As discussed here, in a recent letter, the Chairman of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) outlined the agency’s supervisory priorities for 2024. In this post, we delve deeper into the area of consumer protection oversight.

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.

Late last month, the Revenue Based Finance Coalition (RBFC), a trade group of sales-based financing providers, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida 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. Specifically, RBFC objects to the CFPB’s characterization of sales-based financing as a form of credit subject to the Final Rule’s collection and reporting requirements.

As discussed here, during the summer of 2023, Representative Roger Williams (R-Texas) and Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced identical Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions in the U.S. House and Senate (H.J. Res. 66 and S. J. Res. 32, respectively) disapproving the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB or Bureau) implementation of the small business data collection and reporting final rule under § 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Final Rule). Under the CRA, a rule promulgated by an administrative agency “shall not take effect (or continue), if the Congress enacts a joint resolution of disapproval.” On October 18, by a bipartisan vote of 53-44, the Senate approved its resolution. On November 29, the House likewise passed a resolution of disapproval by a vote of 221-202.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Connecticut Attorney General William Tong filed suit against auto dealer Manchester City Nissan (Manchester City), its owner, and several employees for allegedly deceiving consumers about the price of certified used cars, add-ons, and government fees. Filed January 4, the lawsuit was brought under the FTC Act and the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.

On December 20, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a complaint in a Texas federal court against Colony Ridge Development, LLC (Colony Ridge), its affiliates, and Loan Originator Services, a Texas mortgage company, for allegedly operating an illegal land sales scheme and targeting tens of thousands of Hispanic borrowers with false statements and predatory loans. Specifically, the complaint alleges Colony Ridge sells flood-prone land without water, sewer, or electrical infrastructure, and that the company sets borrowers up with loans they cannot afford. The complaint alleges that defendants engaged in unlawful discrimination by targeting Hispanics in violation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA). In addition, the complaint alleges violation of the Dodd-Frank Act’s prohibition on unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP), and a variety of violations of the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act.

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.

As discussed here, this summer, Representative Roger Williams (R-Texas) and Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced identical Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions in the U.S. House and Senate (H.J. Res. 66 and S. J. Res. 32, respectively) disapproving the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB or Bureau) implementation of the small business data collection and reporting final rule under § 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Final Rule). Under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), a rule promulgated by an administrative agency “shall not take effect (or continue), if the Congress enacts a joint resolution of disapproval.” On October 18, by a bipartisan vote of 53-44, the Senate approved its resolution. On November 29, the House likewise passed a resolution of disapproval by a vote of 221-202.

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.”

On October 30, President Biden issued a sweeping Executive Order calling on Congress to enact privacy laws and directing federal agencies to review existing rules and potentially explore new rulemakings governing the use of artificial intelligence (AI) across various sectors of the U.S. economy. Among other things, the Executive Order will require AI system developers to submit safety test results to the federal government, establish standards for detecting AI-generated content to fight consumer fraud, and develop AI tools to identify and fix vulnerabilities in critical software. According to the White House fact sheet, the stated goal of the Executive Order is to “ensure that America leads the way in seizing the promise and managing the risks of [AI].” To that end, the Executive Order focuses on national security, privacy, discrimination and bias, healthcare safety, workplace surveillance, innovation, and global leadership.