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On July 18, the CFPB proposed a new interpretive rule that would characterize earned wage access (“EWA”) products as extensions of credit and subject to the Truth in Lending Act and Regulation Z. Under the interpretive guidance, both the “tipping” function on EWA products, and the “expedited funds delivery fee” would be treated as finance charges, and would require the creditor to make the disclosures required for unsecured extensions of credit under Regulation Z. However, an employer-sponsored program which is provided at no cost to the employee (i.e., without what the CFPB has deemed a “finance charge”) would not require such disclosures.

Continue Reading CFPB Proposes Interpretive Rule Characterizing Earned Wage Access Products as Loans
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On March 21, Wisconsin enacted into law Assembly Bill 574, positioning it as the third state, following Nevada and Missouri, to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework for earned wages access (EWA) services and products. The legislation is set to take effect September 1, 2024.

Continue Reading Wisconsin Signs Earned Wage Access Bill into Law

In March, U.S. Department of Treasury issued its annual General Explanations of the Administration’s Revenue Proposals, commonly known as the “Green Book.”  Among other revenue proposals, the Treasury addressed the treatment of on-demand pay arrangements or earned wage access (EWA) programs, which have risen in popularity in recent years (previously discussed in our Labor and Employment Blog).  EWA programs generally allow employees to access accrued wages before the end of their regular pay cycle. Continue Reading Treasury Department Proposes Non-Loan Status for Earned Wage Access

On January 18, acting CFPB General Counsel Seth Frotman sent a letter to three representatives of consumer advocacy groups addressing the CFPB’s November 2020 advisory opinion on earned wage access (EWA) products.  The letter responded to concerns that the advisory opinion was being used as justification by the proponents of a pending New Jersey law that would allow third-party EWA providers to charge fees or permit “tips” for their products without having to abide by the state’s 30% usury cap. Continue Reading CFPB Addresses “Confusion” Over Earned Wage Access Program

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In June, the Nevada governor signed SB 290 into law, making Nevada the first state to enact legislation creating a comprehensive statutory framework that specifically defines and regulates the provision of earned wage access (EWA) products. EWA products allow consumers to access their earned wages before their regularly scheduled pay date. While other states and federal agencies have made preliminary efforts to regulate EWA products, Nevada is the first state to impose certain substantive requirements on providers of EWA products, such as implementation of policies for responding to consumer complaints and mandatory disclosure to consumers of their rights, such rights including the ability to cancel EWA agreements at any time without being charged fees.

Continue Reading Nevada EWA Legislation Creates Novel Regulatory Framework
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On December 18, the Arizona Attorney General issued an opinion on earned wage access (EWA), which determined that fully non-recourse EWA products do not constitute consumer loans subject to consumer loan regulations, and correspondingly, that providers of non-recourse EWA products would not be considered consumer lenders subject to licensure under Arizona law. The opinion found that an EWA product could be identified as fully non-recourse when the provider:

Continue Reading AZ Attorney General Concludes Non-Recourse EWA Not a Loan

On June 30, the CFPB issued an order terminating an EWA provider’s Sandbox Approval Order relating to its earned wage access products. In December 2020, the CFPB provided the company special regulatory treatment, including a temporary safe harbor from liability under TILA/Reg. Z because, in part, the EWA program did not involve the offering or extension of “credit” as defined by Reg. Z. In its press release, the CFPB note that the “temporary safe harbor is for offering and providing certain earned wage access products, subject to good faith compliance with the terms of the approval order.”

Continue Reading CFPB Rescinds Special Regulatory Treatment for EWA Company

Ahead of an upcoming merger between a digital banking platform and a special purpose acquisition company, both parties disclosed in a regulatory filing last week that the platform received a Civil Investigative Demand (“CID”) in June 2020 related to its “cash paycheck advance business in compliance with the prohibition against UDAAPs, the EFTA, and, to the extent it applies, the Truth in Lending Act.”  According to the filing, the platform provided the CFPB with all information and documents required by the CID, and on September 27, 2021, the CFPB staff notified the company that it currently did not intend to recommend that the CFPB take any enforcement action.

Continue Reading CFPB Opts Not to Take Action Against Banking App