Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

On February 29, the CFPB issued a circular warning digital comparison-shopping websites and lead generators that practices that steer customers to certain financial products or services based on compensation received from companies that sell such financial products or services can be an abusive act or practice in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act. The Bureau’s guidance will have a major impact on comparison-shopping websites for mortgage, credit cards, and short-term installment lending, among others.Continue Reading The CFPB Takes Aim at Digital Comparison Shopping Websites and Lead Generators

On February 22, California Attorney General Rob Bonta sent letters to 197 state-charted banks and credit unions warning them that certain fees they charge may constitute “unfair” business practices under California’s Unfair Competition Law and the federal Consumer Financial Protection Act. Bonta encouraged the financial institutions to review their policies and procedures to ensure consumers were not being assessed these fees.Continue Reading California AG Warns State-Chartered Banks and Credit Unions on Fees

In a move to bridge significant data gaps identified through its February 2023 Auto Finance Data Pilot where it sent information requests to nine large auto lenders about their lending portfolios, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is requesting comments for the collection of additional auto financing data. As with its prior requests, the Bureau is issuing these orders under its market monitoring authority which allows it to “gather information from time to time regarding the organization, business conduct, markets, and activities of covered persons and service providers.” 12 U.S.C. C. § 5512(c)(1) & (4). Compliance with the requests is mandatory.Continue Reading CFPB Ramps Up Auto Finance Scrutiny: A Look at the New Data Collection Initiative

On January 11, 2024, an administrative law judge for the NLRB issued an opinion holding that the employment agreement used by a major mortgage lender for all of its approximately 6,000 employees violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The mortgage lender’s standard employment contract included provisions that: 1) restricted disclosure of confidential information; 2) governed the use and return of company property, information, and communications; and 3) required that certain disputes be resolved through arbitration. Many of these provisions are common in employment agreements between lenders and their employees. Nevertheless, the ALJ found that parts of these provisions violated the NLRA because they had a reasonable tendency to interfere with, restrain, or coerce an employee contemplating engaging in activity protected by the statute.Continue Reading NLRB Finds Common Provisions in Mortgage Lender Employment Contract Illegal

On February 5, several trade groups, including the American Bankers Association, the Independent Community Bankers of America, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, filed suit against the Federal Reserve Board, the FDIC, and the OCC accusing the regulators of exceeding their authority under federal law when promulgating new rules under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Continue Reading Bank Groups Sue to Overturn New Community Lending Rules

On October 27, the FTC has approved an amendment to the Safeguards Rule that would require non-banking institutions to report certain data breaches and other security events to the agency. The amendment requires financial institutions to notify the FTC as soon as possible, and no later than 30 days after discovery, of a security breach involving the information of at least 500 consumers. Such an event requires notification if unencrypted customer information has been acquired without the authorization of the individual to which the information pertains. The notice to the FTC will need to include certain information about the event, including:Continue Reading FTC Amends Safeguards Rule, Requires Non-Banks to Report Data Security Breaches

On April 26, 2023, the CFPB issued an advisory opinion, which reiterated that the FDCPA and Regulation F prohibit certain debt collectors from suing to collect on debt or threatening to foreclose on homes with mortgages past the statute of limitations, or “time-barred” debt. Such guidance is a result of actions by certain debt collectors to foreclose on silent second mortgages, referred to as “zombie mortgages,” that consumers thought had been satisfied and that are likely not enforceable in court.Continue Reading CFPB Issues Guidance to Protect Homeowners from Zombie Mortgages

On June 15, the CFPB posted a blog, titled “Buy Now, Pay Later and Credit Reporting” discussing the Bureau’s viewpoint on the importance of standardized data furnishing by buy now, pay later (BNPL) firms to consumer reporting companies for inclusion in consumer credit reports. BNPL products provide consumers with a short-term, no-interest credit option and are widely used for online purchases and, increasingly, brick-and-mortar stores. The CFPB has recently expressed concerns about the fast-growing BNPL credit industry, noting the potential for consumers to accumulate debt by making multiple BNPL purchases across several different BNPL firms. (See our previous posts about the CFPB’s December 2021 BNPL market monitoring inquiry here and here).
Continue Reading CFPB Blogs About Need for Standardized Credit Reporting