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Moorari Shah is a partner in the Finance and Bankruptcy Practice Group in the firm's Los Angeles and San Francisco offices.

On June 9, the CFPB filed a complaint and proposed order in California federal district court seeking final judgment against the owner of a student loan debt relief company for allegedly withdrawing more than $240,000 from the bank accounts of student borrowers without authorization.

Continue Reading CFPB Targets Student Loan Debt Relief Scam Reboot

On June 8, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) released its Guidance on the Issuance of U.S. Dollar-Backed Stablecoins meant to set foundational criteria for USD-backed stablecoins issued by DFS-regulated entities on the issues of redeemability, assets reserves and attestations about such reserves. Here are some of the highlights from the guidance.

Continue Reading New York Releases Stablecoin Guidance

On June 9, the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation’s (DFPI) proposed commercial financing disclosure regulations issued pursuant to SB 1235. The regulations will become effective on December 9, 2022, and the final regulatory text can be found here.

Continue Reading California Approves Commercial Financing Disclosure Regulations

On June 2, the FTC was granted a federal court order permanently barring a merchant cash advance operation and its owner from engaging in further deceptive practices and granting restitution to the customers the company harmed. The defendants offered alternative small business financing by purportedly providing funds to businesses in exchange for a percentage of future revenue. According to the FTC, however, the defendants frequently deceived small businesses and their owners, lying about terms and fees for their financing. The websites falsely claimed that cash advanced required no personal guaranties of collateral while the contracts did include such requirements. The merchant cash advance company also required businesses and owners to sign confessions of judgment, which allowed the company to obtain uncontested judgments in cases of alleged default, and which the defendants sometimes used to illegally and improperly seize consumers’ assets. Customer businesses often received thousands of dollars less funding than promised. The FTC further alleged that the defendant company and owner threatened physical violence when the businesses were unable to pay. Finally, the company is accused of providing false documents to the court during proceedings.

Continue Reading FTC Captures $2.7 Million in Restitution from Small Business Financer

On May 24, CFPB announced the opening of the Office of Competition and Innovation, as part of its new approach to increase competition amongst consumer financial service companies by identifying barriers to entry for new market participants and making it easier for consumers to switch financial providers.  The new office will replace the Office of Innovation, which promoted a narrower, application-based approach by issuing No Action Letters and Sandboxes to individual companies on specific product offerings.
Continue Reading CFPB Announces Opening of New Office of Competition and Innovation

On May 4, the Connecticut Department of Banking issued a temporary cease and desist order directing a peer-to-peer lending platform that connected borrowers with third-party lenders to cease its lending-related activities on grounds that it was operating as an unlicensed small loan company.  The FinTech company was also cited for operating as an unlicensed consumer collection agency, and for engaging in deceptive acts or practices under consumer protection laws.
Continue Reading Connecticut Stops FinTech from Unlicensed Lending Activities

On May 19, Alessio Evangelista, the Associate Director of the Enforcement and Compliance Division of FinCEN, presented at the Chainalaysis Links Conference on the topic of “Intersection of Cryptocurrencies and National Security.”  Evangelista stated that crypto firms “have the same obligations as all other financial institutions to ensure that their new offerings can leverage innovations while still protecting consumers, reducing cybercrime, combating illicit financial activity, and ensuring their platforms are not used to harm our national security.” He also stressed that the agency believes that innovation goes hand in hand with regulation, rather than being at odds with each other. 
Continue Reading FinCEN Highlights Responsible Crypto Innovation, Warns Service Providers

On May 24, the acting Comptroller of the Currency, Michael Hsu remarked at the DC Blockchain Summit 2022 about his observations on the “deep” vulnerabilities of cryptocurrency in light of the recent market volatility and other events in the crypto economy.  Hsu emphasized three vulnerabilities in particular:
Continue Reading OCC Acting Comptroller: Recent Crypto Events Provide a “Wake-Up Call,” “Opportunity to Reset and Recalibrate”