In February 2024, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) entered into consent orders with two banks who partner with fintechs to offer “banking as a service” (BaaS) related to safety and soundness, compliance with applicable laws, and third party oversight.  BaaS refers to arrangements in which banks integrate their banking products and services into the services of non-bank third-party distributors and the distributors deliver the integrated banking services directly to the customer. … Continue Reading

In its Fall 2023 Semiannual Risk Perspective, published on December 7, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) reported on key issues facing the federal banking system.  In evaluating the overall soundness of the federal banking system, the OCC emphasized the need for banks to maintain prudent risk management practices. … Continue Reading

The FDIC recently announced that it has entered into a Consent Order with Cross River Bank (CRB or Bank) to resolve FDIC charges that the Bank engaged in unsafe or unsound practices related to its fair lending compliance.  (The Consent Order was issued in March 2023 but not made public until the end of last month.) … Continue Reading

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a new report entitled “Financial Technology: Products Have Benefits and Risks to Underserved Consumers, and Regulatory Clarity Is Needed.”

The report focuses on the following four types of fintech products:

  • Digital deposit accounts offered by fintech companies through partnerships with banks or credit unions. 
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We begin with a discussion of the goals and themes of FTA’s recent summit and AFC’s advocacy regarding retention of the strategic plan option under the Community Reinvestment Act.  We then discuss consumer benefits of buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) and regulatory concerns raised by the CFPB in its BNPL report, state level regulatory issues facing fintechs, the Treasury’s report on bank/fintech relationships and takeaways for fintechs, consumer benefits of earned wage access products and artificial intelligence and regulatory concerns raised by the CFPB, and reactions to the CFPB’s Section 1033 rulemaking.… Continue Reading

The Treasury Department has released a report entitled “Assessing the Impact of New Entrant Non-bank Firms on Competition in Consumer Finance Markets.”  The report was issued in response to President Biden’s July 2021 Executive Order on promoting competition.  That Order directed the Secretary of the Treasury to issue a report assessing how the entry of large technology firms and other non-banks into consumer finance markets has affected competition.… Continue Reading

The Biden Administration recently announced a slate of new public and private sector initiatives aimed at advancing racial equity by delivering “capital and resources to underserved small businesses and the community lenders who serve them.”  Among these initiatives was a proposed rule change for the Small Business Administration (SBA) that would increase the number of nonbanks, including Fintechs, eligible to offer SBA 7(a) loans. … Continue Reading

The OCC’s announcement that it will establish an Office of Financial Technology to “bolster the agency’s expertise and ability to adapt to a rapidly changing banking landscape” should come as no surprise to those who have been following recent pronouncements of Acting Comptroller Michael J. Hsu.

Over the past few months, Mr.… Continue Reading

Since the beginning of Michael Hsu’s tenure as Acting Comptroller of the Currency, bank/fintech partnerships have been a focus of OCC concern.  Although bank lending partnerships with fintechs continue to receive OCC attention, recent remarks by OCC officials indicate that OCC scrutiny is now also directed at partnerships outside of the lending arena.… 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