Covington Financial Services

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Intellectual Property Issues in Blockchain and FinTech

FinTech and blockchain technologies are rapidly developing. With the emergence of so many new ideas and technologies comes the need for action, to protect both current and future innovations. Given the pace at which technology continues to disrupt the industry, securing IP assets—especially patents—should be a primary consideration for companies in this space. As the … Continue Reading

BCFP Releases Fall 2018 Rulemaking Agenda

On October 17, 2018, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (“BCFP” or the “Bureau”) announced the release of its Fall 2018 semiannual update of its rulemaking agenda, which is included in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions (the “Unified Agenda”), published by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (“OIRA”). The BCFP’s … Continue Reading

The Long Wait Is Not Over, but the SEC Advances its Security-Based Swap Dealer Rules and Reopens the Comment Period for Capital and Margin Requirements for Security-Based Swap Dealers

For several years Swap Dealers registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) have been awaiting action by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) related to security-based swap dealers.  While the wait is by no means over, on October 11, 2018 the SEC voted 4 to 1 to reopen the comment period for proposed rules … Continue Reading

NYSDFS Sues to Block the OCC’s Special Purpose National Bank Charters for Fintech Companies

On September 14, 2018, Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services (“NYSDFS”) Maria T. Vullo filed a complaint in federal court against the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) to block the OCC from issuing any special purpose national bank (“SPNB”) charters. The OCC announced last month, after much … Continue Reading

With New CFTC Commissioners Onboard, Major CFTC Rulemakings Likely to Follow this Fall

On August 29, 2018, the U.S. Senate confirmed Dawn Stump and Dan Berkovitz as Commissioners of the Commodity Futures Trading Commissioner (“CFTC” or “Commission”). Each has extensive experience in the derivatives markets. Ms. Stump, among other things, has served as Executive Director and Senior Vice President of U.S. Policy for the Futures Industry Association. Mr. … Continue Reading

CFTC Amends Requirements for Chief Compliance Officers

On August 21, 2018, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) adopted rule amendments that modify the requirements for Chief Compliance Officers (“CCO”) of swap dealers (“SD”), major swap participants (“MSP”) and futures commission merchants (“FCM”).  SDs and FCMs should review these rules in detail in order to assess the changes they will have to make … Continue Reading

Arizona Fintech Sandbox Begins Accepting Applications

Arizona recently became the first state in the U.S. to create a “regulatory sandbox” program to facilitate the development of innovative financial products and services. Such products would either incorporate new or emerging technology or reimagine uses of existing technology. The program would exempt participants from certain state financial regulations, but not federal requirements. On … Continue Reading

BCFP Enters Consent Order with Hydra Group

On August 10, 2018, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection announced that a federal district court in the Western District of Missouri approved a consent order in a case against a set of twenty corporate entities and two individual principals (collectively, “Hydra Group”). The BCFP alleged violations of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 … Continue Reading

What To Keep in Mind For Cultural Reviews In The #MeToo Era

In the wake of the #MeToo movement and broader conversations about sexual harassment and wage discrimination, many financial institutions are wondering whether any of these issues are affecting their organizations and, if so, how to address them.  To assess this question, financial institutions are increasingly turning to internal cultural reviews. These reviews, in which investigators … Continue Reading

Square Temporarily Withdraws ILC Application

On July 5, 2018, Square, Inc. (“Square”) announced (paywall) that it had temporarily withdrawn a pending application with the FDIC to obtain deposit insurance for a proposed industrial loan company (“ILC”), in order to strengthen the application before reapplying. The company stated that a parallel application with the Utah Department of Financial Institutions for the … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit to Consider Constitutionality of the BCFP’s Structure

On July 2, 2018, All American Check Cashing, Inc., Mid-State Finance, Inc., and the president and owner of both companies (collectively, “All American”) filed a brief asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to find the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (“BCFP” or the “Bureau”) (formerly known as the CFPB) unconstitutionally structured … Continue Reading

Judge Denies Request to Stay Payday Rule Compliance Date

On June 12, 2018, a federal judge in the Western District of Texas denied a joint motion by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (“Bureau”), the Community Financial Services Association of America, Ltd. (“Community Financial Services Association”) and the Consumer Alliance of Texas (“Consumer Alliance”), to stay the compliance date of the substantive provisions of … Continue Reading

FTC Files Comments with CFPB on CID Processes

On March 26, 2018, the staff of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection (“BCP”) filed a comment in response to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Request for Information on the procedures for issuing Civil Investigative Demands. In large part, the comment summarizes the BCP’s experience with its own CID program and highlights the … Continue Reading

CFPB Issues RFI On Its Guidance and Implementation Support

On March 28, 2018, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) issued a Request for Information (“RFI”) regarding the effectiveness and accessibility of its guidance materials and activities, including implementation support.  Specifically, the RFI asks for information about the following aspects of the CFPB’s methods of providing guidance to the public: Regulatory Inquiries Function: This function allows … Continue Reading

CFPB Issues Request for Information on Enforcement Processes

On February 7, 2018, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a Request for Information (“RFI”) seeking comments and information from the public regarding the Bureau’s enforcement processes. The RFI seeks public input on “how best to achieve meaningful burden reduction or other improvement” to the Bureau’s enforcement processes “while continuing to meet the Bureau’s statutory … Continue Reading

CSBS Announces Multi-State Compact to Standardize Money Transmitter Licensing

On February 6, 2018, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (“CSBS”) – the nationwide organization representing banking regulators from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands – announced that seven states have agreed to a compact that standardizes five major areas of the licensing process for money … Continue Reading

CFPB Issues Request For Information on Civil Investigative Demands

On January 24, 2018, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB” or the “Bureau”) published a Request for Information (“RFI”) on its civil investigative demand (“CID”) process. This is the first in a series of planned RFIs on the Bureau’s activities. In the RFI, the CFPB recognizes that “responding to a CID can impose burdens on … Continue Reading

CFPB Dismisses Suit Against Tribal Lenders

In a surprising turn of events, the CFPB on Thursday dismissed its ongoing litigation against Golden Valley Lending, Inc., Silver Cloud Financial, Inc., Mountain Summit Financial, Inc., and Majestic Lake Financial, Inc.  The Bureau’s case was predicated on a controversial theory that turned alleged violations of state law into alleged violations of the Dodd-Frank Act, … Continue Reading

CFPB Requests Public Comment on Bureau Activities

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced today a planned series of Requests for Information on the Bureau’s activities and how those activities impact consumers and covered entities. According to the press release, the goal of issuing these Requests for Information is to “ensure the Bureau is fulfilling its proper and appropriate functions to best protect … Continue Reading

California Bill Would Mandate Expedient Software Updates for Credit Bureaus

Following the Equifax data breach in 2017, there has been heightened awareness surrounding how credit reporting agencies handle consumers’ personal information. At the same time, recent high-profile attacks, such as the “WannaCry” ransomware attacks, have focused media and regulatory attention on vulnerabilities associated with unpatched systems. In response to these two concerns, on January 10, … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Strikes Down Ban on Retailers’ Credit Card Surcharges

On January 3, 2018, in Italian Colors Restaurant v. Becerra, No. 15-15873, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit invalidated an application of a California law that would prohibit merchants from imposing a surcharge on credit card payments. The California law would allow offering discounts for payments by other … Continue Reading

Whistleblower Retaliation: How Companies Should Prepare for the Supreme Court’s Upcoming Decision

For unprepared companies, whistleblowers can cause serious problems. Companies could be subject to burdensome investigations by law enforcement authorities or hit with substantial fines and other sanctions. Companies might even face exposure for alleged retaliation against a whistleblower if the situation is not handled carefully. In this article for the New York Law Journal on … Continue Reading
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