Financial Services Blog

FinCEN Cracks-Down on Yet Another Alleged Illegitimate Virtual Currency Exchange, Raising More Concerns for Legitimate Exchanges

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) takes first action against a foreign-located money service business

 A bad week for exchanges keeps getting worse. Read More ›

SEC Addresses ICO Bubble, But Leaves Key Questions Unanswered

Yesterday’s flurry of releases from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission leaves open the question of whether any individual initial coin offering (ICO) represents the sale of securities under applicable U.S. law. Read More ›

Initial Coin Offering Risk Factors: More Than Just Legalese

This article was originally published on July 7, 2017 in Bitcoin Magazine, a subsidiary of BTC Media, LLC.

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) are where cryptographic computing and federal securities laws collide. As investors lacking the technical expertise of early market entrants throw their money into cryptocurrency presales, regulatory agencies like the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission cannot be expected to sit on the sidelines much longer. Read More ›

West Virginia Legislature Amends Consumer Credit and Protection Act

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has signed two bills (SB 344 and SB 563) into law that make significant changes to the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, (“WVCCPA”). Both bills will go into effect on July 4, 2017. Read More ›

Conference of State Bank Supervisors Sues U.S. Comptroller over Non-Bank Charter Rule

On Wednesday, April 26, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (the “CSBS”) filed suit against the Office of the Comptroller and Currency and its Comptroller Thomas J. Curry (collectively, the OCC”) over Curry’s December 2016 announcement that the OCC has created a new national bank charter for non-bank companies (the “Non-Bank Charter Rule”). This Non-Bank Charter Rule, the complaint alleges, will pull chartered non-bank companies into the national banking regulatory system, and will preempt and replace state-based banking regulation, licensing, and supervisory responsibility of state authorities. Read More ›

What Prepaid Accounts Are Subject to the New Prepaid Rules? What you need to know to be ready.

Prepaid cards are increasingly popular—they are frequently used instead of traditional bank accounts to shop, withdraw cash from ATMs, pay for healthcare costs from health savings accounts, distribute natural disaster aid, and pay wages. Read More ›

A Cautionary Tale for Money Service Businesses: How Violating the Bank Secrecy Act Could Cost Millions

On February 27, 2017, The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) fined Merchants Bank of California (“Merchants”) $7 million for what it called “egregious” violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”). The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency simultaneously assessed a $1 million civil monetary penalty against Merchants because it violated two previous consent orders. Merchants is a community bank located in Carson City, California. The Bank had a large portfolio of Money Service Businesses (“MSBs”) customers. MSBs are generally recognized by federal regulators to include: (1) currency dealers or exchangers; (2) check cashers; (3) issuers of traveler’s checks, money orders, or stored value; (4) sellers or redeemers of traveler’s checks, money orders, or stored value; and (5) money transmitters. In Merchants’ case, it had 165 check-cashing and 44 money-transmitter customers, who often operated at great distances from the Bank. Compounding the situation was the fact that Bank insiders owned or managed a number of the MSB customers. Read More ›

New Hampshire Takes Steps to Exempt Virtual Currency Transfers from Its Licensing Regime

New Hampshire legislators may exempt people who provide money transfer services for virtual currency, such as bitcoin, from being considered “money transmitters” for the purposes of the state’s licensing requirements. Specifically, the bill, HB436, would amend the definitions section (RSA 399-G:1) and the exemptions (RSA 399-G:3).  As modified, the definitions would clearly define what a “virtual currency” is.  The amended version would also create a new licensing exemption for “[p]ersons conducting business using transactions conducted in whole or in part in virtual currency.” Read More ›

New York’s DFS Narrows Proposed Cybersecurity Regulations

On September 13, 2016, the New York State Department of Financial Services (“NYDFS”) issued  proposed cybersecurity regulations (“Original Proposed Regulations”) that would impose new, stringent cybersecurity requirements on banks, money transmitters, insurance companies, and other financial service providers regulated by the NYDFS (collectively, “Regulated Institutions”). Read More ›

Fintech Companies are No Longer in “Uncharted” Territory

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), a subset of the U.S. Treasury Department, recently announced that it will create a special purpose national bank charter specifically for financial technology (fintech) companies. This announcement comes on the heels of the rapid rise in fintech and in the number of companies that use such technology. An official charter aims to supervise the more than 4,000 fintech companies more closely and provide a framework for new companies to operate in the financial services industry.  Read More ›

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Attorney Spotlight

Christopher C. Tieke is an associate in Frost Brown Todd's Louisville office, focusing his practice on business litigation. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, with magna cum laude honors; served as an Associate Member of the University of Cincinnati Law Review; and participated in the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic.

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