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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

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  • Special Alert: CFPB Issues Proposal to Delay TRID Rule Until October 3

    Consumer Finance

    The CFPB issued a proposed rule today to delay the effective date of the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (“TRID”) rule, including all amendments, from August 1 to October 3, 2015. The proposed delayed effective date is two days later than the date announced last week so that the effective date falls on a Saturday. The CFPB chose Saturday because it “may allow for smoother implementation by affording industry time over the weekend to launch new systems configurations and to test systems. A Saturday launch is also consistent with existing industry plans tied to the Saturday August 1 effective date.”

    The proposed rule explains that, due to “an administrative error on the Bureau’s part in complying with the [Congressional Review Act]…, the [TRID] Rule cannot take effect until at the earliest August 15, 2015.” Because “some delay in the effective date is now required, the Bureau believes that a brief additional delay may benefit both consumers and industry more than would allowing the new rules to take effect on [August 15].” The Bureau stated that the additional delay is being proposed to avoid challenges associated with a mid-month effective date and to allow more time to implement the rule in light of recent information the CFPB received that “delays in the delivery of system updates have left creditors and others with limited time to fully test all of their systems and system components to ensure that each system works with the others in an effective manner.”

    The proposed rule does not include any substantive changes to the TRID rule, other than changes to reflect the new proposed effective date. Despite requests by many in industry, the Bureau did not propose to allow lenders to begin complying with the rule before the effective date.

    Comments must be received on or before July 7, 2015.

    For additional information and resources on the TRID rule, please visit our TRID Resource Center.

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    Questions regarding the matters discussed in this Alert may be directed to any of our lawyers listed below, or to any other BuckleySandler attorney with whom you have consulted in the past.

     

    CFPB TRID Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

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  • SEC Requests Public Feedback On Exchange-Traded Products

    Securities

    On June 12, the SEC issued a press release announcing that it is seeking public comment on how it should regulate exchange-traded products (ETPs), on how broker-dealers sell the securities, especially to retail investors, and on investors’ understanding of the nature and use of ETPs. In particular, the securities regulator is requesting public feedback on arbitrage mechanisms and market pricing for ETPs, legal exemptions, and other regulations related to the listing standards and trading of ETPs. Comments will be received for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.

    SEC Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

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  • Special Alert: CFPB Finalizes Rule To Oversee Nonbank Auto Lenders

    Consumer Finance

    On June 10, the CFPB issued its final rule to oversee “larger participant” nonbank auto finance companies.  Although the CFPB received significant feedback during the comment period, the final rule is nearly identical to that proposed in September 2014.  Under the final rule, the CFPB will have supervisory authority over nonbank auto finance companies with at least 10,000 aggregate annual originations.  These originations include making, purchasing, acquiring, or refinancing extensions of credit for the purchase or lease of an automobile.  The CFPB estimates this threshold will bring about 34 entities and their affiliates under its supervisory authority, which represents roughly seven percent of all nonbank auto finance companies, and approximately 91% of the nonbank automobile financing market.  In addition to the final rule, the CFPB also published updated automobile finance examination procedures to include industry specific guidance for covered persons.

    The rule will take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.  Although the CFPB has not determined when and in what order examinations will begin, some industry insiders have predicted they could start in late 2015.

    In the months since the CFPB released its proposed rule, auto finance industry trade associations and market participants submitted a number of comments to the CFPB addressing: (i) the threshold for defining “larger participant;” (ii) the definition of “lease” for purposes of the larger participant threshold; and (iii) exceptions for securitizations.

    Number of Originations

    With respect to the 10,000 originations threshold, although the CFPB received comments recommending the CFPB both increase and decrease the number, most appeared in favor of increasing the threshold.  As industry commenters noted, the low threshold results in participants with less than one percent market share and small businesses being deemed larger participants.  Commenters recommended an alternative threshold of 50,000 originations, which would capture approximately 86% of market participants. Ultimately, the CFPB adopted the original 10,000 originations threshold, noting it allowed the CFPB to “supervise market participants that represent a substantial portion of the automobile financing market and that have a significant impact on consumers.”

    Leases

    The final rule also extended the application of the term “lease” under Dodd-Frank to include automobile leasing.  The Dodd-Frank Act includes certain leases that are, among other things, the “functional equivalent of purchase finance arrangements.  12 U.S.C. § 5481(15)(A)(ii).  As detailed in the comments submitted to the CFPB, prudential regulators and other statutory schemes such as TILA have traditionally applied this idea of “functional equivalent” to leases where the monthly payments total a sum substantially equivalent to or in excess of the value of the property, resulting in the lessee becoming the owner of the property for little or no consideration at the end of the least term.  Nonetheless, the CFPB noted that, in light of its purpose and objectives, “functional equivalent of purchase finance agreements” should be interpreted from the perspective of the consumer.  In arriving at this conclusion, the CFPB noted that, from a customer’s point of view, lease transactions provide an identical experience to a purchase transactions because leasing requires an application process that involves providing basic financial information and credit history, an ongoing contractual obligation, and the option to purchase the vehicle at the end of the lease term for a pre-determined amount.

    Securitizations

    While the proposed rule excluded investments in asset-backed securities from the definition of “aggregate annual originations”, the CFPB expanded the securitization exception as part of the final rule. As a result, the exemption will also apply to purchases or acquisitions of obligations by securitization trusts and other special purpose entities created to facilitate securitization transactions.

     Timing

    The rule will become effective 60-days after publication in the Federal Register

    Examination Focus

    In its press release announcing the final rule, the CFPB identified a number of areas its examiners will focus on when conducting examinations of auto finance companies. Those areas include (i) the marketing and disclosure of terms in auto finance, (ii) credit reporting practices and accuracy, (iii) treatment of consumers when collecting debts both directly by the finance company and through its vendors, and (iv) fair lending under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. In light of the CFPB’s continued focus on these areas, all market participants would be well served to review policies, procedures and practices occurring within their business.

     

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    Questions regarding the matters discussed in this Alert may be directed to the lawyers listed below, or to any other BuckleySandler attorney with whom you have consulted in the past.

     

     

    CFPB Auto Finance Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

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  • Agencies Finalize Diversity Policy Statement

    Securities

    On June 9, six federal agencies – the Federal Reserve, CFPB, FDIC, NCUA, OCC, and the SEC – issued a final interagency policy statement creating guidelines for assessing the diversity policies and practices of the entities they regulate. Mandated by Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Act, the final policy statement requires the establishment of an Office of Minority and Women Inclusion at each of the agencies and includes standards for the agencies to assess an entity’s organizational commitment to diversity, workforce and employment practices, procurement and business practices, and practices to promote transparency of diversity and inclusion within the organization. The final interagency guidance incorporates over 200 comments received from financial institutions, industry trade groups, consumer advocates, and community leaders on the proposed standards issued in October 2013. The final policy statement will be effective upon publication in the Federal Register. The six agencies also are requesting public comment, due within 60 days following publication in the Federal Register, on the information collection aspects of the interagency guidance.

    FDIC CFPB Dodd-Frank Federal Reserve OCC NCUA SEC Diversity Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

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  • FCC Chairman Circulates Proposal to Strengthen Consumer Protection Under the TCPA; Open Meeting Scheduled For June 18

    Privacy, Cyber Risk & Data Security

    On May 27, the FCC released a fact sheet outlining Chairman Wheeler’s proposal for a series of rulings under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) that he asserts will better protect American consumers from unsolicited robocalls, spam text messages, and telemarketing calls. If adopted, the proposal would, among other things: (i) give consumers the right to revoke their consent to receive robocalls and robotexts at any reasonable time and in any reasonable way; (ii) authorize carriers to offer robocall-blocking or “Do Not Disturb” technologies to consumers; and (iii) require robocallers to stop calling a number when it has been reassigned to a new subscriber. Responding to multiple petitions that “sought clarity on how the Commission enforces” the TCPA, the proposal aims to “close loopholes and strengthen consumer protections already on the books.” The Chairman’s proposal is scheduled to be voted on at the Open Commission Meeting on June 18.

    TCPA FCC Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

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  • NY Issues Proposed Rules to Manage How Employers Pay Workers Using Debit Cards

    Fintech

    On May 27, the Governor of New York State announced that the state Department of Labor published new proposed rules intended to better regulate employers who pay their employees using debit cards.  The proposed regulations detail the responsibilities of employers that use debit cards to pay employees, and prohibit employers from profiting from or passing along costs to employees. In addition, the proposed rules prohibit employers from imposing fees (such as those for customer service, account maintenance, overdraft, and inactivity), and require employers to (i) obtain advance consent, which must be documented and kept on record for six years; (ii) make known to employees the local locations where their wages can be accessed for free; and (iii) provide unlimited free ATM withdrawals within a local network, including a method to withdraw the full amount of wages each pay period without penalty. The regulations will take effect following a 45-day notice and comment period.

    Debit Cards Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

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  • Department of Education Proposes Rules to Reign In Fees on Student Financial Accounts

    Consumer Finance

    The Department of Education is set to propose new regulations which could change how financial institutions provide services on college campuses, according to a NPRM to be published in the Federal Register on May 18. The new rules, part of a nearly 300-page “Program Integrity and Improvement” package, are intended to among other things (i) ensure that students have convenient access on their Title IV funds, (ii) do not incur unreasonable and uncommon financial account fees, and (iii) are not led to believe they must open a particular account from a financial institution to receive Federal student aid. The proposed regulations also update other provisions in the cash management regulations, clarify how previously passed coursework is treated with respect to Title IV funds eligibility, and streamline the requirements for converting clock hours to credit hours. Public comments on the proposed rulemaking will be due 45 days after date of publication in the Federal Register.

    UDAAP Debit Cards Department of Education Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

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  • CFPB Seeks Public Comments Into Student Loan Servicing Practices

    Consumer Finance

    On May 14, the CFPB published a Request For Information (RFI) seeking public comment on student loan servicing practices. In particular, the Bureau is requesting comments on six areas: (i) industry practices that cause repayment challenges; (ii) challenges faced by distressed borrowers; (iii) financial incentives that affect the quality of service; (iv) application of consumer protections in other markets to the loan servicing market; and (v) the availability of information about the student loan market. According to the Bureau, the comments received concerning the aforementioned areas will be used to assist student loan servicers and policymakers identify potential options to improve service, reduce defaults, develop industry best practices, examine consumer protection, and spur innovation.  Comments must be received by July 13. Along with the RFI, the CFPB released a factsheet on student debt stress, highlighting statistics that could lead to significant challenges for the industry. In prepared remarks for a field hearing concerning the issue, CFPB Director Richard Cordray alluded to the growing concerns within the student loan market, mentioning that two-thirds of graduates finishing their bachelor’s degrees graduate with debt averaging almost $30,000.

    CFPB Student Lending Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

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  • CFPB Reminds Mortgage Lenders to Include Section 8 Income

    Consumer Finance

    On May 11, the CFPB issued Bulletin 2015-02, reminding creditors to include income from the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Homeownership Program when underwriting mortgage loans. Within the Bulletin, the Bureau noted that it “has become aware of one or more institutions excluding or refusing to consider income derived from the Section 8 HCV Homeownership Program during mortgage loan application and underwriting processes,” further mentioning that “some institutions have restricted the use of Section 8 HCV Homeownership Program vouchers to only certain home mortgage loan products or delivery channels.” The Bulletin warns that disparate treatment prohibited under ECOA and Reg. B may exist when a creditor does not consider Section 8 as a source of income and provides guidance on how lenders can mitigate their fair lending risk. In conjunction with the guidance, the CFPB also published a blog post, providing an overview of the Section 8 HCV Program and detailed how consumers can submit complaints if they believe they have been discriminated against.

    CFPB Mortgage Origination ECOA Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

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  • CFPB Issues Guidance on Housing Counselor Requirement

    Consumer Finance

    On April 15, the CFPB issued an interpretive rule clarifying requirements for providing a list of housing counselors to mortgage borrowers, as required under the Bureau’s 2013 Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act final rule. Among other things, the interpretive rule expounds upon how to provide applicants living abroad with homeownership counseling lists, permissible geolocation tools, conditions under which the homeownership counseling list may be combined with other disclosures, and determining which of the borrower’s addresses (e.g. current address, mailing address, or the address of the property securing the mortgage) should serve as the loan applicant’s location for purposes of generating the list. In addition to clarifying counselor qualifications for high-cost mortgage counseling and parameters, the interpretive rule also provides guidance regarding lender participation during the borrower’s housing counseling sessions to ensure that counselor independence and impartiality is preserved and to prevent violation of anti-steering provisions.

    CFPB HOEPA Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

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