Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

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

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

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

Last month, the FTC issued an advisory opinion clarifying that the Holder Rule does not preempt any state laws that put more liability on banks that are the “holders” of a loan contract, and in particular, the rule does not limit recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs when state law authorizes awards against a holder (we previously discussed the advisory opinion in an earlier Consumer Finance & FinTech Blog post here).
Continue Reading Auto Finance Companies May Face Risk From Holder Rule, Pending California Supreme Court Case

On February 8, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing titled, “Digital Assets and the Future of Finance: The President’s Working Group on Financial Markets” to consider legislative recommendations from the President’s Working Group (PWG) report on stablecoins (we previously discussed the report in an earlier Consumer Finance & FinTech Blog post here).   
Continue Reading House Financial Services Committee Focuses on PWG Stablecoin Report

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) has continued to ratchet up its regulatory scrutiny over the consumer financial services market.  On January 26, 2022, the CFPB published an initiative seeking public input on so-called “junk fees” in consumer financial services.  According to the CFPB, “junk fees” occur where: (i) fees are charged for things consumers believed were covered by the baseline price of a product or service; (ii) fees are unexpected; (iii) the expense of the fee is greatly disproportionate to the cost of the service; or (iv) it is unclear why a fee was charged.  The CFPB contends that “junk fees” are detrimental to the market for financial services because they “obscure the true price” of a service by, for example, offering attractive introductory pricing, but then make up the difference by levying various back-end fees on consumers.
Continue Reading Consumer Fees Find Themselves in the Crosshairs: The CFPB Seeks Public Input on Alleged “Junk Fees” in the Consumer Financial Services Industry

On January 18, acting CFPB General Counsel Seth Frotman sent a letter to three representatives of consumer advocacy groups addressing the CFPB’s November 2020 advisory opinion on earned wage access (EWA) products.  The letter responded to concerns that the advisory opinion was being used as justification by the proponents of a pending New Jersey law that would allow third-party EWA providers to charge fees or permit “tips” for their products without having to abide by the state’s 30% usury cap.
Continue Reading CFPB Addresses “Confusion” Over Earned Wage Access Program

On January 24, the CFPB issued a notice and request for comment in the Federal Register regarding the Bureau’s inquiry into “buy now, pay later” or BNPL providers.  As discussed in a Consumer Finance and Fintech post last month, the CFPB issued a series of “market monitoring” orders to five companies offering BNPL credit in order to collect information on the risks and benefits of these fast-growing loans.  According to the notice, the information obtained through this latest request will “help the Bureau better understand how consumers interact with BNPL providers, and how BNPL business models impact the broader e-commerce and consumer credit marketplaces.”
Continue Reading CFPB Requests Comments on “buy now, pay later”

On December 16, the CFPB issued a series of orders to five companies offering “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) credit.  The orders seek to collect information on the risks and benefits of these “fast-growing” products over concerns about “accumulating debt, regulatory arbitrage, and data harvesting in a consumer credit market already quickly changing with technology.”  BNPL is a deferred payment option that allows consumers to split a purchase into smaller installments, typically four or less, often with a down payment of 25 percent due at checkout.  To underscore BNPL’s current popularity, a report issued by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation recently reported that “[t]he top six buy now pay later lenders accounted for 10,924,547, or 91 percent, of the total consumer loans originated in 2020” (we discussed this report in an earlier Consumer Finance & FinTech Blog post here).

Continue Reading CFPB Issues Orders to Companies Offering BNPL Credit