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  • CFPB releases report on credit card late fees

    Federal Issues

    On March 29, the CFPB released a report analyzing credit card late fees. Using three data sources to study the consumer impact of and industry reliance on late fees, the report found that credit card issuers charged approximately $12 billion in 2020. The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (CARD Act) requires that late fees be “reasonable and proportional,” and its implementing regulation (Regulation Z) sets a “safe harbor” for certain fee amounts, which are adjusted by the CFPB annually for inflation. The report described that these limits have increased to $30 for the first late payment and $41 for a subsequent late payment within 6 billing cycles. The Bureau noted that Congress transferred provisional authority to the CFPB, who “expects many major card issuers to hike fees further, based on inflation, given the existing reliance on the immunity provisions in the marketplace.” Other significant findings of the report include, among other things, that: (i) the average deep subprime account was charged $138 in late fees in 2019, compared with $11 for the average superprime account; (ii) credit card accounts held by consumers living in the United States’ poorest neighborhoods paid approximately twice as much on average in total late fees than those living in the richest areas in 2019; (iii) late fee volume decreased when stimulus checks arrived in 2020 and 2021, particularly in households with lower credit scores; and (iv) “[l]ate fees account for a greater share of charges for issuers who service a higher percentage of subprime accounts at almost 20 percent of total interest and fees.”

    Federal Issues CFPB Consumer Finance Credit Cards CARD Act Fees

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  • CFPB publishes fall 2021 rulemaking agenda

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On December 13, the Office of Information And Regulatory Affairs released the CFPB’s fall 2021 rulemaking agenda. According to a Bureau announcement, the information released represents regulatory matters the Bureau plans to pursue during the period from November 2, 2021 to October 31, 2022. Additionally, the Bureau stated that the latest agenda reflects continued rulemakings intended to further its consumer financial protection mission and help advance the country’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Promoting racial and economic equity and supporting underserved and marginalized communities’ access to fair and affordable credit continue to be Bureau priorities.

    Key rulemaking initiatives include:

    • Small Business Rulemaking. This fall, the Bureau issued its long-awaited proposed rule (NPRM) for Section 1071 regulations, which would require a broad swath of lenders to collect data on loans they make to small businesses, including information about the loans themselves, the characteristics of the borrower, and demographic information regarding the borrower’s principal owners. (Covered by a Buckley Special Alert.) The NPRM comment period goes through January 6, 2022, after which point the Bureau will review comments as it moves to develop a final rule. Find continuing Section 1071 coverage here.
    • Consumer Access to Financial Records. The Bureau noted that it is working on rulemaking to implement Section 1033 of Dodd-Frank in order to address the availability of electronic consumer financial account data. The Bureau is currently reviewing comments received in response to an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) issued fall 2020 regarding consumer data access (covered by InfoBytes here). Additionally, the Bureau stated it is monitoring the market to consider potential next steps, “including whether a Small Business Review Panel is required pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act.”
    • Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the Bureau published an ANPR in March 2019 seeking feedback on the unique features of PACE financing and the general implications of regulating PACE financing under TILA (as required by Section 307 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, which amended TILA to mandate that the Bureau issue certain regulations relating to PACE financing). The Bureau noted that it continues “to engage with stakeholders and collect information for the rulemaking, including by pursuing quantitative data on the effect of PACE on consumers’ financial outcomes.”
    • Automated Valuation Models (AVM). Interagency rulemaking is currently being pursued by the Bureau, Federal Reserve Board, OCC, FDIC, NCUA, and FHFA to develop regulations for AVM quality control standards as required by Dodd-Frank amendments to FIRREA. The standards are designed to, among other things, “ensure a high level of confidence in the estimates produced by the valuation models, protect against the manipulation of data, seek to avoid conflicts of interest, require random sample testing and reviews,” and account for any other appropriate factors. An NPRM is anticipated for June 2022.
    • Amendments to Regulation Z to Facilitate LIBOR Transition. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the Bureau issued a final rule on December 7 to facilitate the transition from LIBOR for consumer financial products, including “adjustable-rate mortgages, credit cards, student loans, reverse mortgages, [and] home equity lines of credit,” among others. The final rule amended Regulation Z, which implements TILA, to generally address LIBOR’s eventual cessation for most U.S. dollar settings in June 2023, and establish requirements for how creditors must select replacement indices for existing LIBOR-linked consumer loans. The final rule generally takes effect April 1, 2022.
    • Reviewing Existing Regulations. The Bureau noted in its announcement that it decided to conduct an assessment of a rule implementing HMDA (most of which took effect January 2018), and referred to a notice and request for comments issued last month (covered by InfoBytes here), which solicited public comments on its plans to assess the effectiveness of the HMDA Rule. Additionally, the Bureau stated that it finished a review of Regulation Z rules implementing the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, and that “[a]fter considering the statutory review factors and public comments,” it “determined that the CARD Act rules should continue without change.”

    Notably, there are 14 rulemaking activities that are listed as inactive on the fall 2021 agenda, including rulemakings on overdraft services, consumer reporting, student loan servicing, Regulation E modernization, abusive acts and practices, loan originator compensation, and TILA/RESPA mortgage disclosure integration.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB Covid-19 Small Business Lending Section 1071 Consumer Finance PACE Programs AVMs Dodd-Frank Section 1033 Regulation Z LIBOR HMDA RESPA TILA CARES Act Debt Collection EGRRCPA Federal Reserve OCC FDIC NCUA FHFA Bank Regulatory FIRREA CARD Act

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  • CFPB adjusts annual dollar threshold for Regulation Z, CLA

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On October 25, the CFPB announced the annual dollar threshold adjustments that govern the application of Regulation Z (Truth in Lending Act). The final rule revises the dollar amounts, where appropriate, for provisions implementing TILA and amendments to TILA, including under the CARD Act, the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act of 1994 (HOEPA), and Dodd-Frank. Each year the thresholds must be readjusted based on the annual percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), which took effect June 1. Effective January 1, 2022, the threshold that triggers requirements to disclose minimum interest charges for open-end consumer credit plans under TILA will remain unchanged at $1.00. The adjusted dollar amount for a safe harbor for a first violation penalty fee will increase to $30 in 2022, and the adjusted dollar amount for a safe harbor for a subsequent violation penalty fee will increase to $41 for open-end consumer credit plans under the CARD Act amendments to TILA. With respect to HOEPA, the adjusted total loan amount threshold for high-cost mortgages in 2022 will be $22,969, whereas the adjusted points and fees dollar trigger for high-cost mortgages will be $1,148. The final rule also specifies 2022 pricing thresholds for the spread between a qualified mortgage’s annual percentage rate and the average prime offer rate, and identifies points and fees limits for all categories of qualified mortgages.

    Additionally, the Bureau and the Federal Reserve Board finalized the annual dollar threshold adjustment that governs the application of the Consumer Leasing Act (Regulation M), as required by the Dodd-Frank Act. The exemption threshold for 2022, based on the annual percentage increase in the CPI-W, will increase from $58,300 to $61,000.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB Regulation Z TILA Credit Cards Qualified Mortgage HOEPA CARD Act Dodd-Frank Mortgages Consumer Leasing Act Federal Reserve

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  • CFPB releases consumer credit card report

    Federal Issues

    On September 29, the CFPB released its fifth biennial report on the state of the credit card market as required by Section 502 of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act. The 2021 report covers the credit card market for the 2019-2020 period, and revisits similar baseline indicators and in-depth topics to examine market changes and track market developments and trends. Specifically, the report updates the deferred interest analysis last conducted in the 2017 Report. The report also analyzes the latest research on consumer card use, cost, and availability, among other things, finding that “[f]rom a 2019 peak of $926 billion, credit card debt fell to $811 billion by the second quarter of 2020, the largest six-month decline on record, before reaching $825 billion by the end of the year.” The report also highlights indicators related to consumer credit card activity during the pandemic, including (i) more than 25 million consumer credit card accounts represented approximately $68 billion in outstanding credit card debt entered relief programs in 2020; (ii) application volume for credit cards sharply declined in 2020 from its peak in 2019; (iii) late payment and default rates were at a historic low; (iv) consumers with below prime scores saw the greatest constriction in available credit card line; and (v) digital engagement is increasing across all age groups.

    Federal Issues CFPB Credit Cards CARD Act Consumer Finance

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  • CFPB releases annual college credit card report

    Federal Issues

    On September 9, the CFPB released its annual report to Congress on college credit card agreements. The report was prepared pursuant to the CARD Act, which requires card issuers to submit to the CFPB the terms and conditions of any agreements they make with colleges, as well as certain organizations affiliated with colleges. The CFPB cited data from 2019 and 2020 showing that (i) the number of college card agreements in effect continued to decline; (ii) the total volume of payments by issuers declined; and (iii) agreements with alumni associations continue to dominate the market based on most metrics. The complete set of credit card agreement data collected by the Bureau can be accessed here.

    Federal Issues Credit Cards CFPB Consumer Finance CARD Act

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  • CFPB releases TILA and CARD Act specifications

    Federal Issues

    On August 20, the CFPB released new technical specifications regarding credit card agreement and data submission compliance requirements under TILA and the CARD Act (Regulation Z).  Credit card issuers will utilize the Bureau’s website to submit: (i) Terms of Credit Card Plans (TCCP) Survey data (for the deadline of February 14, 2022); (ii) quarterly credit card agreement submissions (for the deadline of January 31, 2022); and (iii) annual reports connected to college credit card marketing agreements and data (for the deadline of March 31, 2022). According to the announcement, for the most recent TCCP Survey cycle that started on January 31, 83 percent of TCCP Survey submissions were made via the Bureau’s “Collect” website on a voluntary basis, which simplified the Survey submission process in a number of ways, including by minimizing confusing, irrelevant, or duplicative questions and providing an “audit trail” to track submissions. In addition, the Bureau understands Collect to be faster both for issuers and for Bureau processing, which “has led to the faster posting of the TCCP Survey results” and enhances the “public’s ability to use the data in a timely manner.” The Bureau believes that these benefits “would be increased if all TCCP Survey respondents used Collect, and that any additional burden on Survey respondents as a result of using Collect would be minimal.” As previously covered by InfoBytes, the CFPB released the final rule revising the dollar amounts for provisions implementing the TILA and amendments to TILA, including CARD Act, the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act of 1994, and Dodd-Frank’s ability-to-repay and qualified mortgage provisions. The recently released rule took effect upon publication in the Federal Register.

    Federal Issues CFPB Regulation Z TILA CARD Act Dodd-Frank Ability To Repay Qualified Mortgage

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  • States reach $4.2 million settlement to resolve credit card interest overcharges

    State Issues

    On February 8, state attorneys general from Pennsylvania, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and North Carolina entered into an assurance of voluntary compliance with a national bank to resolve allegations that it overcharged credit card interest for certain consumers. According to the investigating states, between February 2011 and August 2017, the bank allegedly failed to properly reevaluate and reduce the annual percentage rate (APR) for certain consumer credit card account holders who were entitled to a reduction, as required by the CARD Act and state consumer protection laws. The announcement follows a 2018 CFPB settlement, in which the bank agreed to provide $335 million in restitution to affected consumers (covered by InfoBytes here). At the time, the Bureau noted that it did not assess civil monetary penalties due to efforts undertaken by the bank to self-identify and self-report violations to the Bureau. The states also acknowledged that the bank self-identified issues with its APR reevaluation process through an internal compliance program. The bank denied liability or that it violated the states’ consumer protection laws and has agreed to pay $4.2 million to approximately 25,000 current and former affected consumers, which will be limited to consumers who received a payment of $500 or more in restitution from the bank for the original violation.

    State Issues State Attorney General Enforcement Credit Cards Interest CARD Act

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  • CFPB issues CARD Act RFI

    Federal Issues

    On August 25, the CFPB announced a Request for Information (RFI) on the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (CARD Act), consistent with the requirements of Section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), which specifies that agencies should review certain rules within 10 years of their publication to consider the rules’ effect on small businesses. Specifically, the Bureau is seeking comments from stakeholders on the economic impact of the CARD Act on small entities and whether regulations should be adjusted to address those impacts. Additionally, the RFI seeks information, pursuant to section 502(a) of the CARD Act, related to the consumer credit card market. Among other things, the Bureau requests stakeholders comment on (i) the terms of credit card agreements; (ii) the effectiveness of credit card disclosures; (iii) the cost and availability of credit cards; and (iv) credit card product innovation.

    Comments on the RFI will be due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

    Federal Issues CFPB RFI CARD Act Small Business Lending

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  • CFPB adjusts annual dollar amount thresholds under TILA regulations

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On July 17, the CFPB released the final rule revising the dollar amounts for provisions implementing the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and amendments to TILA, including the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (CARD Act), the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act of 1994 (HOEPA), and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’s ability-to-repay and qualified mortgage (ATR/QM) provisions. The CFPB is required to make annual adjustments to dollar amounts in certain provisions in Regulation Z, and has based the adjustments on the annual percentage change reflected in the Consumer Price Index in effect on June 1, 2020. The following thresholds will be effective on January 1, 2021:

    • For open-end consumer credit plans under TILA, the threshold for disclosing an interest charge will remain unchanged at $1.00;
    • For open-end consumer credit plans under the CARD Act, the adjusted dollar amount for the safe harbor for a first violation penalty fee will remain unchanged at $29, and the adjusted dollar amount for the safe harbor for a subsequent violation penalty fee will also remain unchanged at $40;
    • For HOEPA loans, the adjusted total loan amount threshold for high-cost mortgages will be $22,052, and the adjusted points and fees dollar trigger for high-cost mortgages will be $1,103; and
    • The maximum thresholds for total points and fees for qualified mortgages under the ATR/QM rule will be: (i) three percent of the total loan amount for loans greater than or equal to $110,260; (ii) $3,308 for loan amounts greater than or equal to $66,156 but less than $110,260; (iii) five percent of the total loan amount for loans greater than or equal to $22,052 but less than $66,156; (iv) $1,103 for loan amounts greater than or equal to $13,783 but less than $22,052; and (v) eight percent of the total loan amount for loan amounts less than $13,783.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB TILA Regulation Z CARD Act Credit Cards HOEPA Qualified Mortgage Dodd-Frank

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  • National bank to challenge CFPB on cards suit

    Federal Issues

    On January 30, the CFPB announced that it filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island against a national bank (defendant) based upon alleged violations of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and its implementing Regulation Z, the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), and the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (CARD Act). The CFPB claims that among other things, when servicing credit card accounts, the defendant did not properly manage consumer billing disputes for unauthorized card use and billing errors, and did not properly credit refunds to consumer accounts resulting from such disputes. Specifically, the complaint alleges that violations included the defendant’s (i) “practice of automatically denying billing error claims or claims of unauthorized use for failure of the consumers to provide Fraud Affidavits, including agreeing to testify as witnesses”; (ii) “failure to refund related finance charges and fees when it resolved billing error notices or claims of unauthorized use in consumers’ favor”; (iii) failure “to provide written notices of acknowledgement or denial in response to billing error notices”; and (iv) failure “to provide credit counseling referrals.” The CFPB is seeking injunctive relief, monetary relief, disgorgement of defendant’s ill-gotten gains, civil money penalties, and costs of the action.

    The defendant issued a response to the suit on January 31, stating that it self-identified the issues to the Bureau five years ago while simultaneously correcting any flawed processes. According to the defendant’s statement, “the CFPB’s action is misguided” and “well beyond the expiration of the statute of limitations. The defendant vows to “vigorously challenge” the suit.

    Federal Issues CFPB Courts Enforcement CARD Act TILA Regulation Z Fair Credit Billing Act Disgorgement Credit Cards Finance Charge Notice

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