To help you keep abreast of relevant activities, below find a breakdown of some of the biggest events at the federal and state levels to impact the Consumer Finance Services industry this past week:

Federal Activities

State Activities

Federal Activities:

  • On August 21, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued a proclamation allowing national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign banks to close offices in areas of California, Nevada, and Arizona affected by Tropical Storm Hilary. For more information, click here.
  • On August 17, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that fees for telemarketers accessing phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry will increase in fiscal year 2024, which starts on October 1. For more information, click here.
  • On August 16, Coinbase Financial Markets, Inc. announced that it has secured regulatory approval from the National Futures Association (NFA), a CFTC-designated self-regulatory organization, to operate a Futures Commission Merchant (FCM) and offer eligible U.S. customers access to crypto futures. For more information, click here.
  • On August 16, the FTC published a blog concerning artificial intelligence (AI) and generated content. The blog post from the FTC focuses primarily on products. However, the FTC may also be interested in the use of AI in customer service and interactions. For more information, click here.
  • On August 16, the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced the availability of low-interest disaster loans to businesses and residents across the nation, including Mississippi, Illinois, New Jersey, and Oklahoma. For more information, click here.
  • On August 15, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published remarks given by Director Rohit Chopra at the White House roundtable on data brokers. According to Chopra’s remarks, after conducting an inquiry into the practices of data brokers in the surveillance industry, the CFPB has decided to launch a rulemaking to ensure that digital data brokers are not “misusing or abusing [consumer] sensitive data.” Chopra also said that during the CFPB’s formal inquiry, it learned more about what it characterizes as “significant harms” from the identification of victims for financial scams, to the facilitation of harassment and fraud. For more information, click here.
  • On August 15, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) announced a series of steps intended to provide regulatory relief to financial institutions and to facilitate recovery in areas of Mississippi affected by severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes. For more information, click here.
  • On August 15, the OCC released its annual update to the Bank Accounting Advisory Series (BAAS). The BAAS contains staff responses to frequently asked questions from the banking industry and bank examiners on a variety of accounting topics. It also promotes consistent application of accounting standards and regulatory reporting among national banks and federal savings associations. For more information, click here.
  • On August 14, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan dismissed without prejudice a lawsuit filed against the federal government aimed at blocking the Biden administration’s effort to provide debt relief to student borrowers. The plaintiffs lacked standing because they failed to plausibly demonstrate how the government’s plans would impact their efforts to recruit participants as qualified employers under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. For more information, click here.
  • On August 14, the FDIC issued its 2023 Risk Review, which provides a comprehensive summary of key developments and risks in the U.S. banking system, as in prior reports, and includes a new section focused on crypto-asset risk. This year’s report incorporates data for 2022 through first quarter 2023, with insights related to the stress to the banking sector that emerged in March 2023. For more information, click here.
  • On August 11, in the case of Yuille v. Uphold HQ, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled, among other things, that cryptocurrency transactions are not subject to the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA) because the term “account” as defined by the EFTA does not include cryptocurrency accounts that a consumer establishes at a cryptocurrency exchange. EFTA defines an “account” as a “demand deposit, savings deposit, or other asset account … established primarily for personal, family, or household purposes.” Relying heavily on the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) to give meaning to the previously italicized phrase, the court determined that loans obtained to make a profit generally do not constitute “personal” loans under TILA. Therefore, according to the court, the operative question in assessing the EFTA’s applicability to cryptocurrency transactions is whether a cryptocurrency account is established primarily for “profit-making purposes.” On this point, the court reasoned that because plaintiff’s cryptocurrency account was established primarily for investment purposes (which has an inherent profit motive), the court held that plaintiff’s EFTA claim failed as a matter of law because he could not establish that the cryptocurrency account that he established at Uphold was an “account” as contemplated by the EFTA. For more information, click here.
  • On August 11, the FDIC announced a series of steps intended to provide regulatory relief to financial institutions and facilitate recovery in areas of Hawaii affected by wildfires. The FDIC is encouraging banks to work constructively with borrowers experiencing difficulties beyond their control due to damage caused by wildfires. Banks that extend repayment terms, restructure existing loans, or ease terms for new loans in a manner consistent with sound banking practices can contribute to the health of the local community and serve the long-term interests of the lending institution. Banks may receive favorable Community Reinvestment Act consideration for community development loans, investments, and services in support of disaster recovery. For more information, click here.
  • On August 10, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released a report providing the results of the annual stress tests that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the enterprises) are required to conduct under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act). For more information, click here.
  • On August 10, the OCC issued a proclamation allowing national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign banks to close offices in areas affected by wildfires in Hawaii. The OCC expects that only those bank offices directly affected by potentially unsafe conditions will close. For more information, click here.

State Activities:

  • On August 19, California Attorney General (AG) Rob Bonta issued a consumer alert, warning consumers to be aware of price gouging following the governor’s declaration of a state of emergency in connection with Hurricane Hilary. Bonta highlighted the AG’s role in “ensuring consumers in need of essential supplies do not fall victim to price gouging and unscrupulous business practices,” noting that the AG is “monitoring the market and will not hesitate to take action against businesses attempting to skirt the law.” In California, companies are generally prohibited from charging a price for a product that exceeds the product’s pre-emergency price by more than 10%. Those who violate the state’s price gouging statute are subject to imprisonment for up to a one-year term and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Additionally, violators are subject to a civil enforcement action, which can include civil penalties of up to $2,500 per violation, among other relief. For more information, click here.
  • On August 18, Minnesota AG Keith Ellison announced a series of new steps to demonstrate his “renewed focus” on medical billing, while also announcing an investigation into a health care facility that was reportedly canceling appointments for patients that had unpaid medical debts. For more information, click here.
  • On August 15, New York AG Letitia James obtained a $275,000 settlement against a rental car company, resolving claims that the company violated state law when it refused to rent cars to consumers who did not have a credit card. Specifically, New York state law prohibits rental vehicle companies from denying service to consumers who do not have a credit card. However, an investigation by the AG’s office revealed that 74 of the company’s locations across the state informed consumers that a credit card was required for them to rent a vehicle. As a part of the settlement, in addition to paying the $275,000 penalties, the company must also revise its policies and employee training practices. For more information, click here.
  • On August 15, AG Bonta announced that he is joining a coalition of 30 attorneys general in submitting a letter to the FTC, emphasizing the importance of federal-state partnerships in shielding consumers from fraud. The letter relates to the FTC Collaboration Act of 2021, which was signed into law by President Biden on October 10, 2022. The law directs the FTC to “conduct a study on facilitating and refining existing efforts with State Attorneys General to prevent, publicize, and penalize frauds and scams being perpetrated on individuals in the United States.” The FTC published a request for public information on June 7, and the letter responds to that request. Among other things, the letter highlights prior collaboration between the states, the FTC, and other federal partners. The letter also highlights the benefits the states derive from the FTC’s expertise, resources, and national reach, as well as the benefits that the FTC gains from being able to take advantage of a broader array of remedies under state consumer protection laws. For more information, click here.
  • On August 14, Georgia AG Chris Carr issued a consumer alert warning Georgians about increased reports of imposter scams in which con artists pose as law enforcement officials in an attempt to steal money from unsuspecting consumers. The alert advised Georgia consumers that if scam transactions are hurting their credit, such consumers should visit AnnualCreditReport.com to request free credit reports from the three major credit reporting agencies, and dispute any unauthorized collection items, loans, or credit cards, and suggested that freezing their credit would also be a great way to stop unauthorized accounts from being opened. For more information, click here.
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Photo of Ethan G. Ostroff Ethan G. Ostroff

Ethan Ostroff’s practice focuses on financial services litigation and consumer law compliance counseling. Ethan is part of the firm’s national practice representing consumer-facing companies of all types in defense of individual and class action claims and counseling them on compliance with federal and

Ethan Ostroff’s practice focuses on financial services litigation and consumer law compliance counseling. Ethan is part of the firm’s national practice representing consumer-facing companies of all types in defense of individual and class action claims and counseling them on compliance with federal and state laws.

Photo of Elizabeth Briones Elizabeth Briones

Elizabeth is an associate in the Consumer Financial Services practice who represents businesses large and small – from corporations to local partnerships. She is an experienced litigator with a background in complex matters ranging from corporate contract disputes, premises liability, negligence, fraud, and…

Elizabeth is an associate in the Consumer Financial Services practice who represents businesses large and small – from corporations to local partnerships. She is an experienced litigator with a background in complex matters ranging from corporate contract disputes, premises liability, negligence, fraud, and other business torts. She has appeared in state, federal, and multidistrict litigation.

Photo of Addison Morgan Addison Morgan

Addison is an associate in the firm’s nationally recognized Consumer Financial Services Practice Group. He has represented several of the nation’s preeminent financial institutions in litigation arising under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the Fair Debt…

Addison is an associate in the firm’s nationally recognized Consumer Financial Services Practice Group. He has represented several of the nation’s preeminent financial institutions in litigation arising under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the FTC Holder Rule, and other consumer protection state analogs.

Photo of Thailer Buari Thailer Buari

Thailer is an attorney in the firm’s Consumer Financial Service practice, where he represents clients in consumer law, business disputes, and commercial litigation. Thailer manages cases from inception to trial, focusing on all aspects of the litigation process, including case development, settlement negotiations…

Thailer is an attorney in the firm’s Consumer Financial Service practice, where he represents clients in consumer law, business disputes, and commercial litigation. Thailer manages cases from inception to trial, focusing on all aspects of the litigation process, including case development, settlement negotiations, legal research and analysis, document review, motions hearings, and mediations.

Photo of Jed Komisin Jed Komisin

Jed defends clients engaged in civil litigation. He has significant courtroom experience and works with his clients to find comprehensive solutions to their legal issues.

Photo of Trey Smith Trey Smith

Trey is an associate in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement Practice. He focuses his practice on helping financial institutions and consumer facing companies navigate regulatory investigations and resulting litigation. He has experience litigating the Consumer Financial Protection Act, the FTC Act…

Trey is an associate in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement Practice. He focuses his practice on helping financial institutions and consumer facing companies navigate regulatory investigations and resulting litigation. He has experience litigating the Consumer Financial Protection Act, the FTC Act, the Truth in Lending Act, state UDAAP statutes, and other consumer protection laws.

Photo of Alan D. Wingfield Alan D. Wingfield

Alan Wingfield helps consumer-facing clients navigate compliance, litigation and regulatory risks posed by the complex web of state and federal consumer protection laws. He is a trusted advisor and tireless advocate, helping clients develop practical compliance and dispute-resolution strategies.