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  • NYDFS will continue to pursue litigation if OCC moves forward with fintech charter

    State Issues

    On June 6, New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) Superintendent, Maria T. Vullo, spoke to the Exchequer Club in Washington, DC, emphasizing, among other things, her opposition to the OCC’s proposal for a fintech charter. Vullo noted that the OCC has not actually finalized plans for the new charter and Comptroller, Joseph Otting, is expected to announce his views on the pending proposal soon. As previously covered by InfoBytes, two legal challenges, one by NYDFS and one by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, were recently dismissed in separate district courts for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and ripeness due to the fact that the OCC has not issued a fintech charter nor has it finalized its plans to issue one. In her speech, Vullo, acknowledged these lawsuits and her desire to continue the litigation “rather than accept the OCC’s lack of authority in the non-depository space and respect the states’ regulation of and consumer protections in this area.” Vullo noted that fintech, when done right, is a “very good thing” that can assist in bringing banking services to underserved customers. But she also stated that companies that use financial technology should not be granted “an exemption from the rules that banks and other financial institutions follow to manage risk and protect consumers.”

    Vullo also touched on (i) her support for the CFPB’s final rule on payday loans, vehicle title loans, and certain other high-cost installment loans; (ii) her concerns over the dismantling of the Bureau’s Office for Students; (iii) her opposition to the Department of Education’s position that only the federal government may oversee student loan servicers (see InfoBytes coverage here); and (iv) the potential risks with the unregulated virtual currency market.

    State Issues NYDFS OCC Fintech Fintech Charter

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  • Maryland alters certain mortgage broker finder’s fee restrictions

    State Issues

    On May 16, the Maryland legislature enacted, without the governor’s signature, HB 1511, which will alter Maryland’s mortgage broker “finder’s fee” law to place a limit on the amount a broker may charge on the same property more than once within a 24-month period. Effective October 1, the law will only allow a mortgage broker to charge a finder’s fee with respect to the same property within a 24-month period if the fee is equal to or less than eight percent of the initial loan amount, combined with (i) the finder’s fee charged on the initial loan; and (ii) any other finder’s fee collected during the 24-month period.

    State Issues State Legislation Mortgage Broker Mortgages Finder's Fee

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  • Louisiana governor signs amendments relating to consumer loan licensing

    State Issues

    On May 15, the Louisiana governor signed SB171, which amends a state statute that prescribes when a person acquiring or controlling ownership interest in a consumer loan licensee must obtain approval from the state’s commissioner. Under SB171, written approval by the commissioner must now be received for any person acquiring or controlling “[25] percent or more of the ownership interest in a licensee”—an amount previously set at 50 percent or more. The amendments also strike the requirement that “[a]ny person who acquires or anticipates acquiring a [75] percent interest in a licensee shall file for a new license prior to acquiring ownership of said interest either incrementally over a period of time or as one transaction.” The amendments became effective upon signature by the governor.

    State Issues State Legislation Licensing Consumer Lending

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  • New Jersey Attorney General seeks to partner with Department of Education on for-profit investigations

    State Issues

    On May 17, the New Jersey Attorney General, Gurbir Grewal, sent a letter to the Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, regarding concerns that the Department of Education (Department) is no longer investigating fraudulent activities at for-profit colleges. Grubir cited work that State Attorneys General did with the Department during the previous administration regarding these investigations and noted that the cooperation between his office and the Department has “ground to a halt.” The letter concludes with Grubir requesting the Department continue several investigations that are in progress and offers to assist in sharing information and supplementing resources or, if the Department chooses not to pursue the investigations, to allow the New Jersey Attorney General to “pick up where [the Department] leave[s] off.”

    State Issues State Attorney General Department of Education For-Profit College Student Lending

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  • District of Columbia mayor passes bill to make code consistent with FTC, federal court interpretations of unfair or deceptive trade practices

    State Issues

    On May 21, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser signed B22-0185/D.C. Act 22-367 to, among other things, update portions of the District of Columbia’s Official Code concerning the term “unfair or deceptive trade practice” to make it consistent with interpretations made by the FTC and federal courts. Language under the Consumer Protection Clarification and Enhancement Amendment Act of 2018, has been amended to read as follows: “It shall be a violation of this chapter for any person to engage in an unfair or deceptive trade practice, whether or not any consumer is in fact misled, deceived, or damaged thereby.” The amendments also increase the civil penalty for first violations of the act to not more than $5,000 per violation, and to not more than $10,000 for repeat violations. The act will take effect following a 30-day congressional review period.

    State Issues State Legislation Consumer Protection FTC

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  • Minnesota prohibits security freezes fees, authorizes security freezes for protected persons

    State Issues

    On May 19, the Minnesota governor signed HF1243, which, effective immediately, prohibits credit reporting agencies for charging a fee for the placement, removal, or temporary lift of a security freeze. The law previously allowed for a fee of $5.00. Additionally, effective January 1, 2019, the law authorizes the placement of a security freeze for a protected person – defined by the law as an individual under the age of 16 – if a consumer reporting agency receives a request by the protected person’s representative and certain authentication standards are met. The law also outlines the requirements for removing a security freeze for a protected person.

    State Issues Credit Reporting Agency Security Freeze State Legislation Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security

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  • Maryland and Georgia prohibit security freeze fees

    State Issues

    On May 15, the Maryland governor signed SB 202, which prohibits consumer reporting agencies from charging consumers, or protected consumers’ representatives, a fee for the placement, removal, or temporary lift of a security freeze. Previously, Maryland allowed for a fee, in most circumstances, of up to $5.00 for each placement, temporary lift, or removal. The law takes effect October 1.

    On May 3, the Georgia governor signed SB 376, which amends Georgia law to prohibit consumer reporting agencies from charging a fee for placing or removing a security freeze on a consumer’s account. Previously, Georgia law allowed for a fee of no more than $3.00 for each security freeze placement, removal, or temporary lift, unless the consumer was a victim of identity theft or over 65 years old. Under SB 376, consumer reporting agencies may not charge a fee to any consumer at any time for the placement or removal of a security freeze. This law takes effect July 1.

    State Issues State Legislation Credit Reporting Agency Security Freeze Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security

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  • Maryland governor signs provisions amending Maryland Consumer Loan Law’s small lending requirements

    State Issues

    On May 15, the Maryland governor signed legislation to establish requirements for lenders making covered loans in the state. Among other things, HB1297 increases the threshold for which a loan is subject to small lending requirements within the Maryland Consumer Loan Law (MCLL) from $6,000 to $25,000. The law also prohibits (i) lenders who are not licensed in the state from making loans of $25,000 or less, unless the person is exempt from requirements under MCLL; (ii) a person contracting “for a covered loan that has a rate of interest, charge, discount, or other consideration greater than the amount authorized under state law”; and (iii) covered loans that would be a violation of the Military Lending Act. Loans that violate these provisions are deemed void and unenforceable except in limited circumstances. The law takes effect January 1, 2019.

    State Issues State Legislation Licensing Lending Military Lending Act Usury Consumer Finance

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  • Georgia amends state code provisions related to financial institutions

    State Issues

    On May 3, the Georgia governor signed into law an act amending provisions of the Official Code of Georgia applicable to the state’s Department of Banking and Finance (Department) and financial institutions generally, including banks, credit unions, licensed sellers of payment instruments, and mortgage lenders and brokers. Among other things, HB 780 grants the Department and/or its commissioner (i) powers to authorize state chartered financial institutions to exercise powers authorized by federal law but not authorized under state law; (ii) the authority to remove individuals employed by state chartered financial institutions, including officers and directors; and (iii) the ability to establish a process for state chartered financial institutions to “exercise rights and powers authorized solely under federal law.” HB 870 also amends the Official Code of Georgia to provide for the Department’s licensing of mortgage lenders and brokers. The law took effect on May 3, and does not apply to litigation pending as of March 9.

    State Issues State Legislation Mortgages Bank Compliance

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  • Maryland announces settlement with mortgage servicer over property inspection fees

    State Issues

    On May 14, the Maryland Attorney General announced a settlement with a mortgage loan servicer to resolve allegations that it charged homeowners illegal inspection fees. According to the announcement, the servicer allegedly charged borrowers for property inspections that were done when the borrower was in default on their payments, in violation of a Maryland law, which prohibits passing on such inspection costs. The mortgage servicer ceased the practice in 2014  for forward mortgages and in 2016 for reverse mortgages, according to the Attorney General’s office. The settlement requires the mortgage servicer to (i) refrain from engaging in the same practice in the future; (ii) complete the return of almost $1 million in collected inspection fees; and (iii) pay nearly $500,000 in penalties and costs.

    State Issues Mortgage Servicing Settlement Home Inspection State Attorney General

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