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Inside Washington (06/24/2010)

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* WASHINGTON (6/25/10)--Reps. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) and Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) won the adoption of an amendment to the regulatory reform bill Wednesday that would require the inspector general of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) to investigate whether political pressure was involved with securing private-sector assistance for troubled banks. The amendment targets Chicago-based ShoreBank, which secured $140 million of private investments in May. The FDIC and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation issued a cease-and-desist order against the bank in July. It is unknown whether the Senate will support it, said American Banker (June 24) ... * WASHINGTON (6/25/10)--The Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Thursday issued the host state loan-to-deposit ratios that the banking agencies will use to determine compliance with section 109 of the Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act of 1994. These ratios update data released on June 29, 2009. In general, section 109 prohibits a bank from establishing or acquiring a branch or branches outside of its home state primarily for the purpose of deposit production. Section 109 also prohibits branches of banks controlled by out-of-state bank holding companies from operating primarily for the purpose of deposit production ...

FinCEN reports slight SAR drop

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WASHINGTON (6/25/10)--The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) this week reported that the total amount of suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed decreased slightly to 1.28 million in 2009. FinCEN recorded 1.29 million SARs in 2008. The number of SARs filed by depository institutions, including credit unions, also dropped to 720,309 in 2009, down from the 732,563 SARs that were filed in 2008. While FinCEN did not classify its SAR numbers by type of depository institution, it did report that the number of SARs addressing potential mortgage fraud increased by 4% in 2009. “Suspected incidents of credit card fraud increased 5% in 2009,” FinCEN added. In all, 27% of the suspicious activity reported by depository institutions in 2009 was attributed to suspected fraud-related activities including check fraud, commercial loan fraud, consumer loan fraud, credit card fraud, debit card fraud, mortgage loan fraud, and wire transfer fraud. Mortgage loan fraud and check fraud remain the only two SAR characterizations that have experienced an increase every year since 1996. For the full FinCEN report, use the resource link.

Compliance Challenge Reg E disclosures must be made individually

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WASHINGTON (6/25/10)--In June’s edition of Compliance Challenge, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) discloses that Regulation E does not allow credit unions to inform their members of new Reg E opt-in requirements via the credit union's newsletter. Opt-in notices must be provided before members may consent or opt in to the credit union's overdraft service for ATM and one-time debit card transactions, CUNA said. Those notices must inform the member on the steps needed to opt-in to the program. A credit union can provide a form to fill out and return in person or mail back to the credit union; a readily available telephone line that members can call to opt-in; or for members who have agreed to do business electronically, a Web-based form where members can click on a check box and then click a button to confirm their choice. Assuming the member elects to opt in, the credit union must send confirmation of the member’s opt-in choice in writing or electronically, if the member agrees to electronic communication. CUNA again addressed Reg E in a separate question that asked if credit unions may charge their members non-sufficient fund (NSF) fees when suspending the overdraft service for ATM and one-time debit card transactions. When asked recently by CUNA staff, Federal Reserve Board staff said that credit unions may charge fees in these instances since the member consented to the service and neither the credit union nor the member cancelled coverage. However, CUNA added, credit unions should notify their members that they may still incur NSF fees during the suspension period. Credit unions will have to craft these notifications very carefully in order to charge fees during this period, CUNA added. For the full compliance challenge, use the resource link.