Category Archives: Small-Dollar Lending

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CFPB Rescinds Small Dollar Rule Ability to Repay Provisions However Payment Provisions Remain

On July 7, 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued its final rule in regard to so-called small dollar loans. The biggest change from the CFPB’s original iteration of the rule, the 2017 Payday, Vehicle Title, and Certain High-Cost Installment Loans Rule ( small dollar rule”) is the bureau’s decision to rescind the ability … Continue Reading

FTC and NY AG Target Merchant Cash Advance Companies

On June 10, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission and the  New York Office of the Attorney General filed actions against two merchant cash advance (MCA) companies – RCG Advances and Ram Capital Funding – and individuals associated with both companies in the Southern District of New York and the Supreme Court of the State of … Continue Reading

Dodd Frank 1071 Update: CFPB Status Report Sheds Light on Implementation

In January, we discussed the upcoming implementation of Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which amends the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to require certain reporting requirements for specific categories of business loans. The implementation of Section 1071, which contains reporting and disclosure requirements that are comparable to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), through an … Continue Reading

Joint Statement Issued by Federal Banking Regulators to Encourage (Yes, Encourage) Responsible Small-Dollar Lending in Response to COVID-19

Following previous guidance issued by (and in some cases withdrawn by) the OCC, CFPB, Federal Reserve, FDIC, and NCUA, the federal financial institution regulatory agencies published a joint statement on March 26, 2020, in response to COVID-19 “to specifically encourage financial institutions to offer responsible small-dollar loans to both consumers and small businesses.” The statement … Continue Reading

CFPB Signals Renewed Enforcement of Tribal Lending

In recent years, the CFPB has sent different messages regarding its approach to regulating tribal lending. Under the bureau’s first director, Richard Cordray, the CFPB pursued an aggressive enforcement agenda that included tribal lending. After Acting Director Mulvaney took over, the CFPB’s 2018 five-year plan indicated that the CFPB had no intention of “pushing the … Continue Reading

Think Finance Settlement: Final Resolution Leaves More Questions than It Answers as to Future of CFPB Enforcement

The CFPB announced that it settled with Think Finance, LLC and six subsidiaries on February 5. The settlement follows protracted litigation beginning in November 2017 involving the CFPB’s allegations that Think Finance “engaged in unfair, deceptive, and abusive acts and practices in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act in connection with the illegal collection … Continue Reading

Winter 2020 Supervisory Highlights – CFPB’s Focus on Verbal Loss Mitigation Applications

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released the Winter 2020 edition of its Supervisory Highlights report on February 21, 2020. Among other legal violations, the CFPB noted that certain mortgage servicers have recently struggled with the concept of a verbal loss mitigation application. Although the issues described in the report center around assistance offered in … Continue Reading

California’s Proposed “Mini-CFPB” May Increase Scrutiny of Auto Lenders and Other Industry Participants

Earlier this month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom revealed plans to create a state version of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as part of the state’s proposed 2020-2021 budget. According to the governor’s Budget Summary, “[t]he federal government’s rollback of the CFPB leaves Californians vulnerable to predatory businesses and leaves companies without the clarity … Continue Reading

CFPB’s New Policy on Abusive Practices Promises a “Common Sense” Approach to Enforcement

Last week, the CFPB released a long-anticipated policy statement clarifying the agency’s enforcement standard for “abusive acts or practices.” According to an agency press release, the CFPB’s new standard offers a “common-sense” approach that director Kathleen Kraninger says will “provide[] a solid framework to prevent consumer harm while promoting the clarity needed to foster consumer … Continue Reading

Ready or Not, Section 1071 is Coming: The Upcoming Implementation of Dodd-Frank’s Women and Minority-Owned and Small Business Reporting Requirements

As part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, Congress enacted Section 1071, which amended the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to mandate certain reporting requirements for lenders making business loans. The act aims to “facilitate enforcement of fair lending laws and enable communities, governmental entities, and creditors to identify business and community development needs and opportunities of … Continue Reading

New Legislation in House, Senate Would Cap Consumer Loans at 36%, Crippling the Industry

New federal legislation introduced in the House and Senate would place a 36% annual percentage rate cap on nearly all consumer loans, potentially killing the small dollar consumer lending industry. Last month, Congressmen Jesús G. “Chuy” García (D-IL) and Glen Grothman (R-WI) introduced H.R. 5050, the Veterans and Consumers Fair Credit Act. The bill proposes … Continue Reading

The NCUA Doubles Amount Credit Unions Can Offer for Payday Alternative Loans

At the September open meeting, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) voted 2-1 to approve the final rule related to expanding payday alternative loan options (PAL II). Although the NCUA made clear in the final rule that the PAL II does not replace the PAL I, the flexibility of the PAL II will create  new opportunities … Continue Reading

The CFPB (Yes, the CFPB!) Offers New Compliance Tools for Innovation

Companies that offer innovative consumer financial products and services have new tools to help them stay in compliance with federal consumer financial laws. In a refreshing twist from prior policy, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced last week that it had revamped its No-Action Letter Policy and released a Compliance Assistance Sandbox and a … Continue Reading

CFPB Settles with Freedom Debt Relief

On July 9, 2019, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California entered a stipulated final judgment and order in case number 17-cv-06484, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. Freedom Debt Relief, LLC, et al. Under the stipulated judgment, Freedom Debt Relief, LLC (Freedom Debt Relief is not related to Freedom Mortgage Company) is … Continue Reading

Stay of Litigation and Compliance Date Continued in Payday Lending Rule Lawsuit

Following the status report filed last week by the parties involved in the lawsuit challenging the CFPB’s Payday, Vehicle Title, and Certain High-Cost Installment Loans Rule, the Texas district court faced with the case ordered that the stay of litigation and the stay of the compliance date for the rule’s payment provisions are continued. The … Continue Reading

Big Picture Loans Lands Big Win for Tribal Lenders in Sovereign Immunity Case

In a recent decision by the Fourth Circuit, Big Picture Loans, LLC, an online lender owned and operated by the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, a federally recognized Indian tribe (“Tribe”), and Ascension Technologies, LLC, the Tribe’s management and consultant company successfully established that they are each arms of the Tribe … Continue Reading

FTC Imposes $110 Million Fine Against Payment Facilitator and Its Executives

Payment processor/facilitator Allied Wallet, its CEO, and two other corporate officers, recently agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that they assisted or knowingly processed fraudulent transactions for merchant-clients. This action indicates that enforcement actions against payment processors are alive and well, despite the FTC’s previously announced end of “Operation Chokepoint,” which, among other … Continue Reading

California Latest State to Consider Lead Generation Licensing

On Wednesday, June 26, 2019, the California Senate Banking Committee will take up AB 642, which would add certain lead generation activities to the definition of “broker” under the California Financing Law (Cal. Fin. Code § 22004 et seq.). If passed, companies that engage in lead generation (“lead generators”) would be required to obtain a … Continue Reading

CFPB Quietly and Proactively Acts on Its Revised CID Policy

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently announced that it is adopting a new policy regarding Civil Investigative Demands (CIDs). Going forward, Director Kathleen Kraninger has committed to providing more information to the entity or individual that is the recipient of the CID. This will be accomplished through more specific notifications of purpose, which will … Continue Reading

The Conundrum of Credit Reporting In and After Bankruptcy: Help May Be on the Way

Creditors and credit furnishers often find properly reporting a payment status to Credit Reporting Agencies (CRAs) during, and after, bankruptcy a challenge. The recent Report of the American Bankruptcy Institute on Consumer Bankruptcy recognizes those challenges, and looks to convene a forum to provide better guidance and clarity as to proper credit reporting once a … Continue Reading

CFPB Guts Major Component of Payday Lending Rule

Today, the CFPB proposed amendments to its Payday, Vehicle Title, and Certain High-Costs Installment Loans Rule. As anticipated, the bureau is proposing to rescind the rule’s requirements that lenders make certain ability-to-repay underwriting determinations before issuing payday, single-payment vehicle title, and longer-term balloon payment loans on the basis that such restrictions would limit consumer access … Continue Reading

CFPB Settles with Payday Lenders for Deceptive Practices

Last week, in CFPB v. NDG Financial Corp. et al., the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) entered into a proposed settlement with several payday lenders and corporate officials based in Canada and Malta. As background, the corporate defendants consisted of a network of affiliated companies, known as the NDG Enterprise, which extended high-cost, short-term payday … Continue Reading

Court Stays Compliance Date for BCFP’s Payday Rule

On Tuesday, the small-dollar lending industry received a favorable ruling in Community Financial Services Association of America v. CFPB. A Texas federal court reversed course by staying the August 19, 2019, compliance date for the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection’s (BCFP) rule regarding “Payday, Vehicle Title, and Certain High-Costs Installment Loans.” The court also continued … Continue Reading

BCFP Enters into Consent Order with Small Dollar Lender

On October 24, 2018, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP), formerly known as the CFPB, entered into a Consent Order with Cash Express, LLC. Cash Express is a small dollar lender based in Cookeville, Tennessee, that operates 328 retail lending outlets in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee, and offers short-term loans and check cashing … Continue Reading
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