Consumer Financial Services Practice Digest | November 6, 2018

CFPB Fall 2018 Rulemaking Agenda

The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection's Fall 2018 Rulemaking Agenda follows the course set in their Spring 2018 Agenda with an emphasis on implementing statutory directives, reexamining past rulemaking, and analyzing the responses to the "Call for Evidence" initiative. The Bureau's discussion of its regulatory agenda includes the Bureau's current priorities, or "workstreams," which it expects to continue to refine. Highlights of the Bureau's agenda and future planning include a notice of proposed rulemaking on debt collection, an exploration of a disparate impact rulemaking, and plans to clarify the term "abusive."

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The FTC's New Data Tool

The FTC launched a new interactive tool to view its aggregated consumer complaint data. Previously released annually, data collected through the Consumer Sentinel Network will now be reported quarterly. The FTC’s data tool is interactive and allows users to narrow the data by state, type of fraud, contact method, age of victim, amount of loss, and more. With just a few clicks, you can see that consumers in Virginia have lost $19.6 million to fraud as of mid-October, surpassing last year’s total of $15.1 million by 30%. The data tool also helps explain why so many robocalls around the nation’s capital seem to be for vacation scams—Maryland and Virginia are ranked #1 and #2 for reports of travel, vacation, and timeshare fraud. The tool contains quarterly and annual data going back to 2014, permitting users to view trends over time on very specific issues. The FTC hopes its new quarterly data releases will provide consumers with more timely information on consumer complaints and the types of scams and other fraud they face.

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The OCC Leads the Way on Updating the CRA

The OCC recently issued an ANPR inviting public comments on how best to modernize the regulations implementing the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977. In the accompanying release, Comptroller Joseph Otting cites his background as president and CEO of a bank as firsthand experience of "how limitations in the current CRA regulation can fail to provide consideration to a bank that wants to lend and invest in a community with a need for capital, including many low- and moderate-income areas." According to the OCC press release, the OCC hopes to implement regulatory changes that will better achieve the statute's purpose: to provide a framework that enables financial institutions to meet the credit needs of those who live in lower- to moderate-income communities. In addition, recent statements by senior officials indicate that the other federal banking agencies will likely participate in the rulemaking process.

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States Show Continued Focus on Disparate Impact Fair Lending Liability

While the Trump administration considers attempts to curtail disparate impact fair lending liability, a number of states have shown recently that they intend to continue disparate impact fair lending enforcement regardless of what happens at the federal level.

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Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto Officially Joins Venable

Venable announced that Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto, a leading intellectual property firm, has successfully joined Venable effective November 1. Joining from Fitzpatrick are 97 attorneys and 70 staff members who will be in the New York, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles offices.

Stu Ingis, chairman of Venable, said, "Fitzpatrick has a long-standing reputation as one of the finest IP firms in the country, with an impressive roster of talented attorneys who share our core values and deep commitment to client service. This addition to our existing IP practice will benefit our clients who require deep IP support and will strengthen the firm as a whole."

Venable's highly rated Intellectual Property practice now has about 170 lawyers, making it one of the largest and most sophisticated in the country. In addition, Venable's New York City presence has grown to more than 160 lawyers, making it one of the largest firms in the city.

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Upcoming Events

November 8, 2018: "Credit Reporting: Navigating the Turbulent Waters" at the 2018 ACA International Fall Forum and Expo.

December 5, 2018: "Administrative Law and Regulatory Update," a Venable hosted webinar.