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The CFPB’s New List of “Safe Harbor” Countries under Reg. E

(We all needed something to yawn about.)

On November 5, 2013, the CFPB published a list of “safe harbor” countries for purposes of Regulation E’s new rules covering international remittance transfers.  The good news is that nothing has really changed, and you do not need to do anything new.  Here is what you need to know about the list:

Background - The CFPB recently amended Regulation E so that it now regulates “international remittance transfers.”   The amendments went into effect on October 28, 2013.  The disclosure requirements under the new rules are eased somewhat when international remittances are sent to certain countries that the CFPB has identified on a “safe harbor” list.  If you want to learn more about the new rules, you can find them in the regulations here, and you can find the League’s guidance about the regulations here.

Updated List - The CFPB published its original “safe harbor” list on September 26, 2012, and that list became effective on February 7, 2013.  The “safe harbor” list is something that the CFPB will review periodically and update if it determines that there are countries that should be added to, or removed from, the list.  In publishing the latest version of the list on November 5, 2013, the CFPB concluded that no changes were needed to the current list, so it left the list unchanged for now.   So both the original list and the updated list identify the same countries:  Aruba, Brazil, China, Ethiopia, and Libya.  The CFPB promises that no country will be removed from the current list before July 1, 2014.  If for some reason, you want to compare the new list to the original one, you can find the original list here, and the new list online here or in a PDF document here

Trying to Get Countries Added to the List – If you believe that there are countries that should be added to, or removed from, the list, you should follow these instructions from the CFPB:

The Bureau welcomes your input related to whether it has included the appropriate countries and areas on the list. To provide input, please send your feedback and any supporting materials (in English) to:

  • Office of the Executive Secretary, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, 1700 G Street NW., Washington, DC 20552.

In general, all comments received will be posted without change to regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. Sensitive personal information, such as account numbers or social security numbers, should not be included.

Receiving a “Heads Up” from the CFPB – The person who is in charge of compliance for your credit union’s international remittance transfers might be interested in knowing that the CFPB has offered to send e-mail notifications anytime the list changes.  Here are CFPB’s instructions for signing up to receive notifications:

To receive an alert when the Bureau releases a revised countries list, please sign up for email updates on the Bureau's Web site at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/remittances-transfer-rule-amendment-to-regulation-e/.

Tags: Regulation E, International Remittance Transfers

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