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 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 17, 2021, President Biden signed Senate Bill 475 into law, making “Juneteenth” a federal holiday. Because June 19th (tomorrow) falls on a Saturday this year, the day will be observed by federal government offices on June 18, 2021 (today).

Continue Reading Immediate Enactment Of Juneteenth As A Federal Holiday Will Have Significant Impact On Mortgage Lenders And Other Consumer Lenders

OK, so you’re a sophisticated lending attorney in Metropolis who is comfortable with everything from aircraft financing to syndicated loans secured by casinos in Macau. Yet you feel a twinge of uncertainty when a business loan is to be secured by wine inventory made from grapes grown in both California and Washington. You know intuitively that anytime farmers, ranchers or food processors are in the mix, either as a borrower or a supplier to the borrower, the underwriting and documentation challenges are not uniform on a state-by-state basis, and are compounded by an overlay of federal laws designed to protect growers of perishable crops and providers of livestock. To get a reality check, you sometimes will secretly call your law school classmate who oddly returned to Smallville and now represents its one bank.
Continue Reading Farm Lending Pitfalls For Urban Lawyers

The 2021 increase to California’s homestead exemption to up to $600,000 stands to change the legal and economic relationship of guarantors with their lenders and vendors who make loans or sell goods or services on credit.  Before examining this important change in California’s homestead exemption and its effect on guaranties, some perspective is needed on guaranties themselves.
Continue Reading It’s Time to (Carefully) Secure that Guaranty

On August 31, both houses of the California legislature passed and sent to Governor Newsom for signature the California Consumer Financial Protection Law (the CCFPL).  Effective on January 1, 2021 if Governor Newsom signs the bill (which he is expected to do), the Department of Business Oversight will be replaced by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI).  Much of the law comes directly from Title X of the Dodd-Frank Act, with a particular focus on consumer protection.  While the DBO has authority to enforce specific laws, the focus of the DFPI will be on the kinds of products and services that are offered, without linking the agency’s authority to particular statutes.
Continue Reading California Legislature Passes Mini-CFPB Bill; If You Liked The Department Of Business Oversight, Get Ready For The Department Of Financial Protection And Innovation

On June 9 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published a Factsheet on how to disclose title insurance on the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure, including when a negative owner’s title insurance cost disclosure is appropriate, and updated the TRID FAQs to include guidance on the total of payments disclosure, using the optional signature line on the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure, and the requirement to include seller information on the consumer’s disclosures if providing separate Closing Disclosures.  This blog discusses the Factsheet, and sets forth the four questions added to the FAQ, along with brief answers.
Continue Reading CFPB Issues Factsheet On TRID Title Insurance Disclosures And Updates TRID FAQ

On June 4 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued proposals to address issues arising from the required transition away from the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) scheduled for the end of 2021.  LIBOR has been widely used as a benchmark in consumer financial products such as adjustable rate mortgage loans, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), student loans and credit cards.  The CFPB released a more than 200 page rulemaking proposal calling for changes to its truth-in-lending regulations relating to the LIBOR transition.  The CFPB also simultaneously issued guidance in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)  This blog will emphasize the proposal’s and the FAQ’s impact on adjustable rate mortgage loans and HELOCs.
Continue Reading CFPB Issues Proposed Amendment to Regulation Z and Guidance to Deal with LIBOR Transition