The recent final rule (the “Rule”) implementing the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) only directly governs parties defined as “debt collectors” by the FDCPA, principally meaning those who collect delinquent debt for others.[1]  However, this Rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, accompanied by a 560-page Preamble, will also likely influence the collection activities of “creditors” — i.e., those collectors that fall outside that “debt collector” definition — in various ways.[2]  The Rule also will affect how creditors should work with the debt collectors they hire.  In this Alert, we focus specifically on these different impacts of the Rule on creditors.  The Rule will take effect one year from the date it is published in the Federal Register.
Continue Reading What Creditors Need to Know About the Final Debt Collection Rule

Announcements Mark Out a Clearer Path, but MSAs and Gifts Still Require Careful Review

Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB” or “Bureau”) announced significant changes to how it will view the legality of Marketing and Services Agreements (“MSAs”) under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (“RESPA”).  Most strikingly, the Bureau formally rescinded its controversial Compliance Bulletin 2015-05:  RESPA Compliance and Marketing Services Agreements (Oct. 8, 2015) (“2015 MSA Bulletin”).  MSAs historically have been used as a way for settlement service providers to gain access to additional potential customers via paid advertising and marketing services.  But the 2015 Bulletin, issued after a string of Bureau RESPA enforcement actions, expressed the view that virtually all MSAs should be scrutinized and pose a high risk of violating RESPA’s prohibitions on paid referrals and/or the splitting of unearned fees.[1]

In addition to rescinding the prior guidance, the Bureau last week also released a slew of new “Frequently Asked Questions” (“FAQs”) on the legality of MSAs, gifts and promotional activities, and other RESPA matters.  In all, the Bureau’s actions last week on MSAs in particular amount to a further repudiation of aggressive RESPA interpretations that the agency advanced during the last decade.Continue Reading CFPB Rescinds RESPA Bulletin on Marketing and Services Agreements and Publishes Important FAQs

California’s financial services regulator soon will likely have a new name and a significantly expanded mission after state lawmakers passed legislation on August 31, 2020 that would revamp the agency in the image of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, signaling an increased focus on fintech in particular.

In a last-minute push before adjourning for the year, the California legislature sent the California Consumer Financial Protection Law (“CCFPL”) to Governor Gavin Newsom for his approval, which is expected.  The CCFPL would change the name of the state’s current financial services regulator, the Department of Business Oversight (“DBO”), to the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (“DFPI”). The reorganization of the California regulator under the CCFPL includes greatly expanded jurisdiction, rule-making authority, and enforcement resources to prosecute unfair, abusive, or deceptive acts or practices (“UDAAP”). The bill would take effect on January 1, 2021.Continue Reading The New California Consumer Financial Protection Law

This week’s U.S. Supreme Court opinion in Seila Law v. CFPB reached its most widely expected conclusion, ultimately allowing the CFPB to continue to operate. But the opinion also raises questions about previously initiated CFPB enforcement actions, and arguably raises constitutional issues about the many other federal agencies whose leaders are insulated from removal by

In a landmark case last week, the Supreme Court held in Bostock v. Clayton Co., Ga. that the prohibition on sex-based discrimination in employment is violated when an employee is fired on the basis of homosexuality or transgender status.  This article briefly explains why that decision, based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

There are widespread expectations that the Supreme Court, following an oral argument last week, may rule that part of the law that created the CFPB is unconstitutional.  As a result, many business executives, in particular, have been asking their lawyers about the likely impact of such a ruling.  These questions have included ones like:  Could

FINRA’s examination program has undergone its most significant reorganization in decades. As stated in a press release, Oct. 1, 2018, FINRA’s goal for the reorganization was to “consolidate its Examination and Risk Monitoring Programs, integrating three separate programs into a single, unified program to drive more effective oversight and greater consistency, eliminate duplication and

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider the constitutionality of the Dodd-Frank Act law that prohibits the President from removing a CFPB Director except for “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance” — the so-called “for cause” restriction (see 12 U.S.C. §5491(c)(c)).  The Court’s decision to address this restriction, which the CFPB

On Tuesday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“Bureau”) published a revised No Action Letter (“NAL”) policy aimed at offering financial innovators an avenue for obtaining more regulatory certainty before introducing new products and services. The Bureau paired its release of the revised NAL policy with an announcement of two new, related policies: one aimed at