The Consumer Financial Services industry is changing quickly. This weekly podcast from national law firm Ballard Spahr focuses on the consumer finance issues that matter most, from new product development and emerging technologies to regulatory compliance and enforcement and the ramifications of private litigation. Our legal team—recognized as one of the industry's finest— will help you make sense of breaking developments, avoid risk, and make the most of opportunity.
The Biden Administration’s “Junk Fees” Initiative Continues: What the Latest Actions Mean for the Consumer Financial Services and Rental Housing Industries, Part I
This two-part podcast repurposes our most recent webinar on the latest salvo of actions in the Biden Administration’s initiative directed at combatting so-called “junk fees.” Launched in January 2022, the initiative shows no signs of abating. In Part I, we first review the background of the initiative, the range of fees the Administration has labeled “junk fees,” and discuss the Administration’s focus on competition and its related guidance and directives to federal agencies. We then take a close look at the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed rule to regulate “junk fees,” including the rationale for the FTC’s decision to engage in rulemaking, the price and fee disclosures that would be required by the proposal, and how an FTC “junk fees” rule could be used in support of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau actions targeting “junk fees.” We conclude with a discussion of the impact of the Administration’s initiative and FTC proposal on “junk fees” related to rental housing.
Alan Kaplinsky, Senior Counsel in Ballard Spahr’s Consumer Financial Services Group, moderates the discussion, joined by John Culhane and Reid Herlihy, Partners in the Group, Michael Gordon and Kristen Larson, Of Counsel in the Group, and Roger Winston, a Partner in the firm and Leader of its Mixed-Use, Condominium, and Multifamily Development Team.
A Close Look at the Federal Trade Commission’s Proposed Rule to Regulate “Junk Fees”
In October 2023, the FTC issued a proposed “Rule on Unfair or Deceptive Fees” targeting so-called “junk fees.” Our special guest is Stacy Cammarano, Staff Attorney in the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, Division of Advertising Practices, and a lead attorney on the proposal. After reviewing how the FTC has previously used its enforcement authority to address “junk fees,” we discuss some of the key issues identified in comments received by the FTC on its October 2022 Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on “junk fees.” We then look at the price and fee disclosures that would be required by the proposal, the businesses that would be covered, and examples of charges for mandatory ancillary goods or services by various industries that would have to be included in disclosed pricing. We also look at the relationship of the FTC’s proposal to “junk fees” initiatives of other federal agencies, such as the CFPB, and to state initiatives, and consider the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s AMG decision on the FTC’s use of rulemaking. We conclude with a discussion of likely next steps in the rulemaking process and what businesses can be doing now to reduce compliance risk.
Alan Kaplinsky, Senior Counsel in Ballard Spahr’s Consumer Financial Services Group, leads the discussion.
Consumer Finance Impact of a CFPB Run Amok
Switching from his usual role as frequent host of the Consumer Finance Monitor Podcast, Alan Kaplinsky, Senior Counsel in and former Practice Group Leader of Ballard Spahr’s Consumer Financial Services Group, was recently the special guest of Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Elliott Stein and Nathan Dean on their podcast, Votes and Verdicts. The episode begins with a discussion of (1) the CFPB’s impact on consumer financial services providers, (2) how, since the CFPB’s creation in 2010, its three Directors have used the CFPB’s supervisory, enforcement, and regulatory authorities, and (3) the differences in the three Directors’ approaches. This is followed by a discussion of the case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court involving a challenge to the constitutionality of the CFPB’s funding mechanism in which Alan shares his reactions to the oral argument in the Supreme Court and discusses potential remedies if the Court rules that the CFPB’s funding is unconstitutional. The episode concludes with a discussion of how the case has impacted ongoing CFPB activity, the potential impact of a Supreme Court ruling in favor of the CFPB on future CFPB activity, and potential future challenges the CFPB may face from industry.
Prohibited by Law and Totally Ineffective—Just Two of the Many Reasons Why the CFPB Should Deny the Petition for Rulemaking on Post-Dispute Consumer Arbitration Agreements
Our special guest is David Sherwyn, Professor of Law at Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration. In Sept. 2023, a group of consumer advocate organizations filed a Petition for Rulemaking with the CFPB that would prohibit the use of pre-dispute arbitration clauses in consumer contracts in favor of arbitration clauses that would permit consumers to choose between arbitration and litigation only after a dispute has arisen. In response, the CFPB indicated it is carefully considering the petition, and will be opening a public docket and taking comment from the public on the petition.
We first discuss the results of Prof. Sherwyn’s study which concluded, in the context of employment disputes, that while superficially appealing, post-dispute arbitration fails in reality and hurts both businesses and individuals, and explain why these study results are applicable in the context of consumer finance. We then offer compelling reasons why the CFPB should not engage in such a rulemaking, including why the petition is a clear attempt to make an end-run around the CFPB’s prior arbitration rulemaking that would have prohibited class action waivers in consumer arbitration agreements and was overridden by Congress and why the petition is premature. We conclude by responding to arguments made by opponents of pre-dispute arbitration agreements that consumers are uninformed about arbitration and are “forced” to enter into such agreements.
Alan Kaplinsky, Senior Counsel in Ballard Spahr’s Consumer Financial Services Group, leads the discussion, joined by Mark Levin, Senior Counsel in the Group.
A Deep Dive Into the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Policy Statement on Abusive Acts and Practices Under the Consumer Financial Protection Act
The CFPB recently issued a policy statement in which it provided a framework for determining what constitutes abusive conduct under the CFPA. After reviewing the definition of abusive in the CFPA and the historical background of the adoption of an abusive standard in the CFPA, we examine how the policy statement addresses each element of the abusive standard and share our observations as to the policy statement’s implications. We then look at past CFPB enforcement actions and supervisory findings in which conduct was alleged to be abusive. We also look at the overlap between abusive conduct and unfair or deceptive conduct and the relationship between “dark patterns” and abusive conduct and identify conduct that the CFPB might consider to be abusive. We conclude with a discussion of best practices for companies to consider to avoid engaging in conduct that the CFPB might find to be abusive.
Alan Kaplinsky, Senior Counsel in Ballard Spahr’s Consumer Financial Services Group, hosts the discussion joined by Michael Guerrero, a partner in the Group, Michael Gordon, Of Counsel in the Group, and Brian Turetsky, Of Counsel in the Group.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision in Community Financial Services Association of America Ltd. v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Who Will Win and What Does It Mean? Part II
On October 3, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court held oral argument in CFSA v. CFPB, a case with profound potential implications for the future of the CFPB. The Court will rule on whether the CFPB’s funding mechanism violates the U.S. Constitution’s Appropriations Clause and, if so, what the appropriate remedy should be. Our special guests are six renowned attorneys who filed amicus briefs in the case: Michael Williams, Principal Deputy Solicitor General, Office of the West Virginia Attorney General; Adam Levitin, Professor, Georgetown University of Law Center; Scott Nelson, Public Citizen Litigation Group; Jeffrey Naimon, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP; Joshua Katz, Research Fellow, Cato Institute; and John Masslon, Counsel, Washington Legal Foundation.
This two-part episode repurposes our widely-attended and highly interactive webinar held on October 17. In Part II, each of our guests offers his predictions for how the Court is likely to rule in CFSA v. CFPB. We then discuss each party’s position regarding what remedy the Court should impose if it rules that that the CFPB’s funding mechanism is unconstitutional, including whether the relevant provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act are severable and how a ruling against the CFPB should impact existing CFPB regulations. We conclude with a discussion of the kinds of non-constitutional legal challenges the CFPB is currently facing or is likely to face in the future, including the potential impact of a Supreme Court decision overruling its 1984 Chevron decision dealing with judicial deference to federal agency rules.
Alan Kaplinsky, Senior Counsel in Ballard Spahr’s Consumer Financial Services Group, moderates the discussion.
Love the podcasts but don’t like the fact they are sped up. It’s harder to follow.
Enjoyed the podcast on crypto. Let’s hear one on Mary Jane!
Easy to Understand
Thanks for discussing legal issue in easily understood language!