Financial Update (October-December 2001)

Masthead

Cover Story

Economic Education

New MICR Standard

Credit Unions’ Risk and Membership

DEPARTMENTS

Did You Know?

Data Bank

The Docket

T he following is a summary of recent Federal Reserve actions or announcements. Circular letters are available online at www.frbatlanta.org/bank_info/circ_router.cfm.


Aug. 3 The Federal Reserve Board extended the Oct. 1, 2001, mandatory compliance date for interim rules governing the electronic delivery of certain consumer disclosures. The rules establish uniform standards for the electronic delivery of federally mandated disclosures under five consumer protection regulations: B (Equal Credit Opportunity), E (Electronic Fund Transfers), M (Consumer Leasing), Z (Truth in Lending), and DD (Truth in Savings). Once permanent final rules are issued, the Board expects to afford institutions a reasonable period of time to comply with those rules.

Aug. 7 The Federal Reserve Board has published a Spanish version of its brochure for consumers, Cómo Puede Un Consumidor Presentar Una Queja Acerca De Un Banco (How to File a Consumer Complaint About a Bank). The brochure describes the kinds of complaints against banks the Federal Reserve System investigates and the information the Fed needs from consumers to pursue its investigations. The brochure also provides information about major consumer protection laws and lists the other federal regulatory agencies and the types of financial institutions they supervise. Single as well as multiple copies of the brochure are available from Publications Services, Mail Stop 127, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Washington, D.C. 20551 (202-452-3245). The first 100 copies are free.

Aug. 13 The Federal Reserve Board has issued a final rule relating to financial subsidiaries of state member banks. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and rule permit qualifying state member banks to establish financial subsidiaries and thereby engage in certain activities that have been determined to be financial in nature or incidental to financial activities. The rule continues to allow qualifying state member banks to use a streamlined notice procedure to establish a financial subsidiary. The final rule became effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Sept. 14 The Federal Reserve encourages state member banks and bank holding companies to work with customers who have been affected directly or indirectly by the events of Sept. 11. The Fed has had a long-standing policy of encouraging bankers to work flexibly with customers, whether companies or individuals, who have been affected by disasters. Banking organizations are encouraged to take prudent steps to make credit available to sound borrowers, while taking into account current conditions in considering adjustments to the original terms and conditions of customers’ loans or transactions. Organizations may also ease documentation requirements or credit-extension terms for new loans, consistent with prudent banking practices, and may consider providing additional time or grace periods before assessing late fees or initiating default or penalty pricing, particularly on consumer loans.

Oct. 10 The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System announced modifications to the method for calculating the private sector adjustment factor (PSAF). The revised method will be used to determine the 2002 PSAF and fees for the Federal Reserve’s priced services. The changes approved by the Board modify the current method for imputing debt and equity, enhance the method for determining the target rate of return on equity and refine the basis for selecting the priced-services peer group.