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  • CFPB Modifies Final Remittance Rule to Exempt Small Banks

    Fintech

    On August 7, the CFPB released a final rule supplementing and modifying a previously issued rule that amends Regulation E and requires remittance transfer providers to (i) deliver written pre-payment disclosures of the exchange rates and fees associated with a transfer of funds, as well as the amount of funds the recipient will receive, and (ii) investigate consumer disputes and remedy errors. With the previous final rule, the CFPB sought comment on additional revisions that would (i) set a specific safe harbor for remittance transfer providers that do not provide such services in the “normal course of business” and (ii) apply the new disclosure and cancellation requirements in cases where the request is made several days in advance of the transfer date. In response to those comments, the modified rule now exempts institutions that do not provide transfers in the “normal course of business” if they consistently conduct 100 or fewer remittance transfers per year. The final rule also modifies several aspects of the prior rule regarding remittance transfers that are scheduled before the date of transfer, including preauthorized remittance transfers.

    CFPB EFTA

  • Federal Reserve Banks Publish Report on Regulatory Landscape for Mobile Payments

    Fintech

    Recently, the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta and Boston published a report on an April 2012 meeting of the Mobile Payments Industry Workgroup and representatives from federal and state banking regulators, the FTC, and the FCC to review the regulatory landscape for mobile payments. The paper notes that (i) remote payments and money transfers are beginning to emerge to facilitate person-to-person payments and cannot be ignored from a regulatory perspective, (ii) growth in nonbank money transfer services is subjecting more nontraditional technology-based companies to state money transmitter licenses and related regulatory oversight, and (iii) the CSBS and the Money Transmitter Regulators Association are creating a nationwide cooperative supervisory system for the coordinated multistate examination of money transmitters. The report also reflects the meeting participants’ consensus that the existing regulatory framework is sufficient for today’s mobile payment services. Still, the report states that the CFPB plans to review mobile payment disclosure practices to ensure that consumers have sufficient information in the event of account discrepancies, assess how disclosures are provided to consumers, and evaluate how the parties in mobile payment transactions handle error resolution and liabilities.

    CFPB FTC Mobile Payment Systems

  • CFPB Exercises Enforcement Authority Against Alleged Mortgage Modification Scheme

    Consumer Finance

    On July 18, the CFPB filed suit against a group of California companies and individuals alleged to have orchestrated a mortgage modification scam in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act and Regulation O. According to the CFPB, the defendants engaged in deceptive acts by promising loan modifications in exchange for an advance fee and misrepresenting affiliation with government entities, while taking little or no action to assist borrowers. This is the first known instance in which the CFPB has brought an enforcement action in court. The CFPB is seeking preliminary and permanent injunction, as well as rescission or reformation of contracts, refund of moneys paid, restitution, and disgorgement or compensation for unjust enrichment.

    CFPB Mortgage Servicing

  • CFPB Publishes Semiannual Report

    Consumer Finance

    On July 30, the CFPB published its second semiannual report to Congress. The report, which is mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act, provides an update of CFPB activities from January 1, 2012 through June 30, 2012. Included in the report is an overview of the CFPB’s complaint handling process and updated summary information about complaints received to date. The CFPB also states that it is currently conducting investigations spanning the “full breadth of the Bureau’s enforcement jurisdiction” while attempting to focus on violations that cause the most harm to consumers. As in the first report, this report identifies consumer “shopping challenges”, highlights planned regulatory activities for the remainder of 2012, and compiles citations to testimony and speeches delivered, and reports prepared or expected to be prepared over the coming months.

    CFPB Dodd-Frank

  • FTC Submits Staff Comments on CFPB's Proposed Prepaid Card Regulation

    Fintech

    On July 30, the FTC released staff comments submitted in response to the CFPB’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding the regulation of prepaid cards. The CFPB issued the Notice in May, noting its intention to extend Regulation E to cover general purpose reloadable gift cards and seeking comment, data, and information about such cards. In response, the FTC staff comments review the current regulation of payment cards, and identify for the CFPB’s consideration several consumer protection issues that may arise with regard to prepaid cards, including (i) liability limits, (ii) disclosure and fees expiration dates, (iii) error resolution procedures, (iv) authorization standards for recurrent payments, and (v) consumer access to account information.

    CFPB FTC Debit Cards EFTA

  • CFPB Releases Report on Private Student Loans, Testifies in Senate

    Consumer Finance

    On July 20, the CFPB released a report on private student loans, prepared in conjunction with the Department of Education. Pursuant to Section 1077 of the Dodd-Frank Act, the report covers (i) the evolution and current state of the private lending market, (ii) the characteristics of consumers of private student loans, (iii) consumer protections, including recent changes and possible gaps, (iv) fair lending compliance information currently available and its implications, and (v) statutory or legislative recommendations to improve consumer protections. The report includes a series of recommendations from the CFPB and the Department of Education. The CFPB recommends that Congress require lenders to obtain a certification of the student’s financial need from the educational institution before disbursing private student loan funds. The CFPB also recommends that Congress examine the impact that the 2005 amendments to the bankruptcy code that made private student loans non-dischargeable in bankruptcy absent a showing of undue hardship, have had on young borrowers. On July 24, the CFPB’s Student Loan Ombudsman appeared before the Senate Banking Committee’s Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection to discuss the report and the CFPB’s recommendations. The hearing also included testimony from consumer groups and one private student lender.

    CFPB Dodd-Frank Student Lending

  • Bills Introduced on Regulation of Short Term, Small Dollar Lending

    Consumer Finance

    On July 18, Representatives Luetkemeyer (R-MO) and Baca (D-CA) introduced H.R. 6139, a bill that would create a national charter for qualified non-depository creditors, to be known as National Consumer Credit Corporations (NCCCs). The bill would task the OCC with assessing applications with a focus on the applicant institution’s ability to offer products that provide credit to underserved consumers, and developing a process for approving financial products to be offered by NCCCs.  The OCC would be able to establish an annual fee for a charter, but it would not be permitted to restrict the method by which an NCCC offers its products, or to establish usury limits. NCCCs would be subject to certain restrictions, including a prohibition on consumer loans with terms of 30 days or less. The House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit held a hearing to consider H.R. 6139 on July 24, 2012.

    On July 24, Senators Merkley (D-OR), Udall (D-NM), and Durbin (D-IL) introduced a bill, first revealed by Senator Merkley in March 2012, and now formalized as S. 3426, the Stopping Abuse and Fraud in Electronic Lending Act. According to a press release, the bill seeks to  (i) ensure that a third party doesn’t gain control of a consumer’s account through remotely created checks, (ii) allow consumers to cancel a debit in connection with a small-dollar loan, (iii) require all lenders, including banks, to abide by a state’s rules for small-dollar, payday-like loans they offer customers in the state, (iv) ban lead generators and anonymously registered payday lending websites, and (v) give the CFPB authority to shut down payment processing for lenders that are violating state and other consumer lending laws through the Internet.

    CFPB Payday Lending Nonbank Supervision

  • Congress Acts on Bills Regarding Protection of Information Submitted to CFPB and ATM Fee Disclosure Requirements

    Fintech

    On July 12, Representatives Renacci (R-OH) and Perlmutter (D-CO) introduced H.R. 6125, a bill that would amend the Federal Deposit Insurance Act to grant protections to documents and information submitted by banks and nonbanks to the CFPB and state bank and financial regulators. H.R. 4014, a similar bill, previously passed the House with broad bipartisan support. The House also recently passed by a wide margin H.R. 4367, a bill to eliminate the EFTA requirement that ATM providers attach a fee disclosure placard to their machines. On July 17, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Johnson (D-SD) introduced with the support of Ranking Member Shelby (R-AL) S. 3394, which combines versions of H.R. 4014 and H.R. 4367 for Senate consideration.

    CFPB Nonbank Supervision

  • CFPB Announces First Public Enforcement Action; Issues Related Compliance Bulletin

    Consumer Finance

    On July 18, the CFPB announced its first public enforcement action - a Consent Order entered into by a major credit card issuer to resolve allegations that the issuer’s vendors deceptively marketed ancillary products such as payment protection and credit monitoring. The OCC made a corresponding enforcement announcement and released a Cease and Desist Order and Civil Money Penalty to resolve related charges. Under the CFPB order, the issuer will refund approximately $140 million to roughly two million customers, and will pay a $25 million penalty. The OCC order requires restitution of approximately $150 million (of which $140 million overlaps with the CFPB order) and an additional $35 million civil money penalty. Under both agencies’ actions, the issuer is prohibited from selling and marketing certain ancillary products until it obtains approval to do so from the regulators, and the issuer must take specific actions to enhance compliance with consumer financial laws.

    Concurrently, the CFPB issued Bulletin 2012-06, which states that the CFPB expects supervised institutions and their vendors to offer ancillary products in compliance with federal consumer financial laws. The guidance cites “CFPB supervisory experience [that] indicates that some credit card issuers have employed deceptive promotional practices when marketing” such products, including (i) failing to adequately disclose terms and conditions, (ii) enrolling customers without their consent, and (iii) billing for services not performed. The Bulletin reviews applicable federal law and outlines the compliance program components that the CFPB expects supervised institutions to maintain.

    Credit Cards CFPB OCC Enforcement Ancillary Products

  • CFPB Releases Semiannual Regulatory Agenda

    Consumer Finance

    On July 16, the CFPB announced the release of its spring 2012 rulemaking agenda. The agenda lists the regulatory matters that the CFPB anticipates pursuing during the period June 1, 2012 through May 31, 2013. It also updates the CFPB’s first-ever such agenda, published as part of the fall 2011 Unified Agenda. For example, the updated agenda indicates that the CFPB expects to issue by January 2013, an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding the registration of certain nonbank entities, whereas the fall 2011 agenda anticipated a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on this topic by March 2012. Similarly, the new rulemaking agenda updates the date by which the CFPB expects to take further action on developing regulations concerning the expanded HMDA data collection required by the Dodd-Frank Act from October 2012 to April 2013.

    CFPB Dodd-Frank Nonbank Supervision Bank Compliance

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