Procedures and General Definitions, 64661-64666 [2014-25973]

Download as PDF rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 211 / Friday, October 31, 2014 / Rules and Regulations handlers, manufacturers, and consumers. This rule increases the quantity of Scotch spearmint oil that handlers may purchase from, or handle on behalf of, producers during the 2014–2015 marketing year, which ends on May 31, 2015. The 2014–2015 Scotch spearmint oil salable quantity was initially established at 1,149,030 pounds and the allotment percentage initially set at 55 percent. This rule increases the Scotch spearmint oil salable quantity to 1,984,423 pounds and the allotment percentage from 55 percent to 95 percent. Based on the information and projections available at the September 11, 2014, meeting, the Committee considered a number of alternatives to this increase. The Committee not only considered leaving the salable quantity and allotment percentage unchanged, but also considered other potential levels of increase. The Committee reached its recommendation to increase the salable quantity and allotment percentage for Scotch spearmint oil after careful consideration of all available information and input from all interested industry participants, and believes that the levels recommended will achieve the objectives sought. Without the increase, the Committee believes the industry would not be able to satisfactorily meet market demand. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the order’s information collection requirements have been previously approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and assigned OMB No. 0581–0178, Vegetable and Specialty Crop Marketing Orders. No changes in those requirements as a result of this action are necessary. Should any changes become necessary, they would be submitted to OMB for approval. This rule will not impose any additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or large spearmint oil handlers. As with all Federal marketing order programs, reports and forms are periodically reviewed to reduce information requirements and duplication by industry and public sector agencies. AMS is committed to complying with the E-Government Act, to promote the use of the Internet and other information technologies to provide increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information and services, and for other purposes. In addition, USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap or conflict with this rule. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:24 Oct 30, 2014 Jkt 235001 Further, the Committee’s meeting was widely publicized throughout the spearmint oil industry, and all interested persons were invited to attend the meeting and participate in Committee deliberations. Like all Committee meetings, the September 11, 2014, meeting was a public meeting, and all entities, both large and small, were able to express their views on this issue. Finally, interested persons are invited to submit information on the regulatory and informational impacts of this action on small businesses. A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may be viewed at: www.ams.usda.gov/ MarketingOrdersSmallBusinessGuide. Any questions about the compliance guide should be sent to Jeffrey Smutny at the previously mentioned address in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. This rule invites comments on a change to the salable quantity and allotment percentage for Scotch spearmint oil for the 2014–2015 marketing year. Any comments received will be considered prior to finalization of this rule. After consideration of all relevant material presented, including the Committee’s recommendation, and other information, it is found that this interim rule, as hereinafter set forth, will tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, it is also found and determined upon good cause that it is impracticable, unnecessary, and contrary to the public interest to give preliminary notice prior to putting this rule into effect and that good cause exists for not postponing the effective date of this rule until 30 days after publication in the Federal Register because: (1) This rule increases the quantity of Scotch spearmint oil that may be marketed during the marketing year, which ends on May 31, 2015; (2) the current quantity of Scotch spearmint oil may be inadequate to meet demand for the 2014–2015 marketing year, thus making the additional oil available as soon as is practicable will be beneficial to both handlers and producers; (3) the Committee recommended these changes at a public meeting and interested parties had an opportunity to provide input; and (4) this rule provides a 60day comment period, and any comments received will be considered prior to finalization of this rule. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 985 Marketing agreements, Oils and fats, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Spearmint oil. PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 64661 For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 985 is amended as follows: PART 985—MARKETING ORDER REGULATING THE HANDLING OF SPEARMINT OIL PRODUCED IN THE FAR WEST 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 985 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 601–674. 2. In § 985.233, remove the note preceding the section that states ‘‘[Note: This section will not appear in the annual Code of Federal Regulations.]’’ and revise paragraph (a) to read as follows: ■ § 985.233 Salable quantities and allotment percentages—2014–2015 marketing year. * * * * * (a) Class 1 (Scotch) oil—a salable quantity of 1,984,423 pounds and an allotment percentage of 95 percent. * * * * * Dated: October 23, 2014. Rex A. Barnes, Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2014–25646 Filed 10–30–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE BOARD 12 CFR Part 907 FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY 12 CFR Parts 1201 and 1211 RIN 2590–AA66 Procedures and General Definitions Federal Housing Finance Agency; Federal Housing Finance Board. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is amending its regulations by relocating to the FHFA chapter of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) a Federal Housing Finance Board (Finance Board) regulation relating to procedures under which the Federal Home Loan Banks (Banks) and the Office of Finance (OF) may request waivers, approvals, noaction letters, and regulatory interpretations. The final rule modifies these regulations to make them also applicable to the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (collectively, Enterprises) and repeals SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\31OCR1.SGM 31OCR1 64662 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 211 / Friday, October 31, 2014 / Rules and Regulations provisions relating to the procedures for requesting case-by-case determinations. The final rule also relocates a definition to the general definitions section of the FHFA regulations. DATES: This final rule is effective on December 1, 2014. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amy Bogdon, Amy.Bogdon@fhfa.gov, (202) 649–3320, Associate Director, Division of Federal Home Loan Bank Regulation; or Michou Nguyen, Michou.Nguyen@fhfa.gov, (202) 649– 3081 (not toll free numbers), Assistant General Counsel, Office of General Counsel, Federal Housing Finance Agency, 400 7th Street SW., Washington, DC 20024. The telephone number for the Telecommunications Device for the Hearing Impaired is (800) 877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with RULES A. Proposed Rule On March 19, 2014, FHFA published in the Federal Register a proposed rule to adopt as its own, and extend to the Enterprises, certain provisions of the Finance Board regulations, located at 12 CFR 907 (part 907), pertaining to waivers, approvals, no-action letters, and regulatory interpretations.1 The proposal was part of FHFA’s ongoing project to repeal or relocate all of the regulations of its predecessor agencies. Proposed 12 CFR 1211 (part 1211) set forth procedures that the Banks and the Enterprises (collectively, the regulated entities) and the OF must follow in order to request waivers, approvals, non-objection letters, and regulatory interpretations from FHFA. It consisted of a section for definitions, sections describing the nature of requests for waivers, approvals, non-objection letters, and regulatory interpretations, and a section that set forth submission requirements for such requests. The proposed rule would have also repealed those provisions of part 907 that pertain to case-by-case determinations. Nearly all of the content of part 1211 was derived from part 907, with modifications as were necessary to apply the regulation to the Enterprises, or to clarify, update, or supplement the existing regulation, as appropriate. The proposed rule also stated in both the regulatory text and in the supplementary information that the procedures within proposed part 1211 were intended to be used to address regulatory matters pertaining to the Banks and the Enterprises, and were not 1 79 FR 15257 (March 19, 2014). VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:37 Oct 30, 2014 Jkt 235001 intended to be used to address conservatorship matters. B. Considerations of Differences Between the Banks and the Enterprises When promulgating regulations or taking other actions that relate to the Banks, the FHFA Director (Director) is required by section 1313(f) of the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992 (12 U.S.C. 4501 et seq.) to consider the differences between the Banks and the Enterprises with respect to the Banks’ cooperative ownership structure; mission of providing liquidity to members; affordable housing and community development mission; capital structure; and joint and several liability. 12 U.S.C. 4513(f). In preparing this final rule, the Director has considered the differences between the Banks and the Enterprises as they relate to the above factors and has determined that the rule would not adversely affect any of the statutory factors. II. Final Rule and Comments FHFA received three comment letters in response to the proposed rule, one each from the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco (San Francisco Bank). Each of the comment letters recommended ways in which FHFA could revise certain aspects of the proposed rule. In considering those recommendations, FHFA has decided to revise two provisions of the proposed rule that pertain to which executives must sign submissions made under these procedures and the circumstances in which a resolution of the board of directors must accompany the submission. In all other respects, the final rule is unchanged from the proposed rule. The following paragraphs describe the two revisions being made to the final rule, as well as the reasons why FHFA has not revised the regulation in response to any of the other recommendations made by the commenters. Signature Requirements The proposed rule required all submissions under part 1211 to be signed by the president of the regulated entity or by the chairperson of the board of directors of the OF. Currently, part 907 of the Finance Board regulations only requires this for requests for noaction letters and permits the other types of submissions to be signed by authorized representatives of the entity. All three commenters argued that the proposal was too stringent, principally PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 because there are likely to be circumstances in which executives other than the president or chairperson will be more familiar with the particular matter and thus would be the appropriate person for submitting the requests. Commenters also suggested that it would be more appropriate to allow each entity to decide which of its officers should sign submissions made under these rules. In addition, different regulated entities use different terms for their principal executive officers. The Enterprises are managed by ‘‘chief executive officers,’’ while the term for that officer used by the Banks, incorporated in the Bank Act and in FHFA’s regulations, is ‘‘president.’’ FHFA agrees with the commenters and is revising § 1211.6(b) of the final rule so that it would permit the principal executive officer or any other authorized executive officer of a regulated entity to sign any submissions made under part 1211. The final rule makes a similar change with respect to the OF, which allows for the chairperson of the board of directors or any authorized executive officer to sign submissions under these procedures. Board Resolution The proposed rule would have carried over from the Finance Board regulations a provision requiring an entity seeking a waiver or approval to submit a resolution of its board of directors concurring in the substance of the submission and authorizing its filing, which would be in addition to the requirement that the submission be signed by the entity’s president. Fannie Mae contended this requirement was not necessary and also could be burdensome in light of the limited number of board meetings that an entity may have each year. FHFA agrees that although the Finance Board may have had policy reasons for requiring evidence of the board’s approval of waivers and approvals when these procedures were first adopted, there is no compelling reason to require a board resolution in support of a request for a waiver or approval when board resolutions are not required for regulatory interpretations or nonobjection letters. Most submissions that have been made under these procedures generally are related to operational matters, which are the responsibility of management. Accordingly, FHFA is persuaded that it is not necessary for the board of directors to formally endorse these requests, and this requirement has been eliminated from the final rule. E:\FR\FM\31OCR1.SGM 31OCR1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 211 / Friday, October 31, 2014 / Rules and Regulations rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with RULES Alternative Procedures for Approvals Section 1211.3(b) of the proposed rule carried over from the Finance Board regulations a provision that stated that the procedures for obtaining FHFA’s approval under part 1211 would not apply if alternative procedures for obtaining FHFA’s approval are prescribed by a different statute, rule, regulation, policy, or order. Fannie Mae contended that the rule’s reference to ‘‘alternative application procedures,’’ along with a reference to a single regulation that applies only to the Banks, did not make clear what other regulatory provisions might supersede the approval procedures in the proposed rule. To clarify the provision, Fannie Mae asked that FHFA list within the body of the regulation eight specific regulations with approval procedures that it believed would supersede those of part 1211. FHFA does not believe that the reference to ‘‘alternative application procedures’’ is either vague or ambiguous, and believes that the concept embodied in the language can be readily applied, i.e., if Congress or FHFA has established a specific procedure by which a regulated entity is required to obtain the agency’s approval, then that other procedure controls. FHFA also does not believe it is necessary, or appropriate, to list specific regulations within the body of the regulatory text of part 1211 because regulations change periodically and the list could become outdated or inaccurate. FHFA agrees with Fannie Mae’s contention that the procedures for obtaining prior approval for Enterprise products under 12 CFR part 1253 and for obtaining approval of a housing goal plan, when such plan is required, and for petitioning for adjustments of housing goals under the Enterprise housing goals provisions of 12 CFR part 1282 are examples of alternative procedures that would supersede the approval procedures of this rule. Informal Procedures for Obtaining a Non-Objection Fannie Mae stated that from time to time it informally asks that FHFA, in its conservatorship capacity, agree to a proposed activity by stating that it has no objection to the Enterprise undertaking the activity. Fannie Mae expressed concern that the extension of the formal procedures in part 1211 to the Enterprises could adversely affect these existing informal arrangements between the conservator and the Enterprises. To prevent that from happening, Fannie Mae has asked that FHFA codify these existing informal arrangements into the final rule. As was VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:37 Oct 30, 2014 Jkt 235001 stated in the proposed rule, and as the final rule continues to state, the procedures of part 1211 apply only to regulatory matters pertaining to the Enterprises and the Banks. They do not apply to conservatorship matters. For that reason, it would be inappropriate to codify these existing informal conservatorship arrangements in this regulation. Moreover, because the final rule does not apply to any conservatorship matters, it will not affect the functioning of the existing channels through which the Enterprises currently obtain guidance or nonobjection from FHFA in its capacity as conservator. Proposed Transactions Section 1211.5(a) of the proposed rule carried over from the Finance Board regulations language allowing the General Counsel to issue a regulatory interpretation providing guidance with respect to a proposed transaction or activity. The Supplementary Information discussion of that provision further explained that requests for a regulatory interpretation must not relate to a hypothetical situation. Fannie Mae expressed concern about the reference to a hypothetical situation, believing that it may be difficult in practice to distinguish between a proposed business transaction that is at an early stage of development, and for which some interpretive guidance is needed, and a hypothetical situation. Fannie Mae contended that, without the ability to obtain FHFA guidance at an early stage in a proposal’s development, it could expend significant resources on developing a proposal only to have FHFA later decline to issue an interpretation that would have authorized the contemplated transaction. Fannie Mae recommended that FHFA address this issue by deleting from the final rule the reference to ‘‘proposed transaction or activity’’ and allowing the General Counsel to determine on a case-by-case basis whether a particular proposal was sufficiently developed to allow the issuance of a regulatory interpretation. FHFA agrees that the reference to ‘‘hypothetical situations’’ could cause confusion and wishes to make clear that the operative language of § 1211.5(a)— ‘‘proposed transaction or activity’’— does not mean that a specific business proposal needs to be fully developed in order for a regulated entity to request a regulatory interpretation. However, FHFA does not believe it would be appropriate to delete the reference to ‘‘proposed transaction or activity’’ from the regulatory text. In order for FHFA to properly consider a request to interpret PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 64663 its statutes or regulations in a particular manner, it needs some factual context within which to frame and assess the legal issues. By retaining the requirement that a request for a regulatory interpretation must pertain to a proposed transaction or activity FHFA believes that it is more likely to receive a well-reasoned legal analysis as part of the request, and that the regulatory interpretation will be justified by an actual need. Prospective Effect of FHFA Action The proposed rule explicitly reserved to the Director the right to modify, rescind, or supersede any previously granted waiver, approval, non-objection letter, or regulatory interpretation, provided that any such action by the Director would be effective only on a prospective basis. The San Francisco Bank expressed concern that such actions taken by the Director might inadvertently impair existing contractual rights that had been established in reliance on the previously issued guidance. To avoid that possibility, the San Francisco Bank recommended that FHFA amend part 1211 to explicitly state that any such action by the Director would not adversely affect any existing contractual rights that had been established in reliance on previously granted guidance. FHFA does not believe that it is necessary for the regulatory text to state that actions by the Director that are effective only on a prospective basis also do not have retrospective effect. FHFA believes that the commonly understood meaning of a regulatory action that is to be ‘‘effective only on a prospective basis’’ is that it affects only actions to be taken subsequently, and does not affect any actions taken by the regulated entities prior to the date of the Director’s action, which would include any contractual rights established in reliance on the prior guidance. As a general proposition, FHFA evaluates actions taken by the regulated entities based on the law or regulations in effect at the time that the regulated entity acted, regardless of whether the statute, regulation or, in this case, regulatory guidance were to change at a subsequent date.2 Conservatorship Protocols The introductory language of § 1211.6 of the proposed rule stated that requests submitted under these procedures ‘‘shall pertain to regulatory matters 2 For purposes of assessing prospective effect, particular situations may need to be evaluated on their own circumstances, e.g., a pre-existing contract that is automatically renewing in perpetuity. E:\FR\FM\31OCR1.SGM 31OCR1 rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with RULES 64664 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 211 / Friday, October 31, 2014 / Rules and Regulations relating to the Banks or Enterprises, and not to conservatorship matters.’’ The preamble to the proposed rule repeated that statement. The intent behind that provision was to recognize that FHFA, as conservator, has established a series of procedures for communications between the conservator and the Enterprises relating to their business operations, and to make clear that matters that are currently handled under those conservatorship protocols and letters of instruction should continue to be handled under those procedures, rather than the part 1211 procedures. Fannie Mae has expressed concern that it could be difficult for an Enterprise to distinguish between a conservatorship matter and a regulatory matter, given the breadth and complexity of the conservatorship operations, which could create uncertainty about whether a particular matter should be addressed under the existing conservatorship protocols or under the part 1211 procedures. To avoid that uncertainty, Fannie Mae has recommended that FHFA amend part 1211 to permit the Enterprises to submit all requests for guidance to the conservator, who could then decide whether it involved a regulatory matter to be considered under part 1211 or a conservatorship matter to be considered under the existing conservatorship procedures. FHFA acknowledges that, by themselves, the terms ‘‘regulatory matters’’ and ‘‘conservatorship matters’’ are imprecise, but also believes that within the context of the conservatorships, including the procedures that the conservator has established for communications with the Enterprises while in conservatorship and the types of matters that have been subject to those procedures, both Enterprises should be able to determine which requests for agency guidance fall within the conservatorship procedures and which would be more appropriate for submission under part 1211. Accordingly, the final rule does not include the revisions requested by Fannie Mae but instead retains the language from the proposed rule distinguishing ‘‘conservatorship matters’’ from ‘‘regulatory matters.’’ To the extent that an Enterprise is unable to determine which procedures to follow in a particular case, it should raise the matter with the conservator under the informal channels of communication that they currently use for discussions about a variety of other matters. Waiver of the Entire Regulation Section 1211.6(d) of the proposed rule would allow FHFA, for supervisory VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:37 Oct 30, 2014 Jkt 235001 reasons or administrative efficiency, to accept from a regulated entity a submission or class of submissions that does not comply with all of the requirements of the proposed procedures. Fannie Mae speculated that there could be circumstances in which the application of any portion of part 1211 would not be appropriate, and thus suggested that FHFA amend the final rule to allow FHFA to waive the entirety of part 1211 if that need were to arise. FHFA does not believe that it would be appropriate to add such a blanket waiver provision to the final rule, principally because the existing provision, which authorizes the agency to accept any submissions that do not comply with the requirements of part 1211, affords significant latitude for a regulated entity to submit, and for FHFA to consider, a request for guidance that includes less information than might otherwise be required. Moreover, procedures established under part 1211 are for situations in which a regulated entity initiates the communication with the agency in order to obtain guidance on a regulatory matter that is not fully addressed by the statute or regulations. The part 1211 procedures do not address or limit the informal communications that occur between a regulated entity and FHFA as part of the regulatory or examination processes. Case-by-Case Determinations The proposed rule would have repealed a portion of the Finance Board regulations that allowed the Banks to seek ‘‘case-by-case determinations’’ from the agency for any legal or policy issues of first impression. FHFA reasoned that those procedures, which have never been used, are apt to be cumbersome and inefficient, in that they require a quasi-judicial hearing before the agency that would be binding only on the parties appearing before the agency, and that they do not allow the same broad public airing of proposed changes to FHFA policy as is provided by a notice and comment rulemaking. The San Francisco Bank objected to the proposed repeal of these provisions, contending that they could serve as an efficient means to resolve certain issues. For the reasons stated above and in the proposed rule, FHFA believes that there is little benefit to preserving these never-used procedures for case-by-case determinations of policy issues, and that matters of revisions to the agency’s regulatory policy are better addressed through an administrative rulemaking process. PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Bank Members The Finance Board regulations had permitted the Banks, members of the Banks, the Office of Finance, and other interested parties to seek regulatory guidance under these procedures. The proposed rule would have limited the universe of requesters to the Banks, the Enterprises, and the Office of Finance because those are the only institutions that FHFA regulates. The San Francisco Bank believes that because Bank members and other parties may be indirectly affected by FHFA regulations, they also should be permitted to file submissions under part 1211. FHFA appreciates that regulations that directly affect the Banks may have some indirect effect on the members of the Banks. That said, FHFA has no direct regulatory authority over members and has few, if any, regulations that apply directly to the members. Similarly, FHFA has no authority over other third parties who may have an interest in Bank matters and has no regulations that would apply solely to third parties. Therefore, FHFA remains of the view that it is not appropriate for entities that are not subject to FHFA’s regulatory oversight to invoke these procedures, which are primarily intended to provide a means by which the entities that are subject to the statute and regulations may obtain guidance about how the provisions are to be applied to them. To the extent that Bank members or other third parties wish to bring matters to the attention of the agency, they can do so through other avenues, such as through the FHFA ombudsman or through correspondence to the agency. The Finance Board procedures were rarely, if ever, used by such third parties. Definitions The final rule relocates the definition of the term ‘‘Authorizing Statutes,’’ which refers to the Bank Act and the chartering act of each Enterprise, from part 1211 to part 1201, the general definitions section for all FHFA regulations. No substantive modifications are being made to the definition, and FHFA believes that this relocation will facilitate the use of the term throughout FHFA’s regulations. III. Paperwork Reduction Act The final rule does not contain any information collection requirement that requires the approval of the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). IV. Regulatory Flexibility Act The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) requires an agency to E:\FR\FM\31OCR1.SGM 31OCR1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 211 / Friday, October 31, 2014 / Rules and Regulations analyze a regulation’s impact on small entities if it is expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 5 U.S.C. 605(b). FHFA has considered the impact of this final regulation and determined that it is not likely to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because it applies only to the regulated entities and the OF, which are not small entities for purposes of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. List of Subjects 12 CFR Part 907 Administrative practice and procedure, Federal Home Loan Banks. 12 CFR Part 1201 Administrative practice and procedure, Federal Home Loan Banks, Government Sponsored Enterprises, Office of Finance, Regulated Entities. 12 CFR Part 1211 Administrative practice and procedure, Federal Home Loan Banks, Government-Sponsored Enterprises. Accordingly, for reasons stated in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION and under the authority of 12 U.S.C. 4511, 4513, and 4526, FHFA hereby amends subchapter B of chapter IX and subchapter A of chapter XII of title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows: CHAPTER IX—FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE BOARD SUBCHAPTER B—FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE BOARD ORGANIZATION AND OPERATIONS PART 907—[REMOVED] ■ 1. Remove part 907. CHAPTER XII—FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY SUBCHAPTER A—ORGANIZATION AND OPERATIONS PART 1201—GENERAL DEFINITIONS APPYING TO ALL FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY REGULATIONS 2. The authority citation for part 1201 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 12 U.S.C. 4511(b), 4513(a), 4513(b). Charter Act, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation Act, and the Federal Home Loan Bank Act. * * * * * ■ 4. Part 1211 is added to read as follows: PART 1211—PROCEDURES Subpart A—Definitions Sec. 1211.1 Definitions. Subpart B—Waivers, Approvals, NonObjection Letters, and Regulatory Interpretations Sec. 1211.2 Waivers. 1211.3 Approvals. 1211.4 Non-Objection Letters. 1211.5 Regulatory Interpretations. 1211.6 Submission requirements. Authority: 12 U.S.C. 4511(b), 4513(a), 4526. Subpart A—Definitions § 1211.1 As used in this part: Approval means a written statement issued to a regulated entity or the Office of Finance approving a transaction, activity, or item that requires FHFA approval under a statute, rule, regulation, policy, or order. Non-Objection Letter means a written statement issued to a regulated entity or the Office of Finance providing that FHFA does not object to a proposed transaction or activity. Regulatory Interpretation means a written interpretation issued by the FHFA General Counsel with respect to the application of a statute, rule, regulation, or order to a proposed transaction or activity. Requester means an entity that has submitted an application for a Waiver or Approval or a request for a NonObjection Letter or Regulatory Interpretation. Waiver means a written statement issued by the Director to a regulated entity or the Office of Finance that waives a provision, restriction, or requirement of an FHFA rule, regulation, policy, or order, or a required submission of information, not otherwise required by law, in connection with a particular transaction or activity. 3. Amend § 1201.1 by adding in correct alphabetical order a definition for the term ‘‘Authorizing Statutes’’ to read as follows: Subpart B—Waivers, Approvals, NonObjection Letters, and Regulatory Interpretations § 1201.1 § 1211.2 rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with RULES ■ Definitions. * * * * * Authorizing Statutes means the Federal National Mortgage Association VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:37 Oct 30, 2014 Jkt 235001 Waivers. (a) Authority. The Director reserves the right, in his or her discretion and in connection with a particular transaction PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 or activity, to waive any provision, restriction, or requirement of this chapter (or of any Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight or Federal Housing Finance Board regulation), or any required submission of information, not otherwise required by law, if such Waiver is not inconsistent with the law and does not adversely affect any substantial existing rights, upon a determination that application of the provision, restriction, or requirement would adversely affect achievement of the purposes of the Authorizing Statutes or the Safety and Soundness Act, or upon a requester’s showing of good cause. The Director also reserves the right to modify, rescind, or supersede any previously issued Waiver, with such action being effective only on a prospective basis. (b) Application. A regulated entity or the Office of Finance may apply for a Waiver in accordance with § 1211.6. § 1211.3 Definitions. 64665 Approvals. (a) Authority. The Deputy Directors for Enterprise Regulation and for Federal Home Loan Bank Regulation, or their designees, may grant requests submitted by an Enterprise or by a Bank or the Office of Finance, respectively, seeking approval of any transaction, activity, or item that requires FHFA approval under any applicable statute, rule, regulation, policy, or order. The Director reserves the right to modify, rescind, or supersede an Approval, with such action being effective only on a prospective basis. (b) Requests. A regulated entity or the Office of Finance may apply for an Approval in accordance with § 1211.6, unless alternative application procedures are prescribed by the applicable statute, rule, regulation, policy, or order for the transaction, activity, or item at issue. (c) Reservation. The Deputy Directors for Enterprise Regulation and for Federal Home Loan Bank Regulation, as appropriate, may, in their discretion, prescribe additional or alternative procedures for any application for approval of a transaction, activity, or item. § 1211.4 Non-Objection Letters. (a) Authority. The Deputy Directors for Enterprise Regulation and for Federal Home Loan Bank Regulation, or their designees, may, in their discretion, issue to an Enterprise or to a Bank or the Office of Finance, respectively, a NonObjection Letter stating that FHFA does not object to a proposed transaction or activity for supervisory, regulatory, or policy reasons. The Director reserves the right to modify, rescind, or supersede a E:\FR\FM\31OCR1.SGM 31OCR1 64666 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 211 / Friday, October 31, 2014 / Rules and Regulations Non-Objection Letter, with such action being effective only on a prospective basis. (b) Requests. A regulated entity or the Office of Finance may request a NonObjection Letter in accordance with § 1211.6. § 1211.5 Regulatory Interpretations. (a) Authority. The General Counsel may, in his or her discretion, issue a Regulatory Interpretation to a regulated entity or the Office of Finance, providing guidance with respect to the application of any applicable statute, rule, regulation, or order to a proposed transaction or activity. The Director reserves the right to modify, rescind, or supersede a Regulatory Interpretation, with such action being effective only on a prospective basis. (b) Requests. A regulated entity or the Office of Finance may request a Regulatory Interpretation in accordance with § 1211.6. rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with RULES § 1211.6 Submission requirements. Applications for a Waiver or Approval and requests for a Non-Objection Letter or Regulatory Interpretation shall comply with the requirements of this section and shall pertain to regulatory matters relating to the Banks or Enterprises, and not to conservatorship matters. (a) Filing. Each application or request shall be in writing. A Bank or the Office of Finance shall submit its filing to the Deputy Director for the Division of Federal Home Loan Bank Regulation, and an Enterprise shall submit its filing to the Deputy Director for Enterprise Regulation. Applications for regulatory interpretations shall be submitted also to the General Counsel. (b) Authorization. An application for a Waiver or Approval and a request for a Non-Objection Letter or Regulatory Interpretation shall be signed by the principal executive officer or other authorized executive officer of the regulated entity or by the chairperson of the board of directors or authorized executive officer of the Office of Finance, as appropriate. (c) Information requirements. Each application or request shall contain: (1) The name of the requester, and the name, title, business address, telephone number, and business electronic mail address, if any, of the official filing the application or request on its behalf; (2) The name, business address, telephone number, and business electronic mail address, if any, of a contact person from whom FHFA staff may seek additional information if necessary; VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:37 Oct 30, 2014 Jkt 235001 (3) The section numbers of the particular provisions of the applicable statutes or rules, regulations, policies, or orders to which the application or request relates; (4) Identification of the determination or relief requested, including any alternative relief requested if the primary relief is denied, and a clear statement of why such relief is needed; (5) A statement of the particular facts and circumstances giving rise to the application or request and identifying all relevant legal and factual issues; (6) References to all other relevant authorities that the regulated entity or Office of Finance believes should be considered in evaluating the application or request, including the Authorizing Statutes, Safety and Soundness Act, FHFA rules, regulations, policies, orders, judicial decisions, administrative decisions, relevant statutory interpretations, and policy statements; (7) References to any Waivers, NonObjection Letters, Approvals, or Regulatory Interpretations issued in the past in response to circumstances similar to those surrounding the request or application; (8) For any application or request involving interpretation of the Authorizing Statutes, Safety and Soundness Act, or FHFA regulations, a reasoned opinion of counsel supporting the relief or interpretation sought and distinguishing any adverse authority; (9) Any other non-duplicative, relevant supporting documentation; and (10) A certification by a person with knowledge of the facts that the representations made in the application or request are accurate and complete. The following form of certification is sufficient for this purpose: ‘‘I hereby certify that the statements contained in the submission are true and complete to the best of my knowledge. [Name and Title].’’ (d) Exceptions. In any given matter or class of matters, the Director, the Deputy Director for Federal Home Loan Bank Regulation, the Deputy Director for Enterprise Regulation, or the General Counsel, as appropriate, may accept an application or request that does not comply with the requirements of this section, for supervisory reasons or administrative efficiency. (e) Withdrawal. Once filed, an application or request may be withdrawn only upon written request, and only if FHFA has not yet acted on the application or request. PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Dated: October 27, 2014. Melvin L. Watt, Director, Federal Housing Finance Agency. [FR Doc. 2014–25973 Filed 10–30–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8070–01–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 33 [Docket No. FAA–2014–0376; Notice No. 33– 014–SC] Special Conditions: SNECMA, Silvercrest-2 SC–2D; Rated 10-Minute One Engine Inoperative Takeoff Thrust at High Ambient Temperature Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Final special conditions. AGENCY: These final special conditions are issued for the SNECMA, Silvercrest2 SC–2D engine model. This engine will have a novel or unusual design feature—an additional takeoff rating that increases the exhaust gas temperature (EGT) limit to maintain takeoff thrust in certain high ambient temperature conditions with one engine inoperative (OEI) for a maximum of 10 minutes. The applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for this design feature. These final special conditions contain the additional safety standards that the Administrator considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that established by the existing airworthiness standards. DATES: The effective date of these special conditions is December 1, 2014. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical questions concerning this rule, contact Tara Fitzgerald, ANE–111, Engine and Propeller Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service, 12 New England Executive Park, Burlington, Massachusetts 01803–5213; telephone (781) 238–7130; facsimile (781) 238– 7199; email tara.fitzgerald@faa.gov. For legal questions concerning this rule, contact Vincent Bennett, ANE–7, Engine and Propeller Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service, 12 New England Executive Park, Burlington, Massachusetts 01803–5299; telephone (781) 238–7044; facsimile (781) 238– 7055; email vincent.bennett@faa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: Background On April 19, 2011, SNECMA applied for a new type certificate (TC) for the Silvercrest-2 SC–2D engine model. For E:\FR\FM\31OCR1.SGM 31OCR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 211 (Friday, October 31, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 64661-64666]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-25973]


=======================================================================
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FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE BOARD

12 CFR Part 907

FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY

12 CFR Parts 1201 and 1211

RIN 2590-AA66


Procedures and General Definitions

AGENCY: Federal Housing Finance Agency; Federal Housing Finance Board.

ACTION: Final rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is amending its 
regulations by relocating to the FHFA chapter of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (CFR) a Federal Housing Finance Board (Finance Board) 
regulation relating to procedures under which the Federal Home Loan 
Banks (Banks) and the Office of Finance (OF) may request waivers, 
approvals, no-action letters, and regulatory interpretations. The final 
rule modifies these regulations to make them also applicable to the 
Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan 
Mortgage Corporation (collectively, Enterprises) and repeals

[[Page 64662]]

provisions relating to the procedures for requesting case-by-case 
determinations. The final rule also relocates a definition to the 
general definitions section of the FHFA regulations.

DATES: This final rule is effective on December 1, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amy Bogdon, Amy.Bogdon@fhfa.gov, (202) 
649-3320, Associate Director, Division of Federal Home Loan Bank 
Regulation; or Michou Nguyen, Michou.Nguyen@fhfa.gov, (202) 649-3081 
(not toll free numbers), Assistant General Counsel, Office of General 
Counsel, Federal Housing Finance Agency, 400 7th Street SW., 
Washington, DC 20024. The telephone number for the Telecommunications 
Device for the Hearing Impaired is (800) 877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

A. Proposed Rule

    On March 19, 2014, FHFA published in the Federal Register a 
proposed rule to adopt as its own, and extend to the Enterprises, 
certain provisions of the Finance Board regulations, located at 12 CFR 
907 (part 907), pertaining to waivers, approvals, no-action letters, 
and regulatory interpretations.\1\ The proposal was part of FHFA's 
ongoing project to repeal or relocate all of the regulations of its 
predecessor agencies. Proposed 12 CFR 1211 (part 1211) set forth 
procedures that the Banks and the Enterprises (collectively, the 
regulated entities) and the OF must follow in order to request waivers, 
approvals, non-objection letters, and regulatory interpretations from 
FHFA. It consisted of a section for definitions, sections describing 
the nature of requests for waivers, approvals, non-objection letters, 
and regulatory interpretations, and a section that set forth submission 
requirements for such requests. The proposed rule would have also 
repealed those provisions of part 907 that pertain to case-by-case 
determinations. Nearly all of the content of part 1211 was derived from 
part 907, with modifications as were necessary to apply the regulation 
to the Enterprises, or to clarify, update, or supplement the existing 
regulation, as appropriate. The proposed rule also stated in both the 
regulatory text and in the supplementary information that the 
procedures within proposed part 1211 were intended to be used to 
address regulatory matters pertaining to the Banks and the Enterprises, 
and were not intended to be used to address conservatorship matters.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ 79 FR 15257 (March 19, 2014).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

B. Considerations of Differences Between the Banks and the Enterprises

    When promulgating regulations or taking other actions that relate 
to the Banks, the FHFA Director (Director) is required by section 
1313(f) of the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and 
Soundness Act of 1992 (12 U.S.C. 4501 et seq.) to consider the 
differences between the Banks and the Enterprises with respect to the 
Banks' cooperative ownership structure; mission of providing liquidity 
to members; affordable housing and community development mission; 
capital structure; and joint and several liability. 12 U.S.C. 4513(f). 
In preparing this final rule, the Director has considered the 
differences between the Banks and the Enterprises as they relate to the 
above factors and has determined that the rule would not adversely 
affect any of the statutory factors.

II. Final Rule and Comments

    FHFA received three comment letters in response to the proposed 
rule, one each from the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie 
Mae), the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, and the Federal Home Loan 
Bank of San Francisco (San Francisco Bank). Each of the comment letters 
recommended ways in which FHFA could revise certain aspects of the 
proposed rule. In considering those recommendations, FHFA has decided 
to revise two provisions of the proposed rule that pertain to which 
executives must sign submissions made under these procedures and the 
circumstances in which a resolution of the board of directors must 
accompany the submission. In all other respects, the final rule is 
unchanged from the proposed rule. The following paragraphs describe the 
two revisions being made to the final rule, as well as the reasons why 
FHFA has not revised the regulation in response to any of the other 
recommendations made by the commenters.

Signature Requirements

    The proposed rule required all submissions under part 1211 to be 
signed by the president of the regulated entity or by the chairperson 
of the board of directors of the OF. Currently, part 907 of the Finance 
Board regulations only requires this for requests for no-action letters 
and permits the other types of submissions to be signed by authorized 
representatives of the entity. All three commenters argued that the 
proposal was too stringent, principally because there are likely to be 
circumstances in which executives other than the president or 
chairperson will be more familiar with the particular matter and thus 
would be the appropriate person for submitting the requests. Commenters 
also suggested that it would be more appropriate to allow each entity 
to decide which of its officers should sign submissions made under 
these rules. In addition, different regulated entities use different 
terms for their principal executive officers. The Enterprises are 
managed by ``chief executive officers,'' while the term for that 
officer used by the Banks, incorporated in the Bank Act and in FHFA's 
regulations, is ``president.'' FHFA agrees with the commenters and is 
revising Sec.  1211.6(b) of the final rule so that it would permit the 
principal executive officer or any other authorized executive officer 
of a regulated entity to sign any submissions made under part 1211. The 
final rule makes a similar change with respect to the OF, which allows 
for the chairperson of the board of directors or any authorized 
executive officer to sign submissions under these procedures.

Board Resolution

    The proposed rule would have carried over from the Finance Board 
regulations a provision requiring an entity seeking a waiver or 
approval to submit a resolution of its board of directors concurring in 
the substance of the submission and authorizing its filing, which would 
be in addition to the requirement that the submission be signed by the 
entity's president. Fannie Mae contended this requirement was not 
necessary and also could be burdensome in light of the limited number 
of board meetings that an entity may have each year. FHFA agrees that 
although the Finance Board may have had policy reasons for requiring 
evidence of the board's approval of waivers and approvals when these 
procedures were first adopted, there is no compelling reason to require 
a board resolution in support of a request for a waiver or approval 
when board resolutions are not required for regulatory interpretations 
or non-objection letters. Most submissions that have been made under 
these procedures generally are related to operational matters, which 
are the responsibility of management. Accordingly, FHFA is persuaded 
that it is not necessary for the board of directors to formally endorse 
these requests, and this requirement has been eliminated from the final 
rule.

[[Page 64663]]

Alternative Procedures for Approvals

    Section 1211.3(b) of the proposed rule carried over from the 
Finance Board regulations a provision that stated that the procedures 
for obtaining FHFA's approval under part 1211 would not apply if 
alternative procedures for obtaining FHFA's approval are prescribed by 
a different statute, rule, regulation, policy, or order. Fannie Mae 
contended that the rule's reference to ``alternative application 
procedures,'' along with a reference to a single regulation that 
applies only to the Banks, did not make clear what other regulatory 
provisions might supersede the approval procedures in the proposed 
rule. To clarify the provision, Fannie Mae asked that FHFA list within 
the body of the regulation eight specific regulations with approval 
procedures that it believed would supersede those of part 1211. FHFA 
does not believe that the reference to ``alternative application 
procedures'' is either vague or ambiguous, and believes that the 
concept embodied in the language can be readily applied, i.e., if 
Congress or FHFA has established a specific procedure by which a 
regulated entity is required to obtain the agency's approval, then that 
other procedure controls. FHFA also does not believe it is necessary, 
or appropriate, to list specific regulations within the body of the 
regulatory text of part 1211 because regulations change periodically 
and the list could become outdated or inaccurate. FHFA agrees with 
Fannie Mae's contention that the procedures for obtaining prior 
approval for Enterprise products under 12 CFR part 1253 and for 
obtaining approval of a housing goal plan, when such plan is required, 
and for petitioning for adjustments of housing goals under the 
Enterprise housing goals provisions of 12 CFR part 1282 are examples of 
alternative procedures that would supersede the approval procedures of 
this rule.

Informal Procedures for Obtaining a Non-Objection

    Fannie Mae stated that from time to time it informally asks that 
FHFA, in its conservatorship capacity, agree to a proposed activity by 
stating that it has no objection to the Enterprise undertaking the 
activity. Fannie Mae expressed concern that the extension of the formal 
procedures in part 1211 to the Enterprises could adversely affect these 
existing informal arrangements between the conservator and the 
Enterprises. To prevent that from happening, Fannie Mae has asked that 
FHFA codify these existing informal arrangements into the final rule. 
As was stated in the proposed rule, and as the final rule continues to 
state, the procedures of part 1211 apply only to regulatory matters 
pertaining to the Enterprises and the Banks. They do not apply to 
conservatorship matters. For that reason, it would be inappropriate to 
codify these existing informal conservatorship arrangements in this 
regulation. Moreover, because the final rule does not apply to any 
conservatorship matters, it will not affect the functioning of the 
existing channels through which the Enterprises currently obtain 
guidance or non-objection from FHFA in its capacity as conservator.

Proposed Transactions

    Section 1211.5(a) of the proposed rule carried over from the 
Finance Board regulations language allowing the General Counsel to 
issue a regulatory interpretation providing guidance with respect to a 
proposed transaction or activity. The Supplementary Information 
discussion of that provision further explained that requests for a 
regulatory interpretation must not relate to a hypothetical situation. 
Fannie Mae expressed concern about the reference to a hypothetical 
situation, believing that it may be difficult in practice to 
distinguish between a proposed business transaction that is at an early 
stage of development, and for which some interpretive guidance is 
needed, and a hypothetical situation. Fannie Mae contended that, 
without the ability to obtain FHFA guidance at an early stage in a 
proposal's development, it could expend significant resources on 
developing a proposal only to have FHFA later decline to issue an 
interpretation that would have authorized the contemplated transaction. 
Fannie Mae recommended that FHFA address this issue by deleting from 
the final rule the reference to ``proposed transaction or activity'' 
and allowing the General Counsel to determine on a case-by-case basis 
whether a particular proposal was sufficiently developed to allow the 
issuance of a regulatory interpretation. FHFA agrees that the reference 
to ``hypothetical situations'' could cause confusion and wishes to make 
clear that the operative language of Sec.  1211.5(a)--``proposed 
transaction or activity''--does not mean that a specific business 
proposal needs to be fully developed in order for a regulated entity to 
request a regulatory interpretation. However, FHFA does not believe it 
would be appropriate to delete the reference to ``proposed transaction 
or activity'' from the regulatory text. In order for FHFA to properly 
consider a request to interpret its statutes or regulations in a 
particular manner, it needs some factual context within which to frame 
and assess the legal issues. By retaining the requirement that a 
request for a regulatory interpretation must pertain to a proposed 
transaction or activity FHFA believes that it is more likely to receive 
a well-reasoned legal analysis as part of the request, and that the 
regulatory interpretation will be justified by an actual need.

Prospective Effect of FHFA Action

    The proposed rule explicitly reserved to the Director the right to 
modify, rescind, or supersede any previously granted waiver, approval, 
non-objection letter, or regulatory interpretation, provided that any 
such action by the Director would be effective only on a prospective 
basis. The San Francisco Bank expressed concern that such actions taken 
by the Director might inadvertently impair existing contractual rights 
that had been established in reliance on the previously issued 
guidance. To avoid that possibility, the San Francisco Bank recommended 
that FHFA amend part 1211 to explicitly state that any such action by 
the Director would not adversely affect any existing contractual rights 
that had been established in reliance on previously granted guidance. 
FHFA does not believe that it is necessary for the regulatory text to 
state that actions by the Director that are effective only on a 
prospective basis also do not have retrospective effect. FHFA believes 
that the commonly understood meaning of a regulatory action that is to 
be ``effective only on a prospective basis'' is that it affects only 
actions to be taken subsequently, and does not affect any actions taken 
by the regulated entities prior to the date of the Director's action, 
which would include any contractual rights established in reliance on 
the prior guidance. As a general proposition, FHFA evaluates actions 
taken by the regulated entities based on the law or regulations in 
effect at the time that the regulated entity acted, regardless of 
whether the statute, regulation or, in this case, regulatory guidance 
were to change at a subsequent date.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ For purposes of assessing prospective effect, particular 
situations may need to be evaluated on their own circumstances, 
e.g., a pre-existing contract that is automatically renewing in 
perpetuity.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Conservatorship Protocols

    The introductory language of Sec.  1211.6 of the proposed rule 
stated that requests submitted under these procedures ``shall pertain 
to regulatory matters

[[Page 64664]]

relating to the Banks or Enterprises, and not to conservatorship 
matters.'' The preamble to the proposed rule repeated that statement. 
The intent behind that provision was to recognize that FHFA, as 
conservator, has established a series of procedures for communications 
between the conservator and the Enterprises relating to their business 
operations, and to make clear that matters that are currently handled 
under those conservatorship protocols and letters of instruction should 
continue to be handled under those procedures, rather than the part 
1211 procedures. Fannie Mae has expressed concern that it could be 
difficult for an Enterprise to distinguish between a conservatorship 
matter and a regulatory matter, given the breadth and complexity of the 
conservatorship operations, which could create uncertainty about 
whether a particular matter should be addressed under the existing 
conservatorship protocols or under the part 1211 procedures. To avoid 
that uncertainty, Fannie Mae has recommended that FHFA amend part 1211 
to permit the Enterprises to submit all requests for guidance to the 
conservator, who could then decide whether it involved a regulatory 
matter to be considered under part 1211 or a conservatorship matter to 
be considered under the existing conservatorship procedures. FHFA 
acknowledges that, by themselves, the terms ``regulatory matters'' and 
``conservatorship matters'' are imprecise, but also believes that 
within the context of the conservatorships, including the procedures 
that the conservator has established for communications with the 
Enterprises while in conservatorship and the types of matters that have 
been subject to those procedures, both Enterprises should be able to 
determine which requests for agency guidance fall within the 
conservatorship procedures and which would be more appropriate for 
submission under part 1211. Accordingly, the final rule does not 
include the revisions requested by Fannie Mae but instead retains the 
language from the proposed rule distinguishing ``conservatorship 
matters'' from ``regulatory matters.'' To the extent that an Enterprise 
is unable to determine which procedures to follow in a particular case, 
it should raise the matter with the conservator under the informal 
channels of communication that they currently use for discussions about 
a variety of other matters.

Waiver of the Entire Regulation

    Section 1211.6(d) of the proposed rule would allow FHFA, for 
supervisory reasons or administrative efficiency, to accept from a 
regulated entity a submission or class of submissions that does not 
comply with all of the requirements of the proposed procedures. Fannie 
Mae speculated that there could be circumstances in which the 
application of any portion of part 1211 would not be appropriate, and 
thus suggested that FHFA amend the final rule to allow FHFA to waive 
the entirety of part 1211 if that need were to arise. FHFA does not 
believe that it would be appropriate to add such a blanket waiver 
provision to the final rule, principally because the existing 
provision, which authorizes the agency to accept any submissions that 
do not comply with the requirements of part 1211, affords significant 
latitude for a regulated entity to submit, and for FHFA to consider, a 
request for guidance that includes less information than might 
otherwise be required. Moreover, procedures established under part 1211 
are for situations in which a regulated entity initiates the 
communication with the agency in order to obtain guidance on a 
regulatory matter that is not fully addressed by the statute or 
regulations. The part 1211 procedures do not address or limit the 
informal communications that occur between a regulated entity and FHFA 
as part of the regulatory or examination processes.

Case-by-Case Determinations

    The proposed rule would have repealed a portion of the Finance 
Board regulations that allowed the Banks to seek ``case-by-case 
determinations'' from the agency for any legal or policy issues of 
first impression. FHFA reasoned that those procedures, which have never 
been used, are apt to be cumbersome and inefficient, in that they 
require a quasi-judicial hearing before the agency that would be 
binding only on the parties appearing before the agency, and that they 
do not allow the same broad public airing of proposed changes to FHFA 
policy as is provided by a notice and comment rulemaking. The San 
Francisco Bank objected to the proposed repeal of these provisions, 
contending that they could serve as an efficient means to resolve 
certain issues. For the reasons stated above and in the proposed rule, 
FHFA believes that there is little benefit to preserving these never-
used procedures for case-by-case determinations of policy issues, and 
that matters of revisions to the agency's regulatory policy are better 
addressed through an administrative rulemaking process.

Bank Members

    The Finance Board regulations had permitted the Banks, members of 
the Banks, the Office of Finance, and other interested parties to seek 
regulatory guidance under these procedures. The proposed rule would 
have limited the universe of requesters to the Banks, the Enterprises, 
and the Office of Finance because those are the only institutions that 
FHFA regulates. The San Francisco Bank believes that because Bank 
members and other parties may be indirectly affected by FHFA 
regulations, they also should be permitted to file submissions under 
part 1211. FHFA appreciates that regulations that directly affect the 
Banks may have some indirect effect on the members of the Banks. That 
said, FHFA has no direct regulatory authority over members and has few, 
if any, regulations that apply directly to the members. Similarly, FHFA 
has no authority over other third parties who may have an interest in 
Bank matters and has no regulations that would apply solely to third 
parties. Therefore, FHFA remains of the view that it is not appropriate 
for entities that are not subject to FHFA's regulatory oversight to 
invoke these procedures, which are primarily intended to provide a 
means by which the entities that are subject to the statute and 
regulations may obtain guidance about how the provisions are to be 
applied to them. To the extent that Bank members or other third parties 
wish to bring matters to the attention of the agency, they can do so 
through other avenues, such as through the FHFA ombudsman or through 
correspondence to the agency. The Finance Board procedures were rarely, 
if ever, used by such third parties.

Definitions

    The final rule relocates the definition of the term ``Authorizing 
Statutes,'' which refers to the Bank Act and the chartering act of each 
Enterprise, from part 1211 to part 1201, the general definitions 
section for all FHFA regulations. No substantive modifications are 
being made to the definition, and FHFA believes that this relocation 
will facilitate the use of the term throughout FHFA's regulations.

III. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The final rule does not contain any information collection 
requirement that requires the approval of the Office of Management and 
Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

IV. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) requires an 
agency to

[[Page 64665]]

analyze a regulation's impact on small entities if it is expected to 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. 5 U.S.C. 605(b). FHFA has considered the impact of this final 
regulation and determined that it is not likely to have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because it 
applies only to the regulated entities and the OF, which are not small 
entities for purposes of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

List of Subjects

12 CFR Part 907

    Administrative practice and procedure, Federal Home Loan Banks.

12 CFR Part 1201

    Administrative practice and procedure, Federal Home Loan Banks, 
Government Sponsored Enterprises, Office of Finance, Regulated 
Entities.

12 CFR Part 1211

    Administrative practice and procedure, Federal Home Loan Banks, 
Government-Sponsored Enterprises.

    Accordingly, for reasons stated in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION 
and under the authority of 12 U.S.C. 4511, 4513, and 4526, FHFA hereby 
amends subchapter B of chapter IX and subchapter A of chapter XII of 
title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

CHAPTER IX--FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE BOARD

SUBCHAPTER B--FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE BOARD ORGANIZATION AND OPERATIONS

PART 907--[REMOVED]

0
1. Remove part 907.

CHAPTER XII--FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY

SUBCHAPTER A--ORGANIZATION AND OPERATIONS

PART 1201--GENERAL DEFINITIONS APPYING TO ALL FEDERAL HOUSING 
FINANCE AGENCY REGULATIONS

0
2. The authority citation for part 1201 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 12 U.S.C. 4511(b), 4513(a), 4513(b).


0
3. Amend Sec.  1201.1 by adding in correct alphabetical order a 
definition for the term ``Authorizing Statutes'' to read as follows:


Sec.  1201.1  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Authorizing Statutes means the Federal National Mortgage 
Association Charter Act, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation 
Act, and the Federal Home Loan Bank Act.
* * * * *

0
4. Part 1211 is added to read as follows:

PART 1211--PROCEDURES

Subpart A--Definitions
Sec.
1211.1 Definitions.
Subpart B--Waivers, Approvals, Non-Objection Letters, and Regulatory 
Interpretations
Sec.
1211.2 Waivers.
1211.3 Approvals.
1211.4 Non-Objection Letters.
1211.5 Regulatory Interpretations.
1211.6 Submission requirements.

    Authority: 12 U.S.C. 4511(b), 4513(a), 4526.

Subpart A--Definitions


Sec.  1211.1  Definitions.

    As used in this part:
    Approval means a written statement issued to a regulated entity or 
the Office of Finance approving a transaction, activity, or item that 
requires FHFA approval under a statute, rule, regulation, policy, or 
order.
    Non-Objection Letter means a written statement issued to a 
regulated entity or the Office of Finance providing that FHFA does not 
object to a proposed transaction or activity.
    Regulatory Interpretation means a written interpretation issued by 
the FHFA General Counsel with respect to the application of a statute, 
rule, regulation, or order to a proposed transaction or activity.
    Requester means an entity that has submitted an application for a 
Waiver or Approval or a request for a Non-Objection Letter or 
Regulatory Interpretation.
    Waiver means a written statement issued by the Director to a 
regulated entity or the Office of Finance that waives a provision, 
restriction, or requirement of an FHFA rule, regulation, policy, or 
order, or a required submission of information, not otherwise required 
by law, in connection with a particular transaction or activity.

Subpart B--Waivers, Approvals, Non-Objection Letters, and 
Regulatory Interpretations


Sec.  1211.2  Waivers.

    (a) Authority. The Director reserves the right, in his or her 
discretion and in connection with a particular transaction or activity, 
to waive any provision, restriction, or requirement of this chapter (or 
of any Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight or Federal 
Housing Finance Board regulation), or any required submission of 
information, not otherwise required by law, if such Waiver is not 
inconsistent with the law and does not adversely affect any substantial 
existing rights, upon a determination that application of the 
provision, restriction, or requirement would adversely affect 
achievement of the purposes of the Authorizing Statutes or the Safety 
and Soundness Act, or upon a requester's showing of good cause. The 
Director also reserves the right to modify, rescind, or supersede any 
previously issued Waiver, with such action being effective only on a 
prospective basis.
    (b) Application. A regulated entity or the Office of Finance may 
apply for a Waiver in accordance with Sec.  1211.6.


Sec.  1211.3  Approvals.

    (a) Authority. The Deputy Directors for Enterprise Regulation and 
for Federal Home Loan Bank Regulation, or their designees, may grant 
requests submitted by an Enterprise or by a Bank or the Office of 
Finance, respectively, seeking approval of any transaction, activity, 
or item that requires FHFA approval under any applicable statute, rule, 
regulation, policy, or order. The Director reserves the right to 
modify, rescind, or supersede an Approval, with such action being 
effective only on a prospective basis.
    (b) Requests. A regulated entity or the Office of Finance may apply 
for an Approval in accordance with Sec.  1211.6, unless alternative 
application procedures are prescribed by the applicable statute, rule, 
regulation, policy, or order for the transaction, activity, or item at 
issue.
    (c) Reservation. The Deputy Directors for Enterprise Regulation and 
for Federal Home Loan Bank Regulation, as appropriate, may, in their 
discretion, prescribe additional or alternative procedures for any 
application for approval of a transaction, activity, or item.


Sec.  1211.4  Non-Objection Letters.

    (a) Authority. The Deputy Directors for Enterprise Regulation and 
for Federal Home Loan Bank Regulation, or their designees, may, in 
their discretion, issue to an Enterprise or to a Bank or the Office of 
Finance, respectively, a Non-Objection Letter stating that FHFA does 
not object to a proposed transaction or activity for supervisory, 
regulatory, or policy reasons. The Director reserves the right to 
modify, rescind, or supersede a

[[Page 64666]]

Non-Objection Letter, with such action being effective only on a 
prospective basis.
    (b) Requests. A regulated entity or the Office of Finance may 
request a Non-Objection Letter in accordance with Sec.  1211.6.


Sec.  1211.5  Regulatory Interpretations.

    (a) Authority. The General Counsel may, in his or her discretion, 
issue a Regulatory Interpretation to a regulated entity or the Office 
of Finance, providing guidance with respect to the application of any 
applicable statute, rule, regulation, or order to a proposed 
transaction or activity. The Director reserves the right to modify, 
rescind, or supersede a Regulatory Interpretation, with such action 
being effective only on a prospective basis.
    (b) Requests. A regulated entity or the Office of Finance may 
request a Regulatory Interpretation in accordance with Sec.  1211.6.


Sec.  1211.6  Submission requirements.

    Applications for a Waiver or Approval and requests for a Non-
Objection Letter or Regulatory Interpretation shall comply with the 
requirements of this section and shall pertain to regulatory matters 
relating to the Banks or Enterprises, and not to conservatorship 
matters.
    (a) Filing. Each application or request shall be in writing. A Bank 
or the Office of Finance shall submit its filing to the Deputy Director 
for the Division of Federal Home Loan Bank Regulation, and an 
Enterprise shall submit its filing to the Deputy Director for 
Enterprise Regulation. Applications for regulatory interpretations 
shall be submitted also to the General Counsel.
    (b) Authorization. An application for a Waiver or Approval and a 
request for a Non-Objection Letter or Regulatory Interpretation shall 
be signed by the principal executive officer or other authorized 
executive officer of the regulated entity or by the chairperson of the 
board of directors or authorized executive officer of the Office of 
Finance, as appropriate.
    (c) Information requirements. Each application or request shall 
contain:
    (1) The name of the requester, and the name, title, business 
address, telephone number, and business electronic mail address, if 
any, of the official filing the application or request on its behalf;
    (2) The name, business address, telephone number, and business 
electronic mail address, if any, of a contact person from whom FHFA 
staff may seek additional information if necessary;
    (3) The section numbers of the particular provisions of the 
applicable statutes or rules, regulations, policies, or orders to which 
the application or request relates;
    (4) Identification of the determination or relief requested, 
including any alternative relief requested if the primary relief is 
denied, and a clear statement of why such relief is needed;
    (5) A statement of the particular facts and circumstances giving 
rise to the application or request and identifying all relevant legal 
and factual issues;
    (6) References to all other relevant authorities that the regulated 
entity or Office of Finance believes should be considered in evaluating 
the application or request, including the Authorizing Statutes, Safety 
and Soundness Act, FHFA rules, regulations, policies, orders, judicial 
decisions, administrative decisions, relevant statutory 
interpretations, and policy statements;
    (7) References to any Waivers, Non-Objection Letters, Approvals, or 
Regulatory Interpretations issued in the past in response to 
circumstances similar to those surrounding the request or application;
    (8) For any application or request involving interpretation of the 
Authorizing Statutes, Safety and Soundness Act, or FHFA regulations, a 
reasoned opinion of counsel supporting the relief or interpretation 
sought and distinguishing any adverse authority;
    (9) Any other non-duplicative, relevant supporting documentation; 
and
    (10) A certification by a person with knowledge of the facts that 
the representations made in the application or request are accurate and 
complete. The following form of certification is sufficient for this 
purpose: ``I hereby certify that the statements contained in the 
submission are true and complete to the best of my knowledge. [Name and 
Title].''
    (d) Exceptions. In any given matter or class of matters, the 
Director, the Deputy Director for Federal Home Loan Bank Regulation, 
the Deputy Director for Enterprise Regulation, or the General Counsel, 
as appropriate, may accept an application or request that does not 
comply with the requirements of this section, for supervisory reasons 
or administrative efficiency.
    (e) Withdrawal. Once filed, an application or request may be 
withdrawn only upon written request, and only if FHFA has not yet acted 
on the application or request.

    Dated: October 27, 2014.
Melvin L. Watt,
Director, Federal Housing Finance Agency.
[FR Doc. 2014-25973 Filed 10-30-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8070-01-P