Mortgage Lending, Servicing + Banking

On February 12, ten Rhode Island senators introduced S 2275, a bill proposing to opt Rhode Island out of §§ 521-523 of the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act (DIDMCA). On February 13, HF 3680 was introduced in Minnesota, proposing to opt-out of DIDMCA expressly as to non-credit card forms of credit. These legislative efforts to opt-out of DIDMCA, coupled with the influx in recent “true lender” legislation, seem to show a coordinated effort to restrict bank-model lending.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) recently announced the approval of an additional $4.9 billion in student loan forgiveness for 73,000 individuals. The relief was provided through several modifications to the income-driven repayment (IDR) forgiveness and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PLSF) programs. To date, the Biden Administration has forgiven $136.6 billion in student loans for more than 3.7 million borrowers.

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.

On January 23, the Chairman of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) released a letter outlining its supervisory priorities for the new year. While the organization acknowledged that the credit union system had remained largely stable during 2023, it observed growing signs of financial strain on balance sheets. Specifically, the “rise in interest rate and liquidity risks resulted in an increase in the number of composite CAMELS code 3, 4, and 5 credit unions. Inflation and interest rates are affecting household budgets, which could lead to an increase in credit risk in future quarters.”

Recently the U.S. Supreme Court granted the petition for certiorari in Smith v. Spizzirri, which presents the question of whether § 3 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) requires district courts to issue a stay pending arbitration or allows courts the discretion to dismiss the suit when all claims are subject to arbitration.

Late last month, Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie introduced B 25-0609, entitled the Protecting Affordable Loans Amendment Act of 2023, that proposes to opt the District of Columbia out of sections 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). But another section of DIDMCA (section 525), permits states to opt out of sections 521-523 via legislation. If the bill passes, the District will join Colorado, discussed here, Iowa and Puerto Rico as the only jurisdictions currently opting out.

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.

A group of non-profit consumer advocacy organizations, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, and the American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators filed two separate briefs asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a Second Circuit decision holding that New York’s escrow interest law is preempted by the National Bank Act (NBA) under the “ordinary legal principles of pre-emption.” Under the NBA, a state law is preempted if the law “prevents or significantly interferes with the exercise by the national bank of its powers.”