State Attorneys General, CFPB + FTC

As we predicted here, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) last week proposed new and, in some cases, streamlined rules governing what mortgage servicers must do after a borrower becomes delinquent. The proposed rules incorporate some pandemic-era practices, such as allowing servicers to offer assistance without a comprehensive review of the borrower’s financial situation. According to the CFPB, the new rules would require mortgage servicers to prioritize loss mitigation over foreclosing, reduce paperwork requirements, improve communication with borrowers, and ensure critical information is provided in the borrowers’ preferred language.

As discussed here, on February 3, 2023, an Illinois federal court dismissed a case brought by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) in 2020 against Townstone Financial, Inc., a Chicago mortgage lender, for alleged violations of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA). The CFPB had accused Townstone of discouraging prospective African American applicants in the Chicago metropolitan area from applying for mortgages.

On July 2, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) published the summer edition of its Supervisory Highlights, focusing on examinations of auto and student loan servicing companies and debt collectors that were completed between April 1, 2023 and December 31, 2023. The report also highlights consumer complaints about medical payment products and identifies concerns with financial institutions freezing deposit accounts.

As discussed here, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Community Financial Services Association of America, Limited v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau), which upheld the CFPB’s funding structure, the Bureau announced updated compliance dates for its Section 1071 Final Rule concerning small business data collection and reporting under the Dodd-Frank Act.

On June 20, six federal financial services regulators issued the final automated valuation model (AVM) rule. The AVM rule, initially proposed in June 2023 and discussed here, aims to implement the quality control standards mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank Act). The final AVM rule is largely identical to the proposed rule and is set to take effect on the first day of the calendar quarter following 12 months after its publication in the Federal Register.

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.