November 15, 2010 - 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM EST

Legal and Regulatory Risks and Opportunities Facing Credit Counseling Agencies: Navigating a Legal Minefield to Help Consumers in Need

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Association of Credit Counseling Professionals Annual Conference
Doubletree Guest Suites - Fort Shelby
Detroit, MI

A new regulator of federal consumer financial protection is about to become a reality. For the first time in history, there will be one federal regulator with rulemaking, supervisory and enforcement responsibilities over all credit counseling agencies, others involved in debt relief services, and lenders alike. 

Also, the new Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act includes a number of opportunities for counseling agencies, particularly many in the area of housing counseling. 

On top of that, state legislative and regulatory activity related to credit counseling has seemingly reached record levels with overlapping and often conflicting regulations potentially applying to debt management, housing counseling, and other activities of credit counseling agencies.  In addition, the Federal Trade Commission, state Attorneys General, and other regulators are taking a more proactive interest in the workings of the industry and in protecting consumers from false and misleading advertising related to debt relief services. 

Finally, now that the IRS compliance initiative is coming to a close for a most agencies, plaintiffs’ attorneys have set their sights on challenging the services that credit counseling agencies provide, serving them up with costly class action lawsuits – alleging violations of the Credit Repair Organizations Act (or similar state laws) and debt collection statutes related to budget and debt counseling or foreclosure counseling – with increasing frequency.

Recent court decisions have created a legal minefield for members of the credit counseling industry at a time when their services are needed most by consumers. 

Jeff Tenenbaum and Jonathan Pompan will discuss legislative and regulatory trends, potential litigation concerns, what’s on the horizon, and how you can proactively respond to it all.