AmBA Repeats Call for Congress to Block Overtime Rule June 24, 2016
On Thursday, AmBA wrote to the House Small Business Committee urging Congress to block the Department of Labor’s final overtime rule from taking effect. The rule -- which increased the salary level used to determine whether employees are exempt from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act from $23,660 to $47,476 -- is set to take effect on Dec. 1.
The association reiterated its concerns that the rule imposes a “one-size-fits-all” standard on employers nationwide, with no regard to the economic and cost of living differences between states. Despite multiple meetings between ABA and member bankers with the DOL and the Office of Management and Budget during the rulemaking process, the final rule granted only a “token reduction” to the salary threshold and moved the annual automatic update of the threshold to every three years.
AmBA encouraged lawmakers to support H.R. 4773, the Protecting the Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act. The bill would nullify the rule and require the DOL to conduct a detailed economic analysis prior to making dramatic changes to federal overtime pay requirements. Click here to read the letter. Click here to take grassroots action.
State Associations Urge Action on Rural Appraiser Shortage June 24, 2016
The state bankers associations wrote to federal regulators and the Appraisal Qualifications Board yesterday urging action to address a critical shortage of qualified appraisers in rural areas by reforming the criteria necessary to become qualified. A combination of retirements among appraisers, declining young populations in rural areas and the lengthy appraiser training process has resulted in a crunch.
“The shortage of qualified rural appraisers has dramatically increased the time to process a rural real estate loan,” the associations said. “This has created a detrimental ripple effect throughout rural economies in this country because all affected parties, the bank, the seller and the buyer, must remain at a standstill until a qualified appraisal is available to service a loan transaction.” Click here to read the letter.
U.S. Chamber’s Donohue Calls for Financial Reg Relief June 24, 2016
Thomas Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, issued a full-throated defense of the banking industry and its role in helping American businesses grow. In a speech at the Nasdaq Stock Market in New York, Donohue called for Congress and regulators to lighten the regulatory burden on banks of all sizes that he said has limited financing for all kinds of companies and stymied growth. “Don’t forget that Wall Street and Main Street are inextricably linked,” he said. “They depend on each other.”
Donohue pointed out that the financial system is much more stable today, with higher levels of capital and “needed reforms” to derivatives. “But Dodd-Frank, in combination with Basel III, got too much wrong -- and we’re paying a steep price,” he added. “Our economic engine is sputtering. The last eight years of restrictive, punitive, redundant, and overlapping regulations have undermined our system’s ability to finance the growth of companies large and small.”
Dodd-Frank’s costs have spread into the broader economy, he said, with one-third of corporate finance executives saying they had to increase customer prices to comply with Dodd-Frank and 20 percent saying that had delayed or canceled investments. To address the burden, Donohue called for reforms to the CFPB and FSOC; relief from systemic risk regulation for regional and midsize banks; transparency for global regulatory negotiations in Basel, Switzerland; and stopping the Labor Department’s controversial fiduciary rule and the CFPB’s arbitration rule. Click here to read the speech. Click here to read a related Chamber report.
AmBA Issues Staff Analysis of CFPB Proposal on Small-Dollar Credit June 24, 2016
AmBA has issued a staff analysis of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s recently proposed rule on small dollar lending. The proposed rule would sharply curtail short-term, small-dollar consumer loans by defining loans as “abusive and unfair” if lenders fail to reasonably determine borrowers’ ability to repay the loan or satisfy an exception.
To demonstrate ability to repay, lenders would be required to verify income, customer debt obligations and housing costs; forecast basic living expenses; and project customers’ income, obligations and expenses over the term of the loan. The proposed rule would also impose limits on re-borrowing.
AmBA intends to comment on the proposed rule and is seeking bankers to join its Small Dollar Lending Working Group to provide feedback. Comments are due by Sept. 14. Click here to read the AmBA staff analysis. For more information, contact AmBA's Jonathan Thessin.
CFPB Updates Reg Z Dollar Thresholds June 20, 2016
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Friday announced 2017 changes in dollar thresholds for several Regulation Z provisions governed by the CARD Act, the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act and the Dodd-Frank Act. The thresholds are based on changes in the Consumer Price Index.
For credit cards, the penalty fees safe harbor for 2017 will remain at $27 for a first late payment. Due to a miscalculation from the previous adjustment, the bureau has recalculated the subsequent late payment safe harbor fee to be $38, effective immediately. This new figure will remain unchanged in 2017. The minimum interest charge disclosure threshold will also remain unchanged for 2017. The HOEPA loan threshold will increase slightly to $20,579 and the HOEPA fee trigger will be $1,029, effective Jan. 1.
For Qualified Mortgages, points and fees cannot exceed 3 percent of loans of $102,894 or more; $3,087 for loans between $61,737 and $102,894; 5 percent for loans between $12,862 and $20,579; and 8 percent for loans of less than $12,862. Click here to read more.
AmBA Offers Tips for Avoiding Ransomware June 20, 2016
AmBA has released a new infographic to help consumers understand, identify, and protect themselves from ransomware -- a type of malicious software that freezes computers and mobile devices until a sum of money is paid. The FBI estimates that more than $1 billion will be lost from ransomware attacks in 2016 alone.
To combat the threat of ransomware, consumers are encouraged to use caution when opening emails or attachments they don’t recognize, back up their files, use popup blockers to avert unwanted ads and malware and keep operating systems security software up to date. Businesses should also take proactive steps against ransomware by educating employees, managing the use of privileged accounts, having a data backup and recovery plan for all critical information and alerting law enforcement when faced with a possible attack. Click here to view the infographic. Click here to learn more about ransomware.
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