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David Anthony handles litigation against consumer financial services businesses and other highly regulated companies across the United States. He is a strategic thinker who balances his extensive litigation experience with practical business advice to solve companies’ hardest problems.

Yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, seeking public comment on its proposal to amend the Rule on Impersonation of Government and Businesses (Impersonation Rule or Rule), that is being finalized by the FTC today, to add a prohibition on the impersonation of individuals. The amendment would also extend liability for violations of the Impersonation Rule to parties who provide goods and services with knowledge or reason to know that those goods or services will be used in illegal impersonations. The FTC stated the impetus for the amendment is the surging number of complaints it has received around impersonation fraud, including “deepfakes” generated using artificial intelligence (AI).

Virginia is currently one of only two states that does not allow class-action lawsuits in its courts. However, that could change soon as House Bill (HB) 418, originally introduced on January 10, 2024, seeks to create a class-action framework loosely modeled on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. On February 9, HB 418 passed the House of Delegates and will be sent to the Senate for consideration.

On February 8, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Department of Agriculture Rural Development Rural Housing Service (USDA) v. Kirtz, holding that the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s (FCRA) clear statutory text indicates a government agency can be sued for a FCRA violation. The decision resolved a circuit split. The D.C., Third, and Seventh Circuits have allowed FCRA litigation against government agencies, but the Fourth and Ninth Circuits have found governmental immunity prevents such suits.

A federal district court judge in Nevada recently denied competing motions for summary judgment in a Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) furnisher investigation case, demonstrating the challenges FCRA litigants often face in convincing courts to decide cases on matters of law.

In Career Counseling, Inc. v. Amerifactors Financial Group, LLC, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a district court’s decision denying class certification in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) case on the basis that the plaintiff failed to satisfy Rule 23’s “implicit further requirement of ascertainability.” The Fourth Circuit also upheld summary judgment against the defendant as to the individual claim finding the defendant was indeed the “sender” of the fax at issue. Each finding is discussed more fully below.

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.

According to a recent year-in-review report by WebRecon, reversing the trend of the last two years, filings under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) increased in 2023 as compared to 2022. Likewise, complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) were up for the year. Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) filings, however, were both down from the previous year. In all, the FCRA maintained its lead in the number of filings, followed by the FDCPA, and with the TCPA in third place.

On January 11, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) issued two “advisory opinions” addressing the CFPB’s views of the obligations of consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The advisory opinions are interpretive rules issued under the Bureau’s authority to interpret the FCRA pursuant to § 1022(b)(1) of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010.

In a change of course, the Utah court of appeals has reversed the dismissal of a plaintiffs’ suit against a debt collector based on its alleged failure to register as a collection agency prior to filing collection suits. While the Utah Collection Agency Act (UCAA) was repealed by the Utah legislature last year, discussed here, cases asserting this theory of liability remain pending before state and federal courts in the state. Late last year, in Meneses v. Salander Enterprises LLC, discussed here, the court of appeals held that a violation of the UCAA was not a deceptive or unconscionable act. The court distinguished this case from Meneses by finding that the defendant made affirmative representations in the lawsuits at issue that precluded dismissal at this stage.

A magistrate judge in the Northern District of Georgia recently recommended granting summary judgment in a Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) case in favor of a background reporting company on the grounds that a report given only to the consumer is not a consumer report and including a valid conviction on a report does not violate the FCRA as long as its expungement is also included.