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Seth represents publicly traded companies and financial institutions, including banks and bank holding companies, nonbank lenders, and other fintech and financial services companies, on regulatory, compliance, strategic, corporate law, securities law, and disclosure matters.

On June 24, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) announced it is requesting comments on proposed amendments to its recovery planning guidelines. A recovery plan’s purpose is to provide a covered bank with a framework to effectively and efficiently address the financial effects of severe stress events and avoid failure or resolution. Among other things, the proposed amendments aim to expand the guidelines to apply to banks with average total consolidated assets between $100 billion and $250 billion. The proposal also seeks to incorporate a testing standard and clarify the role of non-financial risks in recovery planning.

There has been a great deal of press about the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) vote to ban employee non-competition provisions and policies; see our firm’s fuller discussion here. While the FTC describes the rule as a comprehensive ban, it acknowledges that the rule does not apply to regulated financial institutions, and nonsolicitation clauses are still permitted.

Today, a divided Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) Board of Directors issued a proposed Statement of Policy (SOP) on bank merger transactions that would create a combined bank with more than $100 billion in assets. The proposed SOP would replace the FDIC’s current SOP on bank merger transactions and proposes a principles-based overview that describes

On March 12, at the Institute of International Bankers Annual Washington Conference, Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael J. Hsu discussed the importance of operational resilience in the banking sector and hinted that potential regulations aimed to promote the same may be forthcoming.

As discussed here, on October 24, the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency finally issued their long-awaited final rule modernizing how they assess lenders’ compliance under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The CRA regulations had not been updated since 1995.

On January 29, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding its review of business combinations under the Bank Merger Act (BMA). Specifically, the OCC proposed: (i) amendments to 12 C.F.R. § 5.33 to remove provisions related to expedited review and the use of streamlined business combination applications subject to BMA review; and (ii) the adoption of an official policy statement setting forth general principles the OCC will use in its review of applications subject to the BMA. If adopted as proposed, the rulemaking will likely lead to longer approval timelines for certain national bank transactions, particularly for mergers involving well-managed, well-capitalized community banks, internal corporate reorganizations, and branch acquisitions that would have otherwise been able to take advantage of expedited review. Currently, assuming certain criteria are met, a BMA filing that qualifies as a business reorganization eligible for a streamlined application is deemed approved on the 15th day after the close of the comment period, unless the OCC notifies the applicant that the filing is not eligible for expedited review or the expedited review process is extended. However, if the rulemaking is adopted as proposed, § 5.33 would be amended to remove the procedures for expedited review and the use of streamlined applications.

On January 18, at an event hosted by Columbia University Law School, Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael J. Hsu discussed liquidity risk at banks and described potential “targeted regulatory enhancements” that would require midsize and large banks to have sufficient liquidity to cover “ultra-short-term” stress outflows over a five-day period. The rationale for the enhancements stem from last year’s large bank failures and are intended to ensure that updated liquidity and risk management practices are implemented and sustained across midsize and large banks.

On January 8, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) announced adjustments to the maximum amount of each civil money penalty (CMP) within its jurisdiction. The 2015 Adjustment Act requires federal agencies with CMP authority to annually adjust each CMP to account for inflation in accordance with the guidance published by the Office of Management and Budget. The adjusted maximum penalties are effective immediately for violations occurring on or after November 2, 2015. The OCC adjustment does not affect the OCC’s discretion to assess a CMP lower than the maximum allowed. Further, with respect to community banks, the OCC retains discretion to impose inflation-adjusted maximum CMPs, as appropriate

On October 24, the Federal Reserve Board (Fed), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) (collectively, the agencies) finally issued their long-awaited final rule modernizing how they assess lenders’ compliance under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The CRA was enacted in 1977 to address systemic inequities in access to credit and encourages banks to meet the credit needs of the entire community, including low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities, consistent with safety and soundness principles. The last meaningful, comprehensive revision to the CRA regulations occurred in 1995.

On August 2, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) announced updates to certain sections and examination procedures in the FFIEC Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Examination Manual (Manual). The Manual instructs examiners on how to assess a bank’s anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) program and its compliance with other AML/CFT regulatory requirements. The FFIEC cautions that the updates should not be seen as new instructions or an increased focus on certain areas, but instead as offering further transparency into the examination process and supporting risk-focused examination work.