Like most industries today, consumer credit services businesses continue to be significantly impacted by COVID-19.
To help keep you up to date with relevant activity, below is a breakdown of some of the biggest federal and state legislative and regulatory events impacting the consumer credit services industry during the week. last :
Privacy and cybersecurity activities
- On April 18, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) published a blog post, examining the practice of withholding transcripts from students with overdue accounts who are attending an institute of higher learning. The CFPB makes it clear that the practice of withholding transcripts as a debt collection tactic does not make much sense to the Bureau, stating, “It is particularly confusing, as it may undermine rather than enhance a student’s probability of repayment.” For more information, click here.
- On April 5, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announcement that two employees improperly accessed arbitration documents for cases litigated in the agency’s internal court system. The access took place in 2017 and the SEC said the breach “did not impact the actions of staff investigating and prosecuting the cases or the commission’s decision-making in the matter.” . For more information, click here.
- On March 31, the SEC released Staff Accounts Bulletin No. 121 (Bulletin), noting that a company that safeguards or exercises custody of a cryptocurrency on behalf of users of its platform must clearly report users’ assets as liabilities in the company’s financial statements, as well as the risks consumers face in entrusting the company with their key private cryptographic data. The Bulletin requires entities filing with the SEC to comply with these updated guidelines by June 15. For more information, click on here.
- On April 15, the CFPB released its annual Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which summarizes the activities of the CFPB to administer the FDCPA and also includes activities conducted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding debt collection. The report found that debt collection entities reported an increase in consumer contact and payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, click here.
- On April 19, the CFPB released a report on the financial challenges facing rural communities. The CFPB says many rural communities are “banking wastelands”. “For decades, many government agencies have turned a blind eye to the pressing issues facing families, farmers and businesses in rural communities,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “CFPB will focus on ways to ensure that rural communities can better access relationship banking services and realize their economic potential.” For more information, click here.
- On April 21, the CFPB and New York Attorney General Letitia James sued “recidivist MoneyGram for leaving families dry.” The lawsuit alleges the company blocked customers waiting for money when it failed to deliver the funds promptly as promised. “MoneyGram has spent years failing its customers and breaking the law, ignoring customer complaints and government warnings in the process,” CFPB Director Rohit Chopra said. “MoneyGram’s long pattern of misconduct must be stopped.” For more information, click here.
- On April 20, the CFPB released a report highlighting challenges in medical billing. The report builds on the growing volume of medical billing and collection complaints submitted to the CFPB. “Many Americans feel pressured to pay medical bills that they have already paid or never had to pay,” CFPB Director Rohit Chopra said. “The credit reporting system should not be used as a weapon to coerce patients into paying medical bills they do not owe.” For more information, click here.
- On April 19, the Department of Education announced measures to “fix the long-standing failures of student loan programs.” It is estimated that these actions will provide assistance to 3.6 million borrowers – to bring them closer to debt cancellation – and for 40,000 borrowers to receive immediate forgiveness. For more information, click here.
- On April 21, New York Attorney General Letitia James and the CFPB filed a court case against a major international money transfer provider for alleged and repeated violation of consumer protection laws. The lawsuit alleges that the defendant “failed to accurately notify consumers when their transfers would be available to overseas recipients and failed to implement required policies and procedures designed to help protect consumers, leaving essentially consumers in the dark about their money transfers should something go wrong.” For more information, click here.
- On April 18, New York Attorney General Letitia James reminded landlords that they cannot raise rents if they accept or plan to accept Emergency Rental Assistance Program funding ( ERAP) of the State. “The rules are clear: landlords who accept ERAP payments cannot raise rents for 12 months,” Attorney General James said. “This program was created to support struggling tenants and keep New Yorkers in their homes during the pandemic. Landlords who have accepted state payments but continue to raise rents are double deducting and breaking the law. For more information, click here.
- On April 20, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that his office had reached a settlement with towing companies for allegedly violating Pennsylvania’s consumer protection law and Philadelphia’s towing law after towed from legally parked vehicles. Consumers also reported that companies would require cash payments to return or release vehicles. “A lot of Pennsylvanians depend on their car for their livelihood,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “When towing companies don’t comply with the law, it puts consumers in dire straits. These businesses continued to spin by taking advantage of people who had done nothing wrong to scam them out of their hard-earned money. It’s not just a scam, it’s illegal. For more information, click here.
Privacy and cybersecurity activities:
- On April 20, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National Security Agency (NSA), and other international partners issued a Joint Cybersecurity Advisory on Cyber Criminal Threats and sponsored by the Russian state. critical infrastructure that could impact organizations inside and outside Ukraine. The advisory recommends several immediate actions, including prioritizing patches of known exploited vulnerabilities, enforcing multi-factor authentication, monitoring Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), and educating and training end users. For the full review, click here.
- On April 20, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) introduced legislation that would require government entities to obtain a warrant before asking an electronic communications provider to release a customer’s metadata. . This legislation would amend Section 2703 of the Stored Communications Act (SCA), which protects certain electronic communications from unauthorized disclosure, including metadata also stored electronically. For the press release, click here.