Extensive data about mortgage lending activity collected pursuant to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (“HMDA”) was just made available to the public for the first time on March 29, 2019. More detail about borrowers, about underwriting, and about loan features is now available than ever before, and that information also is easier for the public to access than it ever has been. The mortgage lending industry should expect that the expanded HMDA data will receive significant attention and scrutiny from private organizations and individuals, and the data is certain to spark controversy about the racial, ethnic and gender fairness of mortgage lending.Read More
“Debt buyers”—entities that purchase debt from original creditors or other downstream assignees—often view themselves as being different from “debt collectors”—entities that act to collect debts from obligors. But in Barbato v. Greystone Alliance, LLC,  the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit disagreed, holding that debt buyers can be debt collectors under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”). Specifically, the Third Circuit ruled that part of the FDCPA’s definition of “debt collector” encompasses debt buyers, regardless of whether they outsource collection activities to third parties.Read More
The growing popularity of virtual currency over the last several years has raised a host of legislative and regulatory issues. A key question is whether and how a state’s money transmitter law applies to activities involving virtual currency. Many states have answered this – albeit in a non-uniform way – through legislation or regulation, including regulatory guidance documents. For instance, Georgia and Wyoming have amended their money transmitter statutes to include or exclude virtual currencies explicitly. In other states, such as Texas and Tennessee, the state’s primary financial regulator has issued formal guidance. In New York, the Department of Financial Services issued an entirely separate regulation for virtual currencies. Still, in others, neither the legislature nor the relevant regulator has provided any insight into how the state’s money transmitter law may apply.Read More
In December of 2018, the Senate confirmed Kathy Kraninger as the second Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”). The path Director Kraninger will chart is uncertain, but the CFPB has already begun initiating changes to which the financial services industry should pay attention. For instance, in mid-December 2018, the CFPB issued a proposed rule to modify its No-Action Letter Program (the “Program”) and to establish a regulatory “sandbox” (a formal process to temporarily exempt companies from certain statues and regulations so they can test new products with consumers). Below, we provide a brief history of the Program as well as a discussion of the key elements of the proposed rule.
The U.S. Supreme Court has issued numerous decisions over the past decade addressing arbitration agreements.  In one of the Roberts Court’s first forays into the arbitration arena, the Court held that class or collective arbitration is only available where the parties have affirmatively agreed to resolve their disputes through such procedures.  But who determines whether the parties have so agreed — a court or an arbitrator?
The U.S. Supreme Court to Address Whether Counterclaim Defendants Can Remove Class Action Claims Under CAFA
On September 27, 2018, the United States Supreme Court granted the petition for writ for certiorari in Home Depot U.S.A., Inc. v. Jackson, No. 17-1471 (“Home Depot”), to address two issues: (1) whether, under the federal Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”), a third-party defendant can remove to federal court class action claims that are brought as counterclaims by the defendant/third-party plaintiff; and (2) whether the Supreme Court’s holding in Shamrock Oil & Gas Co. v. Sheets  — that an original plaintiff may not remove a counterclaim against it — extends to third-party counterclaim defendants.  Resolution of these issues by the Supreme Court may have significant implications for any counterclaim or third-party defendant (and possibly any counterclaim defendant) seeking to remove a class action or a mass action from state to federal court.
On behalf of the American Bankers Association and state bankers associations across the country, 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” or “Department”) on August 20, 2018, in support of reopening rulemaking regarding the Department’s implementation of the Fair Housing Act’s disparate impact standard. On June 20, 2018, HUD issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking that sought public comment on possible amendments to the Department’s 2013 final disparate impact rule in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., 135 S. Ct. 2507 (2015). In that decision, the Supreme Court articulated the standards for, and the constitutional limitations on, disparate impact claims under the Fair Housing Act. The comment explains that the rule should be amended because it adopts standards that are inconsistent with Supreme Court precedent, fails to provide much needed guidance to entities seeking to comply with the law, and is therefore outdated and ineffective. A copy of the comment is available here.
On June 28, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”). CCPA grants new privacy rights to Californian residents and applies a notice and consent framework to most businesses operating in California that collect personal information from those residents.
Recent activity in Congress suggests that the return from the July 4th recess will see a continued push to reform the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (“Dodd-Frank”) before year’s end. This alert provides an overview of the current state of play and the most likely outcome.
Should a Massachusetts homeowner be allowed to claim a homestead exemption in a principal residence that is also used for business or other commercial purposes? Answering this question several years ago as a matter of first impression, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts adopted a fact-intensive, case-by-case inquiry into the “predominant use” of the property. The predominant use test was developed to address the point at which an owner forfeits homestead protection in the pursuit of commercial activity. The inquiry recognizes the ubiquity of the home office or boarder in modern residences. Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Katz’s recent opinion in In re Shove takes a fresh look at the Massachusetts Homestead Statute and rejects the predominant use inquiry as unnecessary and, in some cases, unduly burdensome on the homesteader.