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A.J. is a special counsel in the Finance and Bankruptcy Practice Group in the firm's Washington, D.C. office.

On July 13, the Federal Reserve, FDIC, and OCC proposed risk management guidance to help banking organizations manage risks related to third-party relationships, including relationships with vendors, FinTech companies, affiliates, and the banking organizations’ holding companies.  The proposal is based on existing but disparate third-party risk management guidance from the three prudential regulators, and is intended to promote consistency across the banking agencies.  If finalized, it will replace the guidance that each agency has released independently.

Continue Reading Federal Agencies Request Comments on Risk Management Guidance for Third-Party Relationships

On July 12, the CFPB issued a consent order against a FinTech company for facilitating point of sale financing activities without authorization from consumers.  The consent order requires the company to pay up to approximately $9 million in redress to impacted consumers and a $2.5 million civil money penalty.

Continue Reading CFPB Takes Action Against FinTech Company for Originating Unauthorized Loans

On July 1, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released a Policy Statement on its commitment to comprehensive fair lending oversight of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks (collectively, “regulated entities”).  The FHFA addressed its position on:  (i) monitoring and information gathering; (ii) supervisory examinations; and (iii) administrative enforcement related to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act.  The FHFA added that the statement operates as a “foundation for future interpretations by the agency and its regulated entities.”  Comments on the policy statement are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Continue Reading FHFA Releases Policy Statement On Fair Lending

On July 6, the CFPB posted a blog titled, “Should you buy now and pay later?” describing how buy now pay later (BNPL) deferred payment options work, and the benefits and risks that come with BNPL.  Generally, if a consumer selects the BNPL option at an online checkout, “the purchase is . . . split into a payment schedule – typically four fixed payments made bi-weekly or monthly until the balance is paid in full.”  The CFPB points out that transaction approval takes minutes, with no interest, finance charges, or hard credit inquiries.

Continue Reading CFPB Blogs About Buy Now Pay Later

At the recent FDIC conference, “Fintech: A Bridge to Economic Inclusion,” FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams remarked that while the proportion of U.S. households that were banked in 2019 was 94.6 percent, 7 million households still reported no banking relationship.  She also noted that “the rates for Black and Hispanic households who do not have a checking or savings account at a bank remain substantially higher than the overall ‘unbanked’ rate.”  Referencing her personal challenges in establishing credit as a young immigrant to the United States 30 years ago, McWilliams discussed technology’s role in creating and facilitating a more inclusive financial system through the FDIC’s multi-pronged, novel approach to tackle the issue of financial inclusion, which includes:

Continue Reading FDIC Chairman Discusses FinTech and Bank Innovation

On June 29, the CFPB and the Georgia Attorney General’s Office settled with a debt-relief and credit-repair company and its owners for allegedly deceiving consumers into hiring the company to lower or eliminate credit-card debts and improve consumers’ credit scores.  The complaint alleges that the plaintiffs’ use of telemarketing and direct mail violated the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the Consumer Financial Protection Act, and Georgia’s Fair Business Practices Act by, among other things, falsely claiming that:

Continue Reading CFPB and Georgia AG Settle With Debt-Relief Company

On June 29, NYDFS announced that two New York-charted banks engaging in indirect auto lending will pay civil money penalties for violating New York’s fair lending law for engaging in practices that resulted in members of protected classes paying higher interest rates that were not based on creditworthiness.  In particular, NYDFS asserts that the practice of allowing “dealer markup” in setting retail interest rates resulted in statistically significant differences in pricing, disadvantaging Hispanic and African-American consumers, with differences ranging from 20 to 59 basis points.

Continue Reading DFS Settles with Indirect Auto Lenders to Resolve Fair Lending Violations

On June 29, the CFPB released its summer 2021 Supervisory Highlights.  The findings of the report, which cover examinations that generally were completed between January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020, are issued to “help institutions and the general public better understand how the Bureau examines institutions for compliance with Federal consumer financial law.”

Continue Reading CFPB Issues Summer 2020 Supervisory Highlights

On June 24, the U.S. House of Representatives passed S.J. Res. 15 by a vote of 218-208 to repeal the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC) “True Lender” rule under the Congressional Review Act (CRA).  The OCC published the rule last year to establish a “simple, bright-line test” to determine when a national bank or federal savings association is the true lender. Under the rule, a bank is the true lender and makes a loan if, as of the date of origination, it (i) is named as the lender in the loan agreement or (ii) funds the loan.  Further, the final rule amended the initial proposed rule and added that if, as of the date of origination, one bank is named as the lender in the loan agreement and another bank funds that loan, the bank that is named as the lender in the loan agreement is deemed to have made the loan.  The U.S. Senate passed S.J. Res. 15 last month by vote of 52-47 to invoke the CRA and provide for congressional disapproval and invalidation of the final rule. The repeal now heads to President Biden who is expected to sign it.

Continue Reading House Votes to Repeal OCC True Lender Rule

On June 15, the Senate swore in President Biden nominee Lina Khan as Chair of the FTC following confirmation by vote of 69-28.  Her current term on the Commission will expire on September 25, 2024.  Khan noted that she looks forward to working with her colleagues “to protect the public from corporate abuse.”  In her role as Chair, Khan replaces former Acting Chair, Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, who served in the role since January 2021.  Prior to becoming Chair of the Commission, Khan was an Associate Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. She also previously served as counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law, legal adviser to FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra, and legal director at the Open Markets Institute.  Chopra, who is awaiting Senate confirmation as the Director of the CFPB, remarked in his official statement that the “overwhelming support in the Senate for Lina Khan’s nomination to serve on the [FTC] is a big win for fair competition in our country.  There is a growing consensus that the FTC must turn the page on the failed policies spanning multiple administrations.  Lina has an extraordinary record of achievement, and she will be instrumental in helping the Commission chart a new course grounded in rigor and reality.”

Continue Reading Lina Khan Sworn in as New FTC Chair

On June 16, the CFPB issued an interpretive rule reversing its prior determination that it lacked authority to examine institutions for compliance with the Military Lending Act (MLA).  In 2018, the CFPB discontinued checking for MLA compliance during supervisory examinations on the grounds that Congress had not authorized such examination authority under the Dodd-Frank Act.  As a result, the new interpretive rule sets forth the statutory basis to examine institutions that it supervises for MLA compliance as follows:
Continue Reading CFPB to Resume Examinations Under the Military Lending Act