Our Mini-Theme: The Brave New World of Consumer Financial Services

As one of the flagship committees in the Business Law Section, the Consumer Financial Services Committee (CFSC) provides excellent educational and networking opportunities for its members, which include over 1,200 consumer and industry lawyers, academics, members of the judiciary, and government representatives.

Each January, we have a stand-alone meeting of just the CFSC. From Saturday evening through Tuesday afternoon, we provide over 12 hours of substantive CLE accredited programming led by the country's brightest and most accomplished consumer financial services lawyers. We foster lively discussions on the most relevant topics in today's fast-paced and constantly evolving world of consumer financial services law.

During each spring, and beginning fall 2014, each fall, we meet with the ABA's Business Law Section. In addition to the substantive consumer financial services CLE programming, and the collegiality of the Winter Meeting, at these meetings, we often partner with other Business Law Section Committees, such as Banking Law and Cyberspace, to expand the educational and networking opportunities for CFSC lawyers. The Spring Meeting and future Fall Meeting include both substantive subcommittee meetings and three to four consumer financial services focused CLE programs.

We have an active Young Lawyers Subcommittee and each year host a National Institute on Consumer Financial Services Basics for lawyers new to consumer financial services. We welcome new consumer financial services lawyers, young and not so young, with mentoring programs and speaking and writing opportunities.

We dedicate this mini-theme issue of Business Law Today to the new super-regulator of the consumer financial services industry - the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Born from Title X of the Dodd-Frank Act (Pub. L. No. 111-203, 124 Stat. 1376 (2011)), this fledgling organization has divided and multiplied exponentially, growing into the most powerful supervisory and enforcement authority of federal consumer financial services laws. Creating a brave new world of consumer financial services, the CFPB has vigorously pursued enforcement actions against large banks, engaged in supervisory examinations of "larger participants" and their progeny, enacted sweeping mortgage regulations, adopted regulations on debt collectors and consumer reporting agencies, issued civil investigative demands, commissioned studies on issues relating to federal finances services, and much more.

In this issue, Frank Springfield and Zachary Miller of Burr & Forman, LLP, in Birmingham, Alabama, discuss the CFPB's ability to supervise debt collectors, including lawyers engaged in debt collection, that were declared "larger participants" in its final rule published October 24, 2012.

Steven Forry, of Ice Miller, LLP, in Columbus Ohio, reviews the CFPB's authority to regulate unfair, deceptive, and abusive acts and practices. The article addresses the CFPB findings of deception in enforcement actions against Capital One Bank, Discover, and American Express relating to credit card add-on products marketed by each entity through third-party service providers.

The CFPB has the authority to conduct examinations of: (1) banks, savings associations, and credit unions with assets of over $10 billion ("large depository institutions"); (2) consumer mortgage companies, payday lenders, and private education lenders; (3) any "larger participant" in a market for consumer financial products or services; and (4) anyone who engages in "conduct that poses risks to consumers with regard to the offering or provision of consumer financial products and services." In his article, Eric Mogilnicki, of Wilmer Hale, in Washington, D.C., describes the CFPB's examination authority and activities and the legal issues raised by this new examination legal regime.

We welcome you to join the Consumer Financial Services Committee. The benefits are many, and the cost of joining is zero. We hope to see you at the Spring Meeting, April 3-6 in Washington, D.C., or a meeting in the future. Please visit us at the CFSC website.

Additional Resources

For related materials on this topic, please refer to the following.

Business Law Spring Meeting Programs

Please click here for the complete 2013 Spring Meeting Schedule specifically for the Consumer Financial Services Committee.

Extreme Makeover Consumer Protection Edition: A Look at the CFPB's New Regulations and Compliance Expectations
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM, Thursday, April 04, 2013
International Ballroom East, Concourse Level, Washington Hilton Hotel

CFPB: Investigations, Enforcement Actions, and Settlements
2:30 PM - 4:30 PM, Thursday, April 04, 2013
International Ballroom East, Concourse Level, Washington Hilton Hotel



Nominations Sought for Section Leadership Positions

Do you know anyone who has what it takes to be a good Section leader? The Nominating Committee of the Section needs your recommendations for leadership positions for the 2017-2018 association year. Nominees will be selected for: Chair-elect (who automatically assumes the position of chair the following year); Secretary (who automatically assumes the position of vice chair the following year); Content Officer; two Section Delegates to the ABA House of Delegates; and five additional Council members for a four-year term expiring in 2021. The Nominating Committee will take into account the following principles in making its selections. It will: select nominees who have been substantial and active contributors to the Section; seek geographic diversity in the leadership of the Section; strive for representation from a broad cross-section of the areas of law represented in the Section; and seek to draw leaders from a broad cross-section of the various sectors of practice, including corporate law departments, government, academia and private law firms; and actively recruit nominees that reflect the diversity of the Section. Please send your nominations by email to susan.tobias@americanbar.org no later than November 18.

Question: Between November 2, 2015 and November 4, 2015, Harris Poll conducted an online survey of 2,017 adults ages 18 and older on behalf of NerdWallet, Inc. to understand U.S. consumers’ credit card payment habits and feelings around different types of debt. The results of this study were published in the 2015 American Household Credit Card Debt Study. According to the 2015 American Household Credit Card Debt Study, what percentage of U.S. adults would be more embarrassed to tell others about credit card debt than any other type of debt?
A. 10%
B. 35%
C. 55%
D. 90%

Question: From the late 1600s to the early 1800s, “debtors’ prisons” were commonplace with many cities and states operating brick-and-mortar detention facilities that were designed for incarcerating individuals who were unable or unwilling to pay their debts. Imprisonment for indebtedness was so commonplace that two signatories of the Declaration of Independence were jailed for failure to pay their debts. Can you name those two signatories?

The November issue of Business Law Today will focus on Nonprofits. Articles will range from the “Delaware Advantage” to nonprofit organizations needing nonprofit lawyers. In addition, other features include keeping pace with disruptive technological change, insurance bad faith recoveries, and constitutional issues in granting Americans a “Right to Dispute.”

Do you have a great idea for a BLT article? Would you like to see more of a featured column? Let us know how we can make Business Law Today the best resource for you and your clients. We welcome any suggestions. Please send us your feedback here.

Business Law Section Fall Meeting
November 18-19, 2016
Washington, DC

Business Law Section Spring Meeting
April 6-8, 2017
New Orleans, LA

Miscellaneous IT Related Legal News (MIRLN) 25 September - 15 October 2016 (v19.14)

BLT is a web-based publication drawing upon the best of the Section's resources, including featured articles and other information from around the Section. Stay informed on the latest business law practice news and information that will benefit you and your clients.