Nevada joins other states to enhance privacy protections for consumers

The trend of states increasing privacy protections for consumers continues to gain momentum throughout the country. Nevada is the most recent example and enacted new legislation to enhance privacy protections for its residents. This amendment to existing online privacy and data protection laws, Senate Bill 220 (S.B. 220), will be effective on October 1, 2019. Read more >>

Compliance Management, State Regulatory

FTC takes action and fines loan servicer: How to avoid being the subject of the next case

Loan servicers, beware! The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently issued a large fine to a loan servicer, based on Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices (UDAP) standards. On April 15, 2019, the FTC and Avant, LLC, an online consumer lender and loan servicing company, entered into a settlement and stipulated order to resolve a lawsuit that alleged Avant violated federal consumer protection laws. The FTC asserted that Avant’s loan servicing practices constituted unfair and deceptive acts and practices under Section 5 of the FTC Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 41-58, as amended).

The FTC has the authority to regulate businesses engaging in interstate commerce, including online lenders that fund consumers or small businesses, and, among other areas, the FTC has oversight and enforcement obligations concerning unfair and deceptive acts and practices under the FTC Act. Unlike UDAAP under the Dodd-Frank Act, which applies only to consumer transactions, the FTC Act applies to both consumer and commercial lenders and loan servicers, as well as all other businesses operating in interstate commerce. Read more >>

Consumer Lending and Services, Legal Developments

Supreme Court opens door (a bit) to argument that in rem foreclosures not covered by FDCPA

On March 20, 2019 in Obduskey v. McCarthy & Holthus LLP, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court held that the primary definition of a “debt collector” under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) does not apply to an entity that engages in no more than security-interest enforcement. As a result, most of the debt-collector-related prohibitions of the FDCPA (besides the limited prohibitions of Section 1692f(6)) do not apply to such an entity.  

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Consumer Lending and Services, Legal Developments

Ohio goes digital: The Notary Public Modernization Act

In December 2018, now former Governor Kasich signed into law S.B. 263, also known as the Notary Public Modernization Act. The act overhauls Ohio’s notary laws and will allow documents to be notarized online through audio-video conferencing.

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Legal Developments, State Regulatory

Qualified mortgages: The uncertain future of the GSE patch

Late last month, President Trump’s administration released a wide-sweeping reform and reorganization plan for the federal government. Included in this plan was a proposal to reform two of the largest government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – in an effort to lessen government presence in the mortgage market. In anticipation of this possible change, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a request for information (RFI) from interested parties in order to gain industry input. Read More >>

 

Legal Developments

Short-term CFPB director not short on changes to bureau

Interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Mick Mulvaney has not been shy about changing the bureau’s organization and structure during his short tenure on the job. Since he was named acting director in November 2017, Mulvaney has made adjustments within the department aimed at reducing oversight and redundancies, including his recent reorganization of two major offices within the bureau. What those actions will ultimately mean for individual buyers remains to be seen, but there are some potentially significant changes for two large groups of consumers that are worth keeping an eye on over the coming months. Read More >> 

 

Legal Developments

A breath of fresh air: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines updated

In an increasingly online world, financial service providers are tasked with ensuring that their websites can be accessed by all people—regardless of cognitive or physical capabilities. The risks of failure include defense of fair lending claims, given that access to credit (through the internet) should not be denied based on disability. Until the DOJ issues a statement to the contrary, companies avoiding liability and unwanted litigation should aim to fall within the W3C’s guidelines as closely as possible.

To the relief of many, this goal may be more clearly attainable in the wake of the most recent update on June 5, 2018. The W3C issued WCAG 2.1, an updated set of guidelines that builds upon previously established rules and bolsters the organization’s internet accessibility efforts.

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Compliance Management, Legal Developments

Mortgage lenders: The “black hole” has closed

In astronomy, there can be no escape from a black hole. In the world of residential mortgage lending, the CFPB has charted a new course, finally creating an escape from one of TILA/RESPA’s most impracticable rules. On April 26, 2018, the CFPB finalized amendments to “TRID”, its “Know Before You Owe” mortgage disclosure rule.  

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Consumer Lending and Services

PHH’s hidden gem

The long-awaited en banc decision in PHH Corp., v. CFPB has finally been issued. The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and reversed a prior finding that its structure is unlawful. This case has been discussed for years, with good reason.What is truly notable is the underlying issue that was appealed in the first place:  the CFPB’s new interpretation of RESPA regarding payments for business referrals. 

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Consumer Lending and Services, Federal Regulatory, Legal Developments

TCPA: Not all leads are created equal

This year, more than 5,000 lawsuits alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) have been filed. Many of these suits are destined for class action status.

The TCPA, in its present state, is almost unworkable for most modern businesses, most of which now drive business through technology and automation. If your company is engaging in any form of phone sales based on leads created through the internet or smart phone applications, it is particularly at risk. Read more >>

Federal Regulatory, State Regulatory
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