According to a recent report by WebRecon, court filings under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) were down for the month of October, but filings under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) were up. Complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) were also up for the month.
On November 16, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) released its Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) Annual Report detailing the CFPB’s 2022 activities related to debt collection practices. This comprehensive document summarizes everything FDCPA-related undertaken by the agency during 2022, including enforcement actions, a summary of consumer complaints, education and outreach initiatives, and highlights from examinations it conducted. In addition to summarizing activities in the debt collection space from the past year, the report hints at potential future activities. Tellingly, the CFPB’s focus in 2022 was predominantly on medical debt, as highlighted by its press release announcing this report.
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 November 7, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a proposed rule with request for public comment to amend existing regulations defining “larger participants” the CFPB supervises by adding a new section to define larger participants that offer digital wallets, payment applications, and similar services.
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.
On October 27, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a final rule amending the Standards for Safeguarding Customer Information (Safeguards Rule) under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. The Safeguards Rule requires nonbanking financial institutions to develop, implement, and maintain a comprehensive information security program to keep their customers’ information safe. The amendment will require financial institutions to notify the FTC no later than 30 days after discovery of a security breach involving the information of 500 or more consumers. The amendment will go into effect 180 days after publication of the final rule in the Federal Register.
On October 24, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Wisconsin Department of Justice announced a settlement with Wisconsin auto dealer group Rhinelander Auto Center, Inc. (Rhinelander), its current and former owners, and general manager. The lawsuit was brought under the FTC Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), the Wisconsin Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and the Wisconsin Consumer Act.
On October 19, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued its highly anticipated notice of proposed rulemaking under Section 1033 of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (CFPA). The proposed Personal Financial Data Rights Rule would require depository and nondepository entities to make available to consumers and authorized third parties certain data relating to consumers’ accounts, establish obligations for third parties accessing a consumer’s data, and provide basic standards for data access. Notably, the proposed rule only provides for narrow exceptions, such as community banks and credit unions that have no digital interface with their customers. The CFPB is currently accepting comments on the proposed rule until December 29, 2023.
A new enforcement action provides more detail on the expectations of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (collectively, the agencies) for the content of tenant screening reports.
On October 11, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) issued an advisory opinion regarding § 1034(c) of the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA), which requires large banks and credit unions to comply in a timely manner with consumer requests for information concerning their accounts. This advisory opinion follows a June 2022 request for information where the CFPB asked for public input on customer service obstacles encountered when interacting with large financial institutions. According to the CFPB, this initiative is in response to large financial institutions moving away from “relationship banking.”