Christopher K. Friedman

Photo of Christopher K. Friedman

Chris Friedman is a regulatory compliance attorney and litigator who focuses on helping consumer finance companies and small business lenders, as well as banks, fintech companies, and other participants in the financial services industry, address the challenges of operating in a highly regulated sector. Chris focuses on both small business lenders and alternative business finance products and has helped merchant cash advance companies, non-bank small business lenders, banks who make small business loans, commercial credit counselors, lead generators, and others in the industry. He helps clients launch new products, conduct due diligence, engage in compliance reviews, evaluate litigation risk, and solve some of the unique legal problems faced by companies who work with small businesses. In that vein, Chris has written extensively about the upcoming rulemaking related to Dodd-Frank 1071, which will require data collection and reporting by companies making loans to certain small businesses. View articles by Chris.

Subscribe to all posts by Christopher K. Friedman

HUD Acts to Revive Two Fair Housing Policies

Roughly three months ago, President Biden signed an executive order that, among other things, directed HUD to reevaluate earlier agency decisions perceived to weaken the Fair Housing Act. In response to this directive, HUD has submitted draft rules to the Office of Management and Budget that would roll back two significant changes made by the … Continue Reading

Recent Updates Concerning the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has been busy over the last few months laying out what appears to be a broad regulatory agenda. As discussed in this blog, the Bureau has issued an industry notice emphasizing industry preparedness related to COVID-19 forbearance plans, issued proposed COVID-19-related amendments to the Mortgage Servicing Rules, suggested that … Continue Reading

CFPB Proposes Delay to Implementation of Its Debt Collection Rules

Yesterday, the CFPB issued a proposed rule that would extend implementation of both parts of its debt collection rule by 60 days — from November 30, 2021, to January 29, 2022. The debt collection rule, which we have discussed here in detail, addresses numerous topics related to debt collection, including debt collection call volume, restrictions … Continue Reading

CFPB Signals Continued Progress Toward Dodd-Frank 1071 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

On the heels of CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio’s recently released statement to agency staff members, the Bureau again signaled that it is making progress toward issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) enacting Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the Dodd-Frank Act). Specifically, in late February, the CFPB … Continue Reading

CFPB Rescinds 2020 Policy Statements Issued Due to COVID-19

On March 31, 2021, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rescinded seven recent policy statements and one bulletin in an effort to ensure compliance with consumer protection laws and reinforce its supervisory and enforcement authority. These rescissions are effective April 1, 2021. The policy statements, which were issued between March 26 through June 3, 2020, … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Rules on Landlord Fair Housing Act Liability for Ignoring Tenant-on-Tenant Racial Harassment

On March 21, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held en banc in Francis v. Kings Park Manor, Inc., et al. (Francis II) that landlords, who do not have discriminatory intent, are not liable under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) for ignoring tenant-on-tenant racial harassment in their buildings. In considering … Continue Reading

Acting CFPB Director Uejio Reiterates Commitment to Issuing Regulations Enacting Dodd-Frank 1071

On February 4, 2021, acting CFPB Director Dave Uejio published a blog post sharing statements recently made to the staff of the CFPB’s Division of Research, Markets, and Regulations (RMR). In his post, Uejio stressed two policy priorities for the CFPB: “(1) relief for consumers facing hardship due to COVID-19 and the related economic crisis … Continue Reading

CFPB Releases Observations of COVID-19 Impacts to Small Business Lending through PPP Loans and Potential Fair Lending Risks

As we recently noted, the CFPB released the 23rd issue of its Supervisory Highlights report, focusing on COVID-19 prioritized assessments. In the report, the CFPB identified small business lending as an area that poses a risk of consumer harm. In particular, the CFPB focuses its discussion of small business lending on the Paycheck Protection Program … Continue Reading

FHA Clarifies That DACA Classified Residents Are Permitted to Apply for FHA-Insured Mortgages

On January 20, 2021, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released guidance clarifying its definition of the term “lawful residency.” Under the updated guidance, HUD makes clear that individuals classified under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and are legally permitted to … Continue Reading

FTC’s Comment on ECOA and Regulation B Signals Continued Focus on Small Business Lending

Last year, the CFPB issued a notice and request for information on the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) and Regulation B. Specifically, the CFPB sought “comments and information to identify opportunities to prevent credit discrimination, encourage responsible innovation, promote fair, equitable, and nondiscriminatory access to credit, address potential regulatory uncertainty, and develop viable solutions to … Continue Reading

Florida Court Affirms That Merchant Cash Advance Product Not Subject to Usury Statute

This month, a Florida appellate court held that a merchant cash advance (MCA) purchase and sale agreement was not a “disguised loan” and, therefore, was not subject to Florida’s criminal usury statute. MCA purchase and sale agreements, which offer merchants a fast and efficient way to obtain funding for their operations, are not loans. Rather, … Continue Reading

CFPB Approves Synchrony’s “Dual-Feature Credit Card”

On December 30, 2020, the CFPB approved Synchrony Bank’s application to offer a “dual-feature credit card” (DFCC) under the CFPB’s Compliance Assistance Sandbox (CAS) policy. According to Synchrony’s application, the DFCC allows consumers to graduate from a secured-use credit card to an unsecured feature after at least one year and if the customer satisfies certain … Continue Reading

New York Enacts Small Business Truth in Lending Disclosure Requirement Affecting Small Business Loans, MCAs, and Other Forms of Business Finance

A new year brings new compliance requirements for non-banks and fintechs conducting business in New York, including Merchant Cash Advance (MCA) companies. On December 23, 2020, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed SB5470 expanding the New York Financial Services law to require non-banks and fintechs to provide small businesses with lending disclosures similar to those … Continue Reading

In the Strangest Year Ever, We’re Very Thankful and Wish You a Happy Thanksgiving

As everyone steps away from their (home) office to celebrate Thanksgiving, we wanted to count our blessings as we review this truly remarkable and unusual year. In addition to frontline healthcare workers, good WI-FI, food delivery services, and finally finding a mask that is comfortable, we are also thankful for the following: 1. The CARES … Continue Reading

CFPB Issues Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Section 1033 for Consumer-Authorized Access to Financial Data

On October 22, 2020, the CFPB issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) soliciting comments on implementation of Section 1033 of the Dodd-Frank Act. As outlined in the ANPR, Section 1033 will require consumer financial service providers to give consumers access to financial account data in a usable electronic format. This data includes information … Continue Reading

Federal District Court Stays Effective Date and Enjoins Enforcement of HUD’s Final Rule on the Fair Housing Act’s Disparate Impact Standard

On October 24, 2020, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) final rule on the implementation of the Fair Housing Act’s disparate impact standard was scheduled to become effective. That effective date was short lived: on October 25, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts entered a preliminary injunction staying … Continue Reading

OCC Releases Final True Lender Rule

On October 27, 2020, the OCC released its final True Lender Rule. As discussed earlier on this blog, the OCC’s rule is designed to clarify the “true lender” doctrine, a legal test utilized by courts and regulators to determine whether a bank or its non-bank partner is the actual lender in a credit transaction. The … Continue Reading

State Attorneys General Challenge FDIC’s Madden Fix

In early August 2020, several state attorneys general filed suit against the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) challenging the OCC’s proposed “Madden Fix.” Notably, while the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) also issued their own Madden Fix, the agency was not named as a defendant in the initial lawsuit. As such, it … Continue Reading

HUD Issues Final Rule on the Fair Housing Act’s Disparate Impact Standard

On September 3, 2020, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued its final rule on the implementation of the Fair Housing Act’s disparate impact standard. The Fair Housing Act (FHA) prohibits discrimination in many housing-related activities on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, and national origin. For at … Continue Reading

CFPB Releases Small Business Lender Compliance Cost Survey to Aid in Dodd-Frank 1071 Rulemaking

Recently, the CFPB released an online survey designed to collect information from “institutions engaged in small business financing” regarding one-time costs of compliance with Dodd-Frank 1071. Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which we have discussed in detail on this blog, creates robust reporting requirements for lenders engaged in lending to women-owned, minority-owned, and small … Continue Reading

State Attorneys General Challenge OCC Madden Fix

Last Wednesday, the attorneys general of Illinois, California, and New York filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California challenging the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s proposed “Madden Fix.” This proposed rule, which we have discussed in detail, is designed to resolve some of the legal … Continue Reading

The Rapidly Changing Fair Housing Landscape: HUD Rescinds Obama-Era AFFH Fair Housing Rule

The Trump administration recently announced that it has rescinded Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH), an Obama-era regulation intended to ensure compliance with the Fair Housing Act (FHA). AFFH requires cities and towns to analyze local housing data for discriminatory patterns and submit plans to address those issues in order to continue receiving federal funding. This … Continue Reading

OCC Proposes Clarification to True Lender Doctrine

Earlier this week, the OCC released a proposed rule designed to address the “true lender” doctrine, a legal test utilized by courts and regulators to determine whether a bank or its non-bank partner is the actual lender in a credit transaction. This doctrine has led to uncertainty in the fintech and bank-partnership spaces, in large … Continue Reading

OCC, FDIC Issue Long-Awaited Valid-When-Made “Madden Fix”

Recently, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) issued final rules designed to resolve the uncertainty created by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Madden v. Midland Funding, 786 F.3d 246 (2d Cir. 2015). In Madden, the court called into doubt the valid-when-made doctrine, … Continue Reading
LexBlog