Elizabeth Elias, an associate in the New York office, is a member of the Structured Finance Group. Elizabeth represents a variety of market participants, including sponsors, issuers and underwriters, in public and private offerings of commercial mortgage-backed securities.ArrayArray

Posts by: Elizabeth J. Elias

House Committee on Financial Services Comments on OCC Fintech Charter

 

All 34 Republican members of the Financial Services Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, including Chairman Jeb Hensarling (Tex. – R) and Vice Chairman Patrick McHenry (N.C. – R), in a letter dated March 10, 2017, to Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry, urged the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC“) not to “rush” the decision to create special purpose national bank charters for fintech companies without giving stakeholders the opportunity to see the details of the prospective charter and the opportunity to comment, and also without giving the incoming Comptroller the opportunity to assess the charter after Comptroller Curry’s term expires in April 2017. The letter advises Comptroller Curry that if such opportunities for review, comment and assessment are not provided, “Congress will examine the OCC’s actions and, if appropriate, overturn them.” A number of banks, community bank organizations and others previously provided comments to the OCC urging the OCC to assure that there will be a level playing field for newly chartered fintech banks and existing banks.

Final Rule Revising the Capital Plan and Stress Test Rules

 

On January 31, 2017, the Federal Reserve Board (the “Board“) adopted a final rule that revises the capital plan and stress test rules for (i) bank holding companies with $50 billion or more in total consolidated assets and (ii) U.S. intermediate holding companies of foreign banking organizations. Under the final rule, large and noncomplex firms are no longer subject to the qualitative assessment of the Board’s Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (“CCAR“). However, large and noncomplex firms will remain subject to their capital requirements as part of CCAR’s quantitative assessment and will still be subject to regular supervisory assessments examining their capital planning processes. Press Release. Final Rule.

The OCC Publishes Final Rule Adjusting Civil Money Penalties for Inflation

 

On January 27, 2017, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (the “OCC“) published a final rule amending its rules of practice and procedure for national banks and in adjudicatory proceedings for federal savings associations. The final rule adjusts the maximum amount of each civil money penalty within the OCC’s jurisdiction to account for inflation. The effective date of the final rule is January 27, 2017, and the adjusted maximum amounts apply to penalties assessed after January 15, 2017 for violations occurring on or after November 2, 2015. Press Release. Final Rule.

Rating Agency Developments

 

On January 31, 2017, Moody’s updated its U.S. RMBS surveillance methodology. Report.

On January 31, 2017, Moody’s updated its rating methodology for rated issuers in the telecommunications service provider industry globally. Report.

On January 27, 2017, Moody’s revised its approach to assessing credit risk for companies in the soft beverage industry globally. Report.

On January 27, 2017, S&P released an advance notice of proposed criteria changes for rating U.S. residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS). Report.

Prohibition on Dealing or Investing in Industrial or Commercial Metals

 

On January 3, 2017, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (the “OCC“) finalized a rule that prohibits national banks and federal savings associations from dealing or investing in industrial or commercial metals. An “industrial or commercial metal” is “a metal (or alloy), including copper, in a form primarily suited to industrial or commercial use.” Examples of metals and alloys considered to be “industrial or commercial metals” include copper cathodes, aluminum T-bars and gold jewelry. The rule becomes effective on April 1, 2017, and includes a divestiture period requiring national banks and federal savings associations to dispose of industrial or commercial metals acquired through dealing or investing activities “as soon as practicable, but not later than one year from the effective date of the regulation.” However, the OCC may grant up to four separate one-year extensions of this period for national banks or federal savings associations making a good faith effort to divest of the industrial or commercial metals and where the banks’ or savings associations’ retention of these metals is not inconsistent with their safe and sound operation. Press Release. Rule.

Annual Asset-Size Threshold Adjustments for Small and Intermediate Small Banks

 

On December 29, 2016, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation amended their Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations to adjust the asset-size thresholds used to define “small bank” or “small savings association” and “intermediate small bank” or “intermediate small savings association.” The adjustment is based on an annual percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. As a result of the 0.84 percent increase for the period ending in November 2016, “small bank” or “small savings association” means “an institution that, as of December 31, 2016, of either of the prior two calendar years, had assets of less than $1.226 billion,” and “intermediate small bank” or “intermediate small savings association” means “a small institution with assets of at least $307 million as of December 31 of both of the prior two calendar years and less than $1.226 billion as of December 31, 2016, of either of the prior two calendar years.” Press Release. Rule.

Rating Agency Developments

 

On January 4, 2017, KBRA updated its methodology for rating Single-Family Rental (SFR) securitizations. Report.

On January 4, 2017, KBRA updated its methodology for rating U.S. CMBS multi-borrower securitizations. Report.

On December 30, 2016, DBRS updated its Canadian surveillance methodology for CDOs of large corporate credit. Report.

On December 29, 2016, Fitch updated its rating criteria for U.S. equipment lease and loan ABS. Report.

Rating Agency Developments

On December 14, 2016, Fitch published its rating criteria for debt issued by airports. Report.

On December 12, 2016, DBRS released its methodology for rating project finance. Report.

On December 12, 2016, DBRS released its methodology for rating solar power projects. Report.

On December 12, 2016, DBRS released its methodology for rating wind power projects. Report.

On December 12, 2016, DBRS released its methodology for rating companies in the pipeline and the diversified energy industry. Report.

On December 12, 2016, DBRS released its preferred share and hybrid security criteria for corporate issuers. Report.

On December 8, 2016, Fitch updated its EMEA RMBS rating criteria with an addendum for analyzing securities backed by Belgian residential mortgage loans. Report.

On December 8, 2016, Fitch updated its EMEA RMBS rating criteria with an addendum for analyzing securities backed by French residential mortgage loans. Report.

On December 8, 2016, DBRS released its surveillance methodology for CMBS transactions. Report.

FHFA Issues Final Rule on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Duty to Serve Underserved Markets

On December 13, 2016, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a final rule implementing the Duty to Serve provisions mandated by the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992, as amended by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA).  The statute established a duty for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to serve three underserved markets: manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation and rural housing.  The intent of the provisions is to increase the liquidity of mortgage investments and improve distribution of investment capital available for mortgage financing for very low-, low- and moderate-income families in the manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation and rural housing markets. Press Release. Final Rule.

 

Federal Banking Agencies Finalize an 18-Month Examination Cycle for Small Banking Institutions

On December 12, 2016, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Federal Reserve Board and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) finalized rules that generally allow well-capitalized and well-managed banks and savings associations with less than $1 billion in total assets to benefit from an 18-month examination cycle rather than a 12-month cycle.  Prior to the adoption of the interim final rules, only firms with total assets of less than $500 million were eligible to benefit from the extended 18-month cycle.  The final rules are meant, among other things, to reduce regulatory compliance costs for smaller institutions. Press Release. Final Rule.