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7 Buzzworthy Headlines in Compliance and Banking for May 2018 - Recap!

8 min read
Jun 6, 2018

Here are the top 7 most buzzworthy headlines about compliance, banking, and personal development that from May 2018. Take a look, and stay up-to-date on the breaking news.

We’ve curated the biggest headlines from the past few weeks, just for you. And, if you’re wondering what to do when you’re not sipping a cold beer while grilling up a couple of burgers, feel free to download our new CRA Info Kit, which will help you get your footing in this new regulatory landscape. (We've talked extensively about CRA modernization over the past few weeks, so we won't rehash that in-depth here, but the Info Kit may be a good resource if that's a priority for you this year.)

Without further ado, here are the 7 headlines that are making waves as the summer heats up...

1. 8 Mortgage Facts Revealed in the Latest HMDA Data -- National Mortgage News (May 8th, 2018)

Like many people across the industry, you may have been surprised to see last year's HMDA data released in spring as opposed to its traditional September time frame.

“The 2017 HMDA data tracked information on 12.1 million home loan applications, which resulted in 7.3 million loan originations, 2.1 million in purchased loans, and a total of over 14.1 million actions, according to the FFIEC,” according to National Mortgage News.

"The 2017 data also indicated a 13% drop in reporting institutions, which can be attributed to the adoption of Reg C. Further examination of the data also showed insights regarding racial discrepancies with minorities seeing “greater denial rates overall for conventional home purchase loans.”

Here are the first 4 facts according to Elina Tarkazikis and Brad Finkelstein at National Mortgage News:

  1. Loan originations plummet - Between 2016 and 2017, the volume of mortgage loans fell 12.4%, representing a decline of more than one million loans. Refinance originations decreased over 33%; whereas, home purchase lending increased by over 4%.
  2. Loans made to black borrowers grow - In 2017, home loans made to black borrowers rose to 6.4% up from 6%. Loans to hispanic borrowers maintained at 8.8% with loans to Asian borrowers rising from 5.5% to 5.8%.
  3. Minorities see greater denial rates - Black and hispanic-white applicants experienced higher denial rates for conventional home purchase loans than non-Hispanic white applicants. Compounding this, the denial rate for Asians was similar to non-Hispanic white applicants.
  4. FHA purchase share slips 10% - There was a 10% decline in the share of single-family purchase mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration. “The FHA’s share of refinance loans rose to 13.2% from 12% in 2016.”

Read the rest of the insights dug up by the team at National Mortgage News here.

2. Mapping the Black Box: A Look Inside Machine Learning’s Power and Quirks -- PYMNTS (May 1st, 2018)

According to Douglas Merrill, the founder of ZestFinance, “Machine learning is the answer to the financial inclusion problem. Now this might catch a number of people in the compliance and banking industry by surprise; how can machine learning solve such a complex issue that comprises an entire industry of its own? Furthermore, what even is machine learning in this context?"machine-learning-algorithms

The financial inclusion problem deals with the fact that while “the total amount of credit available now exceeds 2008 levels,” it is less evenly distributed, “squeezing out the bottom tenth percentile of borrowers.” What this has resulted in is a population that at one point was considered “adequately banked” is now “banked inadequately or not at all.” 

This is where machine learning comes into play. While adopting this technology could prove to be difficult, Merrill believes that doing so could help “lift those un-banked consumers into a bankable position.”

To learn more about the finer points of this type of machine learning and how it can help, head on over to read the full article here.

3. Congress Approves First Big Dodd-Frank Rollback -- New York Times (May 22nd, 2018)

If you missed this, then there’s a chance that you might be living under a rock! Jokes aside, this was probably the biggest story in the regulatory compliance world for the month of May. It's been met with praise from some and condemnation from others; this story is still playing out.

Barely a decade after the recession, Congress agreed last month to alleviate small and medium-sized banks from “strict rules that had been enacted as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law to prevent another meltdown.” Here are a couple of the changes promised by the rollback:

  • Banks that report under 500 LAR will no longer be required to submit the extended HMDA data, but they are still required to report the pre-2017 HMDA Rule data.
  • It also relaxes restrictions on the largest banks - those with between $50B and $250B. In particular, it reduces the stress test and living will requirements.

For community banks, the result may be not much change at all.

While this might motivate some alarmists into full-panic mode, it’s important to understand that the bill “stops far short of unwinding the toughened regulatory regime” that was enacted in order to prevent big banks from partaking in “risky behavior.” That being said, it’s still important to note that it’s a major step down from the rules that were put in place during the Obama-era.

A statement from Paul Ryan reads as follows, “Our smaller banks are engines of growth. By lending to small businesses and offering banking services for consumers, these institutions are and will remain vital for millions of Americans who participate in our economy.” What this actually means remains to be seen.

If you’d like to read the full article breaking down the implications of the Dodd-Frank Rollback, you can view it on the New York Times here.

4. DOJ Settles Fair Lending Suit with KleinBank -- Banking Exchange (May 11th, 2017)

Earlier in May, the Department of Justice settled a fair lending lawsuit against KleinBank. The suit, which was filed during the Obama-era claimed that KleinBank allegedly had redlining violations; a claim which was “forcibly denied” by the bank.

In a letter written by then president and CEO, Doug Hile, he said that “It’s important that you know KleinBank vigorously disputes the government’s claim of ‘redlining,’ which has no basis in fact. To the contrary—and as many of you can confirm—we have an established history of responding to all credit requests with a commitment to fairness and equal opportunity. And the government does not dispute this history.” He went on to point out that Minneapolis and St. Paul were not in fact part of KleinBank’s market.

In a May 8th statement, Hile said that “We are very pleased that the DOJ has dismissed this lawsuit, and we look forward to continuing to work with and serve the needs of all our communities.”

To read more about the details of the settlement with the DOJ, you can read the full article here.

5. First Tennessee’s $4 Billion Push into Poorer Neighborhoods -- Commercial Appeal (May 4th, 2018)

Good news from the CRA world as First Tennessee bank has reached an agreement to commit $4 billion over the next five years to poorer neighborhoods in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. While this is about the average commitment for banks of this size across the US, this represents a huge step among “the more conservative Southern banks,” according to Jess Van Tol, a national advocate for economic justice who negotiated the deal.

"I think their agreement is no better or no worse than many of our agreements,'' said Van Tol, CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. Van Tol is a Memphis native and is familiar with the culture in the South and how it leads to banks being “a little less willing to innovate and take risks and a little less willing to lend to people of color.”

These negotiations were triggered when First Tennessee announced their move a year ago to acquire Capital Bank, a bank in the mid-Atlantic. “Much of the money pledged by First Tennessee will be home and business loans made in low- and moderate- income communities”. Furthermore, First Tennessee will boost their lending in the above mentioned markets by at least “5 percent a year compounded, or 25-30 percent over the next five year.”

To learn more about what First Tennessee is doing and how it can potentially impact the community, read the full article here.

6. 3 Ways Senior Leaders Create a Toxic Culture -- Harvard Business Review (May 1st, 2018)

rawpixel-com-649911-unsplashChances are, you work in an organization with a hierarchical structure. Chances also are that you've noticed how people at the top of this pyramid seem to have a disproportionate amount of influence over the employees that they lead. How leaders behave and the habits they endorse goes a long way down the organization, and according to some researchers, this is a responsibility that isn't taken seriously enough.

According to Ron Carucci at Passages Consulting LLC, a group that focuses on helping CEOs and senior executives "in pursuit of profound organizational change and executive leadership capability", these are three ways that senior leaders mishandle their responsibility and create a toxic work culture.

  1. Scattered Priorities - Characterized by unorganized and haphazard leadership meetings, of low performing leadership teams "only 62% prioritize well and 53% are seen as being focused on the right issues" compared to 93% and 96% for their high performing counterparts. According to Carucci, "Effective leadership teams have clearly defined charters. They narrowly focus on the most strategic priorities and don't detour from them. They stick to well-articulated decision-making processes. And they intentionally transfer their disciplined focus down through the organization.
  2. Unhealthy Rivalries - While competition is often a good thing, having your leaders become too individualistic in their pursuits can often become an overwhelming negative. According to Carucci, unhealthy competition "erodes trust"  which will lead to a lot of finger pointing and passing of the blame if things go wrong.
  3. Unproductive Conflict -  "When conflict and information are mishandled among a leadership team, the rest of the organization follows suit." Needless to say, a team that has poor transparency and is lacking in constructive feedback will often lead to a super toxic culture. No one wants that.

You can read the full article on Harvard Business Review, here. 

7. Assessment: Are You a Compassionate Leader? -- Harvard Business Review (May 15th, 2018)

According to this article, and many other studies, compassion has become "increasingly recognized as a foundational aspect of leadership" with one 2012 study discovering that "more compassionate leaders appear stronger and have more engaged followers". Other studies have also shown that compassionate leaders "have better collaboration, lower turnover, and employees who are more trusting, more connected to each other, and more committed to the company."

But what exactly is compassion? According to some, it is "the intent to contribute to the happiness and well-being of others" which seems simple enough! This means being a leader who takes a genuine interest in seeing people thrive in their lives, not necessarily being "soft" or trying to please people. 

A team of writers comprise by Rasmus Hougaard, Jacqueline Carter, and Jason Beck have developed an awesome short assessment to determine whether you're a compassionate leader or note. You can take the assessment on Harvard Business Review, here. 

Ncontracts Viewpoint: As you work towards personal and professional growth, we hope these articles will help you succeed! Ncontracts is committed to learning and growing together with our readers, colleagues, and customers; this recap is one way of helping you stay up-to-date.

Thanks for reading! You may also be interested in our newest content; if so, here is our brand-new CRA Info Kit that we referenced earlier in the article!


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