Mortgage Lending, Servicing + Banking

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has issued a final rule adjusting the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) dollar amounts for certain provisions, including under the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act of 1994 (HOEPA), and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act), where appropriate, based on the annual percentage change reflected in the consumer price index (CPI). The rule takes effect on January 1, 2024.

On August 28, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced its eighth redlining settlement under its Combatting Redlining Initiative. The settlement between the DOJ and the American Bank of Oklahoma, which originated from a referral by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), aims to resolve allegations that the bank engaged in a pattern or practice of lending discrimination by redlining historically Black neighborhoods in the Tulsa, Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area (Tulsa MSA). Under the terms of the proposed consent order, American Bank of Oklahoma will pay more than $1.15 million to resolve the allegations that it engaged in a “pattern or practice” of redlining in violation of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

On July 31, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Federal Reserve) issued its July Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices, which addressed changes in the standards and terms on, and demand for, bank loans to businesses and households in the second quarter of 2023. Banks reported that lending standards are currently on the tighter end of the range for all loan categories. Specifically, standards tightened for all consumer loan categories and demand weakened for auto and other consumer loans, while it remained basically unchanged for credit card loans. Looking forward, banks reported expecting to tighten standards further on all loan categories citing an uncertain economic outlook and expected deterioration in collateral values and the credit quality of loans.

In April, we discussed how Colorado’s state supreme court issued its highly anticipated decision confirming a borrower’s bankruptcy discharge does not accelerate secured installment debt or trigger the final statute of limitations period to recover the debt. Now, Washington’s high court has rendered its decisions on the topic, joining the handful of states to address this trending issue.

On June 6, Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen signed into law Legislative Bill 92, which, among many other subjects, amends the Nebraska Installment Loan Act (the NILA). Previously, a license was required for a lender seeking to take advantage of the usury authority provided by the NILA and also for any person that holds or acquires any rights of ownership, servicing, or other forms of participation in a loan under the NILA. Legislative Bill 92 expands the scope of the licensing requirement to “any person that is not a financial institution who, at or after the time a [covered] loan is made by a financial institution, markets, owns in whole or in part, holds, acquires, services, or otherwise participates in such loan.” “Financial institution” is broadly defined to include all federally insured depository institutions. And the licensing requirement, by its terms, applies to entities providing limited services and/or purchasing limited interests (not just the predominant economic interest) in loans by financial institutions of $25,000 or less, with rates exceeding the Nebraska general usury limit.

The Federal Reserve (Fed) has officially launched its new instant payment service, FedNow, which aims to modernize the U.S.’s payment system. As previously discussed here and here, consumers and businesses will be able to send and receive money within seconds, at any time of the day and on any day of the year. This will eliminate the one to three days’ lag time of traditional money transfers, providing the public with more flexibility in managing their money.

On June 29, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed SB 1033, An Act Concerning Various Revisions to the Banking Statutes, into law. As discussed here, with this bill, Connecticut joins several other states that have set strict rate caps on consumer loans, including Illinois, New Mexico, Colorado, and California, and those that expressly provide for a predominant economic interest test for true lender purposes. The law will take effect on October 1, 2023.

In Soaring Pine Capital Real Estate & Debt Fund II, LLC v. Park Street Group Realty Services, LLC, the Michigan Supreme Court considered whether a court may enforce a usury savings clause in a mortgage agreement. A usury savings clause is a contractual term requiring a borrower to pay the maximum legal interest rate if the court determines that the other contractual terms impose an illegal interest rate.

In Frazier v. Dovenmuehle Mortgage, Inc., the Seventh Circuit recently issued an opinion affirming summary judgement in favor of the defendant data furnisher in a suit brought by a consumer under § 1681s-2(b) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requiring data furnishers upon notice of a dispute to “investigate the disputed data” and “correct or verify the information by returning the ACDV form to the credit reporting agency [CRA] with any amended or verified data inserted next to the old data.” The appellate court rejected the consumer’s argument that the information provided by the furnisher on an ACDV response to a CRA was materially misleading, even though the CRA’s inaccurate interpretation of the ACDV response led the CRA to report that the consumer was currently delinquent on a settled debt.

The American Association of Bank Directors (AABD) recently published the second edition of its Practical Handbook on Fair Lending for Bank Directors and Executive Officers (the Handbook), updating the first edition of the Handbook issued in 2016. David Baris, President of AABD, and Troutman Pepper partner Lori Sommerfield (two of the original authors) are again co-authors of the Handbook, together with Troutman Pepper partner Chris Willis and associate Sarah Pruett.