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  • CFPB updates payday section of the Supervision and Examinations Manual

    Federal Issues

    In March, the CFPB updated its examination procedures for short-term, small-dollar lending (payday lending) in its Supervision and Examinations Manual. The procedures are comprised of modules and each examination will cover one more module. Prior to using the procedures, examiners will complete a risk assessment and examination scope memorandum, which will assist in determining which of the five modules the exam will cover: (i) marketing; (ii) application and origination; (iii) payment processing and sustained use; (iv) collections, accounts in default, and consumer reporting; and (v) service provider relationships. The examinations will review for potential violations of TILA, EFTA, FDCPA, FCRA, ECOA, UDAAP, and Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), all of which apply to payday lending.

    Federal Issues CFPB Payday Lending Supervision Examination Compliance

  • California DBO seeks to revoke auto title lender’s license

    State Issues

    On March 19, the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) filed an administrative action to revoke the license and void loans made by a Southern California auto title lender for allegedly violating state lending laws. According to the DBO announcement, the lender allegedly, among other things, (i) charged consumers more interest than permitted by state law; (ii) failed to consider the borrower’s ability-to-repay; and (iii) engaged in “false and misleading” advertising. Specifically, DBO alleges that, in two separate examinations, it determined the lender included DMV fees in borrowers’ principal loan amounts to bring the loans above $2,500. DBO alleges these loans carried interest rates over 100 percent, while the state law cap is 30 percent for loans under $2,500. DBO also alleges the lender violated state law by failing to report the profits it made from a “duplicate-key fee” and made loans from unlicensed locations.

    In addition to the formal accusation, the DBO also has commenced an investigation to determine whether the more than 100 percent interest rates that the lender charges on most of its auto title loans may be unconscionable under the law.

    State Issues Lending Enforcement Supervision Usury Auto Finance DBO

  • CFPB and FTC release 2018 FDCPA report

    Federal Issues

    On March 20, the CFPB and the FTC released (here and here) their annual report to Congress on the administration of the FDCPA, which highlights the 2018 efforts of the agencies. The agencies coordinate in enforcement; share supervisory and consumer complaint information; and collaborate on education under a memorandum of understanding that was reauthorized in February. (Covered by InfoBytes here.) In the report, the Bureau acknowledges its intent to release a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on debt collection covering issues such as “communication practices and consumer disclosures” in spring 2019. In addition to highlighting the Bureau’s debt collection education efforts, the report also states that in 2018 the Bureau (i) received approximately 81,500 debt collection complaints related to first-party and third-party collections; (ii) initiated six public enforcement actions alleging violations of the FDCPA, one resulting in an $800,000 civil money penalty; and (iii) identified one or more violations of the FDCPA through supervisory examinations.

    As for the FTC, in addition to education efforts, the report states that in 2018 the agency (i) initiated or resolved seven enforcement actions, three of which were related to phantom debt collection, obtaining more than $58.9 million in judgments; (ii) returned money to thousands of consumers who were targeted by phantom debt collection operations; and (iii) banned 32 companies and individuals from working in the debt collection market.  

    Federal Issues CFPB FTC Debt Collection FDCPA Consumer Education Enforcement Supervision MOUs

  • CFPB issues winter 2019 Supervisory Highlights

    Federal Issues

    On March 12, the CFPB released its winter 2019 Supervisory Highlights, which outlines its supervisory and enforcement actions in the areas of auto loan servicing, deposits, mortgage servicing, and remittances. The findings of the report cover examinations that generally were completed between June 2018 and November 2018. Highlights of the examination findings include:

    • Auto Loan Servicing. The Bureau determined that attempts to collect miscalculated deficiency balances from extended warranty products were unfair. The Bureau also found that deficiency notices were deceptive where eligible rebates were not sought or applied, although the notice purported to be calculated to include such rebates.
    • Deposits. The Bureau found that companies engaged in a deceptive act or practice by failing to adequately disclose that when a payee accepts only a paper check through the institutions online bill-pay service, a debit may occur earlier than the date selected by the consumer.
    • Mortgage Servicing. The Bureau noted several issues related to mortgage servicing, including servicers (i) charging consumers late fees greater than the amount permitted by mortgage notes; (ii) misrepresenting the reasons PMI could not be cancelled; and (iii) failing to complete loss mitigation applications with “reasonable diligence.”
    • Remittances. The Bureau determined that remittance transfer providers erred when they failed to refund fees and taxes when funds were not made available to recipients by the date listed in the disclosure and the mistake did not result from one of the exceptions listed in the Remittance Rule.

    The report notes that in response to most examination findings, the companies have already remediated or have plans to remediate affected consumers, and implement corrective actions, such as new policies and procedures.

    Lastly, the report also highlights recent public enforcement actions and guidance documents issued by the Bureau.

    Federal Issues CFPB Supervision Compliance Mortgage Servicing Auto Finance Remittance Brokered Deposits

  • Kraninger tells Hill CFPB will emphasize supervision rather than enforcement

    Federal Issues

    On March 7, Director of the CFPB, Kathy Kraninger, testified at a hearing held by the House Financial Services Committee entitled “Putting Consumers First? A Semi-Annual Review of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.” Pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the hearing covered the semi-annual report to Congress on the Bureau’s work from April 1, 2018 through September 30, 2018. Kraninger was confirmed as Director in December 2018, and this was her first testimony before the Committee in that role. In her opening remarks, Chairwoman Maxine Waters expressed concern with the changes that took place at the Bureau under former acting Director Mick Mulvaney’s time in office and announced a draft bill titled the “Consumers First Act,” which directs the Bureau to, among other things, “promptly reverse all anti-consumer actions taken during Mr. Mulvaney’s tenure.” In her opening testimony, Kraninger emphasized that she is committed to “stability, consistency, and transparency” in the Bureau’s actions and believes the Bureau’s focus should be on the prevention of harm, specifically emphasizing the importance of the Bureau’s mission to educate consumers. Additionally, highlights of Kraninger’s testimony include:

    • Supervision and Enforcement. Kraninger repeatedly emphasized that supervision is an important tool in the Bureau’s toolkit to assist companies working to comply with laws and regulations. She asserted that enforcement is a tool that should only be used for bad actors who have “no intention” to comply with the law, and should not be used against entities seeking to comply and self-report compliance concerns. When asked to discuss the Bureau’s reported 35 open enforcement investigations, which include investigations opened under former Director Richard Corday, Kraninger noted that she reviews the actions as they come to a decision point but believes that the Bureau’s enforcement staff is carrying out the agency’s mission and following her guidance on how to proceed.
    • Office Reorganizations. Kraninger fielded a number of questions regarding former acting Director Mick Mulvaney’s actions, including the reorganization of the Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity and the dismantling of the Office of Students and Younger Consumers. As for fair lending, Kraninger emphasized that moving the office to be part of the Office of the Director helps to facilitate its policy interests across the Bureau and enhances the mission of fair lending. Concerning the Bureau’s work regarding student loans, Kraninger noted that there is still dedicated staff working on student loan issues in the Bureau’s Consumer Education and Engagement section and that they are currently looking to fill the vacant role for the Student Loan Ombudsman.
    • Military Lending Act (MLA). Kraninger reiterated her position that she does not believe Dodd-Frank gives the Bureau the authority to supervise for compliance with the Act under Section 1024(b)(1)(C)—which many state Attorneys General and Democratic congressional leaders have contended it does—and repeated her request for Congress to grant the Bureau with the clear authority to do so (previously covered by InfoBytes here).
    • UDAAP. Kraninger noted that the Bureau’s regulatory agenda includes a consideration of a pre-rulemaking activity covering the definition of “abusive,” stating that while the current statute has a definition that prevents companies from taking “unreasonable advantage” of a consumer, she believes there should be clarity on what is considered a “reasonable” advantage.
    • Congressional Changes to CFPB. Kraninger stated that she will continue to undertake the responsibilities allocated to the Director under Dodd-Frank but welcomes Congressional action that would provide additional “accountability and transparency” to the agency.

    The second part of the hearing consisted of testimony from industry and consumer group representatives in which they discussed the CFPB’s previous actions and their suggestions for actions Bureau leadership should take going forward. Copies of each witnesses’ testimony are available here.

    Federal Issues CFPB House Financial Services Committee Federal Legislation Enforcement Supervision

  • FFIEC issues new policy statement on examination reports

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On March 6, the Federal Financial Institutions Examinations Council (FFIEC) announced it adopted a Policy Statement on the Report of Examination, which documents the findings and conclusions of an examination conducted by a FFIEC member agency. The Policy Statement is a principles-based approach for completing the report of examination (ROE) in order to promote consistency among the FFIEC members while allowing flexibility for individual supervisors to document exam assessments of financial institutions of different sizes, risk profiles, and other conditions. The policy provides a short outline that instructs all ROEs to, among other things: (i) include identifying information; (ii) convey that the ROEs contain confidential supervisory information; (iii) present conclusions and issues in order of importance; and (iv) document the institution’s risk profile and discuss the institution’s risk management practices. The new policy statement rescinds an interagency policy statement from 1993.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FFIEC Supervision Examination

  • Senate Democrats: CFPB already has authority to supervise for MLA

    Federal Issues

    On March 5, U.S. Senate Democrats issued a letter urging CFPB Director, Kathy Kraninger, to resume reviews for compliance with the Military Lending Act (MLA) during routine lender examinations. The Senators argue that the existing statutory authorities for the Bureau “are more than sufficient to justify including MLA compliance in routine examinations,” in an apparent response to Kraninger’s January request to Congress to grant the Bureau “clear authority” to conduct the examinations. (Covered by InfoBytes here.) The Senators cite to Section 1024(b)(1)(C) of the Dodd-Frank Act, which states that the Bureau “shall require reports and conduct examinations on a periodic basis . . . for purposes of . . . detecting and assessing risks to consumers and to markets for consumer financial products and services,” and asserts that charging servicemembers and their families more than 36 percent in violation of the MLA is “clearly a risk” to consumers. Concluding that the CFPB has all the authority it needs to include the MLA in routine examinations, the Senators request the Bureau provide a full justification of the leadership’s decision to not review for compliance with the MLA by March 8.

    Federal Issues CFPB Military Lending Military Lending Act Supervision Compliance U.S. Senate Examination

  • Federal Reserve clarifies new supervisory rating system for large financial institutions

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On February 26, the Federal Reserve Board (Fed) issued clarifying guidance on the new rating system for the supervision of large financial institutions (LFIs). According to SR 19-3, the new LFI rating system replaces the current bank holding company (BHC) rating system and will evaluate and communicate the supervisory condition of: BHCs with total consolidated assets of $100 billion or more; all non-insurance, non-commercial savings and loan holding companies (SLHC) with total consolidated assets of $100 billion or greater; and the U.S. operations of foreign banking organizations with combined U.S. assets of $50 billion or more. The new rating system supports the Board’s supervisory program for all LFIs, including firms posing the greatest risk to U.S. financial stability. The Fed will assign initial LFI ratings to firms supervised by the Large Institution Supervision Coordinating Committee starting early 2019, and all other firms subject to the LFI rating system will be assigned initial ratings in early 2020. SR 19-4, issued the same day, provides guidance on which rating systems apply to BHCs and SLHCs with assets of less than $100 billion, following the adoption of the new LFI rating system.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Reserve Supervision Of Interest to Non-US Persons

  • CFPB updates Supervision and Examinations Manual

    Federal Issues

    In February, the CFPB released an updated version of the Supervision and Examination Manual, which includes changes to the examination and targeted reviews section of the manual. The Bureau noted that the purpose of a risk-focused review is to direct Bureau resources toward the areas with higher risk. The updated manual section covers the review process from start to finish, beginning with the pre-review planning and concluding with the transmission of the final report or letter. The February updates also include the release of new examination report and supervisory letter templates.

    Federal Issues CFPB Supervision Examination Compliance

  • FDIC releases interagency exam procedures for CFPB’s Prepaid Rule

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On February 22, the FDIC issued FIL-9-2019, which announces revisions to interagency examination procedures for evaluating compliance with the CFPB’s Prepaid Accounts Rule. The Rule was originally finalized in October 2016 and expands coverage under Regulation E to provide consumers, among other things, additional federal protections on prepaid financial products, person-to-person payment products, and other electronic accounts with the ability to store funds. (Covered by InfoBytes here.) In January 2018, the CFPB finalized updates to the Rule and delayed the effective date until April 1, 2019. (Covered by InfoBytes here.) The FIL contains a link to the interagency procedures listed in the FDIC Compliance Examination Manual and confirms that after April 1 the examination staff will begin supervising institutions for compliance with the rule.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FDIC CFPB Regulation E Regulation Z Examination Compliance Supervision

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