On April 25th, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB” or “Bureau”) issued a request for information (“RFI”) asking for input about the scope of its Remittance Rule (the “Rule”), whether the Bureau should exempt certain small financial institutions from the Rule, and how the expiration of the Rule’s “temporary exemption” for insured depository institutions and credit unions would adversely affect consumers. Comments are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.Read More
By Eric A. Love
On July 18, 2018, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) Acting Director Mick Mulvaney announced that Paul Watkins, who previously led the FinTech initiatives in the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, will head the CFPB’s newly created Office of Innovation. According to a CFPB press release about the selection, the Office of Innovation will replace the CFPB’s Project Catalyst initiative (which the CFPB launched in 2012) and will “focus on creating policies to facilitate innovation, engaging with entrepreneurs and regulators, and reviewing outdated or unnecessary regulations.” Project Catalyst and the Office of Innovation share the stated overarching objective of promoting “consumer-friendly innovation” in consumer financial services.
By Eric A. Love and Dan S. Cohen
With Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney in place as Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and a legal challenge to his appointment to that position brought by CFPB Deputy Director Leandra English continuing to proceed through the courts, prepaid industry participants are rightly asking what this ongoing leadership dispute means for the CFPB’s sweeping Final Rule amending Regulation E and Regulation Z as applied to prepaid accounts.
Over the last several years, a number of U.S. state and federal government enforcement actions have challenged the viability of the bank partnership model that many marketplace lenders have used to fund consumer and small business loans. Specifically, regulators have argued that, in partnerships where the non-bank entity controls much of the funding process or the bank has little-to-no risk of loss, the non-bank entity is the “true lender.”
The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently issued its first no-action letter, pursuant to a policy designed to encourage innovation in the fintech marketplace by creating a testing ground for new technologies. If received, a no-action letter simply indicates that the CFPB “has no present intention to recommend initiation of an enforcement or supervisory action” against the applicant with respect to the specific product and regulatory concerns at issue.
On April 20, the CFPB issued a final rule to delay for six months the October 1, 2017 effective date of its comprehensive Final Rule amending Regulation E and Regulation Z as applied to prepaid accounts. The Final Rule will now become effective on April 1, 2018.
In announcing the delay, the CFPB indicated that it has decided to “revisit at least two substantive issues” in the Final Rule through a separate rulemaking process. Based on CFPB Director Richard Cordray’s recent testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, the two substantive issues most likely relate to: (1) the Final Rule’s applicability to “the linking of credit cards to digital wallets that are capable of storing funds,” and (2) error resolution for unregistered prepaid cards. The CFPB can be expected to issue a proposal on these issues “in the coming weeks.”
Notably, the CFPB’s action could help to address concerns raised by Congressional Republicans about the scope of the Final Rule and its potential impact on industry participants and consumers, thus complicating ongoing efforts in Congress to repeal the Final Rule using the Congressional Review Act (CRA). In order to repeal the Final Rule utilizing the CRA, Congress would be required to pass a repeal bill by May 9, 2017.
On March 9th, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) issued a proposed rule to delay for six months the October 1, 2017 effective date of its sweeping Final Rule amending Regulation E and Regulation Z as applied to prepaid accounts. Under the proposed rule, the Final Rule would become effective on April 1, 2018.
The proposed rule would not revise any other aspect of the Final Rule, and comes as numerous prepaid account industry participants have expressed concerns about its scope and their ability to comply with key provisions by the current October 1 effective date. Additionally, the proposed delay follows the recent introduction of legislation in Congress that would use the Congressional Review Act to repeal the Final Rule. According to the CFPB, the proposed delay would “be sufficient for industry participants to ensure they can comply” with the Final Rule and would provide the CFPB the opportunity to receive public comments about any implementation challenges that might impact consumers, the prepaid account industry and other stakeholders.
After publication in the Federal Register, the public will have 21 days to comment on the proposed rule.
In the days following the U.S. federal elections that resulted in the election of Donald Trump as President and Republican control of the 115th Congress, FinTech companies, banks, and other financial institutions are increasingly asking whether they still need to worry about compliance with the landmark Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank”), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) regulatory actions, and other financial services regulations.
It is true that there will likely be some significant regulatory changes, but it is a little too early for industry participants to pop the champagne corks.
To see are our thoughts about some of the top issues impacting FinTech companies, banks and other financial institutions, click here.
As noted in our previous blog post, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) finalized on October 5 its long-awaited Final Rule for prepaid accounts under the implementing regulations for the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (Regulation E) and the Truth in Lending Act (Regulation Z). Effective October 1, 2017, the Final Rule clocks in at nearly 1,700 pages and represents the most significant change to the legal and regulatory landscape of the prepaid account industry since the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s issuance in 2011 of a final rule regarding prepaid access. Although the CFPB’s Final Rule retains many key aspects of the agency’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) on prepaid accounts, the Final Rule differs from the NPRM in a number of important respects and will create a new set of compliance hurdles for the prepaid account industry.
In our alert entitled “CFPB Finalizes Expansive Prepaid Account Rule Creating New Compliance Hurdles,” we provide a comprehensive analysis of the Final Rule and highlight several notable differences between the Final Rule and the NPRM. You can read the full alert here.
A California federal court has held that the purchaser of consumer loans is the “true lender” and thus subject to state usury laws, even though a separate entity funded and closed the loans in its own name. The recent decision, however, is another reminder that US state and federal regulators, as well as plaintiffs’ attorneys, may be able to pierce these partnerships where the financial institution funding and closing the loan does not bear substantial risk on those loans.