Industry Developments

Special Purpose National Bank Charters for FinTech Companies

 

On December 2, 2016, Comptroller of the Currency, Thomas J. Curry, announced that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency would move forward with considering applications from Fintech companies to become special purpose national banks. Report.

The Comptroller explained that the proposed action will provide businesses with the option to seek a charter rather than imposing a mandate. The OCC will evaluate applicants to ensure they have a reasonable chance of success, appropriate risk management, effective consumer protection, and strong capital and liquidity.

The OCC published a paper discussing the issues and conditions that the agency will consider in granting special purpose national bank charters. Report. Comments on the proposal may be submitted through January 15, 2017.

No-Action Relief Allowing Use of Consolidated Risk Disclosure Statement

 

On November 30, 2016, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission‘s Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight provided no-action relief to futures commission merchants (FCMs) and introducing brokers (IBs), allowing them to provide non-institutional customers with a single, consolidated risk disclosure statement containing the same material information required in several risk disclosure statements. The intent is to provide greater efficiency and potentially reduce confusion to customers. Release.

Rating Agency Developments

 

On November 30, 2016, Fitch published its U.S. water and sewer revenue bond rating criteria. Report.

On November 29, 2016, Fitch published its rating criteria for RMBS transactions in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Report.

On November 29, 2016, Fitch published its rating criteria for GARVEE bonds. Report.

On November 28, 2016, DBRS published an update to its approach to rating U.S. RMBS transactions. Report.

On November 28, 2016, Moody’s published its approach to rating Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) CMBS transactions. Report.

FHFA Announces Increase in Maximum Conforming Loan Limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2017

 

On November 23, 2016, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced an increase in the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages acquired by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. The maximum loan limit for one-unit properties in 2017 will increase from $417,000 to $424,100 for most of the United States. In certain higher-cost areas, there will be a higher loan limit. Release. A list of the 2017 maximum conforming loan limits for all counties and county‑equivalent areas in the country can be found here.

CFTC Unanimously Approves Final Rule Amendments to Its Regulations Regarding CPO Financial Reports

 

On November 21, 2016, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC“) announced that it had approved amendments to its regulations applicable to commodity pool operators and the financial reports they are required to provide on their pools’ operations. The amendments are meant to incorporate into CFTC regulations certain exemptive relief previously provided through no-action or exemptive letters. Release.

CFTC Division of Market Oversight Reminds Market Participants of the Upcoming Expiration of Certain No Action Relief From the Ownership and Control Final Rule

 

On November 16, 2016, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC“) issued a reminder that previously specified no‑action relief will shortly be expiring. On November 18, 2016, at 12:00 a.m. Eastern time, revised electronic submission requirements for Forms 40/40S and 71 were put in effect. Release.

CFTC Approves Final Rule Amending the Timing for Filing Chief Compliance Officer Annual Reports by Certain Registrants

 

On November 10, 2016, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC“) issued a final rule modifying and clarifying previous guidance regarding compliance reports for futures commission merchants, swap dealers and major swap participants. Release.

Rating Agency Developments

 

On November 9, 2016, Fitch updated its ratings criteria for analyzing U.S. wireless tower transactions. Report.

On November 8, 2016, DBRS published its ratings methodology for Canadian trade receivable securitization transactions. Report.

On November 8, 2016, DBRS published its ratings methodology for Canadian residential mortgages, home equity lines of credit and reverse mortgages. Report.

On November 8, 2016, DBRS published its ratings methodology for Canadian credit card and personal line of credit securitizations. Report.

On November 4, 2016, Fitch updated its ratings criteria for charter schools. Report.

European Commission Establishes Expert Group on Sustainable Finance

 

On October 28, 2016, the European Commission published a decision creating a high-level expert group (“HLEG“) on sustainable finance in the context of the capital markets union (“CMU“).

The group is to have the following tasks:

  • Submitting to the Commission a set of policy recommendations that set out the scale and dimensions of the challenges and opportunities that sustainable finance presents, and recommending a comprehensive program of reforms to the EU financial policy framework. The group is to explore operational steps that financial institutions and supervisors should take to protect the stability of the financial system from environmental, social and governance risks. The accompanying press release suggests that this policy road map is due to be completed by the end of 2017.
  • Engaging in structured communication and advocacy towards interested parties about its work on sustainable finance.

Up to 20 senior experts will make up the group. They will commence work in January 2017. A call for applications for the selection of members of the group has been launched and will close on November 25, 2016.