We discuss key regulatory issues for innovative products such as buy-now-pay later, longer term installment loans, delay pay, and card-based products (such as “virtual cards”).  We look at the different ways these products can be structured and the impact of  these differences on applicable legal requirements, such as disclosures and licensing. … Continue Reading

Delivering the keynote address last week at the Consumer Federation of America’s 2022 Consumer Assembly, CFPB Deputy Director Zixta Martinez indicated that the CFPB “is taking a close look” at “‘rent-a-bank’ schemes.”

Deputy Director Martinez commented that “[s]ome lenders attempt to use [relationships with banks] to evade state interest rate caps and licensing laws by making claims that the bank, rather than the non-bank, is the lender.” … Continue Reading

Four Democratic members of the California state legislature recently sent a letter to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) urging the agency to take action against FDIC-supervised banks that partner with non-bank lenders to originate high-cost installment loans.

Two of the letter’s authors, California Senator Monique Limon and Assemblymember Tim Grayson, were also sponsors of Assembly Bill 539, passed in 2019, which caps the annual interest rate at 36% plus the federal funds rate for consumer loans of at least $2,500 but less than $10,000 made by lenders licensed under the California Financing Law. … Continue Reading

On June 1, 2022, plaintiff Kristen Michael filed a class action lawsuit against FinTech lender Opportunity Financial, LLC (“OppFi”) on behalf of herself and a putative class alleging, inter alia, that OppFi loans money at an interest rate upwards of 130% higher than allowed by state law.  Ms. Michael alleges that OppFi offers “OppLoans” in over 30 states, whereby it originates, underwrites, services and enforces these loans, even claiming the loans on its financial reports. … Continue Reading

On May 25, 2022, my colleagues, Mike Gordon, John Culhane and Ron Vaske published a blog which reported on a press release issued by the CFPB on the prior day entitled “CFPB Launches New Effort to Promote Competition and Innovation in Consumer Finance.”  The blog stated:

In its press release, the CFPB states that “[a]fter a review of these programs [the No Action Letter (NAL) and Compliance Assistance Sandbox (CAS) programs], the agency concludes that the initiatives proved to be ineffective and that some firms participating in these programs made public statements indicating that the Bureau had conferred benefits upon them that the Bureau expressly did not.”

Continue Reading

The CFPB announced earlier this week that as part of a new approach to innovation in consumer finance, it is replacing its Office of Innovation and Operation Catalyst with a new office, the Office of Competition and Innovation, and eliminating its No Action Letter (NAL) and Compliance Assistance Sandbox (CAS) programs. … Continue Reading

Just one day after announcing that it was launching a new system to provide guidance to other agencies with consumer financial protection responsibilities on how the CFPB intends to enforce federal consumer financial laws, the CFPB released its first Consumer Financial Protection Circular (2022-02) addressing deceptive representations involving the FDIC’s name or logo or deposit insurance. … Continue Reading

Opportunity Financial, LLC (OppFi) has filed a Demurrer to the cross-complaint filed by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) in which it asks the California trial court to reject the DFPI’s attempt to apply California usury law to loans made through OppFi’s partnership with FinWise Bank (Bank) by alleging that OppFi is the “true lender” on the loans.… Continue Reading

The Connecticut Department of Banking (“Department”) has issued a temporary cease and desist order (“Order”) that directs SoLo Funds, Inc., (“SoLo”) a fintech company that uses peer-to-peer technology to assist consumers in obtaining small dollar loans from third-party lenders, to immediately stop engaging in such activity because it is not licensed as a small loan company in Connecticut. … Continue Reading