Driven by an increase in online and mobile app shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic, the “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) market has experienced exponential growth. BNPL is a type of short-term financing that allows consumers to make purchases and pay off the balances in typically interest-free, small-dollar installments.
LATEST REGULATORY DEVELOPMENTS IMPACTING
THE FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY
THE FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY
On January 5, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) issued a report detailing consumer complaint deficiencies by the national credit reporting agencies (NCRAs). Specifically, the CFPB found that, in 2021, the NCRAs together reported relief in response to less than 2% of covered complaints, down from nearly 25% of covered complaints in 2019. The CFPB noted three fact patterns believed to lead to inaccurate consumer credit reporting and thus potentially the denial of credit or offer of credit on less favorable terms.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) issued a Statement of Policy (Statement) on March 8 making it clear that going forward it will exercise its full authority to penalize covered persons found to have engaged in abusive acts or practices, 12 U.S.C. §5536(a)(1)(B), in violation of its core consumer protection authority. In doing so, the Bureau’s acting director rescinded a January 20, 2020, Policy Statement (2020 Statement) issued by a director appointed by former President Donald Trump, in which the Bureau advised, among other things which we have previously discussed, that it would generally not seek civil penalties for “abusive conduct” unless there had been a lack of a good faith effort to comply with the law.
The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) announced in its January 2021 monthly bulletin that it will begin exercising its enhanced powers under the California Consumer Financial Protection Law (CCFPL) that came into effect January 1.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau or CFPB) on January 13 issued a Statement Regarding the Provision of Financial Products and Services to Consumers with Limited English Proficiency (Statement), which is intended to provide compliance principles and guidelines to inform and assist financial institutions in their decisionmaking related to serving limited English proficiency (LEP) consumers in non-English languages.
California’s governor is expected to sign into law soon a bill creating a state consumer financial protection agency, the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI), which some have called California’s “mini-CFPB.” We reported previously on the importance of this law in January and March.
On June 18, 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) issued a procedural rule to launch a new pilot advisory opinion (AO) program to publicly address regulatory uncertainty in the Bureau’s existing regulations. The pilot AO program will allow entities seeking to comply with regulatory requirements to submit a request where uncertainty exists, and the Bureau will then select topics based on the program’s priorities and make the responses available to the public.
In an effort to promote compliance and certainty, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) on January 24 issued an often promised and much anticipated policy statement regarding how it intends to apply the “abusiveness” standard in supervision and enforcement matters.
California Governor Gavin Newsom submitted his $222 billion budget proposal for the 2020-2021 fiscal year on January 10. Among other priorities identified, the budget earmarks tens of millions of dollars for the creation and administration of the California Consumer Protection Law (CCPL).
In a recent post, we discussed the increasing focus by state attorneys general on the use of their enforcement authority against payment processing applications platforms that were not licensed under state money transmitter laws. As we pointed out, one of the challenges raised by these state laws is the fact that they are not uniform in either their language or how they are interpreted or applied.