Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

In 2009, Congress enacted the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (CARD Act). Among other things, the CARD Act curtailed a range of junk fees, coercive contract clauses, and other suspicious practices. In 2010, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors’ (Fed) voted to implement provisions of the CARD Act that required penalties to be “reasonable and proportional to the omission or violation.” While the Fed prohibited collecting excessive late fee penalties, the Fed also included a provision that allowed credit card issuers to escape enforcement scrutiny if they set fees at or below a particular level, which may be adjusted annually for inflation (immunity provision). Currently, Regulation Z, which implements the CARD Act, sets forth a safe harbor of $30 for fees generally, with exceptions and alternatives for specific scenarios.

Continue Reading CFPB Examines Credit Card Late Fees

On June 23, the FTC proposed a rule that would prohibit junk fees, bait-and-switch advertising, and other deceptive practices by auto dealers to protect consumers and honest dealers in the car-buying process. The proposed measures would:

Continue Reading FTC Targets Junk Fees, Bait-and-Switch Advertising by Auto Dealers

On June 24, the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) issued proposed regulations implementing certain provisions of the California Consumer Financial Protection Law (CFPL) related to commercial financial products and services. Written comments on the proposed regulations are due by August 8.

Continue Reading DFPI Issues Proposed Rules for Commercial Financing

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

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 April 25, the CFPB announced that it is using its “dormant authority” in order to conduct examinations of nonbanks posing risks to consumers.  The Bureau has direct supervisory authority over banks and credit unions, certain nonbanks, in addition to large depository institutions with more than $10 billion in assets, and their service providers.  With this announcement, the CFPB intends invoke its authority under the Dodd-Frank Act to examine nonbanks “whose activities the CFPB has reasonable cause to determine pose risks to consumers. This authority is not specific to any particular consumer financial product or service.”
Continue Reading FinTechs in Crosshairs as CFPB Invokes Dormant Authority to Examine Nonbanks

A few months ago, we published a post about the OCC, FDIC, and Federal Reserve Board’s final rule to improve information sharing about cyber incidents that may affect the U.S. banking system. Under the final rule, banks and their service providers must notify their primary federal regulators within 36 hours after a notification incident has occurred. In the latest update from the regulators, they remind banks that starting May 1, banks must notify their primary federal regulators about computer-security incidents. Below is the contact information and the process for contacting each regulator:

Continue Reading May 1st is Around the Corner: Bank Computer-Security Incident Notification Requirements

On March 22, the CFPB issued Compliance Bulletin 2022-05 regarding potentially illegal practices related to consumer reviews.  The guidance states that consumer reviews impact company revenue and help consumers choose between financial providers, which can in turn “incentivize dishonest market participants to attempt to manipulate the review process, rather than compete based on the value of their services, which can frustrate a competitive marketplace.”
Continue Reading CFPB Flexes UDAAP Muscle Over Contractual “Gag” Clauses and Fake Consumer Reviews