A New York federal district court has dismissed for lack of Article III standing six class action cases alleging that debt collectors violated the FDCPA by sharing data about the plaintiffs’ debts with mailing vendors.  In making these claims, the plaintiffs relied on the Eleventh Circuit’s ruling in Hunstein v. Preferred Collection and Management Services that a debt collector’s transmittal of debt information to its letter vendor could violate the FDCPA’s limits on third party communications.

In his decision in In Re FDCPA Mailing Vendor Cases, Judge Gary R. Brown first criticized plaintiffs’ lawyers for filing “legions of FDCPA cases that have little to do with the purposes of the statute.”  He commented that “[i]ncentivized by the promise of easy settlements and attorneys’ fees, counsel representing FDCPA plaintiffs have applied considerable imagination in devising theories of violation.”

Turning to his standing analysis, Judge Brown discussed the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in TransUnion, LLC. v. Ramirez that only class members who were concretely harmed by TransUnion’s FCRA violation had Article III standing to seek damages.  The named plaintiff in TransUnion alleged that his credit report provided by TransUnion to an auto dealer incorrectly indicated that his name matched a name found on the OFAC terrorist list.  The Supreme Court found that the only class members who had demonstrated concrete harm sufficient to confer Article III standing were those whose credit reports containing misleading OFAC alerts had been provided to third parties.  It found that class members whose credit files contained such misleading information but whose credit reports had not been provided by TransUnion to any potential creditors (the vast majority of the class) did not have standing because no harm was caused by credit file information that was not disclosed to a third party.

As an initial matter, Judge Brown indicated that he was not bound by Hunstein.  He then discussed why TransUnion casts significant doubt on Hunstein’s continued viability.  First, he noted the plaintiffs’ argument in TransUnion that although TransUnion had not shared their credit information with third parties, it had nevertheless published the information internally to TransUnion employees and to the vendors that printed and sent the mailings that class members received advising them that their names were a potential match to names on the OFAC list.  The Supreme Court rejected this argument, observing that many American courts did not traditionally recognize intracompany disclosures as actionable publications for purposes of the tort of defamation nor have they necessarily recognized disclosures to printing vendors as actionable.  Judge Brown commented that while dicta, the Supreme Court’s language appeared to be dispositive of Hunstein’s vendor theory.

Judge Brown also rejected the plaintiffs’ attempt to show concrete harm through the assertion that they suffered a material risk of future harm.  He noted that TransUnion emphasizes that the mere risk of future harm standing alone cannot qualify as a concrete harm.  Judge Brown concluded that the plaintiffs’ speculative claims of potential future harm through the release of information by the mailing vendors “cannot support plaintiffs’ claim of Article III standing.”

As further support for his conclusion that the plaintiffs lacked Article III standing, Judge Brown observed that the facts in the vendor cases were distinguishable from cases in which plaintiffs can plausibly demonstrate injury-in-fact.  He noted that “[i]n contrast to the spurious information at issue in TransUnion, to wit: erroneously branding class members as terrorists, the cases at issue involve debts ranging from $482.28 to as little as $25.00”  Commenting that “[i]t is one thing to falsely brand someone a drug trafficker; reporting that they failed to satisfy a modest obligation is quite another,” Judge Brown was unwilling to accept the plaintiffs’ attempt to analogize their alleged harms to a traditional common law tort, whether defamation or invasion of privacy.

Judge Brown “[f]or avoidance of doubt” dismissed the complaints in the six cases without prejudice subject to repleading within 14 days.  He indicated that this period would allow the plaintiffs to amend their pleading to allege facts, if any, demonstrating actual damages, or in the alternative, other forms of relief they might be able to pursue.  He also noted that the dismissal was without prejudice to refiling in state court if appropriate.

Hundreds of Hunstein “copycat” cases have been filed nationwide.

 

We discuss the practices found to be unlawful by CFPB examiners in the areas of deposits, auto servicing, and payday lending, identify practical takeaways for avoiding criticism by the “new CFPB,” and share our thoughts on what the findings signal for future scrutiny in these areas by the “new CFPB.”

Ballard Spahr Senior Counsel Alan Kaplinsky hosts the conversation, joined by Chris Willis, Co-Chair of the firm’s Consumer Financial Services Group, and Jason Cover, a partner in the Group.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

A new Nevada law that becomes effective on October 1, 2021 requires translated documents to be provided to consumers by businesses that advertise and negotiate transactions covered by the law in a language other than English (or allow their agents or employees to advertise and negotiate in a language other than English).  A knowing violation of the new requirement is deemed a deceptive trade practice under Nevada’s UDAP law and non-compliance allows “the aggrieved party” to rescind the transaction.

For covered transactions advertised and negotiated orally or in writing in a language other than English, Assembly Bill 359, codified as Chapter 275,  requires delivery of “a translation of the contract or agreement that results from such advertising and negotiations in the language that was used in the advertisement and negotiation of the contract or agreement to the person who is a party to the contract or agreement and to any other person who may sign the contract or agreement.”  The translation must be provided before execution of the contract or agreement and include every term and condition in the contract or agreement.

The term “contract or agreement” is defined as “the document that creates the rights and obligations of the parties which results from a negotiation or transaction described in section 4 of this act and which is not excluded pursuant to subsection 4 of section 4 of this act.”  The definition includes “any subsequent document that makes substantial changes to the rights and obligations of the parties.”  It does not include subsequent documents authorized or contemplated by the original document or a document making substantial changes, such as periodic statements, sales slips or invoices representing purchases made pursuant to credit card agreements, and refinancing documents.

The transactions for which translated documents must be provided pursuant to Section 4 are:

  • A loan or extension of credit used for personal, family, or household purposes that is secured by property other than real property
  • A lease, sublease, rental contract, or agreement or other contract or agreement for a term of at least one month and that applies to a dwelling, apartment, mobile home or dwelling unit used as a residence
  • An unsecured loan used for personal, family, or household purposes

The translation requirement in Section 4 does not apply to a bank, savings and loan association, savings bank, thrift company, or credit union if:

  • The entity has a physical location
  • Engages in a transaction that is other than a credit card or an automobile loan (An “automobile loan” is defined as loan or extension of credit expressly intended to finance the purchase of a motor vehicle.)

If a financial institution must provide a disclosure pursuant to Regulation Z or Regulation M for a transaction, it will be deemed to be in compliance with the requirement in Section 4 to provide a translation if the Regulation Z or Regulation M disclosure is translated into the same language that the contract or agreement is translated into and the translated disclosure is provided to the same individuals entitled to a translation of the contract or agreement.

The new Nevada law is modeled after a long-standing California law.

In a blog post published earlier this month, the CFPB warns consumers of the risks of buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) credit.  The blog post was likely triggered by the spike in the use of BNPL during the COVID-19 pandemic referenced in the blog post.

In explaining how BNPL works, the CFPB indicates that when making a purchase using BNPL, the consumer selects that option at time he or she checks out online or in an app.  If approved (usually within minutes), the consumer is sent the purchased items and a payment schedule is established, typically four fixed payments made bi-weekly or monthly until the balance is paid in full.  Most BNPL companies do not charge interest or finance charges.

In addition to cautioning consumers not to overextend their finances, the CFPB advises consumers that while most BNPL companies do not currently report to consumer reporting agencies, some do report.  As a result, a late payment owed to a BNPL company that does report to consumer reporting agencies can harm a consumer’s credit history.  The CFPB advises consumers to research whether or not a BNPL company reports to credit bureaus before using its service.

The CFPB also warns consumers that:

  • While many BNPL companies do not charge interest, most companies do charge late fees
  • Consumers could be blocked from future purchases until past due payments are made.
  • Unpaid debts could be sent to a debt collector for collection.
  • A consumer’s bank could charge an overdraft or NSF fee if the consumer enrolls in automatic repayment of BNPL credit through a debit card or bank account and does not have enough funds to cover a payment.
  • BNPL credit currently lacks the consumer protections that apply to credit cards such as dispute protections for faulty purchases or scams.

The CFPB advises consumers to carefully review BNPL terms and conditions and to compare BNPL to other payment options.

The CFPB’s recent scrutiny of the BNPL industry strikes us as rather curious given that the majority of the BNPL industry offers credit products free of cost.  It is even more confounding in light of the CFPB’s apparent blessing of other short-term loan products with substantially higher costs to consumers (e.g., its exclusion of NCUA “payday alternative loans” from the CFPB’s payday loan rule).  It is difficult to imagine a credit product that is more consumer friendly than one that comes with no cost to the consumer while allowing the consumer greater flexibility in making purchases.  Instead of focusing on these so-called “risks,” the CFPB’s efforts might be better spent exploring and encouraging the ways that BNPL companies and other FinTech lenders can continue to innovate with lower-cost, consumer-friendly products.

 

The CFPB has filed a motion to lift the stay of the compliance date for the payment provisions in its 2017 final payday/auto title/high-rate installment loan rule (2017 Rule).

In May 2018, the Texas federal district court hearing the lawsuit filed by two trade groups challenging the 2017 Rule entered an order staying the lawsuit.  Subsequently, in November 2018, the court entered an order staying the August 19, 2019 compliance date for both the 2017 Rule’s ability-to-repay provisions and its payment provisions.  Following the CFPB’s rescission of the 2017 Rule’s ability to repay provisions in July 2020, the parties jointly moved to lift the stay of the litigation.  The court entered an order in August 2020 lifting the stay and the parties thereafter filed cross-motions for summary judgment.  Briefing on the cross-motions concluded in December 2020.

Earlier this month, in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2021 decision in Collins v. Yellin (previously captioned Collins v. Mnuchin), the trade groups filed a Notice of Potential Relevant Appellate Proceedings (Notice).  In Collins, relying on its decision in Seila Law, the Supreme Court held that the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s structure is unconstitutional because the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 only allows the President to remove the FHFA’s Director “for cause.”  Despite ruling that the FHFA’s structure was unconstitutional, the Supreme Court also held that the proper remedy for the constitutional violation was not to invalidate the FHFA actions challenged by the plaintiffs.  However,  the Supreme Court stated that the plaintiffs might nevertheless be entitled to retrospective relief if they could show that the unconstitutional removal provision caused harm and  remanded the case to the Fifth Circuit.

In the Notice, the trade groups advise the district court that the Fifth Circuit has ordered supplemental briefing on the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Collins remand and in All American Check Cashing.  (All American Check Cashing involves a constitutional challenge to a CFPB enforcement action which former Director Kraninger ratified following the Supreme Court’s Seila Law decision.)  The trade groups point out that both Collins and All American Check Cashing involve the question of the appropriate remedy for actions taken by an agency director while unconstitutionally insulated from removal by the President.  The CFPB filed a response to the Notice in which it contends there is no reason for the district court to defer a ruling on the cross-motions for summary judgment until the Fifth Circuit decides Collins and All American Check Cashing because those cases will not resolve any remaining issues regarding the payment provisions.

In its motion to lift the stay of the compliance date for the payment provision, the CFPB reasserts that the two cases do not warrant delay by the district court in deciding the cross-motions for summary judgment and asks the court to lift the stay of the compliance date if it nevertheless wishes to defer its decision until the Fifth Circuit rules in the two cases.  According to the CFPB, the only reason offered by the trade groups for staying the compliance date was that the trade groups had a substantial case on the merits that the 2017 Rule was promulgated by a CFPB Director who was unconstitutionally insulated from removal.  The CFPB argues that Collins confirms that the trade groups cannot obtain relief based on the unconstitutional  removal provision.

It is possible that the primary motivation for the CFPB’s motion is not to lift the stay but rather is to prod the district court to rule on the summary judgment motions.  Nevertheless, the CFPB’s continued insistence that the court should lift the stay, immediately or after a short delay, fails to appreciate that such an action would subject the industry to substantial costs and burdens at a time when it cannot know whether the payment provisions will be fully or partially validated by the courts and, critically, whether the rule’s treatment of debit card payments will survive.  If the court validates the payment provisions in any respect, its decision on debit cards will have a huge impact on how the industry complies with the payment provisions.  Thus, the stay should remain in effect for a sufficient period to allow a measured industry response after any unfavorable decision on the merits.

A Maryland federal district court has dismissed a putative class action lawsuit filed against nine companies that manage apartment buildings in the Washington, D.C. area by a 55-year old prospective tenant who alleged the defendants engaged in unlawful “‘digital housing discrimination’” by routinely and intentionally excluding older people from receiving Facebook advertisements for their apartment complexes in the D.C. area.   In addition to injunctive relief, the complaint sought monetary damages on behalf of the plaintiff and putative class members.

In Opiotennione v. Bozzuto Management Company, the plaintiff alleged that because of the defendants’ practices, she was denied the opportunity to receive defendants’ Facebook advertisements for rental housing targeted to younger potential tenants.  She alleged that had she seen such advertisements, she would have clicked on them, reviewed the relevant information on the defendants’ linked website, and potentially applied for and rented an apartment at one of the defendants’ complexes.  The Complaint alleged that Facebook allows advertisers to target their advertisements using characteristics such as age, gender, location, and preferences of Facebook users.  (Note that Facebook has a “special ad audiences” feature which is designed to be used for housing, credit and employment ads that, according to Facebook, disallows the type of targeting alleged in this lawsuit).  According to the plaintiff, the defendants used this targeting function to exclude older individuals from receiving their advertisements and directed their advertisements to younger prospective tenants.

The plaintiff claimed that the defendants violated the D.C. Human Rights Act (HRA) by (1) making advertisements that state a preference based on a protected class, (2) refusing or failing to initiate or conduct a real estate transaction or falsely representing that a property is not available for a discriminatory reason based on an individual’s age, (3) aiding and abetting Facebook’s violation of the HRA, and (4) steering older individuals by denying them advertisements.  She also claimed the defendants violated a provision of the Montgomery County Code that prohibits the publication of a housing advertisement indicating that age could influence or affect a real estate transaction.

The plaintiff alleged that she suffered the following four different injuries in fact, none of which the court found sufficient to confer Article III standing:

  • Deprivation of information about housing opportunities.  The court commented that while the plaintiff might have preferred to wait for advertisements on Facebook to appear on her screen rather than running her own apartment search on one of many websites on which the defendants advertised or running a Google search for D.C. area apartments, she was not prevented from obtaining the same information on the same apartment websites linked to the defendants’ Facebook advertisements.   The court concluded that when the identical information sought by the plaintiff was readily available through other sources, the plaintiff’s preference to use Facebook did not amount to a deprivation of information that might be considered a constitutional injury in fact.
  • Economic harm because the inability to learn of opportunities for units at defendants’ properties through their Facebook advertisements caused her greater expense, delay, and hardship in searching for housing.  The court found the plaintiff’s alleged economic harm to be highly conjectural, thereby undermining her claim of a sufficient injury in fact.  The court again observed that the websites to which the defendants’ advertisements led their targeted audience could just as easily been reached in other ways.  In the court’s view, “[n]o more expense and no more inconvenience are required to access a rental company’s website directly through simple searches on apartment search websites or Google than to scroll through Facebook in the hope of lighting upon just the right housing advertisement, which may in fact never appear.”
  • Stigmatic harm when learning she had been excluded from the targeted audience for the defendants’ advertisements due to her age.  The court noted that Facebook users would have needed to click on a link contained in the advertisements to see why they received the advertisements.  The court found there was “no reason to suppose that any Facebook users who received the advertisement would necessarily have clicked that link to find out why they received the advertisement.”  It concluded that it was “a far cry from a concrete and particularized injury to suggest that an otherwise facially neutral advertisement can cause harm by stigmatizing members of a certain group “when there is no suggestion that the recipients of the advertisement, nor indeed anyone excluded from receiving it (other than Plaintiff), were even aware of the targeting.”
  • Deprivation of the benefits of age-integrated associations by being steered away from the defendants’ properties.  The court found this claim to be “simply without foundation,” observing that “when there exists ten paths to the same destination, an individual is not ‘steered away’ from that destination just because one of the paths—and certainly, here, not the most direct path—is obscured from her view.”

This is a significant decision, to us, for a couple of reasons.  Most obviously, it seems likely to make it more difficult for private parties to attempt to bring lawsuits related to online ad targeting on social media networks or through methods like paid search.  But, secondarily, we wonder whether it will serve as a barrier to regulatory actions as well.  Regulatory agencies, of course, do not have to prove standing in quite the same manner as private plaintiffs, but the existence of court decisions that hold that online targeting of advertisements causes no injury to consumers could still interfere with regulatory enforcement actions, by enabling parties to argue that is no harm to support a violation of any law, or to support an award of restitution.

 

On Thursday, July 29, the Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “Protecting Americans from Debt Traps by Extending the Military’s 36% Interest Rate Cap to Everyone.”

The scheduled witnesses for the first panel are Republican Congressman Glenn Grothman and Democratic Congressman Jesús G. “Chuy” García.  The scheduled witness for the second panel are:

  • Holly Petraeus, Former Assistant Director for Servicemember Affairs, CFPB
  • Ashley Harrington, Federal Advocacy Director and Senior Counsel, Center for Responsible Lending
  • Richard Williams, President/CEO, Essential Federal Credit Union
  • Bill Himpler, President & CEO, American Financial Services Association
  • Professor Thomas W. Miller, Jr., Jack Lee Chair in Financial Institutions and Consumer Finance, Mississippi State University
  • David Pommerehn, General Counsel and Senior Vice President, Consumer Bankers Association.

In 2019, Congressmen García Grothman introduced the Veterans and Consumers Fair Credit Act, which would extended the Military Lending Act’s all-in 36% rate cap to most consumer credit transactions.  Earlier this month, Democratic Senators Dick Durbin, Jeff Merkley, Richard Blumenthal, and Sheldon Whitehouse introduced the “Protecting Consumers from Unreasonable Credit Rates Act,” which would establish a 36% all-in rate cap for all open-end and closed-end consumer credit transactions, including payday loans, car title loans, overdraft loans, credit cards, car loans, mortgages, and refund anticipation loans.

In anticipation of the hearing, a group of seven banking trade groups that includes the American Bankers Association and the Consumer Bankers Association have sent a letter to Senator Sherrod Brown, Chair of the Senate Banking Committee, and Senator Pat Toomey, the Committee’s Ranking Member, that urges the Senators to oppose pending fee and interest rate cap legislation.  In the letter, the trade groups caution that the impact of a 36% all-in national rate cap “would extend far beyond payday lenders to the broader consumer credit market to cover affordable small dollar loans (including “accommodation” loans) that depository institutions are being encouraged to offer, credit cards, person loans, and overdraft lines of credit.”  They point out that the result will be to reduce access to credit and force many consumers who currently rely on credit cards or personal loans “to turn elsewhere for short-term financing needs, including pawn shops, online lenders—or worse—loan sharks, unregulated online lenders, and the black market.”  According to the trade groups, “[a] 36% rate cap, however calculated, will mean depository institutions will be unable to profitably offer affordable small dollar loans.”  They also caution that a 36% all-in rate cap would negatively impact credit cards by resulting in the elimination or reduction of popular and valued credit card features such as cash back or other rewards and inhibiting innovative credit cards with non-credit features designed to attract underserved groups.

The FDIC has filed its reply in support of its motion for summary judgment in the lawsuit filed by a group of state attorneys general to set aside the FDIC’s “Madden-fix” rule.  The reply responds to the AGs’ opposition to the FDIC’s summary judgment motion.  The state AGs have also filed a motion for summary judgment.  The FDIC’s filing concludes the briefing on the cross-motions for summary judgment.  Oral argument on the motions is scheduled for August 6, 2021.

The lawsuit is pending before the same California federal district court judge (Judge Jeffrey S. White) who is hearing the lawsuit filed by three state AGs to set aside the OCC’s similar Madden-fix rule.  Cross-motions for summary judgment have been filed in that case.  Oral argument on the motions was scheduled for May 7, 2021 but on May 6, the Clerk issued a notice vacating the hearing without setting a new date.

The FDIC makes the following primary arguments in its reply:

  • In response to the AGs’ argument that the FDIC rule is not entitled to deference because Section 27 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 U.S.C. 1831d) is unambiguous, the FDIC argues:
    • The rule satisfies Chevron step one because it addresses two statutory gaps: nothing in Section 27 addresses at what point in time the validity of a loan’s interest rate should be determined for purposes of assessing compliance with Section 27 (i.e. at the time a loan is made or at the time a bank “takes” or “receives” interest) nor does anything in Section 27 address what happens upon a bank’s transfer of a loan charging a rate permitted by Section 27.
    • The rule passes Chevron step two because it is a reasonable interpretation of Section 27.  The FDIC reasonably concluded that Congress could not have intended to give banks a right to make loans “hampered by significant impairments to the loans’ resale value and liquidity such as would occur if a bank could not transfer enforceable rights in the loans they made.”  The rule does not expand preemption to non-banks because it regulates the conduct and rights of banks when they sell, assign, or transfer loans.
  • In response to the AGs’ argument that the rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the FDIC argues:
    • The FDIC complied with the APA’s procedural requirements in promulgating the rule and because the rule is reasonable, “it is by definition not arbitrary or capricious.”
    • With regard to the AGs’ assertion that the FDIC “ignore[d] evidence contradicting the agency’s premise that the inability to transfer preemption of state rate caps constrains bank liquidity,” there is no such contradiction because the premise described by the AGs “is a straw man of [their] own creation.”  The FDIC does not argue that rate caps constrain liquidity but instead argues that “banks’ inability to transfer enforceable rights in the loans they made constrains the loans’ value and liquidity.”
    • The FDIC did not speculate about Madden’s negative effects to issue the rule but instead “grounded the rule on accepted tools of statutory construction coupled with the agency’s own banking expertise.”  The rule was not targeted to address Madden’s effects but instead was intended to address the two statutory gaps in Section 27 “which exist independent of Madden.”

The Department of Defense (DoD) has issued a report to the House Committee on Armed Services regarding the impact of a Military Annual Percentage Rate (MAPR) cap lower than 30% on military readiness and servicemember retention.  The DoD, in consultation with the Treasury Department, was required to provide the report by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021.

The report includes the following highlights:

  • The DoD “believes the MLA [36% MAPR] is currently working as intended and that Service members continue to have ample access to necessary credit.
  • Credit cards, auto loans, and personal loans are widely available at risk-based rates under a 36 percent MAPR.
  • To date, “the Department has no indication that Service members and their families lack adequate access to necessary, responsible credit.”
  • The DoD “takes no position on the merit of any change to lower the maximum MAPR rate under 30 percent.”
  • A MAPR limit of 28 percent would likely have no impact on servicemembers’ access to credit cards, assuming card issuers meet exemptions for eligible bona fide fees when calculating the MAPR.
  • A MAPR limit of 25 percent may cause general card issuers to no longer offer cards to one-quarter of servicemembers (those with near-prime, subprime, and deep subprime credit scores) or to amend their terms and conditions to comply with a 25 percent limit.  A limit of 28 percent could have a similar impact on private label credit cards for all servicemembers.
  • A MAPR limit of 28 percent on small-dollar personal loans would bring such products in line with existing rules governing federal credit unions, where such products continue to be widely available.
  • Assuming limits consistent with these findings, the DoD “would anticipate no negative impact on readiness or retention, even if some creditors choose to no longer offer credit to borrowers covered by the MLA.”

In its response to the report, the American Financial Services Association (AFSA) takes issue with the DoD’s assertions in the report that (1) the MLA and MAPR “support Service members and families by ensuring they are not subject to unfair credit practices that can negatively impact financial readiness and, in turn, military readiness,” and (2) the MAPR “places a reasonable limit, with a long regulatory history, on the cost of credit that prevents covered borrowers from becoming trapped in a cycle of debt.”

AFSA states that the DoD’s assertions “fl[y] in the face of data and independent reports released over the past year – some about active military servicemembers – that confirms the severe harm that rate caps impose, particularly on the very men and women the Pentagon claims to support.”  AFSA cites the National Foundation for Credit Counseling 2020 financial readiness survey of servicemembers which reported:

Over three-quarters of active duty servicemembers (78 percent) have taken out a loan in the past year….However, the type of loan has changed dramatically.  This year, 31 percent of active duty servicemembers have taken out a cash advance or payday loan, compared to only 13 percent in 2019.  This represents an even more dramatic shift since 2014, when just six percent of active duty servicemembers reported taking out such loans.

AFSA questions why the DoD, “in a serious study that considers the financial health of its target audience and the efficacy of rate caps,” would not have highlighted “such a troubling trend.”  It notes that a reason cited by military personnel for turning to predatory lenders is the lack of access to other credit products and that this tracks with other research by other federal agencies.  In particular, AFSA notes that “the Federal Reserve, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s own taskforce [on Federal Consumer Financial Law], banks, non-bank lenders and credit unions all say the same thing: Interest rate caps at 36% or below are unworkable and harm the people these arbitrary caps are intended to protect.”

AFSA calls the DoD’s report “unmoored from reality” and states that because of the DoD’s refusal to release data on the effects of the 36% MAPR, the DoD’s statements in the report “ring hollow.”

 

After reviewing the facts and holding in Ramirez, we discuss how the decision clarifies the concrete harm requirement established by SCOTUS’s Spokeo decision, Ramirez’s implications for class action and individual lawsuits alleging violations of federal consumer financial protection laws, and the potential impact on state court litigation.

Chris Willis, Co-Chair of Ballard Spahr’s Consumer Financial Services Group, hosts the conversation, joined by Dan McKenna, Practice Group Leader of the firm’s Consumer Financial Services Litigation Group.

Click here to listen to the podcast.