On 25 June 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in TransUnion LLC v. Ramirez, clarifying the nature of the harm sufficient to establish Article III standing to maintain a Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) claim. After Ramirez, plaintiffs seeking to pursue FCRA class litigation must establish concrete harm that is more than just speculative, and they must do so for all class members with the requisite type of evidence called for at each particular stage of litigation. The impact of the holding in Ramirez will likely extend to class standing issues beyond the FCRA context.Read More
The CARES Act’s Impact on Furnisher Liability Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
As part of the federal government’s efforts to provide relief from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to consumers, Congress took aim at financial services companies that provide consumer account information to credit reporting agencies (CRAs). The reporting activities of those companies, which are known as “furnishers” and include, among others, creditors, mortgage loan servicers and credit card account servicers, are governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act,  enacted on March 27, 2020, expressly amends FCRA and alters the duties of furnishers when reporting the status of accounts provided with COVID-19-related payment relief.  Despite the potential exposure carried by a violation of FCRA generally—either through private civil litigation, most notably class actions, or government enforcement—key defenses remain in place for furnishers to mitigate FCRA liability.Read More
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.  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.”  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.  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.Read More
The Ninth Circuit has opined, again, on whether a statutory violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681, et seq.—by itself—constitutes a concrete injury for Article III standing purposes. Last year, in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, the United States Supreme Court vacated and remanded the Ninth Circuit’s original opinion on the issue. Although the Ninth Circuit had reviewed the plaintiff’s allegations for existence of a particularized injury, it had not separately analyzed whether they described a sufficiently concrete injury. In Spokeo, the Supreme Court ruled that “a bare procedural violation [of a federal statute], divorced from any concrete harm,” does not suffice to “satisfy the injury-in-fact requirement of Article III.” But the Court declined to define a “bare procedural violation” in favor of allowing the Ninth Circuit to first consider the question. Now that the Ninth Circuit has done so, the Supreme Court may take up the question once more.
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Last Fall, in its 2015 Rulemaking Agenda, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) signaled its intent to “to develop rules to define larger participants in markets for consumer installment loans.” Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFPB is authorized to issue “larger participant” rules to define entities in a particular market for consumer financial products or services. The issuance of such rules opens the door for supervisory and examination authority over such entities. Fast forward to Spring 2016, when the CFPB announced that it is accepting complaints from consumers regarding alleged problems with online marketplace loans, and it appears that the CFPB has marketplace lenders squarely in its sights.
Last week, the CFPB last week finalized its rule permitting certain financial institutions to post their annual privacy notices online, claiming it will benefit consumers and financial institutions alike. The rule became effective on October 28, 2014, and applies to banks and non-banks within the CFPB’s jurisdiction.