarding Community Reinvestment.
On November 30, the Fed announced the release of its annual report on debit card transactions in 2015. The report is the fourth in a series to be published every two years pursuant to Section 920 of the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA). As in prior years, the 2015 report reflected that issuers’ costs of authorizing, clearing, and settling debit card transactions (excluding issuer fraud losses) varied greatly across respondents. Data compiled in the report estimates that debit-card fraud losses to all parties (merchants, cardholders, and issuers) increased by 44 percent from 2013 to an estimated total of $2.41 billion in 2015. The median covered issuer had average fraud prevention and data security costs of 1.9 cents per transaction.
In a press release on November 18, the Fed announced revised post-employment restrictions that more than double the number of senior staff examiners barred from leaving a Federal Reserve Bank and going right to work for a bank they had supervised. By law, senior bank examiners are prohibited for one year from accepting paid work from a financial institution that they had primary responsibility for examining in their last year of Reserve Bank employment. This post-employment restriction has previously applied only to central points of contacts (CPCs) at firms with more than $10 billion in assets. The revised policy expands this post-employment restriction to deputy CPCs, senior supervisory officers (SSOs), deputy SSOs, enterprise risk officers, and supervisory team leaders, which has the effect of more than doubling the number of senior examiners covered. The policy—which takes effect January 2, 2017—does not apply to senior examiners responsible for multiple unaffiliated banks.
In addition, another new Fed policy prohibits former Fed Bank officers from representing financial institutions and other third parties in matters before the Fed for one year after leaving their Federal Reserve position. This policy takes effect on December 5.