In this episode of Payments Pros, Keith Barnett is joined by James Stevens to discuss the Merchant Acquirer Limited Purpose Bank Charter (MALPB) in Georgia, a unique charter that allows companies to offer merchant payment processing services without a sponsoring partner bank. Despite being enacted 12 years ago, companies have been unable to utilize it due to card networks not allowing direct participation. This could change soon, especially with Fiserv’s recent application.
James is the co-leader of the firm’s Financial Services Industry Group. He has significant experience working with clients across the entire financial services sector, regularly working with public and private companies such as banks, neobanks, marketplace lenders, and other fintech and financial services providers and partners.
On January 2, New York Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled her 2024 consumer protection agenda, which includes plans to regulate the “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) industry. Specifically, Governor Hochul plans to propose legislation to require BNPL providers to be licensed in the state and to authorize the New York State Department of Financial Services to propose and issue regulations for the industry. According to Governor Hochul, “New Yorkers are increasingly turning to [BNPL] loans as a low-cost alternative to traditional credit products to pay for everyday and big-ticket purchases. This legislation and regulations will establish strong industry protections around disclosure requirements, dispute resolution and credit reporting standards, late fee limits, consumer data privacy, and guidelines to curtail dark patterns and debt accumulation and overextension.”
Yesterday, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued guidance to banks on managing the risks associated with “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) lending. Specifically, the bulletin addresses BNPL loans that are payable in four or fewer installments and carry no finance charges. The stated aim of the OCC’s guidance is to ensure that these loans are offered in a manner that is safe, sound, and compliant with applicable laws and regulations.
As discussed here, on August 1, the two major national credit union trade associations — the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU) and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) — announced plans to merge and create a new organization called America’s Credit Unions. Today, CUNA announced that the organizations’ members voted overwhelmingly (94% of CUNA members and 86% of NAFCU members) in favor of the merger. America’s Credit Unions will be legally formed on January 1, 2024.
On October 24, the Federal Reserve Board (Fed), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) (collectively, the agencies) finally issued their long-awaited final rule modernizing how they assess lenders’ compliance under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The CRA was enacted in 1977 to address systemic inequities in access to credit and encourages banks to meet the credit needs of the entire community, including low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities, consistent with safety and soundness principles. The last meaningful, comprehensive revision to the CRA regulations occurred in 1995.
On August 1, the two major national credit union trade associations — the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU) and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) — announced plans to merge and create a new organization called America’s Credit Unions. The goal of the merger would be to form a single credit union trade group “to serve credit unions more efficiently and effectively” through “one strong and united voice.”
On August 8, the Federal Reserve Board (Fed) issued a press release providing additional information on its Novel Activities Supervision Program (Program) to monitor novel activities in the banks it oversees. Novel activities are defined to include: (1) technology-driven partnerships with non-banks to provide banking services to customers, and (2) activities involving crypto-assets and distributed ledger or “blockchain” technology. According to the Fed, “the Program will be risk-focused and complement existing supervisory processes, strengthening the oversight of novel activities conducted by supervised banking organizations.” The Fed will notify those banking organizations whose novel activities will be subject to examination in writing and will routinely monitor supervised banking organizations that are exploring novel activities.
Please join Troutman Pepper Partners Chris Willis and James Stevens for a very special announcement about two new great tools for the financial services industry: The Troutman Pepper Financial Services blog and the Troutman Pepper Financial Services app. The blog will provide analysis and commentary on financial services law, regulation, and business, spanning across all areas of law that impact financial services providers. The new app serves as a convenient location to access all of our content, including blogs, articles, podcasts, events, practice area descriptions, and directory of our financial services attorneys. Tune in to hear more about these exciting new ways to stay on top of insights across the entire financial services industry.
On April 26, both the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) issued separate advisories warning against the risks associated with overdraft fees, particularly those associated with “Authorize Positive, Settle Negative” (APSN) transactions.
In issuing its supervisory guidance, the FDIC emphasized:
- Some banks assess overdraft fees
On April 26, the Texas Bankers Association and Rio Bank, McAllen, Texas filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas 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. The plaintiffs rely heavily on the Fifth Circuit’s decision in Community Financial Services Association (CFSA) v CFPB, finding the CFPB’s funding structure unconstitutional and, therefore, rules promulgated by the Bureau invalid. The plaintiffs also argue portions of the Final Rule violate various requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).