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 permitted by this Article through any method.”
  • Loans that violate these provisions are “void and uncollectible as to any principal, fee, interest or charge.”
  • A person qualifies as a lender if it:
    • holds, acquires or maintains, directly or indirectly, the predominant economic interest in the loan;
    • markets, brokers, arranges or facilitates the loan and holds the right, requirement or first right of refusal to purchase the loan or a receivable or interest in the loan; or
    • the totality of the circumstances indicate that the person is the lender and the transaction is structured to evade the requirements of this Article.
  • The circumstances that would weigh in favor of an entity being deemed the lender include, without limitation, when the entity:
    • indemnifies, insures or protects an exempt entity for any costs or risks related to the loan
    • predominately designs, controls or operates the loan program, or
    • purports to act as an agent or service provider for an exempt entity while acting directly as a lender in other states.
  • Lenders who violate these provisions may not furnish information concerning a debt associated with the violation to a consumer reporting agency, nor may it refer the associated debt to a debt collector.


Continue Reading Maine Enacts “True Lender” Legislation, Amends Consumer Credit Code to Include Anti-Evasion Provisions

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 to make educated guesses as to how to treat Friday, June 18 and Saturday, June 19, particularly with respect to measurement periods that had already commenced before or on the date the new law became effective.  On August 5 the CFPB published an interpretive rule on how to deal with these issues, and the Bureau consistently reached a result which permitted mortgage lenders to treat June 19 as either a business day or a federal holiday for the purposes of these provisions, as set forth immediately below in more detail.

Continue Reading CFPB Reaches Correct Resolution On Juneteenth Disclosure Issues

On July 12, the CFPB issued a consent order against a FinTech company for facilitating point of sale financing activities without authorization from consumers.  The consent order requires the company to pay up to approximately $9 million in redress to impacted consumers and a $2.5 million civil money penalty.

Continue Reading CFPB Takes Action Against FinTech Company for Originating Unauthorized Loans

On June 29, NYDFS announced that two New York-charted banks engaging in indirect auto lending will pay civil money penalties for violating New York’s fair lending law for engaging in practices that resulted in members of protected classes paying higher interest rates that were not based on creditworthiness.  In particular, NYDFS asserts that the practice of allowing “dealer markup” in setting retail interest rates resulted in statistically significant differences in pricing, disadvantaging Hispanic and African-American consumers, with differences ranging from 20 to 59 basis points.

Continue Reading DFS Settles with Indirect Auto Lenders to Resolve Fair Lending Violations