June 6, 2013

Clarifying the Community Lending Enhancement and Regulatory Relief ("CLEAR") Act



kozumel / Foter.com / CC BY-ND
The Community Lending Enhancement and Regulatory Relief Act (CLEAR Act) is a bill introduced by Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri designed to relieve regulatory burdens on community banks.
 
The bill was introduced on April 25, 2013 with 14 cosponsors, which include North Carolina's own Walter B. Jones.  
 
Based on my reading of the CLEAR Act, it is intended to:  
  • better enable holding companies with less than $5 billion is assets to pay a corporate dividend;
  • exempt institutions with less than $10 billion in assets from the escrow requirements of Section 129D(c) of TILA;
  • expand the Qualified Mortgage safe harbor for institutions with less than $10 billion in assets,
  • exempt institutions that have not changed their privacy practices from annual privacy notice delivery requirements,
  • require a cost-benefit analysis before any new accounting principle or change in accounting principles;
  • exempt depository institutions with less than $10 billion in assets from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act’s  requirement that management provide an attestation regarding internal controls. (It is not clear that holding companies would be affected.)
  • direct the CFPB to create exemptions from the mortgage servicing regulations for institutions that service 20,000 or fewer mortgage loans; and
  • ease OFAC compliance concerns in ACH transactions.
You can read the full CLEAR Act here

Since it was first introduced on April 25, the CLEAR Act has been before the House Financial Services Committee. 

 

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