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.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 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB” or “Bureau”) has been an agency under fire. Acting Director Mick Mulvaney has begun to institute significant changes at the Bureau. And last year, a panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Bureau’s leadership structure – a single director who can be removed only for cause – violates the separation of powers requirement of Article II of the U.S. Constitution. But in a long awaited en banc decision, the D.C. Circuit reversed that panel’s decision. Rather, in PHH Corp. v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the court held that the Bureau’s structure is consistent with separation of powers principles. As discussed below, businesses subject to the CFPB’s supervisory and enforcement authority will need to continue to remain vigilant.
Through its recent en banc decision in PHH Corp. v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the D.C. Circuit reinstated the holding of the three-judge panel regarding the safe harbor provision in Section 8(c) of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). Specifically, the court reaffirmed that under Section 8(c), payments made by one settlement service provider to another do not violate Section 8(a), even if made in connection with a captive relationship or a referral, when the payments are reasonably related to the market value of the goods, services, or facilities provided. Although potentially overshadowed by the portion of the en banc court’s holding that the leadership structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is constitutional, the panel court’s reinstated holding regarding RESPA’s Section 8(c) safe harbor is notable and important for the simple confirmation that the safe harbor “is what it is.”
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After weeks of speculation, the U.S. Senate voted on Tuesday night to join the House of Representatives in passing a Congressional Review Act (“CRA”) resolution to nullify the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (“CFPB”) recent arbitration agreements rule. The Senate vote split 50-50, with two Republican senators—Senators Lindsey Graham (SC) and John Kennedy (LA)—voting against the resolution. The split vote set the stage for Vice President Mike Pence to cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of the resolution, which is now headed to President Trump’s desk for signature. In the hours after the vote, the President released a statement indicating his support for the resolution.
More than two months after its promulgation, the fate of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) arbitration agreements rule remains uncertain. The Senate may ultimately join the House and invoke the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to nullify the CFPB rule. But several financial services trade groups are not waiting to find out and have commenced their own legal challenge to the rule. On Friday, September 29, 2017, over a dozen such groups—led by the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America—filed suit against the CFPB, and its director Richard Cordray, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. See Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief, Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, et al. v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, et al., No. 3:17-cv-02670-D (N.D. Tex. Sept. 29, 2017).
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) recently issued its first letter pursuant to a no-action letter policy launched in February 2016. The CFPB developed the policy to encourage innovation in the fintech marketplace by creating a testing ground for new technologies and consumer lending methods, particularly where the applicability or impact of existing regulations is uncertain. To take advantage of the policy, a company must submit an application describing the product, method, or service at issue and identify the specific rules and regulations for which the company seeks guidance. If the application is approved, a no-action letter is issued indicating that the CFPB “has no present intention to recommend initiation of an enforcement or supervisory action” against the applicant with respect to the specific product, method, or service and regulatory concerns covered by the company’s application.
Nearly two years after the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (“TRID”) rule went into effect (on October 3, 2015) and one year after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) closed a comment period on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) to adjust and clarify the rule, the CFPB’s modified TRID rule was published in the Federal Register on August 11, 2017 (the “2017 TRID Rule” or “2017 Rule”). An accompanying Detailed Summary of Changes and Clarifications was released on August 30, 2017.
In prepared remarks delivered to the Consumer Advisory Board on Thursday, June 8, 2017, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray explained that the CFPB is moving forward with its long-anticipated debt collection rules. K&L Gates previously chronicled the CFPB’s efforts to promulgate debt collection rules here, here, and here.
The Director emphasized his view that new debt collection rules are necessary because of the age of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act—enacted in 1977—and the statute’s inability to fit modern methods of communication. According to the Director, the forthcoming rules would benefit consumers and industry participants by clarifying what constitutes unfair collection practices. Substantively, the Director focused on the portion of the CFPB’s July 2016 outline aimed at ensuring that debt collectors possess correct information about debts they are seeking to collect and consumers who owe those debts. In a notable shift, the Director indicated that the CFPB is prepared to issue a single set of debt collection rules relating to the gathering of information by and transfer of information between first-party creditors and third-party debt collectors. Acknowledging that the shift will require the CFPB to take some additional time to iron out “intertwined issues,” the Director suggested that the CFPB will try to fast-track other aspects of its proposed rulemaking, including the information third-party debt collectors must disclose to consumers and the manner in which third-party debt collectors interact with consumers.
K&L Gates will continue to monitor and report on further developments.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) recently released a report detailing the results of a first-of-its-kind survey on consumer experiences with debt and debt collection. The CFPB conducted the survey in connection with its ongoing effort to promulgate the first-ever federal debt collection regulations. The agency sent the survey to nearly 11,000 consumers, of whom only a little over 2,000 (just less than 20%, roughly) responded. The CFPB explained that “[t]o ensure that the survey included a sufficient number of responses from consumers who had experienced debt collection,” it targeted consumers with recent debt collection experiences at a higher rate than other consumers. Of the approximately 20% of consumers who responded to the survey, 30% were consumers with long-term debt whereas only 15% were respondents with more recent debt. The survey was comprised of 67 questions ranging from the consumers’ general financial experiences and preferences for the ways in which collectors could contact them to questions about specific debt collection attempts in the year preceding the survey (which was conducted between December 2014 and March 2015). The latter category inquired about the types of debt in collection, the manner and frequency of contacts, whether there were any erroneous attempts to collect a debt, and whether the consumer paid the debt after being contacted. Notably, the CFPB did not release the results for all 67 questions.