Consumer Financial Services Watch

News and developments related to consumer financial services, litigation, and enforcement.

 

1
COVID-19: How the CARES Act Will Impact Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Consumer Bankruptcies
2
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Considers the Effect of a State-Mandated Default Notice on the Validity of Non-Judicial Foreclosures
3
The Shifting Currents of Arbitration: The Supreme Court of Texas Reverses Course, Holding That the Availability of Class Arbitration Is for the Courts to Decide
4
Absent But Not Forgotten: The Second Circuit Addresses the Impact of Arbitration on Absent Class Members
5
Federal Court Strikes Down FinTech Charter
6
American Bankers Association, Consumer Bankers Association, and Housing Policy Council Joint Comments on HUD’s Proposed Rule on the Fair Housing Act’s Standard of Disparate Impact
7
Proposed Regulations Under the California Consumer Credit Privacy Act
8
The CFPB and the Fed Adjust Regulation CC for Inflation
9
Deepening the Divide: D.C. Circuit Continues Circuit Split Regarding Standing in Data Breach Class Action Based on Risk of Future Harm
10
DACA Recipients Are Ineligible for FHA Mortgage Insurance Officially, but Lending to DACA Recipients and Other Immigrant Communities Is Subject to Many Unresolved Compliance Challenges

COVID-19: How the CARES Act Will Impact Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Consumer Bankruptcies

By Phoebe S. Winder, Ryan M. Tosi, Stacey Gorman, Emily Mather

On March 27, 2020, the President signed into law the historic Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act” or “Act”), a $2.2 trillion stimulus package designed to mitigate the widespread economic effects of the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”). The Act includes several temporary modifications to chapter 7 and chapter 13 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.[1] This alert details these modifications.

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The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Considers the Effect of a State-Mandated Default Notice on the Validity of Non-Judicial Foreclosures

By Andrew C. GlassGregory N. BlaseJeremy M. McLaughlin, and Hollee M. Boudreau

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) heard argument on February 13, 2020, on whether compliance with a state-mandated default notice could, nevertheless, void foreclosure sales in Massachusetts. Specifically, the SJC examined whether the provision of the state-mandated notice has the potential to deceive a borrower where it describes a period for reinstating a loan that varies (to the benefit of the borrower) from the period contained in the mortgage.

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The Shifting Currents of Arbitration: The Supreme Court of Texas Reverses Course, Holding That the Availability of Class Arbitration Is for the Courts to Decide

By Andrew C. Glass and Robert W. Sparkes, III

In 2004, the Supreme Court of Texas first addressed the issue of whether an arbitrator or a judge decides if an arbitration agreement permits (or prohibits) class arbitration. [1] Purportedly following the lead of the U.S. Supreme Court in Green Tree Financial Co. v. Bazzle, [2] the Texas Court held then that arbitrators “should rule on class certification issues when the contracts at issue commit[] all disputes arising out of the agreement to the arbitrator.” [3] Read More

Absent But Not Forgotten: The Second Circuit Addresses the Impact of Arbitration on Absent Class Members

By: Andrew C. Glass and Robert W. Sparkes, III

In their 2013 concurrence in Oxford Health Plans LLC v. Sutter, Justice Samuel Alito, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, questioned whether absent class members “will be bound by the arbitrator’s ultimate resolution of th[e] dispute” in a class arbitration.[1] Justice Alito suggested that where an arbitration agreement provides “no reason to think that the absent class members ever agreed to class arbitration,” an affirmative answer was unlikely.[2] He posited that “an arbitrator’s erroneous interpretation of contracts that do not authorize class arbitration cannot bind someone who has not authorized the arbitrator to make that determination.”[3] Taken to its logical end, Justice Alito’s rationale would support an argument that class arbitrations should be limited to adjudicating only the claims of class members who affirmatively opt in to the class arbitration proceedings.

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Federal Court Strikes Down FinTech Charter

By Daniel S. Cohen

On October 21, Judge Victor Marrero of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York issued an order in Lacewell v. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (No. 18-cv-8377) striking down the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (“OCC”) special purpose national bank charter for fintechs (“FinTech Charter”). After years of challenging the FinTech Charter—a charter authorizing fintechs to engage in non-depository banking activities—the New York Department of Financial Services (“NYDFS”) has, for now, succeeded in overturning the charter. The OCC defended its authority by arguing that 12 CFR Part 5.20(e)(1) is consistent with the National Bank Act (“Act”) and authorizes the OCC to issue special purpose charters to nondepository banking institutions. The Court disagreed, finding that the National Bank Act only authorizes the OCC to charter depository institutions. The Court concluded that the Act allows the OCC to charter institutions engaged in the “business of banking,” and the “business of banking” necessarily includes accepting deposits. Therefore, the FinTech Charter is beyond the OCC’s authority.

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American Bankers Association, Consumer Bankers Association, and Housing Policy Council Joint Comments on HUD’s Proposed Rule on the Fair Housing Act’s Standard of Disparate Impact

By Paul F. Hancock and Olivia Kelman

On behalf of the American Bankers Association, Consumer Bankers Association, and Housing Policy Council, K&L Gates Partner Paul F. Hancock and Associate Olivia Kelman crafted a comment that was submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) on October 18, 2019, addressing the proposed amendments to HUD’s interpretation of the Fair Housing Act’s disparate impact standard. The preamble to the proposed rule states that HUD “proposes to amend” its disparate impact regulation “to better reflect the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., 135 S. Ct. 2507 (2015).” [1] In that decision, the Supreme Court articulated the standards for, and limitations on, disparate impact claims under the Fair Housing Act. The comment explains that the proposed amendments properly reflect binding precedent and provide necessary guidance regarding the application of the law, and supports the amendments in HUD’s Proposed Rule, with some suggested modifications. A copy of the comment is available here.

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Proposed Regulations Under the California Consumer Credit Privacy Act

By Linda C. Odom and John ReVeal

On October 10, 2019, the California Attorney General issued proposed regulations under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The Attorney General will hold four public hearings, on December 2 through December 5, 2019, during which statements or comments may be presented, orally or in writing. Written comments in addition to those submitted at the public hearing also may be mailed or emailed to the Attorney General’s office until 5:00 p.m. on December 6, 2019.

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The CFPB and the Fed Adjust Regulation CC for Inflation

By John ReVeal and Daniel S. Cohen

On June 24, 2019, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) and the Federal Reserve Board (“Fed”) (collectively, the “Agencies”) amended Regulation CC, which implements the Expedited Funds Availability Act (the “EFAA”), to adjust for inflation the amount of funds depository institutions must make available to their customers after funds have been deposited and the civil liabilities for failing to meet these obligations (the “Amendment”).  However, depository institutions will not need to adjust their compliance procedures right away.  To “help ensure that institutions have sufficient time to implement the adjustments,” the Agencies set July 1, 2020 as the compliance deadline. Below is a summary of the key funds availability rules and how they are changed (or not) by the Amendment. 

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Deepening the Divide: D.C. Circuit Continues Circuit Split Regarding Standing in Data Breach Class Action Based on Risk of Future Harm

Authors: Andrew C. Glass, Matthew N. Lowe

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals recently reaffirmed its position that a plaintiff can establish Article III standing (federal court subject matter jurisdiction) based solely on the risk of potential future harm following a data breach involving his or her personal information. The decision continues the split between the federal circuit courts of appeals regarding the issue.

In re Office of Personnel Management arose out of an alleged 2014 data breach of the eponymous office (the “OPM”).[1] The plaintiffs, current and former federal employees and their unions, sought to represent a putative class of individuals whose personal information, including social security numbers, addresses, and birth dates, was allegedly exposed in the breach.[2] The plaintiffs asserted that certain putative class members had experienced financial fraud or identity theft as a result of the breach and that other members faced the “ongoing risk that they … will become victims of financial fraud and identity theft in the future.”[3] The district court ruled that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue, holding that the putative class members who had allegedly experienced financial fraud had not pleaded facts demonstrating that the fraud was traceable to the OPM, and that the members who had only pleaded risk of future injury did not plausibly allege that such injury was either substantial or clearly impending.[4]

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DACA Recipients Are Ineligible for FHA Mortgage Insurance Officially, but Lending to DACA Recipients and Other Immigrant Communities Is Subject to Many Unresolved Compliance Challenges

By Andrew C. Glass, Gregory N. Blase, and Daniel S. Cohen

For the past six months, the mortgage lending industry has reported receiving conflicting messages from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) and the Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”) regarding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) recipients’ eligibility for FHA-insured mortgages. In December 2018, Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) asked HUD to clarify whether it has “developed a policy regarding DACA recipients’ eligibility for FHA-insured mortgage loans.” If not, the senators requested HUD to “promptly provide clear and written guidance to FHA-approved lenders clarifying” that DACA recipients are not ineligible for FHA insurance simply because of their DACA status. [1] In response, HUD issued a letter explaining that is has “not implemented any policy changes” with respect to “FHA’s eligibility requirements” for non-U.S. citizens who are lawful residents. HUD reiterated that “non-U.S. citizens without lawful residency are ineligible for FHA financing.” [2] In early 2019, Fannie Mae issued a guide regarding “non-citizen borrower eligibility,” explaining that mortgages provided to DACA recipients are eligible to be purchased by Fannie Mae because DACA recipients are lawful nonpermanent residents because they have a valid Employment Authorization Document number. [3] During congressional testimony in April, HUD Secretary Ben Carson seemingly clarified that DACA recipients are eligible for FHA-insured mortgages. The secretary commented that “plenty of DACA recipients … have FHA mortgages,” and that he would be surprised if lenders received statements to the contrary from HUD staff.

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