In conjunction with a Presidential speech and new White House initiative against “junk fees,” the CFPB has accelerated its own efforts in this arena with two new policy directives. As with many other recent Bureau actions, the new circular and bulletin do not take the form of notice-and-comment rulemakings, but rather are directives with express enforcement implications unless or until the courts overturn them, the General Accounting Office intervenes to bar guidance outside the rulemaking process as it did years ago related to inter-agency leveraged-loan standards, or new law reconfigures the agency. The most immediate implication of these edicts is a ban on blanket rejected deposit fees and further constraints on overdraft fees.
CFPB Tackles Payment-System User Fines
Following Director Chopra’s recent focus on Paypal’s withdrawn content penalty, the CFPB today announced it will reopen the public comment period on its bigtech payments order, widening its focus beyond Paypal to all bigtech payment-service providers. Notably, Zelle is not included in this round. The order had required Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, Square, and Paypal to turn over information on their payments products, business plans, and practices. The Bureau now seeks further information on their acceptable use policies and how and under what circumstances they levy fines.
CFPB Brings Older Adults Into Fair-Fee Focus
Following yesterday’s enforcement action and furthering its “fair-fee” policy agenda (see FSM Report CONSUMER38), the CFPB today published an Issue Brief on overdraft fees and economically-insecure older adults.
HUD Advances LIBOR Replacement As Deadline
Following its ANPR on replacing LIBOR last year, HUD today published a proposed rule to remove LIBOR as an approved index for forward ARMs and reverse mortgages, replacing it with SOFR. For existing ARMs, HUD proposes to establish a spread-adjusted SOFR index to transition from LIBOR, with a lifetime five percent interest-rate cap for monthly adjustable rate reverse mortgages.
House Republicans Question PayPal’s Content Fine Mistake
Following revelations that PayPal had temporarily imposed a penalty fee on certain content, HFSC Ranking Member McHenry (R-NC), Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Rodgers (R-WA), and Reps. Emmer (R-MN) and Griffith (R-VA) sent a letter to PayPal CEO Dan Schulman requesting more information about PayPal mistakenly updating its Acceptable Use Policy to include a fine for sharing “objectionable” messages on the platform.
Fed Study Finds Little Evidence of Discrimination in Mortgage Lending
A new Fed study on racial bias in mortgage lending finds little evidence of discrimination, concluding instead that disparities in observable applicant risk explain most racial denial disparities. The study uses confidential HMDA supervisory data from 2018-2019 that controls for credit scores, DTI, and LTV on top of automated underwriting systems (AUS) recommendations.