During the month of May, the OCC and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve (Board) took action against certain banks for violations of the Flood Disaster Protection Act (FDPA) and National Flood Insurance Act (NFIA). Concurrently, House Financial Services Subcommittee Republicans circulated a package of draft legislation to reform and reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which expires at the end of September.
OCC Action. On May 19, as part of its monthly listing of enforcement actions taken against national banks, federal savings associations, and former institution-affiliated parties, the OCC announced that it had fined a Texas-based federal savings association $87,500 in April for violations of the FDPA. According to the consent order, the bank allegedly failed to “ensure the timely notification and force-placement of the requisite amounts of flood insurance on property securing loans in a special flood hazard area in which flood insurance is available under the NFIA.”
Federal Reserve Action. On May 25, the Board announced an enforcement action against a Georgia-based bank for violations of the NFIA. Although the consent order fines the bank $1.5 million, it does not specify how many violations there were or what they related to. However, the maximum civil money penalty under that law is $2,000 per violation. The NFIA has a number of requirements for banks, which include ensuring that a borrower has adequate flood insurance before originating a loan for a property in a special flood hazard area and providing notice to the borrower in a reasonable time before the closing period that they are required to have flood insurance.
National Flood Insurance Program Discussion. As previously covered in InfoBytes, several committees—including the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and the House Financial Services Committee—are discussing the reauthorization of the NFIP. On May 25, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee, issued a series of reauthorization discussion drafts and summaries. The six bills (see below) included in the package would (i) reauthorize the NFIP for five years; (ii) limit annual premium increases; (iii) authorize states to voluntary create flood insurance affordability programs; (iv) eliminate the mandatory purchase requirement for commercial properties; (v) establish a private market for flood insurance; (vi) reform the flood zone mapping process to increase accuracy and fairness in mapping; (vii) require covered flood prone areas to develop plans to mitigate flood risks if they have repeated structure losses; and (viii) address fraud in the claims process.
- National Flood Insurance Program Policyholder Protection and Information Act of 2017—Discussion Draft and Summary;
- National Flood Insurance Program Integrity Improvement Act of 2017—Discussion Draft and Summary; and
- National Flood Insurance Program Administrative Reform Act of 2017—Discussion Draft and Summary.
Duffy noted, “We’re releasing this discussion draft so that all sides can continue to provide input into protecting the program integrity of the NFIP.” He added, “The ideas stemming from this open process will ensure that everyone who needs flood insurance will have access to it while ensuring that the NFIP does not fall further into debt.”