Posted by Anthony Demangone
Here are a few three-letter topics for you.
TIS. (Hat tip to Mr. Van Beek.) A report released by PIRG could draw additional attention to Truth in Savings disclosures. PIRG's study found that banks are still "hiding" fees.
Fewer than half (38%) of branches complied easily with the simple researcher request for fee schedules required by the Truth In Savings Act; only after two or more requests did a total of 55% percent of branches provide fee schedules as requested and as required by the Truth In Savings Act. In a finding virtually identical to recent U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) results, nearly one-quarter (23%) of branches surveyed refused to comply at all. Others provided often weighty piles of useless other brochures.
PIRG made recommendations to the CFPB to fix the issue.
- The CFPB should extend the requirements of the Truth In Savings Act to the Internet. It should require that banks post fees in a searchable web format (e.g., xml or similar), to encourage the establishment of local online shopping guides by community groups.
- The CFPB should require that the most important savings and checking disclosures required by the Act be provided prominently in a tabular format, such as the “Schumer Box” required for credit card disclosures.
They even make a recommendation to NCUA.
Credit unions generally have fewer and lower fees than banks, but their account disclosures are even murkier than most bank disclosures. The NCUA should, with advice from the CFPB, issue model guidelines on fee disclosures and require credit unions to explain the basic terms of their accounts in a better way.
How much of this report will find its way into guidance or regulation? It is hard to say. But if the CFPB cracks open Regulation DD, this report will surely find its way to the desk of those working on the project. And with all of the consumer-friendly changes to Regulation Z, it seems it is only a matter of time until changes find their way to the "checking account" side of things.
ODP. You may remember that the FDIC issued guidance to its regulated entities regarding their ODP programs. As I wrote earlier, it does seem possible that the guidance could find its way to NCUA. That has not yet happened. But for those tracking this issue, the FDIC has issued an FAQ document to provide additional guidance. For those tracking the FDIC ODP issue, this document is a must-read.
BSA. There are a few things to mention here. First, for NAFCU members - the latest issue of the BSA Blast is available. It has a few nice articles, a BSA and OFAC-centric calendar, as well as a BSA quiz for your staff. Enjoy. And just in case folks forgot that BSA is still an important issue - remind them that a Florida bank was just hammered with a $7 million CMP for BSA deficiencies. Finally, if you have a few minutes, read this article. (The Guardian.) It outlines how a large U.S. bank allegedly was used to launder billions of dollar of illicit drug money - over the protests of one of the bank's own anti-money laundering specialists.
BOD. Finally, you may want to forward this nice article (Boardmember.com) to whomever handles your board issues. In short, the article discusses five things that your board members should be thinking about as they work on your board.