On June 23, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Collins v. Yellen, a case which concerned the Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”) and the two government sponsored enterprises (“GSEs”) which the FHFA regulates and currently holds in conservatorship—the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae” or “Fannie”) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac” or “Freddie”).  The case presented a challenge by a group of Fannie and Freddie shareholders to a provision of the conservatorship which has effectively precluded the GSEs from paying dividends to shareholders.  Among other things, the plaintiffs targeted the constitutionality of the protection from removal enjoyed by the FHFA’s Director, which allowed the President to remove the Director only “for cause.”  This provision mirrored the removal protection provided to the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) and which the Court invalidated in Seila Law.

The Supreme Court declined to strike down the challenged provision of the conservatorship, but it did invalidate the FHFA Director’s “for cause” removal protection.  Not only does this decision have clear ramifications for the FHFA and GSEs, but it also may preview issues relating to the legal status of decisions rendered by CFPB Directors during the period in which they were unconstitutionally protected from removal from office.


Continue Reading Supreme Court Finds FHFA For-Cause Removal Structure Unconstitutional; Decision May Have Implications for CFPB

On March 31, 2021, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) rescinded a range of policy statements issued under the leadership of former Director Kathleen L. Kraninger.  These rescissions concerned one policy statement governing communications between institutions subject to CFPB supervision and their examiners, and seven policy statements issued during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide regulatory

On April 19, 2021, the CFPB issued an interim final rule (“rule”) aimed at preventing illegal evictions.  This measure is intended to support an eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), which prevents landlords from evicting tenants for failing to pay rent when the tenant is unable to afford full payments and would likely be driven into homelessness or a shared living setting by the eviction.  The rule applies to debt collectors—as defined in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”)—who are collecting debts for landlords.  Under the rule’s terms, such collectors must disclose the existence of the CDC moratorium and may not misrepresent tenants’ eligibility for protection under the moratorium.

Continue Reading CFPB Issues Rule Targeted at Preventing Illegal Evictions

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, several major federal financial regulators finalized rules clarifying the legal status of supervisory guidance.  As we described in a client alert late last year, a number of federal financial regulatory agencies—the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”), the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”), the National Credit Union Administration (“NCUA”), and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“Bureau”)—had been considering proposed rules that would largely codify the 2018 Interagency Statement Clarifying the Role of Supervisory Guidance (which we previously covered in this blog post).
Continue Reading Federal Agencies Release Final Rule Clarifying the Role of Supervisory Guidance

On November 30, 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB” or “Bureau”) granted a no-action letter (“NAL” or “Letter”) to Upstart Network, Inc. (“Upstart”), a company that that has developed a model incorporating alternative data and machine learning for use in making credit underwriting and pricing decisions.  The NAL specifically addresses Upstart’s “automated model for making underwriting and pricing decisions with respect to applications by consumers for unsecured, closed-end loans.”  Under the terms of the NAL, the Bureau will not make supervisory findings or bring an enforcement action against Upstart under certain sections of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and Regulation B or under the Bureau’s authority to prevent, unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices (“UDAAPs”) concerning alleged discrimination on a prohibited basis arising from Upstart’s use of its model for making underwriting and pricing decisions on applications by consumers for unsecured, closed-end loans.  The CFPB updated its NAL Policy last year, and this Letter was issued consistent with those guidelines.  The NAL expires three years after the date of the Letter.  The NAL represents another step forward toward regulatory acceptance of the use of alternative data and machine learning models for credit underwriting.

Continue Reading The CFPB Issues Second No Action Letter to Facilitate the Use of Alternative Data and Machine Learning in Lending Decisions

On September 15, 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB” or “Bureau”) released an Outline of Proposals under Consideration and Alternatives Considered for the small business data collection rulemaking mandated by Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act and a High-Level Summary of the outline of proposals.  The release signals that a Small Business Advisory Panel will convene in October 2020 as required by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (“SBREFA”) to assess the impact of the Bureau’s outline of proposals under consideration.  Participants in the SBREFA panel are invited to submit written comments by November 9, 2020; other interested stakeholders are invited to submit written comments by December 14, 2020.

Section 1071 amends the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to require financial institutions to collect certain data regarding applications for credit for women-owned, minority-owned, and small businesses, maintain records of responses, and report the data to the CFPB on an annual basis, in accordance with rules and guidance issued by the CFPB.  The purpose of Section 1071 is “to facilitate enforcement of fair lending laws and enable communities, governmental entities, and creditors to identify business and community development needs and opportunities of women-owned, minority-owned, and small businesses.”  15 U.S.C. § 1691o-2(a).

The Bureau’s proposals under Section 1071 have been long-awaited by industry associations, consumer groups, state regulators, Congress, and many other stakeholders, and the convening of the SBREFA panel represents the start of a rigorous and potentially lengthy rulemaking process.

A short list of highlights of the proposals follows after the jump, and we plan to publish a more detailed client alert on the CFPB’s outline of proposals in the near future.


Continue Reading CFPB Outlines Small Business Data Collection Proposals

Today, July 7, 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) released final amendments to its small-dollar lending rule published in November 2017 (the “2017 Rule”), specifically repealing the mandatory underwriting provisions of the rule.  The CFPB did not rescind or alter the payments provisions of the 2017 Rule, and instead ratified those provisions and will move forward to implement those provisions.  We address each aspect of the final amendments below.

Continue Reading CFPB Finalizes Amendments to Payday Lending Rule