Oversight

IRS ramps up efforts to combat identity, tax refund fraud

The IRS announced last week that it has initiated approximately 300 new investigations into identity theft and refund fraud ahead of the April 15 tax deadline. Since January, the IRS’ criminal investigation unit has launched 295 new investigations, pushing the number of active cases under investigation to more than 1,800. “Identity theft... Read More...

CFPB to ramp up oversight of nonbank auto lenders

CFPB Deputy Director Steven Antonkes said last week the agency will move ahead with a proposal to expand the regulator’s supervisory authority to cover nonbank auto lenders as part of an effort to address fair lending risks. “For some time now, we have expressed concern that discretionary pricing in auto finance, coupled with financial... Read More...

House hears testimony from witnesses on alleged discrimination at CFPB

The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations heard testimony from witnesses on Tuesday alleging that the CFPB has engaged in a culture of discrimination and retaliation against its employees. Last month, reports surfaced that CFPB managers had allegedly ranked employees of different races differently in performance... Read More...

Regulatory inconsistencies hinder Native American housing programs

A report released by the Government Accountability Office last week found regulatory inconsistencies in federal housing programs for Native Americans have made it difficult for native tribes and tribal housing entities to administer the Indiana Housing Block Grant program. The program, which was established under the 1996 Native American... Read More...

House to examine allegations of discrimination at CFPB

The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing next week to examine allegations of discriminatory behavior by managers at the CFPB. The hearing will discuss reports that agency managers have allegedly shown favoritism towards white employees in performance reviews used to issue raises and bonuses.... Read More...

GAO report reveals lack of oversight in student loan rehabilitation program

A report released by the Government Accountability Office last week revealed “serious weaknesses” in the Department of Education’s oversight of a program intended to help financially troubled student loan borrowers. The student loan rehabilitation program allows student loan borrowers in default to “rehabilitate” their loans by making... Read More...

Hensarling calls on CFPB to be transparent, end closed-door meetings

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) called on the CFPB to end its closed-door meeting policy for its four advisory councils in honor of “Sunshine Week,” a national media initiative aimed at promoting open government. “Instead of operating behind closed doors, it’s time for the CFPB to live up to its... Read More...

House committee threatens action against CFPB for delays

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling threatened last week to take measures against the CFPB—including issuing a subpoena—over its “delay” in providing the committee with information on the agency’s policies related to indirect auto lending. Democrats from the committee wrote to the CFPB in May requesting... Read More...

HUD-OIG testifes on alleged inappropriate lobbying by HUD officials

Housing and Urban Development Inspector General David Montoya told a House committee on Wednesday that the office’s report revealed that actions by senior HUD officials “display the appearance of impropriety and of ethical regressions.” According to the OIG’s report, senior HUD officials allegedly engaged in appropriations lobbying that... Read More...

House subcommittee to hold hearing on alleged HUD lobbying violations

The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing on Feb. 26 regarding allegations of improper appropriations lobbying at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD Inspector General David Montoya will testify before the subcommittee at the hearing, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the... Read More...

GAO: Treasury has not assessed servicer compliance with non-English speaker policies

A recent study released by the Government Accountability Office found that while the U.S. Treasury requires mortgage servicers to develop policies to increase housing program accessibility for non-English speakers, the Treasury has not assessed compliance with the requirement. The U.S. Treasury was directed in 2000 and 2011 to improve access to... Read More...

OFR Director Berner takes heat from House subcommittee for data collection

Office of Financial Research Director Richard Berner took heat from members of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on Wednesday due to the agency’s collection of financial data. Berner testified before the subcommittee on the agency’s annual report, which was released in December. The Dodd-Frank Act... Read More...

CFPB supervision report uncovers unfair, deceptive practices by mortgage servicers

A report released by the CFPB last week uncovered a number of issues in the mortgage servicing industry in 2013, including unfair and deceptive practices. “Problems in mortgage servicing have plagued consumers for years and helped contribute to the financial crisis,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said. “Taking action against mortgage... Read More...

Sens. Warren, Coburn introduce bill to boost transparency in federal settlements

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) introduced legislation on Tuesday that would require federal agencies to provide full disclosure related to settlements involving enforcement actions. "When government agencies reach settlements with companies that break the law, they should disclose the terms of those deals to the... Read More...

Coburn releases Wastebook 2013 report highlighting “questionable” spending

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released his annual oversight report earlier this month highlighting examples of “questionable and lower-priority spending.” According to Coburn’s “Wastebook 2013,” the National Endowment of the Humanities’ Popular... Read More...

SEC report finds lack of review procedures at credit rating agency

The SEC released a report last week that showed improvements in compliance at credit rating agencies, though an examination of the agencies showed a lack of review procedures and oversight of the development of new rating methodologies. In its annual report—mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act—the SEC focused on activities of credit rating... Read More...

Review of OCC concludes agency should focus on safety, soundness

A peer review of the OCC’s supervisory approach for large and mid-sized institutions recommended that the regulator make safety and soundness its key objective. The OCC has been criticized for missing clues leading up to the financial crisis, and some lawmakers have called for increased scrutiny of financial regulators, Financial Times... Read More...

Reserve Bank of India to increase capital requirements for TBTF banks

The Reserve Bank of India said on Monday that it would increase capital requirements for “too big to fail” banks by 2016 and subject them to enhanced oversight as part of an effort to address problems in the financial system. India has seen increased levels of stressed loans, with approximately 10 percent of all loans categorized as... Read More...

U.S. Chamber: Without reform, FSOC will “fall short of mandates”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness released on Monday suggested reforms to the Financial Stability Oversight Council as part of an effort to simplify the regulatory regime. The agenda identifies 14 suggested reforms aimed at strengthening evidence-based analysis, modifying the council’s structure to... Read More...

IRS council urges adequate funding for agency, making self-reporting easier for taxpayers

The IRS Advisory Council—or IRSAC, an advisory group for the IRS—said in its annual report last week that the tax agency needs adequate funding to operate efficiently, adding that it should expand its voluntary correction programs. In its report, IRSAC said reducing the agency’s budget “constrains IRS effectiveness and efficiency, which... Read More...

House passes legislation to strengthen oversight, accountability at CFPB

The House Financial Services Committee passed six bills on Thursday aimed at enhancing oversight, accountability and transparency at the CFPB. The Responsible Consumer Financial Protection Act—or H.R. 2446—would replace the CFPB director with a bipartisan, five-member commission appointed by the president, aligning the CFPB’s leadership... Read More...

OCC’s Curry: BSA compliance will require extra diligence by industry, government

Comptroller of the Currency Thomas J. Curry said on Tuesday that the Bank Secrecy Act is a crucial element in combating illegal drugs and terrorism, adding that industry and government will need to demonstrate extra diligence in confronting future challenges. “The BSA and other anti-money laundering requirements have also provided... Read More...

GAO: Government assistance provided largest banks with borrowing advantages

A recent GAO report found that while government assistance helped limit the impact of the financial crisis, it also provided America’s largest banks with advantages, including the ability to borrow at lower rates and longer maturities. The GAO found that at the end of 2008, program use—the percentage of total assets supported by the... Read More...

Tax Justice Network releases ranking of financially secretive countries

The Tax Justice Network released last week its Financial Secrecy Index, which ranks countries based on the secrecy and scale of financial activities, showing an estimated $21 trillion to $32 trillion in private untaxed or lightly taxed wealth. Switzerland ranked first in the index, followed by Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Cayman Islands, Singapore,... Read More...

Bipartisan group of lawmakers express concerns related to CFPB guidance

In a recent letter to the CFPB, a bipartisan group of 22 senators expressed concerns related to the agency’s guidance for indirect auto lenders, saying it could “curtail a pro-competitive feature of the indirect vehicle financing market.” Indirect vehicle financing is a method in which an auto dealer arranges vehicle financing through a... Read More...

Hensarling: Warnings of FHA’s insolvency “proven correct”

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling said during a hearing last week that witnesses who warned about the potential insolvency of the FHA at a hearing earlier in the year have “been proven correct.” “On Feb. 13, when our witness, [Federal Housing Administration] Commissioner [Carol] Galante came before us to... Read More...

House subcommittee discusses proposals to enhance accountability at CFPB

The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit met last week to discuss proposals designed to enhance accountability and oversight at the CFPB. “We are here this afternoon to gain insight on proposals to reform the CFPB so that it is better suited to provide a stable regulatory environment for consumer... Read More...

HFSC holds hearing on FHA’s $1.7 billion draw from U.S. Treasury

The House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on Tuesday in which Federal Housing Administration Commissioner Carol Galante testified on the agency’s first-ever taxpayer-funded bailout. Galante defended the administration’s announcement that it needed $1.7 billion from the U.S. Treasury to meet a requirement mandated by the Federal... Read More...

Sen. Warren requests enforcement records from regulators

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to the Federal Reserve, OCC and SEC last week requesting information on the agencies’ enforcement records between 2009 and 2012. "According to a recent analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the crisis cost the United States up to $14 trillion in lost economic productivity," Warren... Read More...

House subcommittee examines proposals to reduce barriers to capital formation

The House Subcommittee on Capital Markets held a hearing on Wednesday to consider several legislative proposals designed to reduce barriers to capital formation. One proposal includes a measure to direct the SEC to exempt non-accelerate filers with revenues of less than $1 billion from the XBRL filing requirement, Compliance Week... Read More...

CFPB notes agency concerns following report on Credit CARD Act

CFPB Director Richard Cordray said at a field hearing on the 2009 Credit CARD Act held on Wednesday that while the legislation addressed many issues within the market, the agency still has a number of concerns. According to the report released by the CFPB, the CARD Act reduced the average size of credit card late fees by approximately $6, a... Read More...

FDIC, Federal Reserve publish 11 banks’ living wills

The FDIC and Federal Reserve released public sections of recently filed annual resolution plans for 11 financial institutions, which describe the companies' emergency exit plan for orderly resolution in the event of failure or distress. Firms required to submit initial plans last year—generally those with nonbank assets of more than $250... Read More...

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