May courts look beyond the face of a loan transaction to identify the “true lender”? In a lawsuit filed by California’s financial regulator, a California state court recently answered yes, finding that a fact-intensive inquiry into the “substance” of a loan transaction was necessary to determine who the “true lender” is and declining to dismiss a lawsuit. See Opportunity Fin., LLC v. Hewlett, No. 22STCV08163 (Cal. Super. Ct. Sept. 30, 2022).
Andrew Soukup has a wide-ranging complex litigation practice representing highly regulated businesses in class actions and other high-stakes disputes. He has built a successful record of defending clients from consumer protection claims asserted in class-action lawsuits and other multistate proceedings, many of which were defeated through dispositive pre-trial motions.
Andrew is co-chair of the firm’s Class Action Litigation practice group.
Andrew has helped his clients achieve successful outcomes at all stages of litigation, including through trial and appeal. He has helped his clients prevail in litigation against putative class representatives, government agencies, and commercial entities. Representative victories include:
- Delivered wins in multiple nationwide class actions on behalf of large financial companies related to fees, disclosures, and other banking practices, including the successful defense of numerous lenders accused of violating the Paycheck Protection Program’s implementing laws, which contributed to Covington’s recent recognition as a "Class Action Group Of The Year."
- Successfully defending several of the nation’s leading financial institutions in a wide variety of litigation and arbitration proceedings involving alleged violations of RICO, FCRA, TILA, TCPA, FCBA, ECOA, EFTA, FACTA, and state consumer protection and unfair and deceptive acts or practices statutes, as well as claims involving breach of contract, fraud, unjust enrichment, and other torts.
- Successfully defended several of the nation’s leading companies and brands from claims that they deceptively marketed their products, including claims brought under state consumer protection and unfair deceptive acts or practices statutes.
- Obtained favorable outcomes for numerous clients in commercial disputes raising contract, fraud, and other business tort claims.
Because many of Andrew’s clients are subject to extensive federal regulation and oversight, Andrew has significant experience successfully invoking federal preemption to defeat litigation.
Andrew also advises clients on their arbitration agreements. He has successfully helped numerous clients avoid multi-district class-action litigation by successfully enforcing the institutions’ arbitration agreements.
Clients praise Andrew for his personal attention to their matters, his responsiveness, and his creative strategies. Based on his “big wins in his class action practice,” Law360 named Mr. Soukup a "Class Action Rising Star."
Prior to practicing law, Andrew worked as a journalist.
A bank partnership is the target of yet another “true lender” attack in a new class action filed last week. Michael v. Opportunity Fin., LLC, No. 1:22-cv-00529 (W.D. Tex. June 1, 2022). The lawsuit is aimed at the lending partnership between OppFi (a fintech) and FinWise Bank (its bank partner), which was also the target of a recent investigation by California’s banking regulator and another class action earlier this year. This latest development cements a growing trend of true lender attacks after Congress repealed a regulation on the topic last year, dashing hopes of a uniform and predictable standard to identify the “true lender” in bank partnerships.…
In the wake of rulings upholding federal regulators’ “valid when made” rules, a new lawsuit serves as a reminder that state regulators and class-action plaintiffs’ lawyers may continue to challenge the bank partnership lending model under the “true lender” doctrine.
Continue Reading Fintech Lawsuit Highlights True Lender Risk for Bank Partnership Lending Model
Delivering a significant win for the financial services industry, a California federal judge upheld “valid when made” rules promulgated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in California v. OCC, No. 4:20-cv-05200 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 8, 2022) and California v. FDIC, No. 4:20-cv-05860 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 8, 2022). Those rules sought to undo the Second Circuit’s 2015 decision in Madden v. Midland Funding—a decision that class-action plaintiffs’ lawyers and state regulators have invoked to bring lawsuits challenging so-called “rent-a-bank” schemes between banks and third parties. The rules were finalized in June and July 2020, and established a bright-line rule that the interest rate charged on a bank-made loan may still be charged after the loan is sold to a third party.…
On April 1, 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) released a statement on “Supervisory and Enforcement Practices Regarding the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Regulation V in Light of the CARES Act.” This statement provides guidance outlining the CFPB’s expectations of furnishers and consumer reporting agencies (“CRAs”) during the COVID-19 pandemic, and signals that the CFPB will take a flexible supervisory and enforcement approach to compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) and its implementing regulation, Regulation V.
The key points of the CFPB’s guidance are discussed below.
Continue Reading CFPB Releases Guidance on FCRA and Regulation V Compliance During COVID-19