On April 22, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in AMG Capital Management v. Federal Trade Commission that § 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) Act does not authorize the FTC to obtain equitable monetary relief, such as restitution for consumer harm.  This development will make it more complicated for the FTC to obtain consumer redress.  While the FTC will still be able to seek consumer redress through other legal avenues, especially § 19 of the FTC Act, these avenues generally impose additional legal requirements beyond what § 13(b) required.  This decision may prompt Congress to consider amending the FTC Act to increase the availability of consumer redress.  It may also encourage the CFPB to be more assertive in areas where the agencies share jurisdiction.

Continue Reading Supreme Court Ruling Complicates FTC’s Ability to Obtain Consumer Redress

On March 23, 2021, the CFPB submitted its report to Congress covering its administration of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) during 2020.  Because the CFPB shares responsibility for enforcing the FDCPA with the FTC, the report also describes the FTC’s activities relating to debt collection.  Notable developments include the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the debt collection industry and a description of the CFPB’s recently issued final debt collection rules.

Continue Reading CFPB Releases FDCPA Report to Congress Covering Debt Collection Activities in the Previous Year

On March 11, 2021, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the “CFPB” or “Bureau”) announced it was rescinding its “Statement of Policy Regarding Prohibition on Abusive Acts or Practices” (the “2020 Policy Statement”).  The rescission is the latest in a series of actions under Acting Director David Uejio that demonstrate a recalibration in the Bureau’s regulatory

On March 9, 2021, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB” or “Bureau”) issued an interpretive rule clarifying that the Equal Opportunity Credit Act (“ECOA”) and its implementing regulation, Regulation B, prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  The CFPB made clear that this prohibition also extends to “actual or perceived nonconformity with traditional sex- or gender-based stereotypes, and discrimination based on an applicant’s social or other association.”  Specifically, the Bureau found that, under ECOA and Regulation B:

On January 19, 2021, the Federal Reserve Board, FDIC, OCC, FinCEN, and NCUA (collectively, the “federal agencies”) issued answers to frequently asked questions (“FAQs”) regarding suspicious activity reports (“SARs”) and other anti-money laundering (“AML”) considerations for financial institutions subject to SAR requirements in response to recent recommendations from the Bank Secrecy Act Advisory Group. The FAQs state that they are intended to assist financial institutions with their AML compliance obligations, and do not have the force of law or create any new supervisory expectations.
Continue Reading Federal Agencies Jointly Release Responses to FAQs on SARs and Other AML Considerations

On January 19, 2021, the FDIC’s Board of Directors approved revised Guidelines for Appeals of Material Supervisory Determinations (the “Guidelines”), which are applicable to insured depository institutions (“IDIs”) the FDIC supervises as well as other IDIs for which the FDIC makes material supervisory determinations. The FDIC stated that the amendments are intended to: (1) improve the independence of appeals decisions via the implementation of an independent, standalone office—the Office of Supervisory Appeals (the “Office”)—that will replace the existing Supervision Appeals Review Committee (the “SARC”); and (2) clarify the procedures and timeframes applicable to appeals, including those relating to formal enforcement actions.
Continue Reading FDIC Adopts Revised Guidelines for Appeals of Material Supervisory Determinations

On January 21, 2021, CFTC Chairman Heath Tarbert stepped down as Chairman of the agency and, for the time being, stepped into a Commissioner role.  The CFTC was very active during Chairman Tarbert’s tenure as it implemented his regulatory and enforcement priorities.  In particular, the Division of Enforcement saw the highest volume of enforcement actions in the CFTC’s history.  The CFTC also finalized a number of major regulatory developments in 2020, including its long-awaited rule imposing position limits for derivatives (see our blog post summarizing this final rule).

Continue Reading CFTC Update: Leadership and Outlook

On January 1, 2021, the Senate voted to override President Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act (the “NDAA” or “Act”), which includes over 200 pages of significant reforms to the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) and other anti-money laundering (“AML”) laws that have been working their way through Congress for several years.  The Senate’s

On May 20th the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC”) Division of Enforcement (the “Division”) announced new guidance for Division staff to consider when recommending civil monetary penalties in an enforcement action (the “CMP Guidance” or the “Guidance”).  As a former CFTC regulator who brought dozens of cases over a 13 year career in

On May 13, 2020, the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) released two FAQs, numbers 46 and 47, regarding two safe harbors from an SBA inquiry into a borrower’s statutorily required certification of economic necessity for a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program  (“PPP”).  FAQ 46 states that the SBA will deem any borrower that, together with its affiliates, received PPP loans with an original principal amount of less than $2 million to have made the required certification in good faith.  FAQ 47 relates to an existing safe harbor for PPP loans repaid by a specific date; the FAQ extends the deadline from May 14, 2020, to Monday, May 18, 2020.  Accompanying the FAQs was an interim final rule that memorialized an earlier FAQ (number 43) that had set the repayment deadline of May 14.

The net effect of the FAQs is that a borrower that, with its affiliates, has PPP loans of more than $2 million must decide whether to repay the loan by May 18, or to undergo SBA’s review of the good-faith basis for the certification of economic necessity when the borrower’s loan forgiveness application is filed.  The SBA has outlined the nature of its review in only general terms.  Borrowers with PPP loans of $2 million or less are generally safe from such a review.


Continue Reading The PPP Economic Necessity Certification: SBA Provides Additional Guidance