Financial Services Perspectives

Regulatory, compliance, and litigation developments in the financial services industry

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According to the Pew Research Center’s Social Media Use in 2018, 73 percent of adults in the United States use at least one type of social media, and the typical American uses three. For 18 to 29 year olds, 80 percent use some form of social media. Given its prevalence, social media affords financial services institutions a unique opportunity to engage with consumers directly to provide information on products and services that consumers find…
Individuals have several options when filing bankruptcy. Chapter 13 is often preferred for individuals with regular income who wish to keep their homes and other secured assets. In a Chapter 13 filing, the court will approve the debtor’s three-to-five-year payment plan, which generally provides for curing any pre-petition delinquency, maintaining payments on secured debt, and a pro rata payment to unsecured creditors based on the debtor’s disposable income. After a Chapter 13 debtor completes his…
Two recent civil penalty actions by OFAC supply guidance for how entities should address sanctions violations after they are discovered. In the first case, Kollmorgen Corporation settled civil liability for violations of Iranian sanctions for a mere $13,381. For perspective, the maximum statutory civil monetary penalty available for the violations was $1,500,000. So why the leniency from OFAC? The answer is swift and comprehensive remedial action. Specifically, Kollmorgen, an American company, acquired a Turkish company,…
Welcome to Part II of our series on the servicing of discharged mortgage debt (catch up on Part I). This part will discuss communications to discharged borrowers and evaluate various disclaimers that can be utilized. The only way to fully eliminate the risk of violating the bankruptcy discharge injunction is to cease all communications to borrowers who received a discharge of the debt. However, this drastic change in practice is not realistic. First,…
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 to credit. The bureau is also proposing to delay the August 19, 2019, compliance date for the mandatory underwriting provisions…
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on January 17, 2019, asked Congress to grant the bureau clear authority to supervise compliance-related issues for the Military Lending Act. CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger transmitted a legislative proposal to the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and Vice President Pence in his capacity as president of the U.S. Senate. She also shared copies with the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban…
Courts and regulators continue to struggle with how to define cryptocurrencies. The latest installment of this ongoing debate came from an unlikely source: a state appellate court’s opinion on a criminal matter. Specifically, on January 30, 2019, the Third District Court of Appeal for the State of Florida entered an order reversing a trial court’s dismissal of charges of illegal money transmission, finding that Bitcoin was a payment instrument under Florida law. The State of…
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 loans over the internet to consumers in all 50 states. The CFPB alleged the NDG Enterprise defendants violated the Dodd-Frank…
On January 17, 2018, Florida’s new governor, Ron DeSantis, delivered news that could supercharge the growth of Florida’s medical-cannabis industry. Governor DeSantis indicated he may drop the State’s appeal from a trial court’s ruling that the statutory cap on the number of licenses for “medical marijuana treatment centers” (MMTCs), and the requirement that MMTCs be vertically-integrated companies that cultivate, process, and dispense cannabis, violate the medical-cannabis amendment to Florida’s Constitution. Further, Governor DeSantis asked the…
Mortgage servicers are plagued by their nebulous relationships with the borrowers who discharge their personal liability in bankruptcy. Issues arise when the borrower whose debt has been discharged continues to engage with the mortgage servicer. These activities include making monthly payments and requesting and participating in loss mitigation. There are few, if any, bright line rules regarding this common scenario. Instead, courts generally employ an “I know it when I see it” approach to evaluate…