Compliance Update with Amy K: COVID-19 News
by Amy Kleinschmit
Chief Compliance Officer
3/18/2020

COVID-19 News

Over the past week, a number of regulatory agencies have issued more guidance relating to COVID-19. Be sure to review this information especially as it relates to your department.

FinCEN.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued this press release earlier this week. FinCEN requests credit unions affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to contact FinCEN and their functional regulator as soon as practicable if there are concerns about any potential delays in its ability to file required Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) reports. 

Also, credit unions need to remain alert about malicious or fraudulent transactions. The following emerging trends connected to COVID-19 are starting to appear: imposter scams; investment scams; product scams; and finally, insider trading. Previous guidance related to Disaster-Related Fraud can be applicable to this current event. If it is a COVID-19 related suspicious transaction, FinCEN requests including “COVID19” in Field 2 of the SAR.

Educating members, along with staff, about potential scams is important. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a number of social media shareables to help educate members to avoid becoming victims of scams that can be found here.

Nacha.

National Automated Clearing House Association (Nacha) has issued ACH Operations Bulletin #2-2020, which can be found here. Nacha reminds credit unions of the importance of reviewing their business continuity plans to ensure that they are prepared to maintain ACH payment processing capabilities in the event of possible disruptions.

While the Nacha Operating Rules do discuss potential permitted delays, “A delay caused, in whole or in part, by the failure of a financial institution to maintain or implement an appropriate business continuity plan is not excused under the Rules for that financial institution.”

Time-critical obligations under the Nacha Operating Rules include, but are not limited to, the prompt posting of ACH credits and debits to customer accounts; providing funds availability from payroll and benefit Direct Deposits and other ACH credits no later than the applicable deadline; and exercising the right to return an ACH payment by the applicable return deadline.

NCUA.

The National Credit Union Administration has issued Letter to Credit Union 20-CU-02, which can be found here.

This letter reiterates and expands on the NCUA’s prior letter relating to working with members. This recent letter outlines a number of strategies credit unions may consider when determining how to work with their members to address the impact of, and challenges associated with, COVID-19.

The NCUA announced it will be adding a section to their website that contains all of the information they are providing credit unions related to COVID-19. FAQs, which are included in this letter, will also be hosted on this site and updated as new information becomes available.

The FAQs included with this letter range in topic from annual meetings; flexibilities for FCU monthly Board meetings; restricting access or closing facilities; upcoming NCUA exams; Call Report filing; and liquidity.

State chartered credit unions will also want to visit ND DFI’s guidance that has been recently issued and can be found here - https://www.nd.gov/dfi/ as there are some differences especially as it relates to notification requirements for branch closings or reduction in services hours.

As was previously discussed in the Memo, the FFIEC, of which NCUA is a member, issued an Interagency Statement on Pandemic Planning, which can be found here and provides guidance on your Business Continuity Program.

CFPB.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has issued guidance for the consumer as a way to educate the public on how to protect themselves financially from the impact of COVID-19. This information can be found here. The article discusses individuals who may have trouble paying bills or meeting other financial obligations; experience loss of income; or think they may have been targeted by scammers.

IRS.

Finally, the IRS has also developed a page of resources for taxpayers, businesses and others affected by COVID-19. This page can be found here.

 

FREE Pandemic Preparedness Webinar

A free recorded webinar will be available on March 20 to help you prepare for the spreading epidemic. In light of the potential for major disruptions to the financial industry, the Credit Union Webinar Network has decided to offer this webinar free of charge: Pandemic Preparedness – Managing Coronavirus and Other Epidemics.  If you don’t have a comprehensive, well-conceived plan in place, you need one NOW! Attending this webinar will start you on the right path and help you identify your institution’s strengths and weaknesses. This informative session is directed to risk officers, internal auditors, human resources staff, board members, and other management team members responsible for business continuity and pandemic preparedness. REGISTER HERE.

 

As always, CUAD members may contact Amy Kleinschmit with any compliance related questions.

 

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