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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations


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  • Ginnie Mae now requires issuers to disclose cybersecurity incidents within 48 hours

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On March 4, the President of Ginnie Mae released All Participants Memorandum (APM) 24-02, which set forth a new requirement applicable to all issuers, including issuers that subservice loans for others. The memo mandated that all approved issuers must notify Ginnie Mae of any significant cybersecurity incident within 48 hours of detection. Ginnie Mae defined a “Cyber Incident” as “an event that actually or potentially jeopardizes, without lawful authority, the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of information or an information system; or constituted a violation or imminent threat of violation of security policies, security procedures, or acceptable use policies and has the potential to directly or indirectly impact the Issuer’s ability to meet its obligations under the terms of the Guaranty Agreement.” If a Cyber Incident has occurred, issuers must it report to Ginnie Mae via a specified email address and must include (i) the date and time of the incident, (ii) a summary of the incident, and (iii) points of contact responsible for coordinating any follow-up questions regarding the incident. These requirements are also now reflected in Chapter 03, Part 18 of the Mortgage-Backed Securities Guide, 5500.3, REV-1.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Ginnie Mae Mortgage-Backed Securities Cyber Risk & Data Security Disclosures

  • CFPB lowers most credit card late fees to $8, amending Regulation Z

    Federal Issues

    On March 5, the CFPB announced a final rule that will amend TILA Regulation Z and lower the typical credit card late fees from $30 to $8. According to the final rule, the CFPB determined that the Regulation Z §1026.52(b) $30 discretionary safe harbor for fees (for card issuers that together with their affiliates have at least one million open credit card accounts, i.e., “larger card issuers”) is too high, and therefore “are not consistent with TILA’s statutory requirement that such fees be reasonable [for a] violation.”

    For larger card issuers, the final rule will repeal the current safe harbor threshold amount and adopt a late fee safe harbor dollar amount of $8. It also will eliminate late fees for a higher safe harbor dollar amount for repeat violations that occur during the same billing cycle or in one of the next six billing cycles. Larger card issuers will still be able to charge fees above the safe harbor threshold for late fees if they can prove the higher fee is necessary to cover their actual collection costs.

    With respect to late fees imposed by larger card issuers, the provision on annual adjustments for the safe harbor dollar amounts (to reflect changes in the consumer price index) will not apply to the $8 safe harbor amount for those late fees. For card issuers that together with their affiliates have fewer than one million open credit card accounts for the entire preceding calendar year (“smaller card issuers”), the safe harbors revised pursuant to the annual adjustments will continue to apply to the late fees imposed by them. The final rule also amended comments and sample forms in Appendix G to revise current examples of late fee amounts to be consistent with the $8 safe harbor amount. Card issuers that meet or exceed the one million open credit card account thresholds, transforming them into larger card issuers, will have 60 days to comply with the requirements of the rule.

    Regarding annual adjustments for safe harbor threshold amounts, the rule will adjust safe harbor threshold amounts in §§1026.52(b)(1)(ii)(A) and (B) to $32, and $43 for repeat violations that will occur during the same billing cycle or in one of the next six billing cycles. These two revised threshold amounts will apply to penalty fees other than late fees for all card issuers, as well as late fees imposed by smaller card issuers. The CFPB’s final rule will go into effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

    The final rule was highlighted in the White House’s Fact Sheet entitled, “President Biden Announces New Actions to Lower Costs for Americans by Fighting Corporate Rip-Offs,” which announced a new “Strike Force on Unfair and Illegal Pricing” co-chaired by the DOJ and the FTC to strengthen interagency efforts to combat high prices through anti-competitive, unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent business practices.

    Federal Issues Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB TILA Regulation Z

  • FHFA announces updates for implementation of GSE credit score requirements

    Federal Issues

    On February 29, FHFA announced updates related to the implementation of new credit score requirements for single-family loans acquired by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (GSEs). As previously covered by InfoBytes, FHFA released a two-phase plan for soliciting stakeholder input on the agency’s proposed process for updating credit score requirements. The new process, called the FICO 10T model, will, among other things, require two credit reports (a “bi-merge” credit report) from the national consumer reporting agencies, rather than the traditional three (covered by InfoBytes here). After considering stakeholder input, FHFA expects to transition from the Classic FICO credit score model to the bi-merge credit reporting requirement in Q1 2025. The GSEs will also move up the publication of VantageScore 4.0 historical data to Q3 2024 “to better support market participants” and provide pertinent historical data before the transition. FHFA will provide more details on the timing for FICO 10T implementation once this initial process is complete.

    Federal Issues Freddie Mac Fannie Mae GSEs Credit Scores Consumer Finance Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

  • CFPB revises its supervisory appeals process

    Federal Issues

    On February 16, the CFPB issued a procedural rule updating its process for financial institutions that appeal the Bureau’s supervisory findings. The CFPB examined financial institutions to ensure they followed federal consumer financial law. After an examination or targeted review, supervised entities may appeal their compliance rating or any other findings.

    First, the procedural rule expanded the pool of potential members for the appeals committee within the CFPB. Now, any CFPB manager with relevant expertise who did not participate in the original matter being appealed can be considered, rather than previously only managers from the Supervision department. The CFPB’s General Counsel will assign three CFPB managers and legal counsel to advise them. Second, the revised process introduced a new option for resolving appeals—in addition to upholding or rescinding the original finding, matters can now be remanded back to supervision staff for further consideration, potentially resulting in a modified finding. The Bureau also recommended in its procedural rule that entities engage in “open dialogue” with supervisory staff to discuss their preliminary findings to attempt to resolve disputes before an examination is final.

    Third, institutions now can appeal any compliance rating issued to them, not just negative ratings, as was the case previously. Fourth, the updated process included additional clarifications and specifies that it applied to pending appeals at the time of its publication. 

    Federal Issues CFPB Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Bank Supervision

  • FTC proposes two actions to combat AI impersonation fraud

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On February 15, the FTC announced its supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking relating to the protection of consumers from impersonation fraud, especially from any impersonations of government entities. The first action from the FTC was a final rule that prohibited the impersonation of government, business, and their officials or agents in interstate commerce. The second action was a notice seeking public comment on a supplemental proposed rulemaking that would revise the first action and add a prohibition on, and penalties for, the impersonation of individuals for entities who provide goods and services (with the knowledge or reason to know that those goods or services will be used in impersonations) that are unlawful. In tandem, these actions sought to prohibit the impersonation of government and business officials.

    The FTC notes that these two actions come from “surging complaints” on impersonation fraud, specifically from artificial intelligence-generated deep fakes. The final rule will expand the remedies and provide monetary relief, whereas the FTC stated this rule will provide a “shorter, faster and more efficient path” for injured consumers to recover money. The rule would enable the FTC to seek monetary relief from scammers that use government seals or business logos, spoof government and business emails, and impersonate a government official or falsely imply a business affiliation.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FTC Artificial Intelligence Fraud NPR

  • FCC adopts rule on robocalls and robotexts, includes NPR on TCPA applicability

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On February 15, the FCC adopted a rule to protect consumers from robocalls and robotexts. According to the rule, robocallers and robotexters must honor do-not-call and consent revocation requests within 10 business days from receipt. In addition, the rule will allow consumers to revoke consent under the TCPA through any unreasonable means and will clarify that the TCPA would not be violated when a one-time text message is sent confirming a consumer’s request that no further text messages be sent if the confirmation text only confirms the opt-out request and does not include marketing information.

    The new rule clarified that revocation of consent can be made via automated methods such as interactive voice responses, key press activation on robocalls, responding with “stop” or similar messages to text messages, or using designated website or phone numbers provided by the caller all will constitute reasonable means to revoke consent. If a called party uses any of these designated methods to revoke consent, it will be considered definitively revoked, and future robocalls and robotexts from that caller must cease. The caller cannot claim that the use of such a mechanism by the called party is unreasonable. Any revocation request made through these specified means will be considered “absolute proof” of the called party's reasonable intent to revoke consent. Furthermore, when a consumer uses a method other than those discussed in the rule to revoke consent, “doing so creates a rebuttable presumption that the consumer has revoked consent when the called party satisfies their obligation to produce evidence that such a request has been made, absent evidence to the contrary.”

    The Commission also included a notice of proposed rulemaking, seeking comment on “whether the TCPA applies to robocalls and robotexts from wireless providers to their own subscribers and whether consumers should have the ability to revoke consent and stop such communications.” The rule will go into effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, except for certain amendments that will not be effective until six months following OMB review. 

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Issues NPR TCPA FCC Robocalls Opt-Out Consumer Protection

  • FCC ruling determines AI calls are subject to TCPA regulations

    Federal Issues

    On February 8, the FCC announced the unanimous adoption of a declaratory ruling that recognizes calls made with AI-generated voices are “artificial” under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The declaratory ruling notes that the TCPA prohibits initiating “any telephone call to any residential telephone line using an artificial or prerecorded voice to deliver a message without the prior express consent of the called party” unless certain exceptions apply. The TCPA also prohibited “any non-emergency call made using an automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice to certain specified categories of telephone numbers including emergency lines and wireless numbers.”

    The ruling, effective immediately, deemed voice cloning and similar AI technologies to be artificial voice messages under the TCPA, subject to its regulations. Therefore, prior express consent from the called party is required before making such calls. Additionally, callers using AI technology must provide identification and disclosure information and offer opt-out methods for telemarketing calls.

    This ruling provided State Attorneys General nationwide with additional resources to pursue perpetrators responsible for these robocalls. This action followed the Commission’s November proposed inquiry for how AI could impact unwanted robocalls and texts (announcement covered by InfoBytes here).

    Federal Issues Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Artificial Intelligence FCC TCPA Consumer Protection

  • California DFPI proposes new regulations under the Debt Collection Licensing Act

    State Issues

    On February 9, the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) published a proposed rule to adopt new regulations under the Debt Collection Licensing Act (DCLA). Under the DCLA, a debt collector licensee is required to pay the DFPI Commissioner its “pro rata share of all costs and expenses incurred in the administration” of the DCLA, which is calculated in part based on the licensee’s “net proceeds generated by California debtor accounts,” but the term “net proceeds” was not defined in the statute. The proposed rule defines “net proceeds generated by California debtor accounts” to mean “the amount retained by a debt collector from its California debt collection activity.” The proposed rule also specifies the formulas used in calculating the net proceeds depending on the party, including a debt buyer, purchaser of debt that has not been charged off or in default, third-party collector, and first-party collector.

    Additionally, the proposed rule requires licensees to file an annual report with the DFPI and specifies the information required in the annual report, including (i) the number of California debtor accounts collected on in the previous year; (ii) the number of California debtor accounts in the licensee’s portfolio as of December 31 of the preceding year; and (iii) the number and dollar amount of California debtor accounts for which collection was attempted, but not successfully collected or resolved during the previous year. Comments to the proposed rule must be submitted by March 27.

    State Issues California Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Debt Collection Licensing Act

  • Federal Reserve releases January SLOOS report on bank lending practices from Q4 2023

    On February 5, the Federal Reserve Board released the results from their January 2024 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey (SLOOS) on bank lending practices. The SLOOS addressed changes in standards, terms, and the demand over bank loans over the past three months (i.e., Q4 of 2023). The SLOOS’s topics included commercial and industrial lending, commercial and residential real estate lending, and consumer lending. The SLOOS included questions on banks’ expectations for changes in lending standards, borrower demand and asset quality over 2024. 

    The SLOOS provided specific findings for each of its topics. On loans to businesses, banks generally reported tighter standards and weaker demand for commercial and industrial loans, as well as all commercial real estate loan categories. Demand weakened for all residential real estate loans. On loans to households, banks generally reported tighter lending standards for residential real estate loans, but the standards were unchanged for government-sponsored enterprise-eligible residential mortgages. For home equity lines of credit, banks reported tighter standards and weaker demand; this falls in line with credit card, auto, and other consumer loans, generally. Last, on the banks’ 2024 expectations, they expect lending standards to remain unchanged for commercial and industrial loans, and residential real estate loans, but to tighten further for commercial real estate, credit card, and auto loans. Banks also reported that they expect demands for loans to strengthen, but loan quality to weaken, across all categories. The SLOOS includes 67 pages of data gleaned from its questions. 

    Bank Regulatory Federal Issues Loans Banking Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

  • FCC Chairwoman proposes making all AI-generated robocalls “illegal” to help State Attorneys General

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On January 31, FCC Chairwoman, Jessica Rosenworcel, released a statement proposing that the FCC “recognize calls made with AI-generated voices are ‘artificial’ voices under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which would make voice cloning technology used in common robocalls scams targeting consumers illegal.” Specifically, the FCC’s proposal would make voice cloning technology used in robocall scams illegal, which has been used to impersonate celebrities, political candidates, and even close family members. Chairwoman Rosenworcel stated, “No matter what celebrity or politician you favor… it is possible we could all be a target of these faked calls… That’s why the FCC is taking steps to recognize this emerging technology as illegal… giving our partners at State Attorneys General offices… new tools they can use to crack down on these scams and protect customers.”

    This action comes after the FCC released a Notice of Inquiry last month where the FCC received comments from 26 State Attorneys General to understand how the FCC can better protect consumers from AI-generated telemarking, as covered by InfoBytes here. This is not the first time the FCC has targeted robocallers: as previously covered by InfoBytes in October 2023, the FCC proposed an inquiry into how AI is used to create unwanted robocalls and texts; in September 2023, the FCC updated its rules to curb robocalls under the Voice over Internet Protocol, covered here.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FCC TCPA Artificial Intelligence Robocalls State Attorney General


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