Skip to main content
Menu Icon

InfoBytes Blog

Financial Services Law Insights and Observations


Subscribe to our InfoBytes Blog weekly newsletter and other publications for news affecting the financial services industry.

  • HUD guidance on AI to prevent housing discrimination

    Federal Issues

    On April 29, the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity of HUD issued two guidance documents concerning the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in housing-related practices, specifically in tenant screening and housing advertising. The guidance came in response to Biden's Executive Order to address potential biases in automated systems within the housing sector (covered by InfoBytes here).

    HUD emphasizes the need for transparency and fairness when housing providers and screening companies use AI-assisted tenant screening processes. The tenant screening guidance recommended best practices for housing providers and screening companies to prevent discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and familial status. The HUD guidance provided the following six “Guiding Principles for Non-Discriminatory Screenings”: (i) choose relevant screen criteria; (ii) use only accurate records; (iii) follow the applicable screening policy; (iv) be transparent with applicants; (v) allow applicants to challenge negative information; and (vi) design and test complex models for Fair Housing compliance.

    Regarding housing advertising, HUD’s guidance warned advertisers and online platforms about the risks of using targeted advertising tools that could violate the Fair Housing Act by denying consumers information about housing opportunities or targeting individuals based on their protected characteristics. To reduce the risk of violating the Fair Housing Act, HUD recommended that advertisers should: (i) utilize advertising platforms that are taking steps to manage the risk of discriminatory delivery of housing-related ads; (ii) ensure the advertisements related to housing are accurately identified to the platform; (iii) analyze the composition of audience datasets; and (iv) monitor outcomes of advertising campaigns to identify and mitigate discriminatory outcomes. Advertising platforms are recommended to: (i) ensure that housing-related ads are run in a separate process designed to avoid discrimination; (ii) avoid providing targeting options for housing-related ads that describe or are related to FHA-protected characteristics; (iii) conduct regular end-to-end testing of advertising systems; (iv) proactively identify and adopt less discriminatory alternatives for AI models and algorithmic systems; (v) ensure that algorithms are similarly predictive; (vi) ensure that ad delivery systems are not resulting in differential charges on the basis of protected characteristic; and (vii) document, retain, or publicly release in-depth information about ad targeting functions and internal auditing.

    Federal Issues HUD Artificial Intelligence Biden Discrimination

  • Department of Commerce announces new actions related to Executive Order on AI

    Federal Issues

    On April 29, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) at the U.S. Department of Commerce released several announcements regarding the progress on President Biden's Executive Order on AI (covered by InfoBytes here). NIST released four draft publications aimed at enhancing AI systems' safety, security, and trustworthiness.

    The four draft publications include: (i) NIST AI 600-1 that offers a Generative AI Profile to help organizations identify and manage risks associated with generative AI; (ii) NIST SP 800-218A to expand on the Secure Software Development Framework (SSDF) and address concerns about malicious training data affecting AI systems, as well as provide potential risks and strategies for handling training data, including recommendations for analyzing data for signs of poisoning, bias, homogeneity, and tampering; (iii) NIST AI 100-4 that proposes technical methods to improve the transparency of AI-created or “synthetic” content; and (iv) NIST AI 100-5 which will outline a plan to encourage the global development of AI-related technical standards and seek feedback on areas for AI standardization, including methods for tracking the origin of digital content and shared practices for AI system testing and evaluation. Additionally, NIST is launching challenges to create methods for distinguishing between human and AI-generated content. Public comments on these initial drafts will be due by June 2.

    Federal Issues Privacy, Cyber Risk & Data Security NIST Artificial Intelligence Biden Executive Order

  • Biden announces student debt cancellation for borrowers who attended “predatory” institutions

    Federal Issues

    On May 1, the Biden Administration announced the approval of $6.1 billion in student debt cancellation for 317,000 borrowers who attended a system of art schools, which the Administration accused of engaging in deceptive practices and leaving students with significant debt and poor job prospects.

    The U.S. Department of Education found the system of art schools and its parent company guilty of significant misrepresentations about the educational value and career prospects following graduation on websites, in print material, and through misleading information from school personnel to prospective students. The school advertised an employment rate of 82 percent within six months of graduation within the field of study; however, a review of the school's records by the Department of Education alleged that graduates were inaccurately counted as employed in their study fields, inflating the figures by as much as 25 percent. Additionally, the school advertised inflated average salaries based on the same incorrect data, with testimonies indicating that school officials fabricated graduates’ earnings. All campuses of the school system closed under separate ownership in September 2023.

    Federal Issues Biden Student Lending Consumer Protection Consumer Finance

  • State AGs sue to block Biden's SAVE Plan for student loan forgiveness

    Federal Issues

    On April 1, 10 state attorneys general filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas against President Biden, the Secretary of Education, and the Department of Education seeking to block the enactment of the SAVE Plan. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the SAVE Plan was an income-driven repayment plan, intended to calculate payments based on a borrower’s income and family size, rather than the loan balance, and forgave balances after several years since repayment. According to the complaint, the government released a rule for the new SAVE Plan intended to eliminate at least $156 billion in student debt as the second step in a three-part loan forgiveness initiative. The first step involved an attempt to cancel $430 billion in student loans under the HEROES Act, which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional in Biden v. Nebraska.

    The SAVE Plan assumed $430 billion in loans would be forgiven beforehand, but after the Supreme Court's decision, the defendants allegedly did not revise the cost estimate in anticipation of overturning the case. This oversight led to a significant underestimation of the SAVE Plan's true cost; plaintiffs alleged.

    Plaintiffs further claimed that the SAVE Plan was written before the Supreme Court's ruling in Biden v. Nebraska and thus included outdated statements of confidence in the defendants' authority to pursue debt relief. The rule would take effect on July 1, but defendants allegedly have already started forgiving loans for some individuals before this date. The complaint alleged that on February 21, the Department of Education forgave the debt of 153,000 borrowers, which the state attorneys general claimed violated Biden v. Nebraska.

    Plaintiffs brought claims under the Administrative Procedure Act, contending that the Department of Education exceeded its authority under the Higher Education Act of 1965 by issuing the rule and that the rule would be arbitrary and capricious since defendants failed to account for the full cost of the rule.

    Federal Issues Courts State Attorney General SAVE Plan Student Loans Biden

  • State of the Union Address: President Biden addresses the banking industry

    Federal Issues

    On March 7, President Biden delivered his 2024 State of the Union Address, where he highlighted how his administration is actively working to reduce costs for consumers by addressing issues such as corporate price gouging and alleged “junk fees.” According to a related White House Fact Sheet, the Biden Administration was focusing on corporate practices that may contribute to high prices, urging companies to lower their prices in line with decreasing input costs and stabilize supply chains.  Biden highlighted the CFPB’s proposed rule on overdraft fees and the final rule on credit card late fees as progress in reducing alleged “junk fees.”

    Furthermore, the fact sheet highlighted the CFPB’s scrutiny of alleged practices by branded retailers and airline credit cards of devaluing points and miles and luring in consumers with misleading deferred interest products.

    Federal Issues Junk Fees CFPB Biden White House Credit Cards Consumer Finance

  • White House provides three-month update on its AI executive order

    Federal Issues

    On January 29, President Biden released a statement detailing how federal agencies have fared in complying with Executive Order 14110 regarding artificial intelligence (AI) development and safety. As previously covered by InfoBytes, President Biden’s Executive Order from October 30, 2023, outlined how the federal government can promote AI safely and in a secure way to protect U.S. citizens’ rights.

    The statement notes that federal agencies have (i) used the Defense Production Act to have AI developers report vital information to the Department of Commerce; (ii) proposed a draft rule for U.S. cloud companies to provide computing power for foreign AI training, and (iii) completed risk assessments for “vital” aspects of society. The statement further outlines how the NSF (iv) managed a pilot program to ensure that AI resources are equitably accessible to the research and education communities; (v) began the EducateAI initiative to create AI educational opportunities in K-12 through undergraduate institutions; (vi) promoted the funding of a new Regional Innovation Engines to assist in creating breakthrough clinical therapies; (vii) the OPM launched the Tech Talent Task Force to accelerate hiring data scientists in the government, and (viii) the DHHS established an AI Task Force to provide “regulatory clarity” in health care. Lastly, the statement provides additional information on various agency activities that have been completed in response to the Executive Order. More on this can be found at

    Federal Issues Biden White House Artificial Intelligence Executive Order

  • Biden Administration, DOE withhold payments to student loan servicers

    Federal Issues

    On January 5, the Biden Administration and the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) announced they are withholding payments to three student loan servicers as part of their efforts to strengthen protections for student loan borrowers and ensure accountability among servicers. The three servicers were found to have collectively failed in sending timely billing statements to a total of 758,000 borrowers during their first month of repayment. Consequently, the DOE is withholding $2 million from one servicer, $161,000 from the second, and $13,000 from the third servicer based on the number of affected borrowers.

    U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona emphasized that the DOE “will continue to engage in aggressive oversight of student loan servicers and put the interests of borrowers first.” During this period, borrowers will not be required to make payments, and any accrued interest will be adjusted to zero. Additionally, the months spent in administrative forbearance will count toward forgiveness programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness or income-driven repayment forgiveness. The DOE aims to ensure that borrowers are not negatively affected by these errors.

    Furthermore, to protect borrowers from penalties due to late or missed payments during the repayment transition, the DOE recently sent a letter to credit reporting agencies and credit scoring companies to remind them that borrowers’ current payment behavior may not accurately reflect their ability or willingness to make payments.

    Federal Issues Department of Education Biden Student Loan Servicer Student Lending

  • SBA issues new SBLC licenses for the first time in 40 years

    Federal Issues

    On November 1, the SBA announced that three new Small Business Lending Company (SBLC) licenses have been issued to lenders focused on underserved markets, which is notably the first expansion of the SBLC program in more than 40 years. An SBLC license permits lending institutions to leverage government guarantees during the process of approving small business loans, decreasing risk for the lender, and lowering costs for the borrower. Consequently, SBA noted, SBLCs can extend a greater number of loans to small businesses than would be feasible without government support. The announcement stated that SBA's current SBLCs surpass banks and credit unions in their ability to provide loans to minority-owned businesses.

    In June, the SBA opened a window for new applications for lenders. In announcing the new licensees, SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman stated that “[w]ith the addition of three new Small Business License Companies, the SBA will be able to serve even more small business owners who need capital to start, operate, and grow their businesses.” The SBA highlighted that “[e]ach of the three new SBLC license holders will focus on historically underserved markets, including small businesses in Native, rural, and low-income communities.”

    Federal Issues SBA Nonbank Consumer Finance Peer-to-Peer Loans Small Business Lending Biden Licensing

  • President Biden issues Executive Order targeting AI safety

    Federal Issues

    On October 30, President Biden issued an Executive Order (EO) outlining how the federal government can promote artifical intelligence (AI) safety and security to protect US citizens’ rights by: (i) directing AI developers to share critical information and test results with the U.S. government; (ii) developing standards for safe and secure AI systems; (iii) protecting citizens from AI-enabled fraud; (iv) establishing a cybersecurity program; and (v) creating a National Security Memorandum developed by the National Security Council to address AI security.

    President Biden also called on Congress to act by passing “bipartisan data privacy legislation” that (i) prioritizes federal support for privacy preservation; (ii) strengthens privacy technologies; (iii) evaluates agencies’ information collection processes for AI risks; and (iv) develops guidelines for federal agencies to evaluate privacy-preserving techniques. The EO additionally encourages agencies to use existing authorities to protect consumers and promote equity. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the FCC recently proposed to use AI to block unwanted robocalls and texts). The order further outlines how the U.S. can continue acting as a leader in AI innovation by catalyzing AI research, promoting a fair and competitive AI ecosystem, and expanding the highly skilled workforce by streamlining visa review.

    Federal Issues Privacy, Cyber Risk & Data Security White House Artificial Intelligence Biden Executive Order Consumer Protection

  • HUD expands access to mortgages with ADUs

    Federal Issues

    On October 16, HUD introduced a new policy that aims to make it easier for borrowers to finance Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in their primary residences. ADUs are small living units built inside, attached to, or on the same property as, the main home. This policy change allows lenders to consider ADU rental income when assessing a borrower's eligibility for an FHA mortgage.

    The new policies provide:

    • Income Flexibility: Borrowers with limited incomes can use 75% of their estimated ADU rental income to qualify for an FHA-insured mortgage for properties with existing ADUs.
    • New ADUs: For new ADUs that borrowers plan to attach to an existing structure, such as a garage or basement conversion, 50% of the estimated rental income can be used for qualification under FHA's Standard 203(k) Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance Program.
    • Appraisal Requirements: The policy includes ADU-specific appraisal guidelines to accurately assess the market value of properties with ADUs, making it easier for appraisers to report on ADU characteristics and expected rental generation.
    • New Construction: The policy also allows FHA mortgages to finance new homes built with ADUs, expanding ADU production beyond the rehabilitation of existing structures.

    The White House concurrently released a statement on the policy, noting that it is allowing rental income from ADUs to qualify for FHA-insured mortgages. HUD added that FHA-approved lenders can start offering borrowers mortgages on properties with ADUs under the new policies effective immediately.


    Federal Issues HUD Mortgages Consumer Finance Biden


Upcoming Events