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Jason’s in-depth experience advising on consumer lending matters both as in-house counsel and outside advisor provides extensive industry knowledge for his financial services clients.

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Community Financial Services Association of America, Limited (CFSA) v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) holding that the CFPB’s special funding structure does not violate the appropriations clause of the Constitution. The 7-2 majority held the Dodd-Frank Act, which provides the CFPB’s funding structure, satisfies the appropriations clause because it “authorizes the Bureau to draw public funds from a particular source — ‘the combined earnings of the Federal Reserve System’ — in an amount not exceeding an inflation-adjusted cap. And it specifies the objects for which the Bureau can use those funds — to ‘pay the expenses of the Bureau in carrying out its duties and responsibilities.’” The Supreme Court further found that the “Bureau’s funding mechanism [] fits comfortably within the historical appropriations practice …” Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissented from the decision.

On May 10, a Texas federal court granted a preliminary injunction enjoining the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) from implementing the credit card late fee rule, most recently discussed here. The court found the plaintiffs demonstrated a likelihood of success based on their reliance on the Fifth Circuit’s decision in CFPB v. Community Financial Services Association of America, Ltd. finding that the CFPB’s “double-insulated funding scheme is unconstitutional.” The court further found that the balance of interest test weighed in the plaintiffs’ favor because if the court denied the injunction, “[p]laintiffs face an enormous undertaking based upon a potentially unconstitutional rule,” whereas if the court granted the injunction “the CFPB is relatively unaffected because the Final Rule has not yet gone into effect.”

Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) published an Issue Spotlight focusing on consumer complaints relating to credit card rewards programs. The report notes that credit card companies often focus marketing efforts on rewards, like cash back and travel, instead of on interest rates and fees. However, the CFPB has previously reported that consumers who carry debt from month to month earn just 27% of rewards at major credit card companies, while paying 94% of the interest and fees that those companies charged. In its analysis of several hundred complaints relating to these rewards programs, the Bureau identified four recurring themes: 1) vague or hidden promotional conditions; 2) devalued rewards; 3) customer service issues that delay or block reward redemption; and 4) issuers unilaterally revoking reward balances.

On May 3, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit entered an order denying the CFPB’s (CFPB) petition for a panel rehearing and effectively setting the stage for a long-awaited ruling on a preliminary injunction in the ongoing lawsuit challenging the CFPB credit card late fee rule. The petition was filed by the CFPB to reconsider the panel’s order vacating the district court’s order that transferred the case to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and issuing a writ of mandamus directing the district court to reopen the case.

On April 30, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an order vacating the district court’s effective denial of the motion for a preliminary injunction filed by several trade groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, Longview Chamber of Commerce, American Bankers Association, Consumer Bankers Association, and Texas Association of Business (collectively, the trade groups). The trade groups are challenging the credit card late fee rule issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as unconstitutional and violative of the Administrative Procedures Act and seek a preliminary injunction while the case is pending.

On April 5, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an order effectively reversing the district court’s decision to transfer the lawsuit challenging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB or Bureau) credit card late fee rule from the Northern District of Texas to the District Court for the District of Columbia (D.D.C), finding that the Texas district court lacked jurisdiction to issue its order because the plaintiffs’ appeal of the effective denial of their motion for preliminary injunction was already pending before the appellate court.

On April 2, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an order staying the district court’s decision to transfer the lawsuit challenging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) credit card late fee rule from the Northern District of Texas to the District Court for the District of Columbia (D.D.C). As discussed here, on March 28, 2024, the district court had transferred the case to D.D.C. finding an “attenuated nexus” to the Fort Worth Division since, according to the district court, only one of the six plaintiffs had even a remote tie to the division. The Fifth Circuit’s stay is in effect until 5:00 pm on Friday, April 5, 2024.

Yesterday, the lawsuit challenging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB or Bureau) credit card late fee rule (Final Rule) was transferred from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas to the District Court for the District of Columbia (D.D.C.).

Yesterday, three trade organizations filed a complaint in Colorado federal court challenging H.B. 1229, Colorado’s effort to limit interest charges by out-of-state financial institutions, which is set to take effect on July 1, 2024. As discussed here, in June 2023, Colorado passed H.B. 1229, limiting certain charges on consumer loans and simultaneously opting Colorado out of §§ 521-523 of the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act (DIDMCA). Sections 521-523 of DIDMCA empower state banks, insured state and federal savings associations and state credit unions to charge the interest allowed by the state where they are located, regardless of where the borrower is located and regardless of conflicting state law (i.e., “export” their home state’s interest-rate authority). However, § 525 of DIDMCA enables states to opt out of this rate authority with respect to loans made in the opt-out state.

On February 15, Massachusetts became the latest state to introduce legislation to regulate earned wage access (EWA) products and services. House Bill (HB) 4456 would create a new chapter to the Massachusetts Code explicitly stating that EWA services offered under the new chapter are not loans or other form of credit or debt, and voluntary tips or gratuities are not interest or finance charges. It further requires EWA providers to be licensed and provide mandatory disclosures to consumers. The bill is pending before the Joint Financial Services Committee.