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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations


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  • FHFA and the Enterprises release Language Access Plan

    Federal Issues

    On May 10, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises), in conjunction with the Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA), released a Language Access Multi-Year Plan (Plan), which identifies potential solutions for the obstacles faced by limited English proficiency (LEP) borrowers in accessing mortgage credit. The Plan was developed based on research and testing conducted in 2016 and 2017 to assist the Enterprises and FHFA in identifying the issues faced by LEP borrowers throughout the mortgage cycle. Key milestones for the Enterprises and FHFA for 2018 and beyond include (i) creating a clearinghouse with centralized resources, such as translated mortgage documents; (ii) establishing a language access working group; (iii) developing a disclosure that accompanies the Preferred Language Question on the Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) (previously covered by InfoBytes here); (iv) developing glossaries that include mortgage and real estate terms; (v) in addition to Spanish, translating the URLA into additional languages; and (vi) creating a language access line to provide consumers with assistance expeditiously.

    Federal Issues FHFA Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Mortgages URLA Language Access

  • HUD announces plan to seek public comment on Disparate Impact Regulation

    Federal Issues

    On May 10, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced its intention to seek public comment on whether the 2013 Disparate Impact Regulation (Regulation), which provides a framework for establishing legal liability for facially neutral practices that have a discriminatory effect under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), is consistent with the 2015 Supreme Court ruling in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.  (Covered by a Buckley Sandler Special Alert.) The Supreme Court upheld the use of a disparate impact theory to establish liability under the Fair Housing Act, but according to HUD’s announcement, the Court only referenced the Regulation in its ruling but did not directly rule upon it.

    As previously covered by InfoBytes, in October 2017, the Treasury Department called on HUD to reconsider the Regulation as it relates to the insurance industry – specifically, to homeowner’s insurance.


    Federal Issues HUD FHA Disparate Impact Fair Lending U.S. Supreme Court Mortgages Mortgage Insurance

  • House approves repeal of CFPB’s 2013 indirect auto guidance

    Federal Issues

    On May 8, the House voted to repeal, under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), CFPB Bulletin 2013-02 (Bulletin) on indirect auto lending and compliance with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA). As previously covered by InfoBytes, the Senate approved the resolution on April 18 and the White House issued a Statement of Administrative Policy supporting the Senate resolution; it is expected that President Trump will sign the measure soon.

    If the measure is successful, this would be the first time that Congress has used the CRA to repeal a regulatory issuance outside the statute’s general 60-day period. In December 2017, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a letter to Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa) stating that “the Bulletin is a general statement of policy and a rule” that is subject to override under the CRA, which allowed for the Senate to introduce the resolution measure years after the CFPB released the Bulletin.


    Federal Issues Congressional Review Act Agency Rule-Making & Guidance GAO U.S. Senate U.S. House CFPB Succession CFPB Auto Finance

  • VA updates Disaster Loan Modification guidance regarding re-amortization

    Federal Issues

    On May 8, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released clarification of its Disaster Loan Modification guidance in circular 26-17-39. (Previously covered by InfoBytes here.) The revised circular now allows a servicer to re-amortize if necessary to meet investor guidelines, so long as the new monthly payment is the same or less than the current.

    Find more InfoBytes disaster relief coverage here.

    Federal Issues Disaster Relief Department of Veterans Affairs Mortgages Mortgage Modification

  • CFPB Succession: Bureau dismantles Office for Students; no longer plans student loan regulations; and more

    Federal Issues

    On May 9, according to multiple reports, the CFPB internally announced that the Bureau would eliminate the Office of Students & Younger Consumers and move its staff into the Office of Financial Education as part of acting Director Mulvaney’s agency reorganization. The Bureau will continue to have a Student Loan Ombudsman position, which is required by the Dodd-Frank Act. It is also reported that the Bureau intends to create a new “Office of Cost Benefit Analysis” and rename certain existing offices. As previously covered by InfoBytes, acting Director Mulvaney plans to move the Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity from the Division of Supervision, Enforcement and Fair Lending to the Office of the Director, in order to focus on “advocacy, coordination and education.”  Day-to-day responsibility for enforcement and supervision oversight will remain in the renamed Division of Supervision and Enforcement (SE).

    The Office of Management Budget (OMB) released the CFPB’s Spring 2018 rulemaking agenda, which no longer includes “Student Loan Servicing” as a Long-Term Action. In previous agendas, the Bureau described its plan for Student Loan Servicing as “The CFPB will continue to monitor the student loan servicing market for trends and developments.  As this work continues, the Bureau will evaluate possible policy responses, including potential rulemaking.  Possible topics for consideration might include specific acts or practices and consumer disclosures.” In addition to dropping Student Loan Servicing, the Spring 2018 agenda also no longer lists plans for Supervision of Larger Participants in Markets for Personal Loans, Overdraft Services, or Submission of Credit Card Agreements under TILA (more information on the CFPB’s previous plans for these rules can be found here).

    As expected, the Spring 2018 agenda also included two new additions to the Proposed Rule Stage:

    • HMDA. The Bureau has previously announced it intends to engage in a broader rulemaking to (i) re-examine the criteria determining whether institutions are required to report data; (ii) adjust the requirements related to reporting certain types of transactions; and (iii) re-evaluate the required reporting of additional information beyond the data points required by the Dodd-Frank Act (InfoBytes coverage here). The Bureau indicates it expects a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on any changes to the HMDA rule before 2019. 
    • Payday, Vehicle Title, and Certain High-Cost Installment Loans. In January, the Bureau announced the intention to reconsider the 2017 payday rule (covered by InfoBytes here). The OMB agenda indicates the Bureau expects a NPRM by February 2019.

    Notably, the CFPB continues to include “Debt Collection Rule” in a Proposed Rule Stage, as it has in previous agenda iterations. However, the Bureau has extended the deadline for its NPRM to February 2019.


    Federal Issues CFPB Succession Student Lending CFPB Overdraft Debt Collection Payday Lending HMDA

  • FFIEC releases 2017 HMDA data; CFPB releases new annual report on mortgage market activity and trends

    Federal Issues

    On May 7, the Federal Financial Institutions Examinations Council released the 2017 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data on mortgage lending transactions covering information submitted by financial institutions on or before April 18. The data will not remain static, but instead will be updated on an on-going basis to reflect late submissions and resubmissions. The data currently include information on 14.1 million actions: 12.1 million home loan applications, 7.3 million of which resulted in loan originations, and 2.1 million in purchased loans. Observations from the CFPB on the data include: (i) total number of originated loans decreased by 12.4 percent; home-purchase lending increased by 4 percent; (ii) nondepository, independent mortgage companies accounted for 56.1 percent of first-lien owner-occupied home purchase loans (up from 53.3 percent in 2016); and (iii) the share of refinance loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers increased from 16.9 percent to 22.9 percent.

    On the same day, the CFPB also released its first annual series of data points describing mortgage market activity based on data reported under HMDA. The report summarizes the 2017 HMDA data and recent trends in the mortgage market.


    Federal Issues CFPB FFIEC HMDA Mortgages Mortgage Origination

  • Trade groups petition FCC to clarify definition of autodialer under TCPA

    Federal Issues

    On May 3, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Bankers Association, and over a dozen more trade associations petitioned the FCC seeking a declaratory ruling on the definition of an “automatic telephone dialing system” (autodialer) under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The petition results from the recent D.C. Circuit decision (covered by a Buckley Sandler Special Alert), which struck down the FCC’s 2015 definition of an autodialer as “unreasonably expansive” because it failed to adequately describe what functions qualify a device as an autodialer. The petition seeks clarity on the definition of an autodialer that is subject to Section 227(b) of the TCPA, and specifically requests the FCC state that in order to be considered an autodialer, the equipment must “store or produce numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator, and dial such numbers.” Additionally, the petition requests that only calls made using the actual autodialer capabilities be subject to the restrictions of the TCPA. The petitioners argue that adopting the requested definition would “ensure that legitimate businesses can contact their consumers without fearing a lawsuit under Section 227(b) of the TCPA.”

    Federal Issues TCPA Consumer Finance FCC Autodialer

  • FTC settles with cellphone manufacturer over data security issues

    Privacy, Cyber Risk & Data Security

    On April 30, the FTC and a Florida cellphone manufacturer entered into a settlement over allegations that the manufacturer allowed third party data collection from customer phones after falsely claiming data collection was limited only to information needed by the third parties to perform requested services. According to the complaint, released at the same time as the settlement, the manufacturer contracted with a Chinese technology company to issue security and operating system updates to the manufacturer’s devices. When issuing those updates, the Chinese company collected and transferred personal information about the device owners without their consent or knowledge, including text messages, call logs, and contact lists. In November 2016, the public became aware of this practice and the manufacturer issued a notice informing its customers that the Chinese company changed its software to no longer collect the personal information. However, the manufacturer allegedly continued to allow this practice on older devices. The FTC alleges that the manufacturer failed to perform adequate due diligence in the selection of the Chinese company and failed to adopt and implement written security standards for their third-party providers. Under the settlement, the manufacturer, among other things, is (i) prohibited from future misrepresentations about security and privacy; (ii) required to establish and implement a comprehensive data security program; and (iii) subject to data security assessments every two years by a third party for the next 20 years.

    Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security Federal Issues FTC Third-Party

  • PHH will not challenge CFPB’s constitutionality with Supreme Court


    PHH will not seek to appeal the January 31 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which upheld the CFPB’s constitutionality in a 7-3 decision. (Covered by a Buckley Sandler Special Alert.) The Supreme Court requires petitions for writ of certiorari to be filed within 90 days of the decision, which would have put PHH’s deadline around May 1. According to reports, a PHH spokesperson confirmed the company did not file the petition but declined to provide further comment.

    As previously covered by InfoBytes, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit recently agreed to hear a similar challenge to the constitutionality of the CFPB’s single-director structure by two Mississippi-based payday loan and check cashing companies.

    Courts PHH v. CFPB CFPB Dodd-Frank Federal Issues D.C. Circuit Appellate CFPB Succession Single-Director Structure

  • Senators release report on credit reporting agency from data in CFPB’s public complaint database

    Federal Issues

    On April 30, three Democratic Senate Banking Committee members released a report addressing publicly available complaints the CFPB received regarding the 2017 data breach announcement by a national credit reporting agency. In a letter to the CFPB, which accompanied the release of the report, the Senators encouraged the Bureau to “hold [the credit reporting agency] accountable and act quickly and decisively to protection the millions of consumers harmed by the breach.” Additionally, the Senators make a plea for the CFPB to continue to keep consumer complaints public, citing to recent remarks by Mulvaney that the database would soon be removed from public view. According to the report, within six months of the data breach announcement—which reportedly affected 143 million American consumers—the CFPB received over 20,000 complaints against the company. Of the 20,000 complaints, the issues consumers mentioned include (i) “improper use of a credit report after the breach”; (ii) “incorrect information on credit report”; (iii) “[Company]’s inadequate assistance in resolving problems after the breach”; and (iv) “[Company]’s credit monitoring services, fraud alerts, security freezes, and other identity theft protection products.” The report also cites to specific narratives from consumer complaints that were available through the CFPB’s consumer complaint database.

    Federal Issues CFPB Consumer Complaints Data Breach Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security Credit Reporting Agency


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