On October 19, 2023, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that its Combating Redlining Initiative has resulted in over $107 million in relief for communities adversely affected by lending discrimination by mortgage lenders. This comes on the same day DOJ announced its $9 million settlement with Ameris Bank, it’s most recent redlining case.… Continue Reading

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) is scheduled to host a public hearing on Wednesday, November 1, 2023. The upcoming hearing on appraisal bias will focus on how residential appraisals are developed and reviewed, the process for reconsiderations of value, and processes for conducting appraisals in rural areas.… Continue Reading

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a settlement agreement with Washington Trust Company, of Westerly (WTC) to resolve claims that WTC redlined majority Black and Hispanic neighborhoods in Rhode Island.

In its complaint against WTC, DOJ alleged that the following practices were used to discriminate against Black and Hispanic borrowers from 2016 to at least 2021:

  • WTC located and maintained all of its Rhode Island branches and loan officers outside of majority-Black and Hispanic neighborhoods (WTC designated all five counties in Rhode Island as its Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) assessment area);
  • WTC never had a branch in a majority-Black and Hispanic census tract despite the significant presence of majority-Black and Hispanic neighborhoods and census tracts throughout Rhode Island;
  • WTC did not assign a single mortgage loan officer to conduct outreach, market, advertise, or generate loans from majority-Black and Hispanic neighborhoods;
  • WTC failed to conduct outreach, marketing, and advertising of mortgage services in majority-Black and Hispanic areas;
  • WTC received only 2.4% of its mortgage loan applications from residents of, or for properties located in, majority-Black and Hispanic areas in its CRA assessment area, compared to 9.5% for its peer lenders, and on average 46.5% of the applications generated by WTC in those areas were from White applicants, compared to 25% for its peers.
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On September 14, 2023, the CFPB released Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding the Small Business Data Collection Rule (the “Rule”). These FAQs are in addition to the set published in June 2023, which are dated. Some, but not all, of the FAQs are discussed below.

Covered Credit Transactions

A few of the updated FAQs relate to the definition of a “covered credit transaction,” which includes the following topics:

  • Consumer-designated credit: The FAQs reiterate that consumer-designated credit is excluded from the Rule, even if the proceeds are used for business or agricultural purposes, as long as the credit is offered or extended primarily for personal, family or household purposes.
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The Connecticut Department of Banking (the “Department”) issued a guidance letter on September 11, 2023 (the “Guidance”) providing its position regarding the amendments to Connecticut’s Small Loan Lending and Related Activities Act (the “Act”) that become effective on October 1, 2023. We previously blogged about these amendments here.

The Department issued this guidance “to assist industry participants in evaluating the need for licensure and the effect of the various requirements under [the amended law].”… Continue Reading

As readers may recall, California previously attempted to enact a “Digital Financial Assets Law” with the introduction of AB 2269 in February 2022. In relevant part, AB 2269 proposed (1) a stringent licensing requirement for entities engaging in or holding themselves out as being able to engage in “digital financial business activity” with or on behalf of California residents and (2) substantial ongoing reporting and operational obligations, both of which California modeled after New York’s “BitLicense” requirements for virtual currency businesses.… Continue Reading

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) on September 11, 2023, settled a claim against a group of affiliated entities operating a background reporting business, Instant Checkmate, LLC, TruthFinder, LLC, The Control Group Media Company, LLC, Intelicare Direct, LLC, and PubRec LLC (“background report companies” or “companies”) for alleged misrepresentations that deceived consumers about whether they had criminal records and for operating as a consumer reporting agency without following the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”).… Continue Reading

The CFPB published guidance to remind the mortgage industry of numerous U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) policy statements that were issued before the CFPB assumed authority for enforcing the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). The CFPB reiterates that official guidance documents issued by other agencies prior to the 2011 transfer would be applied by the CFPB unless they were superseded by law.… Continue Reading

The Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Financial Institutions is amending the rules that implement the state’s Residential Mortgage Lending Act. The Division is seeking preliminary feedback on the administrative rules, which are codified in the Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 1301:8-7, as they undergo a five-year rule review. Proposed updates will ensure the rules reflect amendments that were made to the Act in 2021.… Continue Reading