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A seasoned regulatory and compliance attorney, Carlin brings extensive experience representing financial institutions, fintechs, lenders, payment processors, neobanks, virtual currency companies, and mortgage servicers.

On January 23, the Chairman of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) released a letter outlining its supervisory priorities for the new year. While the organization acknowledged that the credit union system had remained largely stable during 2023, it observed growing signs of financial strain on balance sheets. Specifically, the “rise in interest rate and liquidity risks resulted in an increase in the number of composite CAMELS code 3, 4, and 5 credit unions. Inflation and interest rates are affecting household budgets, which could lead to an increase in credit risk in future quarters.”

As the financial landscape continues to evolve, financial institutions and fintech businesses, including payment processors and money transmitters, are facing increased regulatory scrutiny and heightened consumer expectations. Our dedicated Payments team is at the forefront of these changes, actively addressing the full spectrum of legal challenges in this intricate and ever-evolving sector.

Last month, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law Assembly Bill 2672, which both prohibits sellers from charging a credit card surcharge greater than what they are charged by the credit card company and requires sellers to clearly post the price of the credit card surcharge. The law will take effect on February 11, 2024.

On January 17, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) issued a proposed rule with request for public comment to amend exemptions to Regulation Z so the Truth in Lending Act (TILA)/Regulation Z would apply to certain overdraft “credit” provided by insured financial institutions with more than $10 billion in assets, in furtherance of the Bureau’s crusade on “junk fees.” At a highlevel, the CFPB’s proposed rule would provide covered financial institutions with two options for offering overdraft “credit”: (1) a “courtesy” overdraft service with “breakeven” fees exempt from TILA/Regulation Z; or (2) a “covered overdraft credit” line/loan in connection with debit card or routing/account number transactions with “above breakeven” fees subject to TILA/Reg. Z. Under the proposal, an institution subject to the rule would have to provide full TILA disclosures and comply with other substantive TILA requirements for overdraft fees if they exceed costs or a low CFPB safe harbor amount.

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 9, the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (CA DFPI) announced a consent order with Credova Financial, LLC, (Credova) to resolve allegations that, in violation of the California Consumer Financial Protection Law, the company failed to disclose potential third-party fees to consumers. Pursuant to the settlement, Credova is required to pay a $50,000 penalty and disclose potential third-party convenience fees to consumers in the future.

In this episode of Payments Pros, Keith Barnett and Carlin McCrory discuss the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) fall supervisory highlights, focusing on “junk fees.” The report covers examinations in areas of deposits, auto servicing, and remittances completed between February and August 2023. The recent report reveals that their efforts have resulted in institutions refunding more than $140 million to consumers. The report primarily focuses on deposits as an area of supervisory observations.

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.”

On December 19th, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) issued a report highlighting consumers’ experiences with overdraft and nonsufficient funds (NSF) fees. The report found that roughly a quarter of consumers are still being charged these fees despite the CFPB’s hostility towards so called “junk fees,” which has led many banks and credit unions to eliminate such fees. The report further found that many consumers who were charged overdraft and NSF fees had access to an alternative asserted to be cheaper by the CFPB, such as available credit on a credit card.