March 15, 2024

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Rohit Chopra delivered remarks at the Financial Data Exchange Global Summit. Director Chopra spoke on the status of America’s shift to open banking, with a focus on the role of standard setters and standard-setting. Director Chopra also discussed the dangers of how the standard-setting process can be weaponized in an anticompetitive way, and how standard-setting organizations can anticipate becoming recognized by the CFPB. 

The U.S. Treasury Department is investigating $165 million worth of crypto transactions registered on U.S. institutions that might have supported Hamas prior to its Oct. 7 attack against Israel, according to the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ reported, citing a report to Congress, that the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has probed suspicious activity reports from the past three years potentially used in transactions involved with the militant group. The exact amount of crypto used by Hamas is not definite, according to the report.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) announced that the Office of Financial Technology (OFT) will hold Office Hours in San Francisco, May 21-22, 2024, to promote responsible innovation in the federal banking system. Office Hours are one-on-one meetings with OCC’s OFT staff to discuss fintech, new products or services, partnering with a bank or fintech company, or other matters related to responsible innovation in the federal banking system. OCC staff will provide feedback and respond to questions. Each meeting will be scheduled for 50 minutes. Interested companies must submit a request by March 30, 2024. The OCC will provide specific meeting times to selected participants following a review of all requests.

The Federal Reserve Board (Fed or FRB) issued an enforcement action against JPMorgan Chase & Co. and fined the firm approximately $98.2 million for an inadequate program to monitor firm and client trading activities for market misconduct. The Board’s action requires JPMorgan Chase to review and take corrective action to address the firm’s monitoring practices. Additionally, The OCC announced a $250 million civil money penalty against JPMorgan Chase Bank related to deficiencies in its trade surveillance program.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) Center for Financial Research is inviting submissions for the 23rd Annual Bank Research Conference to be held on September 19 and 20, 2024 in Arlington, Virginia. The FDIC is inviting theoretical and empirical papers on issues related to financial regulation, competition and performance in the banking and financial sectors, financial stability, bank and nonbank financial intermediation, bank capital, and risk management. The Center is also inviting submissions on emerging topics such as tokenization of assets and liabilities, climate-related financial risks, and fintech and trends in financial products, services, and technology. Papers must be received by April 12, 2024.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged 17 individuals for their roles in a $300 million Ponzi scheme that involved Houston, Texas-based CryptoFX LLC and targeted more than 40,000 predominantly Latino investors in the U.S. and two other countries. The complaint follows the SEC’s emergency action in September 2022 that halted the CryptoFX scheme and charged its two main principals, Mauricio Chavez and Giorgio Benvenuto.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched a new website detailing protections against Source of Income (SOI) discrimination for families with Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs). SOI discrimination is the practice where landlords, owners, and real estate brokers refuse to rent to current or prospective qualified tenants with an HCV or other forms of public assistance.

House Financial Services Committee Chair Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Committee Vice Chairman French Hill (R-AR) and the Chairman of the National Security, Illicit Finance, and International Financial Institutions Subcommittee, Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen demanding that she push for new leadership at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) due to ethical lapses such as data manipulation, inattention to allegations of sexual harassment, and ineffectiveness at holding China accountable for its lack of debt transparency.

House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) posted a picture of a list of Federal Reserve (Fed) key duties that was given to Representatives during a presentation earlier this Congress. The list states that developing a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) is a key duty of the Fed. 

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, introduced the Yes In God’s Back Yard (YIGBY) Act, legislation to support faith-based organizations and colleges wanting to build and preserve affordable housing on their land and reduce barriers to the development of this housing.

Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Laphonza Butler (D-CA) sent a letter to SEC Chairman Gary Gensler calling for the SEC to take steps to protect investors following its recent approval of the listing and trading of certain spot bitcoin exchange-traded products (ETPs). The Senators said that the approvals “have provided a green light for Wall Street to sell volatile cryptocurrency investments to ordinary Americans through their brokerage and retirement accounts.”

President Biden signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024, a group of six spending bills, in advance of the partial government shutdown deadline. The Consolidated Appropriations Act partially funds the government through September 30, 2024, when the U.S. government’s fiscal year ends. Congress will direct attention to a second appropriations package prior to March 22. 

Need to catch up on what happened earlier this week? Check out our March 13th Midweek Update here