Consumer Finance and Fintech Blog

Timely Updates and Analysis on Consumer Finance and Fintech

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Last month we wrote a blog relating to a consent order entered into by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) with a servicer of income share agreements.  The DFPI determined that, despite claims by the provider to the contrary, the income share agreements are student loans that subject the provider to California’s licensing requirements.  It did not take long for the CFPB to enter the fray.  On September 7, the CFPB entered into a consent order with Better Future Forward, Inc. and various affiliates (collectively BFF) in which the CFPB determined that the company:…
On September 8, the FTC approved final revisions that would bring several rules implementing parts of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in line with the Dodd-Frank Act, which transferred rulemaking authority related to parts of the FCRA to the CFPB, and thereby narrowed the FTC’s FCRA rulemaking authority for these rules.  As such, the FTC approved changes that clarify that in some cases these FCRA rules enforced by the FTC apply only to motor vehicle dealers, which were specifically excluded from the scope of Dodd-Frank’s requirements.  The FTC previously sought comment on the proposed rule changes last year.…
On September 1, the CFPB issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to implement Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which amended the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) to require financial institutions to collect and report data regarding credit applications made by women-owned, minority-owned, and small businesses (we previously discussed the proposed rule in an earlier Consumer Finance & FinTech Blog post here).  The proposed rulemaking is an expansive 918 pages and the CFPB provides both a summary and table of contents to assist industry participants in their review and comments.…
On August 27, the Federal Reserve, FDIC, and OCC jointly published guidance on the types of due diligence community banks should engage in when contemplating arrangements with financial technology companies or FinTechs.  While the diligence guidance is voluntary, the banking agencies suggest that community banks should conduct due diligence with respect to FinTechs in six key areas:  (i) business experience and qualifications, (ii) financial condition, (iii) legal and regulatory compliance, (iv) risk management and controls, (v) information security, and (vi) operational resilience.  The guidance then provides subcategories for due diligence within each category, and provides relevant considerations for the bank…
On August 11, the Federal Financial Institutions Examinations Council (FFIEC) issued new guidance, providing examples of effective authentication and access risk management principles and practices for financial institutions.  The principles and practices relate to access to digital banking services and information systems by customers, employees, and third parties accessing digital banking services and financial institution information systems.  The FFIEC — whose voting members include representatives from the FDIC, the NCUA, the OCC, the CFPB, the Federal Reserve Board, and the State Liaison Committee — issued the guidance as an update to prior submissions from 2005 and 2011.…
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California recently issued an order setting September 30 as the deadline for the CFPB to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on small business lending data based on Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act.  Section 1071 amended the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to require financial institutions to collect, maintain, and report to the CFPB data on credit applications made by women-owned, minority-owned, and small businesses.  Such data includes the race, sex, and ethnicity of the principal owners of the business, and would be used to facilitate enforcement of fair lending…
The CFPB recently announced that its two final debt collection rules implementing the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) will take effect as planned on November 30.  The CFPB had previously proposed extending the final rules’ effective date by 60 days to allow for additional comments and time for implementation for those affected by COVID-19 (a recent Sheppard Mullin article discussing the COVID-related impact on debt collection was recently covered here).  Based on industry feedback, however, the Bureau determined that an extension is unnecessary, explaining that while “consumer advocate commenters generally supported extending the effective date, they did not…
On August 5, California’s Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) announced that it entered into a consent order with a New York-based FinTech company that offers student Income Share Agreements (ISAs) to finance post-secondary education and training.  According to the DFPI, it is the first agreement to subject an ISA provider to state licensing and regulation.  The agreement reflects the DFPI’s decision to treat these private financing products as student loans for the purpose of the California Student Loan Servicing Act (SLSA).  Below are significant highlights from the agreement: The DFPI found that the SLSA defines “student loans” broadly…
Maine’s Governor, Janet Mills, recently signed S.P. 205/L.D. 522, which amended the Consumer Credit Code to protect consumers from predatory and fraudulent lending practices.  In particular, the amendments include an anti-evasion provision under which purported bank agents or service providers are deemed “lenders” for the purposes of statute.  The amendment contains the following key provisions: Covered entities “may not engage in any device, subterfuge or pretense to evade the requirements of this Article, including, but not limited to…making, offering, assisting, or arranging a debtor to obtain a loan with a greater rate of interest, consideration or charge than is…
When President Biden signed the bill on June 17 which made Juneteenth (June 19) a federal legal holiday immediately, it impacted certain Regulation Z timing requirements related to rescission of closed-end mortgage loans and the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (TRID), particularly with respect to transactions that either (i) closed on or before June 17, 2021 but for which consumers’ rescission periods had not yet expired or (ii) were close to the planned closing date on June 17, 2021 and subject to certain disclosure timing requirements of the TRID provisions.  Since the CFPB did not publish immediate guidance, mortgage lenders were forced…
On July 13, the Federal Reserve, FDIC, and OCC proposed risk management guidance to help banking organizations manage risks related to third-party relationships, including relationships with vendors, FinTech companies, affiliates, and the banking organizations’ holding companies.  The proposal is based on existing but disparate third-party risk management guidance from the three prudential regulators, and is intended to promote consistency across the banking agencies.  If finalized, it will replace the guidance that each agency has released independently.…
On July 1, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released a Policy Statement on its commitment to comprehensive fair lending oversight of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks (collectively, “regulated entities”).  The FHFA addressed its position on:  (i) monitoring and information gathering; (ii) supervisory examinations; and (iii) administrative enforcement related to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act.  The FHFA added that the statement operates as a “foundation for future interpretations by the agency and its regulated entities.”  Comments on the policy statement are…
On July 6, the CFPB posted a blog titled, “Should you buy now and pay later?” describing how buy now pay later (BNPL) deferred payment options work, and the benefits and risks that come with BNPL.  Generally, if a consumer selects the BNPL option at an online checkout, “the purchase is . . . split into a payment schedule – typically four fixed payments made bi-weekly or monthly until the balance is paid in full.”  The CFPB points out that transaction approval takes minutes, with no interest, finance charges, or hard credit inquiries.…
At the recent FDIC conference, “Fintech: A Bridge to Economic Inclusion,” FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams remarked that while the proportion of U.S. households that were banked in 2019 was 94.6 percent, 7 million households still reported no banking relationship.  She also noted that “the rates for Black and Hispanic households who do not have a checking or savings account at a bank remain substantially higher than the overall ‘unbanked’ rate.”  Referencing her personal challenges in establishing credit as a young immigrant to the United States 30 years ago, McWilliams discussed technology’s role in creating and facilitating a more inclusive financial…
On June 29, the CFPB and the Georgia Attorney General’s Office settled with a debt-relief and credit-repair company and its owners for allegedly deceiving consumers into hiring the company to lower or eliminate credit-card debts and improve consumers’ credit scores.  The complaint alleges that the plaintiffs’ use of telemarketing and direct mail violated the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the Consumer Financial Protection Act, and Georgia’s Fair Business Practices Act by, among other things, falsely claiming that:…