Last week, the annual Community Reinvestment Act & Fair Lending Colloquium took place in Austin, Texas. Two officials from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) discussed in detail the “Combatting Redlining Initiative” led by the DOJ using a “whole of government” approach, the current state of redlining investigations, and the future direction of enforcement. In prepared remarks Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke stated, “we are proud of the work we have been able to accomplish in these past two years through the Combatting Redlining Initiative. But we are by no means done. We are also focusing on unlawful practices such as reverse redlining, and steering.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a summary order affirming a district court’s holding that an emailed response to the plaintiff’s email did not constitute an “initial communication” under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA).
A district court in the District of Arizona granted a motion to dismiss in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) case on the basis that multimedia messaging service (MMS) texts do not constitute prerecorded messages unless the audible component plays automatically upon opening.
On November 13, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Federal Reserve Board (Fed) announced increased dollar thresholds used to determine whether certain consumer credit and lease transactions in 2024 are exempt from Regulation Z (Truth in Lending) and Regulation M (Consumer Leasing).
To keep you informed of recent activities, below are several of the most significant federal and state events that have influenced the Consumer Financial Services industry over the past week:
A California state court recently denied a preliminary injunction sought by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (the DFPI) in its long-running litigation against Opportunity Financial (OppFi) contending that OppFi is the “true lender,” and therefore subject to usury limits, on loans originated by OppFi’s bank partner. The court found that on the factual record before it that the DFPI had not shown a reasonable probability of prevailing on the merits of its claim.
On November 7, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a proposed rule with request for public comment to amend existing regulations defining “larger participants” the CFPB supervises by adding a new section to define larger participants that offer digital wallets, payment applications, and similar services.
Last week, a district court in Nevada held that an undated, model form debt validation notice does not violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). In Bergida v. PlusFour, Inc., the defendant sent a debt validation letter to the plaintiff that followed the model form provided by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The letter was not dated. The plaintiff claimed the letter violated FDCPA §§ 1692d, e, f, and g because she could not determine what date was “today” and “now,” which allegedly misled her about the status of the debt, confused her, made the letter seem illegitimate and suspicious, and caused her to spend time and money trying to figure out whether the debt was valid. When considering the defendant’s motion to dismiss, the court applied the least sophisticated debtor standard and found that the plaintiff failed to state a claim.
Earlier this year, a district court for the Middle District of Florida upheld a jury award of $225,000 in punitive damages in a debt collection case finding the defendant’s conduct “reprehensible” based on the physical harm caused to the plaintiff, the defendant’s indifference or reckless disregard of the harm it caused to the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s financial vulnerability, and the defendant’s repeated actions.