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Caleb is counsel in the firm’s Consumer Financial Services Practice Group. He focuses his practice on helping federal and state-chartered banks, fintech companies, finance companies, and licensed lenders navigate regulatory risks posed by state and federal laws aimed at protecting consumers and small businesses in the credit and alternative finance products industry.

On February 12, ten Rhode Island senators introduced S 2275, a bill proposing to opt Rhode Island out of §§ 521-523 of the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act (DIDMCA). On February 13, HF 3680 was introduced in Minnesota, proposing to opt-out of DIDMCA expressly as to non-credit card forms of credit. These legislative efforts to opt-out of DIDMCA, coupled with the influx in recent “true lender” legislation, seem to show a coordinated effort to restrict bank-model lending.

Recently, Lead Bank and its loan servicer Hyphen, LLC, an online lending platform operating Helix Financial, filed a motion to dismiss a purported class action alleging violations of the Georgia Installment Loan Act (GILA) and Georgia racketeering law arising out of a consumer installment or “payday loan.” Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the loan agreement between herself and Lead Bank was “nothing more than a façade, and a temporary one at that” in an attempt to evade Georgia’s restrictions on payday lending.

Recently, Arizona, Kentucky, and Hawaii have jumped on the bandwagon to regulate earned wage access (EWA) products and services. Arizona’s proposed bill makes clear that EWA services are not considered to be loans or money transmissions, and voluntary tips or gratuities are not finance charges. It further requires EWA providers to be licensed, provide mandatory

We are pleased to share our annual review of regulatory and legal developments in the consumer financial services industry. With active federal and state legislatures, consumer financial services providers faced a challenging 2023. Courts across the country issued rulings that will have immediate and lasting impacts on the industry. Our team of more than 140 professionals has prepared this concise, yet thorough analysis of the most important issues and trends throughout our industry. We not only examined what happened in 2023, but also what to expect — and how to prepare — for the months ahead.

On January 9, a group of five bi-partisan South Carolina Senators introduced Bill 910, which would, among other things, require persons (non-bank lenders) providing “consumer installment loans” or “deferred presentment loans” to conduct ability to repay (ATR) analysis. Insured state and federally chartered banks and credit unions are exempt from the provisions of the proposed law, which is currently before the Committee on Labor, Commerce, and Industry for review.

Late last month, the Revenue Based Finance Coalition (RBFC), a trade group of sales-based financing providers, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida challenging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB or Bureau) final rule under § 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Final Rule). As discussed here, § 1071 amended the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) to impose significant data collection and reporting requirements on small business creditors. Specifically, RBFC objects to the CFPB’s characterization of sales-based financing as a form of credit subject to the Final Rule’s collection and reporting requirements.

On January 9, SB 1146, entitled the Earned Wage Access Services Act, was introduced into the Florida Senate. The bill would require earned wage access (EWA) providers to register with the Florida Financial Services Commission. The bill also requires EWA providers to develop procedures for dealing with consumer questions and complaints, requires consumer notifications

On January 10, HB 254, entitled the True Lender Act, was introduced before the Maryland House of Delegates. The Act would amend the Maryland Commercial Law to add an article containing both predominant economic interest and totality of the circumstance tests to determine the “true lender” of a loan. A hearing on HB 254 is scheduled on January 23.

On December 22, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen issued an opinion on whether Earned Wage Access (EWA) products constitute either “consumer loans” under Montana Code § 32-5-102(2)(a) or “deferred deposit loans” under § 31-1-703. In short, AG Knudsen’s opinion was no, “so long as the EWA product is fully non-recourse, does not condition an income-based advance on any interest, fees, or other consideration or expenses, and limits income-based advances to income already earned by the consumer.”