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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

NYDFS opposes OCC’s true lender rule

State Issues NYDFS OCC Agency Rule-Making & Guidance True Lender Valid When Made

State Issues

On September 2, NYDFS Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell announced the regulator’s opposition to the OCC’s proposed “true lender” rule. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the proposed rule would amend 12 CFR part 7 to state that “a bank makes a loan when, as of the date of origination, it (i) is named as lender in the loan agreement or (ii) funds the loan,” and intends to cover situations where the bank “has a predominant economic interest in the loan,” as the original funder, even if it is not “the named lender in the loan agreement as of the date of origination.” In response, NYDFS issued a comment letter stating that if the proposed rule is enacted, nonbank lenders that are not chartered or licensed by the federal government would be able to “qualify for federal protection from state usury laws” and make high-cost loans with interest rates well above the interest rate normally permitted by New York law. These laws currently make predatory, high-interest lending illegal, and make usurious loans entered into in the state void and unenforceable, NYDFS stated, arguing that the proposed rule would “gut state usury laws and state licensing requirements with respect to unregulated lenders.” NYDFS also stated, among other things, that the proposed rule, if codified, would “effectively sanction so-called ‘rent-a-bank’ or ‘rent-a-charter’ schemes” and allow “unregulated nonbank lenders to launder loans through banks as an end-around consumer-protective state usury limits.” In addition, NYDFS argued that the OCC lacks the authority to issue the proposed rule “because it has failed to comply with the requirements applicable to preemption determinations under federal law and conflicts with Congress’ intent to limit the preemption of states’ consumer protection laws.”

 

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