September 28, 2017

MONTH-IN-BRIEF: Business Regulation & Regulated Industries

Lynette Hotchkiss

Banking Law

Operation Chokepoint Ended

By Lynette I. Hotchkiss, Rabobank, NA

On August 16, 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) notified the U.S. House of Representatives (House) Judiciary Committee that the DOJ no longer intended to pursue “Operation Chokepoint.” During Operation Chokepoint, investigations were conducted of banks and the business they do with companies engaged in certain industries believed to be at higher risk for fraud and money laundering. The DOJ letter stated: “All of the Department’s bank investigations conducted as part of Operation Chokepoint are now over, the initiative is no longer in effect, and it will not be undertaken again.” On August 21, 2017, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) sent a letter to the House Financial Services Committee noting the fact that the “OCC is not now, nor has it ever been part of Operation Chokepoint” and stating that the OCC “rejects the targeting of any business operating within state and federal law as well as any intimidation of regulated financial institutions into banking or denying banking services to particular businesses.”

The letter from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd to the Judiciary Committee is available at: https://www.dechert.com/files/Uploads/Documents/FRRT/2017-8-16-Operation-Chokepoint-Goodlatte.pdf.

Acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika’s letter to the Financial Services Committee is available at: https://buckleysandler.com/sites/default/files/Buckley%20Sandler%20InfoBytes%20-%20OCC%20Letter%20to%20Hensarling%20re%20Operation%20Chokepoint%202017.08.21.pdf.

 

Employee Benefits

EEOC Pay Data Collection Suspended by OMB

By Lynette I. Hotchkiss, Rabobank, NA

On August 29, 2017, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) informed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that OMB is initiating a review and immediate stay of the pay data-collection aspects of the EEO-1 form that was revised on September 29, 2016. The revisions were scheduled to take effect in March 2018. The September 29, 2016 revisions to the EEO-1 form would have required employers with 100 or more employees, and federal contractors with 50 or more employees, to provide data on the wages and hours worked by their employees. The OMB noted its concern that “some aspects of the revised collection of information lack practical utility, are unnecessarily burdensome, and do not adequately address privacy and confidentiality issues.” During the stay period, employers are to use the previously approved EEO-1 form to collect data on gender, race, and ethnicity and must file the EEO-1 by the March 2018 filing deadline. The memorandum regarding the review and stay is available at: https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/wysk/eeo1-pay-data.cfm.

Lynette Hotchkiss

EVP/General Counsel & Corporate Secretary; Rabobank, N.A

Lynette Hotchkiss is EVP/General Counsel & Corporate Secretary for Rabobank, N.A., where she also previously served as Associate General Counsel. Prior to joining Rabobank, Lynette was with OneWest Bank, N.A, where her responsibilities included monitoring and reporting on regulatory developments impacting the bank’s operations and providing legal support for regulatory compliance matters. Before that, Lynette was an attorney in the Financial Practices Division of the Federal Trade Commission, where she focused on mortgage servicing issues. For much of her career, Lynette used her knowledge and experience in consumer finance laws and regulations to build compliance tools to help financial institutions comply with the complex array of federal and state requirements, first acting as the lead compliance attorney at CFI ProServices Inc. (now Finastra) to develop the Laser Pro® loan documentation system and later leading the legal team at Mavent Inc. (now part of Ellie Mae) to develop the Mavent Expert System, an automated compliance system for mortgage origination.