The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)’s long-anticipated rulemaking on small-dollar lending took a surprising turn. The version of the CFPB’s small-dollar regulation proposed in 2016 would have covered a wide array of small consumer loans, and was further accompanied by a request for information on additional small-dollar products and practices not covered by the proposal, all of which implied that the CFPB had a far-reaching agenda for regulating small-dollar consumer credit and, as a first salvo, would fire off a sweepingly broad small-dollar regulation. But that is not what has happened so far. Rather, the final rule, announced on October 5, is narrowly drawn and centers on more limited, specific types of short-term payday loans. Continue Reading What Does the CFPB’s Payday Rule Mean for the Future of Small-Dollar Lending?

Vice President Mike Pence cast a tie-breaking vote in the U.S. Senate on the evening of October 24, 2017 to overturn the arbitration rules proposed in July by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. The House of Representatives had already voted in late July to repeal the arbitration rule under the Congressional Review Act. President Donald Trump has indicated that he will sign the resolution shortly, applauding Congress for “standing up for everyday consumers and community banks and credit unions, instead of the trial lawyers, who would have benefited the most from the CFPB’s uninformed and ineffective policy.”   Senator Elizabeth Warren, who had led opposition to the repeal resolution, called the move “a giant wet kiss to Wall Street.” Continue Reading In Case You Missed It: Senate Moves to Overturn CFPB Arbitration Rule

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)’s Office of Regulations has long offered the public the opportunity to ask the agency questions about specific regulatory provisions and receive informal feedback from CFPB attorneys, although the path for doing so was not always clear. Now, the CFPB is offering a new web interface to use for submitting such questions. Those wanting to send questions to the CFPB should bookmark the page for the new web form. Continue Reading New CFPB Online Inquiry Form Offers New Way to Ask Regulatory Questions

Last week, the Federal Reserve issued proposed guidance that could dial back some regulatory expectations for directors of financial institutions. The proposed guidance, applicable to Fed-supervised entities like bank holding companies and state member banks, would clarify the role of boards of directors, and place more responsibilities back onto management instead. This breaks with a trend over the past several years in which regulators have urged more and more active and seemingly granular involvement from bank boards. Continue Reading Outside Bank Directors Take Note: Could Regulators’ Expectations Be Changing (Again)?

Every other year, the Texas Legislature convenes for roughly six months in Austin. Given the tight timeframe and biennial nature, sessions of the Texas Legislature tend to be “fast and furious” (and also full of drama). There were a total of 6,631 bills filed in the 2017 Texas Legislative Session. The Texas House filed 4,333 bills, of which 700 passed. The Texas Senate filed 2,298, of which 511 passed. Texas Governor Abbott vetoed 50 bills prior to the June 18, 2017, veto deadline. Below are summaries and effective dates of the major new laws that affect financial institutions operating in Texas. Continue Reading 2017 Texas Legislative Recap of New Laws Affecting Financial Institutions Operating in Texas

On June 15, 2017, the Federal Reserve Board (FRB) published in the Federal Register final amendments to Regulation CC (Availability of Funds and Collection of Checks). The amendments contain a number of changes that will affect financial institutions, such as modifications to check return requirements, additional warranties, and new indemnities, including a new indemnity for remote deposit capture (RDC). (Spoiler Alert: The indemnity for RDC has significant implications for financial institutions that offer RDC services.) The rule will become effective July 1, 2018.

Regulation CC implements the Expedited Funds Availability Act (EFAA) and the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act (Check 21 Act). The FRB previously published a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend Regulation CC in February 2014. Continue Reading Amendments to Regulation CC Affect Liability Considerations for Financial Institutions

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed Friday to temporarily relax the scope of upcoming changes to Regulation C, which implements the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), by raising one threshold for HMDA reporting. Under Regulation C amendments previously finalized and scheduled to take effect in 2018, HMDA reporting requirements would apply to any financial institution originating 100 or more open-end home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) per year over the prior two years. Under the new proposal, the HMDA reporting requirements would apply through calendar year 2019 to institutions that originated 500 or more HELOCs per year over the prior two years. In the meantime, the CFPB would conduct further studies to help determine whether to permanently change this threshold. Continue Reading CFPB Offers Smaller HELOC Lenders Temporary Relief from HMDA Coverage; HMDA Changes Still Loom In the Future

On July 10, 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) dropped the other shoe and issued final rules prohibiting “providers of consumer financial products and services in the core consumer financial markets of lending money, storing money, and moving or exchanging money” from “using a pre-dispute arbitration agreement to block consumer class actions in court.” The final rules also require covered providers to insert language “reflecting this limitation” in contracts with pre-suit arbitration clauses. Completing the trifecta, the new rules require “providers that use pre-dispute arbitration agreements to submit certain records relating to arbitral and court proceedings to the Bureau,” which will use the information to monitor use of arbitration clauses regarding “whether there are developments that raise consumer protection concerns that may warrant further Bureau action.” The CFPB also intends to create a website providing “greater transparency into the arbitration of consumer disputes.” Continue Reading The Sound of Shoes Dropping: CFPB Moves to Bar Class Action Waivers

The long-awaited  Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the case of Fourth Corner Credit Union v. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City was issued this week. In short: the would-be credit union, formed to serve participants in the state-legal marijuana sector, lives to fight another day—but minus its original purpose for existing.

Background

Fourth Corner Credit Union was originally formed to solve an acute problem for marijuana-related businesses (MRBs) and individuals associated with MRBs: the inability to obtain mainstream banking services. Without access to bank or credit union accounts, MRBs remain chiefly cash-based businesses, left to their own devices to figure out how to store money and move it around, including how to pay employees and vendors, and to keep cash safe from theft.  Continue Reading Fourth Corner Credit Union Obtains Pyrrhic Victory for Marijuana Banking

While the future of health care legislation has been dominating headlines, some quiet but important developments in Washington regarding the future of federal financial regulation have also been taking place. These developments do not significantly clarify the path forward; much of the uncertainty about which we have written here remains. But recent developments do signal issues to monitor in the near and longer term.

Nominations

The Trump Administration has announced nominations for two important federal bank regulatory posts. Continue Reading Federal Financial Reform: Where Does It Stand?