On June 14, the Federal Reserve Board (Fed) released a cease and desist order against an Arkansas-based banking-as-a-service (BaaS) provider for compliance and risk management failures. As part of the order, the bank is prohibited, without prior approval, from (i) establishing any new fintech partners, subsidiaries, business lines, products, programs, services, or program managers, or (ii) offer new products, programs, or services to an existing fintech partner, program manager, or subsidiary.Continue Reading Federal Reserve Board Issues Cease and Desist Order Against Banking-As-A-Service Provider

On May 16, the Maryland Office of Financial Regulation (“OFR”) announced a settlement with a Missouri-based bank and its fintech partners for engaging in unlicensed lending, credit repair, and debt collection activities. 

In the OFR’s January 2021 Charge Letter, the agency alleged that the bank and its fintech partners violated Maryland law by its failure to hold a lending, debt collection, and credit repair license. According to the OFR, the bank offered in-store retail credit financing as well as store-branded credit cards to Maryland consumers. Continue Reading Maryland Banking Regulator Settles with Bank/Fintech Partnership For Unlicensed Lending, Credit Repair, and Debt Collection Activities

On May 21, the Massachusetts Attorney General entered into an Assurance of Discontinuance (“AOD”) with a California-based fintech alleging that it was the “true lender” of its consumer installment loans. Under the terms of the settlement, the fintech is required to pay $625,000 in restitution, request deletion of tradelines on credit reports for loans reported to credit bureaus, and cease doing business in the state. Continue Reading Massachusetts AG Forces Fintech from State as Part of “True Lender” Settlement

On March 28, the FDIC released the spring edition of its consumer compliance supervisory highlights. The FDIC supervises approximately 3,000 state-chartered banks and thrifts that are not members of the Federal Reserve System. Most of these institutions are community banks that provide credit and services locally. Like the CFPB, the FDIC conducts supervisory activities, including examinations, to review institutions’ compliance management systems. Its examination focuses on identifying the greatest potential risk of harm to consumers, based on the business model and products offered by a particular institution. The FDIC’s report highlights consumer compliance issues identified by the agency’s examination of close to 900 institutions in 2023. While the entire report is worth a read, here are some key areas of focus:Continue Reading Takeaways From the FDIC’s Spring 2024 Consumer Compliance Supervisory Highlights

On March 28, the Federal Reserve (Fed) issued a cease-and-desist order to a Wyoming-based bank holding company, citing deficiencies identified in a September 2023 inspection related to its “fintech business strategy, board oversight, capital, earnings, liquidity, risk management, and compliance” in connection with the banking-as-a-service activities of its bank subsidiary. Continue Reading Fed Brings Enforcement Action Against Wyoming Bank Holding Company Over “Fintech Business Strategy”

In the FDIC’s latest monthly update on enforcement decisions and orders, the agency published recent consent orders it entered against both a New York-based and an Ohio-based bank, the latest in the agency’s series of enforcement actions against bank-fintech partnerships. The orders did not impose any fines or civil penalties but require corrective actions by the banks and their boards.Continue Reading FDIC Issues Orders Against Two More Banks Over Fintech Partnerships

On March 25, Washington State became the latest in a growing list of jurisdictions to introduce a “true lender” law with the passing of bill SB 6025. The legislation, similar to laws in other states would characterize a person as the “lender” of a loan if the person makes a loan in excess of the state’s rate cap and if the person:Continue Reading Washington State Passes New “True Lender” Legislation

On April 4, the CFPB published a new Issue Spotlight, titled “Banking in Video Games and Virtual Worlds” that analyzes the increased commercial activity within online video games and virtual worlds and the apparent risks to consumers—in this case, to online gamers. In particular, this report examines how “game assets” are being used and the associated risks, including the emergence of products or services that resemble traditional consumer financial products or services. Continue Reading Report Signals CFPB Taking Aim at Video Game and Virtual Worlds Industries

On March 25, a coalition of trade groups filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, challenging a Colorado law which would have opted the state Section 521 of the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980 (“DIDMCA”), a federal law enacted to create competitive equality between state-chartered banks and national banks. The law, set to take effect on July 1, 2024, would have subject out-of-state lenders to the state’s rate cap. Continue Reading Lenders Sue to Block Colorado’s Interest Rate ‘Opt-Out’ Law

On January 12, South Dakota’s Division of Banking issued a mandate setting March 31, 2024 as the deadline for all South Dakota licensed money lenders and non-residential mortgage brokers to comply with their Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) requirements under a 2020 Final Rule published by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). FinCEN’s 2020 Final Rule notably closed a regulatory loophole, extending BSA/AML requirements to banks that lack a federal functional regulator. A “federal functional regulator” is any one of the following: Federal Reserve Board, FDIC, NCUA, OCC, OTS, SEC, or CFTC. There are over 550 banks that currently lack a federal functional regulator, consisting of state-chartered, non-depository trust companies, non-federally insured credit unions, and some international banking entities.Continue Reading South Dakota Lenders on Tight Deadline for BSA/AML Compliance

On January 29, a Missouri-based bank and its Kansas-based fintech loan servicer filed a joint motion to dismiss a purported class action filed against them alleging violations of the Georgia Installment Loan Act (GILA) and state RICO law, arising out of a consumer installment loan. Continue Reading Bank Partnership Moves to Dismiss Class Action Asserting Violations of Georgia Rate Cap Law