Scary Reading for Compliance Officers

Folks,

Please take a few minutes and read the article quoted below.

This article uses MoneyGram as an example, but there is a message in here that all of you should heed. Until the time that the President has acted on abuse of power at federal agencies, we are all at risk to some level.

If you document efforts to do your job, and you actually seek out advice and try to the level of best efforts to follow the advice, you can defend yourself. But remember, the buck will stop somewhere.

Here is the article, a compliance recruiting company put this information into the public domain with what I see as their intent to educate and inform. I did not write this but it sure makes sense to me. They did a good job. Nothing more to say.

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“When the US government wanted to punish someone at MoneyGram for the company’s role in a $100m wire fraud, law enforcement did not go after the chief executive.

Instead, Preet Bharara, then the top US prosecutor in Manhattan, (who the President just fired) filed a civil lawsuit against Thomas Haider, MoneyGram’s chief compliance officer, seeking to collect a $1m Treasury Department penalty and to ban him from the industry. The 2014 litigation, which was settled earlier this month, was the US government’s first courtroom bid to hold a compliance officer personally responsible for not preventing financial wrongdoing. “Compliance officers find this case very troubling,” said Todd Cipperman, an industry consultant in Wayne, Pennsylvania. “To hold him accountable and not hold other senior executives accountable seems strange and unfair.” Compliance officers — among the corporate world’s least glamorous players — fear they are being sacrificed to the government’s desire to punish individuals for financial industry misdeeds. Earlier this month, Mr Haider agreed to pay a reduced fine of $250,000 — roughly equal to such executives’ typical annual salary — and to accept a three-year employment ban. His case comes as other regulators target the professionals who are responsible for ensuring that their employers remain on the right side of legal and regulatory lines. The UK securities watchdog handed out its first fine to a compliance officer in 2008 and British enforcers stepped up activities in this area in 2015. The Financial Conduct Authority and its predecessor have brought a series of cases where the officer either failed to make sure his or her company was complying with regulations or failed to adequately detect or question potential market abuse. Among them was a high profile £130,000 fine of the former compliance officer of Greenlight Capital, a US hedge fund.

In the US, Finra, the industry regulator in 2014 fined Brown Brothers Harriman’s chief compliance officer $25,000 and suspended him for one month for compliance failures. The Securities and Exchange Commission, which also has acted in several cases, says it will not pursue compliance professionals unless they are involved in wrongdoing, mislead investigators, or are negligent. This has failed to calm industry nerves. “These compliance officers are doing the best they can,” said Jonathan Lopez of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and a former federal prosecutor in money laundering cases. “It’s a pretty harrowing field to be operating in.” Still, even some who are skeptical of the government’s crackdown say Mr Haider’s failures were notable. His punishment grew out of an investigation by the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which concluded that MoneyGram had turned a blind eye to consumer fraud on its network of money-moving outlets. For five years beginning in 2004, scam artists defrauded “tens of thousands” of often-elderly customers by posing as relatives in need of emergency aid or by promising large lottery prizes or attractive job offers in return for cash wired via MoneyGram, according to the US Department of Justice. The fraudsters’ co-conspirators included an expatriate Nigerian tribal chief, who owned several MoneyGram outlets. The company signed a deferred prosecution agreement with the DoJ in 2012, conceding that it had criminally aided and abetted wire fraud and failed to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program as required by the Bank Secrecy Act. MoneyGram agreed to the appointment of a court-ordered monitor and surrendered $100m to repay its victims.

The DoJ said the company was guilty of a “systematic, pervasive and wilful failure” to meet its anti-money laundering obligations. Even as annual fraud reports ballooned to 19,614 in 2008 from 1,575 in 2004, MoneyGram failed to close suspect outlets, federal prosecutors said. As compliance chief, Mr Haider was directly responsible for managing MoneyGram’s anti-fraud programs. But on his watch, MoneyGram admitted filing erroneous “suspicious activity reports” with the Treasury Department that identified fraud victims as the fraudster, according to court documents. Since Mr Haider left the company in 2008, its “management, organizational structure, and compliance programs have changed significantly”, MoneyGram said, adding that it “has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in our technology and compliance infrastructure to protect our consumers”. Mr Haider, who did not respond to a request for comment, also failed to close outlets that his subordinates had identified as suspect, according to the settlement filed in US District Court in Minnesota. Among them were four outlets that had received a total of 150 complaints in a six-month period. Mr Haider had been warned about their owner, James Ugoh, a Nigerian tribal chief who had emigrated to Toronto. “Toronto PD also called me — they think this agent is dirty,” read an email Mr Haider received from an internal watchdog.  In 2014, Mr Ugoh was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.”

Respectfully,

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

Mortgage Industry Compliance Expert

Attorney and Expert Witness

Office (800) 656-4584

Cell (305) 951-2785

http://www.lockelaw.us

http://expertlenderservices.com

 

Update on violations where we are seeing consistent, large fines.

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Hi folks, it has been a while since we have shared what we are seeing on Audit Findings and Violation Notices, so here we go with an update.

Before you quickly say, “Well, that’s not us, we don’t this and we don’t that”……..please make sure you understand what the “this and that” actually is. For example, just because you think you don’t advertise does not mean you are not acting in a way that requires keeping an Advertising Log. Business Cards? Social Media? Just a few examples.

Here are the areas that keep popping up. They are in no particular order of importance.

  • Hiring a new MLO and asking him to bring his pipeline with him.
  • Allowing your MLOs to keep actual loan files (full of NPI) in unsecure places.
  • Compensating an MLO you sponsor by paying his/her “company” directly
  • Failure to compensate a former MLO employer for expenses related to a file he/she transferred to you lawfully
  • When an MLO leaves, marking the entire pipeline as withdrawn, and then re-assigning it to one of your other employees without concern for the MLO that left you and their rights to commissions
  • Evading a lawful requirement to with hold payroll taxes
  • Comp plans that can encourage steering
  • Failure to make a real, good faith effort, to keep your MCR as accurate as possible
  • Having a loan journal that does not match what you file on your MCR
  • Allowing non-compliant pirate web sites and social media to exist just because “they are not yours”
  • Keeping your archived loans off premises without advising your regulator first, and insuring the off site facility is GLB compliant

If your head is spinning, hire us. Let us sort this out for you. ALL OF THIS IS COVERED IN OUR PROGRAM. We have hundreds of clients, our clients get great results when audited, our fee is super reasonable, so give us a chance to take these pressures off your mind.

Respectfully,

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

Compliance Services USA

(800) 656-4584

http://www.expertlenderservices.com

 

 

 

 

HMDA, ECOA, Adverse Action Notices, and Broker Shops.

Hi Folks,confused the two subjects captioned above have been driving us nuts so we dug deeper to determine what the best advice might be. Many of our clients, especially the Brokers, feel they are exempt from both subjects. Turns out, maybe not. If I do the “lawyer thing” and sound a bit vague it’s because it is hard to interpret these masterfully written regulations. We do our best to understand them for you. We look to see where the evidence tips the scale before deciding which approach to recommend. We always take the approach that should keep you out of trouble. Sometime that means more work for you. But it’s far better than an “administrative action” for failure to comply.

Plus, it might make you a better lender or broker because you will have more of your OWN data to evaluate for opportunities or trends.

First, let’s look at HMDA. This language has changed. It now includes reference to taking applications (the six item threshold) which all brokers and most lenders do. It also establishes unit thresholds that are low enough to now include many smaller broker shops. For more on HMDA reporting: NondepCriteria04

Now let’s look at pre-quals. Pre-quals don’t affect HMDA unless you make a credit decision. Please don’t be quick to say you don’t make credit decisions. You probably are making them and just don’t realize it; for example, the client you decline after reviewing the pre-qual because you KNOW they can’t meet your lender’s guidelines. It would be foolish to take a full app when you know it can’t be successful and it would waste the client’s time and money. Your decision is based on your Lender’s guidelines. Most of you do this.  Here you need to decide how you internally want to classify your pre-quals assuming they NEVER reach the six-item threshold that turns them into an indisputable application. After our research, we prepared the attached to guide you regarding pre-quals. It’s not “all or none”. Look HERE.  When do you need to issue an Adverse Action Notice

Hope this is helpful.

Respectfully,

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

Mortgage Industry Compliance Expert

Attorney and Expert Witness

Office (800) 656-4584

Cell (305) 951-2785

http://www.lockelaw.us

http://expertlenderservices.com

 

Mortgage Brokers – add Commercial Loans to your revenue stream.

50% OFF our Commercial Mortgage Brokerage Program – For Residential Lenders and Brokers who want to add another source of revenue.

With interest rates rising in the residential sector all of us should develop additional sources of revenue that do not rely on traditional residential lending.

State and Federal Regulators are tightly focused on residential mortgage lending. They are largely unfocused on small commercial lending.

Commercial loans are largely exempt from Dodd-Frank. This means less paperwork, easier compliance, and an earning potential that falls outside of the CFPB Originator Compensation Rule.

We have developed a program for small Lenders and Brokers that will allow them to originate commercial mortgages with confidence.

  • It includes the necessary documentation to ORIGINATE and PRESENT  your commercial proposal professionally.
  • It includes all the federal policies and procedures that commercial lending requires.
  • Our firm is attorney owned with clients in 13 states and because of this – we have funding source recommendations for you.

We are offering this package at $750. Limited time offer. Regular price will be $1500.

To learn more, CLICK HERE and send us an email. Or if you prefer, call us at (800) 656-4584. Be sure to mention the word COMMERCIAL.

Respectfully,
Nelson A. Locke, Esq.
Compliance Services, USA
7800 Preston Road – Suite 118
Plano, TX 75024

http://www.lockelaw.us

Commercial Mortgage Broker Program

Commercial Mortgage Brokerage Program   

For Residential Lenders and Brokers who want to add another source of revenue

 

With interest rates rising in the residential sector all of us should develop additional sources of revenue that do not rely on traditional residential lending.

 

State and Federal Regulators are tightly focused on residential mortgage lending. They are largely unfocused on small commercial lending.

 

Commercial loans are largely exempt from Dodd-Frank. This means less paperwork, easier compliance, and an earning potential that falls outside of the CFPB Originator Compensation Rule.

 

We have developed a program for small Lenders and Brokers that will allow them to originate commercial mortgages with confidence. It includes the necessary documentation to present your deal professionally. It includes the federal policies and procedures that commercial lending requires. Our firm is attorney owned with clients in 13 states and because of this – we have funding sources for you.

 

We are offering this package at $750. Limited time offer.

 

To learn more, send us an email at nl@lockelaw.us

If you prefer, call us at (800) 656-4584.

Mention the word COMMERCIAL.

 

Respectfully,

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

Compliance Services, USA

7800 Preston Road – Suite 118

Plano, TX 75024

 

http://www.lockelaw.us

 

 

 

New York Mortgage Lenders (and other States as well) pay attention. New Regulation – Cybersecurity Policy!

Recently we received a letter from the Superintendent of Financial Services, State of New York, advising that Financial Services Providers must create an implement a comprehensive Cybersecurity Program by March 1st. So we investigated and discovered that many states are in the process of implementing the same type of requirement.

We have created such a policy. We structured it to satisfy New York’s requirements and be easily adaptable to any other state. It consists of 13 pages of guidance and two affidavits regarding Notice and Exemption – because your entity may be small enough to request an exemption once your Program is in place. However, if you don’t qualify for an exemption you must not only implement this program but have your compliance certified.

Because the Cybersecurity Program makes frequent reference to Risk Assessment, we are  including a 13 page comprehensive Risk Assessment Program. New York requires this as well. Other states are trending in this direction.

If you need this, reply at the link below and I will provide it quickly. The cost is $250 for the bundle. I will invoice via PayPal.

Don’t get caught by surprise on this one.

This offer is limited to mortgage lenders and brokers that are NMLS licensees and not part of a large national bank. Credit Unions are allowed.

To request these policies, email me at nl@lockelaw.us and write CYBER in the subject line.

Nelson A. Locke

(800) 656-4584

http://www.lockelaw.us

 

An update on potential CFPB changes……

Hi folks, please be sure to read all the way to the bottom to see my comment.

Hot off the CFPB presses:

Dovetailing with President Trump’s recent Executive Order requiring a reduction in regulatory burden, on March 21, 2017, a CFPB official remarked at the American Bankers Association Government Relations Summit that the CFPB was planning to start its review of significant mortgage regulations, including the ability to repay/qualified mortgage rule.

The Dodd-Frank Act requires the CFPB to use available evidence and data to assess all of its rules five years after they go into effect to ensure they are meeting the purposes and objectives of Dodd-Frank, and the specific goals of the subject rule.  January 2018 will mark five years since the ability to repay/ qualified mortgage rule was finalized, as well as other key mortgage regulations, in January 2013.

Citing this requirement and “common sense,” Chris D’Angelo, Associate Director of the CFPB’s Division of Supervision, Enforcement and Fair Lending, said that the CFPB is “embarking upon now the beginning of an assessment process for our major mortgage rules.” D’Angelo said that the CFPB would assess these rules’ “real-world effects” on the market, as well as “whether it had the effect which was intended, what the costs were, .”

D’Angelo noted that the CFPB was still receiving complaints related to the mortgage servicing industry despite the existence of these rules, and that most of the problems were due to “the third-party service providers and the folks who develop your technology solutions.”  He also stated that incentive compensation practices would be considered but noted that “We know that you need those in order to manage larger organizations and how you drive your employees.”

Given Presidential pressure to reduce regulatory burdens and the fact that the CFPB’s mortgage rules have been criticized by financial industry participants and consumer advocates alike, the CFPB review of the key mortgage rules warrants close attention.

So what does this say? My interpretation is that they are planning on waiting until at least next year, probably after January, to issue a report supporting what they have done to us since 2013. It is in their best interest to write a persuasive report and show the best possible results. Many of you out there think this agency will disappear or be weakened by the Administration. I am asking you to be concerned about the exact opposite. Now, more than ever you better keep your compliance guard up. After we enter 2018 and actually read their findings I could make a better prediction. No matter what you hear, there is no crystal ball you can use to predict how this will go.

We recently changed our program a bit to provide free web and social media audits and free Safe Act certifications. Further, we have expanded our “repurchase defense” practice and it is working very well. Let us hear from you, and see how we can be of service.

(800) 656-4584

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

Compliance Services USA

CLICK HERE to view Web Site

CLICK HERE to send email and request more information