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Monday, January 16, 2017

TCPA for Bank Compliance Professionals

Insurance Sales Compliance Discussion - Telephone Communication Protection Act

The results of a recent survey indicate that members want to know more about the Telephone Communication Protections Act (TCPA) and how it applies to their bank-affiliated insurance distribution business.

In an update of our compliance webinar series, we will invite bank-affiliated compliance and business leaders to have a frank discussion about how they are responding to the risks around TCPA implementation. Register to participate.

Jonathan Thessin will open with an overview of TCPA generally and its application to banks.

Chrys Lemon will continue with some of the unique implementation aspects for insurance distribution.

Then the discussion will begin. We invite participants to share a discussion question to ask each other how you do what you do.

Share your discussion question.

Thank you for helping to shape a new approach to compliance education!

Facilitators: Jonathan Thessin, Senior Counsel II, ABA Center for Regulatory Compliance
Chrys Lemon, ABA Outside Counsel, McIntyre & Lemon, PLLC
Date: Thursday, January 26, 10:00 a.m., EST
Webex tutorial: Join us five minutes early for a brief tutorial on Webex, so that you can take advantage of the Webex discussion tools.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Treasury, USTR Successfully Complete Negotiations for a Covered Agreement with the European Union

Today , the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced the successful completion of negotiations for a covered agreement with the European Union (EU). Under Title V of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Secretary of the Treasury, through the Federal Insurance Office (FIO), and USTR are authorized to jointly negotiate a covered agreement with one or more foreign governments, authorities, or regulatory entities.

“We are pleased the U.S. and EU were able to conclude this Agreement which resolves uncertainty for U.S. insurers and reinsurers,” said U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman. “This agreement will provide opportunities for U.S. insurers and reinsurers doing business in the EU while continuing to ensure a high standard of protection for U.S. and EU consumers.”

The Dodd-Frank Act requires that Treasury and USTR jointly consult with the House Committee on Financial Services, the House Committee on Ways and Means, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and the Senate Committee on Finance for any covered agreement. Read full press release.

"This is the first exercise of FIO’s authority to enter into any agreement on insurance regulation, and under the agreement FIO can preempt state reinsurance location and collateral requirements if the states do not make modifications to their existing laws that are consistent with the agreement," Jim Sivon, partner at Barnett, Sivon and Natter commented, "and while the agreement addresses reinsurance and group supervision, two issues of importance to underwriters, it will not significant affect bank agencies.

Read full press release.

Read full agreement.

If you have any question's, please contact ABA's Sarah Ferman at sferman@aba.com.

Cybersecurity Report for Trump Recommends Market Incentives for Businesses

The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) Cyber Policy Task Force sent a report to President-Elect Trump highlighting the wide range of cyber threats in the government and private industry and recommendations to companies to obtain cybersecurity insurance. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), a member of the cyber security task force stated that the a “key challenge” for both U.S. business and government is improving the cybersecurity workforce".

The report recommends that the next administration implement an ambitious education and workforce model for cyber security by providing market incentives such as policy discounts for organizations that are taking appropriate precautions with their network security. "The cybersecurity market has become a multibillion-dollar source for innovation and services to secure vulnerable networks, and “given the usefulness of these programs, the administration should focus on clarity and incentives to accelerate vulnerability discovery,” the report said.

Read full report.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

FHA to Cut Mortgage Insurance Premiums Again

For the second straight year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development will cut the mortgage insurance premiums paid by borrowers with new Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages and refinances. In announcing the 25 basis point reduction yesterday, HUD Secretary Julian Castro projected that it would save borrowers an average of $500 per year.

Under the plan, the insurance premium for FHA-backed loans would fall to 0.55 percent for loans with terms longer than 15 years and loan-to-value ratios of 95 percent or less. The cut -- criticized as irresponsible by many Republicans on Capitol Hill -- takes effect for loans that close on or after Jan. 27.

The FHA’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund reached a capital ratio of 2.32 percent in 2016, the second consecutive year since the housing crisis that its reserve ratio has exceeded the statutorily required level.

Read more.

ABA: Flood Proposal Could Create Confusion for Lenders

ABA on Friday commented on a proposal by the federal regulatory agencies to implement the 2012 Biggert-Waters flood insurance reform law’s efforts to stimulate a robust marketplace for private flood insurance that would offer a competitive alternative to the National Flood Insurance Program. The proposal revisits a proposed rule issued three years ago by the agencies.

As proposed, the rule offers two paths to help lenders accept flood insurance: a compliance aid to assist with the acceptance of policies that meet the explicit statutory definition of “private flood insurance,” as well as standards lenders can follow when using their discretion in instances where policies fall outside the statutory definition. ABA pointed out that while well-intentioned, the proposal could create further confusion for lenders and delays for borrowers. For example, in both cases, lenders would be required to conduct a detailed analysis of a private flood insurance policy and compare it to a standard flood insurance policy issued under the NFIP, which could actually impede the acceptance of private flood insurance.

The rule also proposes standards for accepting flood insurance policies from mutual aid societies -- guarantees from religious or cultural institutions to rebuild property in the case of flood or other hazard, often employed in cases where religious principles forbid traditional insurance. While ABA supports this provision, it emphasized that the rule must clearly articulate when a mutual aid policy will be deemed acceptable, given that these commitments rarely, if ever, resemble a standard flood insurance policy.

Read the letter.