The GAO released a
report on the regulatory oversight of the Servicemember Civil
Relief Act, which provides protections to active duty
servicemembers, in the foreclosure context. Overall, the GAO found
a lack of regulatory oversight by the federal banking agencies, and
that servicemembers have lost some of the protections afforded to
them under SCRA, such as interest rate caps and prohibition against
foreclosures without a court order. In particular, the study found
federal banking agencies, the Federal Housing Administration, the
Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Federal Housing Finance
Agency do not share information on SCRA compliance amongst
themselves. Such sharing, according to the report, "could help
them to more quickly identify compliance problems that may
adversely affect servicemembers." The report also noted the
challenges to SCRA compliance cited by mortgage servicers (e.g.,
lack of clarity on military orders), and that federal oversight of
SCRA compliance has been limited and varies by year, by federal
regulator and by institution. For example, the FDIC and the FRB
reviewed a significantly higher percentage of institutions for SCRA
compliance compared with the OCC.
The GAO recommended two executive actions: (1) conduct testing
of foreclosure files (and other mortgage loan files); and (2)
employ testing methods that provide greater assurance that mortgage
servicers are complying with SCRA. The GAO also recommended that
the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security determine better
ways to educate servicemembers of the protections granted by
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A senior SEC lawyer has recently encouraged the private equity and hedge fund communities to consider whether certain practices of private fund managers could subject these firms to SEC registration as broker-dealers.
In November 2012, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York preliminarily approved a settlement agreement in the In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation.