Regulatory Enforcement + Compliance

On June 18, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the plaintiffs’ petition for a writ of mandamus, effectively halting the transfer of the lawsuit challenging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB or Bureau) credit card late fee rule from a Texas federal district court to the District of Columbia. This decision marks another pivotal moment in the ongoing legal battle over the CFPB’s Final Rule, which has seen a complex procedural history unfold over the past few months.

Over the course of the last year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) has increased its scrutiny of medical financing products, such as medical credit cards and installment loans. In July 2023, the CFPB and other federal agencies launched an inquiry into medical payment products, discussed here. Last week, when the CFPB announced its proposed rule to ban the reporting of medical debt on consumer reports, discussed here, it stated it was considering action related to medical financing products. Then this week, the CFPB published a blog examining how financial institutions market their products to healthcare providers in an effort to ensure “consumers aren’t pushed into medical payment products.” The CFPB’s ongoing discourse on this topic signals a potential regulatory crackdown may be coming.

The Department of Labor (DOL) has recently issued a revised Unemployment Insurance Program Letter to clarify how state workforce agencies should deliver unemployment benefits payments to consumers. This new guidance integrates recent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) research on so-called “junk fees” and other consumer risks associated with public benefits and prepaid cards.

Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) released a report on the state of negative equity in auto lending. The CFPB says it found that financing negative equity creates increased risks for consumers, and states that the CFPB will be putting negative equity under scrutiny.

Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that its so-called “Payday, Vehicle Title and Certain High-Cost Installment Loans” rule (Rule) will go into effect on March 30, 2025. While ostensibly aimed at higher-APR lending (e.g., loans with an APR above 36%), it also applies to most creditors, including banks, offering loans: (1) that are substantially repayable within 45 days or less; or (2) that have a bullet or balloon payment feature. It applies by its plain terms to a number of mainstream financial products and products marketed to high-net worth individuals, none of which the CFPB seems to have considered when promulgating the rule.

On May 28, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released its annual report to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) detailing enforcement and educational activities undertaken in 2023. The report pertains to actions under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and Regulation Z, the Consumer Leasing Act (CLA) and Regulation M, and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) and Regulation E. Specifically, the report highlights FTC initiatives in areas such as automobile financing and leasing, electronic fund transfers, so-called junk fees, payday lending, and negative options.

On June 11, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) released a proposed rule amending Regulation V, which implements the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), concerning medical debt. The proposed rule would remove a regulatory exception that currently allows creditors to obtain and use information on medical debts for credit eligibility determinations. Additionally, the proposed rule would generally prohibit consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) from furnishing consumer reports containing medical debt information to creditors. Comments on the proposed rule are being accepted until August 12, 2024. The Bureau aims to finalize the rule by early 2025.

On June 6, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) issued a request for information (RFI) seeking public input on the uses, opportunities, and risks presented by the use of artificial intelligence (AI) within the financial sector. Notably, the Treasury’s RFI comes three years after the issuance of a similar RFI by the federal banking agencies (Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Reserve Board, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and National Credit Union Administration on financial institutions’ use of AI, discussed here.

On May 31, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals published an opinion in Bristol SL Holdings, Inc. v. Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, which has significant implications for the healthcare industry, most notably by clarifying the broad scope of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s (ERISA) preemption of state law causes of action arising from pre-service coverage communications between medical providers and health plan administrators.

Yesterday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) announced it has finalized a rule outlining the qualifications to become a recognized industry Standard Setter body (Standard Setter Rule). These bodies will be instrumental in issuing standards that assist companies in complying with the forthcoming Personal Financial Data Rights Rule under Section 1033 of the Consumer Financial Protection Act (Section 1033 Rule). The Standard Setter Rule outlines the attributes that these bodies must exhibit to gain recognition from the CFPB. It also provides a comprehensive guide detailing the application process for recognition and the CFPB’s evaluation methodology.