The consumer financial services industry has become the target of increasing regulatory scrutiny under antitrust laws as well as class action antitrust litigation that challenges industry practices on the grounds that they undermine competition. We first provide an overview of the federal antitrust laws, discuss the Biden Administration’s focus on competition, and the wide remedies available under antitrust laws. … Continue Reading
On March 3, 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a complaint against a towing company located near a Marine base alleging violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act’s (SCRA) prohibition against default judgments against SCRA-protected servicemembers. The case, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, alleges that the towing company failed to make a good faith effort to ascertain the military status of defendants before filing affidavits in court cases claiming military status could not be determined.… Continue Reading
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have filed a Statement of Interest regarding the application of the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) to a lender that allegedly denied a loan to the plaintiffs based on a home appraisal alleged to be discriminatory.… Continue Reading
Park National Bank (“Park National”), based in Ohio, has agreed to pay $9 million to settle allegations brought by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that it engaged in unlawful redlining practices in the Columbus metropolitan area by not providing mortgage lending services to majority-Black and Hispanic communities from 2015 to 2021. … Continue Reading
On February 2, 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) filed a complaint against the City of El Paso, Texas (the “City”) and several co-defendants alleging violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”) for auctioning off at least 176 motor-vehicles owned by SCRA-protected servicemembers. According to DOJ, the actions taken by the City constitute enforcement of liens on the property or effects of servicemembers, which is prohibited under the SCRA without first obtaining a court order. … Continue Reading
As discussed in our prior post, the Department of Justice (DOJ) entered into a settlement with Meta Platforms Inc., formerly known as Facebook Inc. (Meta), to resolve allegations that Meta engaged in discriminatory advertising in violation of the Fair Housing Act (FHA). A key part of that settlement was Facebook’s agreement to build a new Variance Reduction System (VRS) to address disparities for race, ethnicity, and sex between the housing advertisers’ targeted audiences and the group of Facebook users to whom Facebook’s internal personalization algorithms actually deliver the ads. … Continue Reading
In conjunction with efforts to forgive federal student debt for certain borrowers, President Biden’s Justice Department recently announced new guidance for its attorneys to use when deciding whether to recommend that a bankruptcy judge discharge an individual’s federal student loans.
The guidance seeks to streamline the process of discharging federal student debt which, unlike other consumer debt, is not automatically discharged through bankruptcy. … Continue Reading
On September 29, 2022, the Justice Department announced a proposed consent order with Evolve Bank and Trust to resolve allegations of lending discrimination on the basis of race, sex, and national origin in the pricing of its residential mortgage loans from at least 2014 through 2019.
Headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, Evolve Bank maintains mortgage lending offices and provides mortgage lending services in 15 states. … Continue Reading
On September 28, 2022, the Department of Justice (”DOJ”) announced a settlement with Westlake Financial Services (“Westlake”), a Los Angeles-based indirect auto finance company specializing in subprime and near-subprime loans, resolving allegations that Westlake failed to fully provide interest rate benefits to eligible servicemembers as required under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”). … Continue Reading
The Justice Department announced that it has entered into an agreement with Lakeland Bank to settle the DOJ’s claims that Lakeland engaged in unlawful redlining in the Newark, New Jersey metropolitan area. The DOJ’s lawsuit against Lakeland, filed in a New Jersey federal district court, is part of the DOJ’s nationwide “Combating Redlining Initiative” launched in October 2021. … Continue Reading