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Showing 7 posts from May 2017.

PHH v. CFPB En Banc Oral Argument Recap: The Skinny on the Scuffle

For more than an hour and half on Wednesday, May 24, lawyers for PHH Mortgage and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau discussed, debated, and decried the CFPB’s authority before the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. There was minimal discussion of the underlying RESPA claims that formed the basis of the CFPB’s $109 million dollar judgment obtained against PHH. The major debate focused on whether the CFPB’s single director leadership and the President’s limited, for cause removal of that single director violated the Constitution’s separation of powers clause. The parties debated, among other issues, (1) the diminishment, if any, of the President's ability to faithfully execute the laws; (2) the effect and nature of the for-cause removal provisions; (3) the single director structure v. multi-member commission structure; (3) the effect and nature of the Bureau's other structural features, such as budget & appropriations; and, (4) departure, if any, from historical traditions and ideals. More ›

Forgiveness of Debt Can Prove Unforgiving, But a New Federal Court Decision Gives Cause for Optimism

A federal court in New Jersey recently dismissed a putative class action filed under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which had argued that it was deceptive conduct for a debt collector to inform the debtor that forgiveness of debt, in some circumstances, may be reportable to the Internal Revenue Service. The specific language included in the debt collector's letter was as follows: "We will report forgiveness of debt as required by the IRS regulations. Reporting is not required every time a debt is canceled or settled, and might not be required in your case." More ›

Supreme Court Watch: Debt Collector Filing Bankruptcy Proof of Claim for Time-Barred Debt Avoids FDCPA Liability

What does the United States Supreme Court's decision issued earlier this week in Midland Funding, LLC v. Johnson mean for debt collectors? It means that debt collectors may file proofs of claim in a debtor's bankruptcy on time-barred debt without risk of violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). In Johnson, a debt collector filed a proof of claim in bankruptcy court for a debt that was outside the six year statute of limitations, the bankruptcy court dismissed the claim as time-barred, and the debtor filed a separate, subsequent lawsuit arguing that the claim was misleading in violation of the FDCPA. The Eleventh Circuit agreed concluding that filing proofs of claim on time-barred debt amounted to false and misleading conduct. More ›

Attention Mortgage Loan Servicers: Highest Court in Massachusetts Attempts to Clarify When Default Notices Must Strictly Comply with Paragraph 22 of the Standard Mortgage

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) provided further guidance - up to a point - on mortgagees’ strict compliance with the notice of default provisions within paragraph 22 of the standard mortgage (or the equivalent) and when that standard takes effect. Mortgage holders have litigated this issue for years in Massachusetts, and the SJC first addressed compliance with paragraph 22 in a July 17, 2015 decision Pinti v. Emigrant Mtge. Co., 472 Mass. 226 (2015). In Pinti, the SJC ruled that "strict compliance" with paragraph 22 was required to effectuate a valid foreclosure pursuant to the statutory power of sale. Understanding that this decision would invalidate hundreds and potentially thousands of foreclosures in Massachusetts, the SJC held that its newly minted strict compliance standard would apply prospectively from its July 17, 2015 decision. However, the SJC neglected to address whether the strict compliance standard would apply to cases already filed in the trial and appellate courts. This caused conflicting decisions by the Massachusetts courts and required the SJC to review its Pinti decision in short term after several appeals were filed. More ›

Climate for Student Loan Oversight Gets Hotter with Recommendation of Top CFPB Student Loan Official for FTC Commissioner

While most mainstream media outlets are pulling a Jan Brady and reporting "Comey, Comey, Comey," the consumer financial services community should be chewing on a different name right now: "Chopra, Chopra, Chopra."

U.S. Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer (D, NY), has recommended to the President, Rohit Chopra, former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Student Loan Ombudsman for an open Democratic seat on the Federal Trade Commission. As the former CFPB Ombudsman, Chopra held a high post in the Bureau, interacting directly and routinely with Director Richard Cordray, and helping to prioritize—and importantly, publicize—student loan policy and enforcement initiatives for the Bureau that have long outlasted Chopra's tenure. Chopra has been known to draw comparisons between the mortgage and student loan industries, calling for greater data transparency in the student loan industry. More ›

Supreme Court Watch: Cities CAN Sue Banks for Predatory Lending

Over the last ten years, cities like Miami, Florida have experienced a decrease in property tax revenues, an increase in demand for police, fire and other municipal services, and an increase in foreclosures and vacancies, particularly in minority neighborhoods. In what appears to be a response to this environment, the City sued Bank of America and Wells Fargo for violations of the Fair Housing Act, claiming they intentionally issued riskier mortgages on less favorable terms to African-American and Latino customers. According to the City, this discriminatory conduct caused higher foreclosure rates and vacancies among minority borrowers, which in turn lowered property values, diminished property-tax revenues and increased the demand for municipal services to remedy the blight that foreclosures and vacancies generate. More ›

Does the FDCPA Apply to Debt Buyers? U.S. Supreme Court Will Soon Decide

On April 18, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral argument on the issue of whether the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA") extends beyond traditional "debt collectors" to those entities that purchase debts from the original lender after a consumer account is in default, commonly known as "debt buyers." The case, Henson v. Santander Consumer USA, Inc., No. 16-349, on appeal from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, touches upon the original purpose of the FDCPA in eliminating abusive debt collection practices by debt collectors. The key inquiry for the Court then was to determine whether the Congressional intent behind the Act was indeed to regulate all groups of entities in the debt collection marketplace or, in fact, more limited in scope to just those companies that collect directly or indirectly on behalf of another entity. More ›

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