November 4, 2022

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it will re-open the comment period for public input on big tech payment platforms for 30 days and add additional questions. 

The Federal Reserve Board invited public comment on a proposal to publish a periodic list of depository institutions that have access to Federal Reserve accounts—often referred to as “master accounts”—and payment services. Comments will be accepted for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

The CFPB held its Consumer Advisory Board (CAB) meeting covering several issues and topics in consumer protection and emerging market trends. Read our summary of the meeting here.

The White House is planning to push for antitrust legislation post-midterms that would rein in the power of the largest tech companies, a last-ditch effort to get a stalled pair of bills through Congress before January. The two bills, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act and Open App Markets Act would prevent the tech companies from using their platforms to thwart competitors.

U.S. Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Pat Toomey (R-PA) is pressing ratings firms to disclose information regarding their practices on calculating companies’ environmental, social, and governance (ESG) scores. On September 20, Ranking Member Toomey sent letters to twelve ratings firms requesting information about how they calculate companies’ ESG scores. This week, Ranking Member Toomey sent follow up letters asking the firms to preserve all documents, communications, and other information—including electronic information and metadata—potentially responsive to the September request.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sent a letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan and Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division at the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) Jonathan Kanter calling for increased oversight of Big Tech expansion into the automotive industry. In the letter, the Senator highlights how the rapidly expanding role of Google, Apple, and Amazon in the auto industry raises competition concerns and urges the agencies to take swift action. Read the full letter here.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is taking action against education technology provider Chegg Inc. Chegg allegedly failed to fix problems with its data security despite experiencing four security breaches since 2017. The FTC’s proposed order requires the company to bolster its data security, limit the data the company can collect and retain, offer users multifactor authentication to secure their accounts, and allow users to access and delete their data.

The FTC published a Consumer Alert warning veteran entrepreneurs about scams.

At the National Credit Union Administration’s (NCUA) 2022 DEI & ACCESS Summit, Vice Chairman Kyle S. Hauptman hosted a panel that explored how blockchain technologies can benefit underserved and unserved consumers. The discussion highlighted the Vice Chairman’s ongoing commitment to small and de novo credit unions, along with his focus on distributed ledger technology (DLT) and how these technologies are currently helping people around the world.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Acting Chairman Martin Gruenberg delivered remarks to the National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders (NAAHL). Acting Chairman Gruenberg highlighted the findings of FDIC’s recently released 2021 National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households. The survey found that an estimated 4.5% of U.S. households were unbanked in 2021, the lowest rate since the survey began in 2009.

The CFPB published an update on student loan borrowers during the payment suspension. Since their April report on the credit health of student loan borrowers during the pandemic, inflation has risen and delinquencies and balances have increased. The CFPB stated that these developments may signal or contribute to potential payment difficulties for borrowers going forward.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued three additional notices requesting public input on key climate and clean energy tax incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act. The trio of notices follows an initial set of notices requesting comment the Department issued in October.

Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) sent letters to seven large banks that testified at the Senate Banking Committee oversight hearing in September, following up on his question regarding the low interest rates that banks are paying on savings accounts. The full letters are available here.

Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) sent letters to seven large banks that testified at the Senate Banking Committee oversight hearing in September, following up on his question regarding the low interest rates that banks are paying on savings accounts. The full letters are available here.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued its most recent Financial Trend Analysis of ransomware-related Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) filings for 2021, indicating that ransomware continued to pose a threat to U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, businesses, and the public.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) announced that it will host virtual Innovation Office Hours on December 14-15, 2022, to promote responsible innovation in the federal banking system. Interested parties should request a virtual Office Hours session by November 18, 2022, and are asked to provide information on the topic(s) they are interested in discussing with the Office of Innovation.

The CFPB outlined options to strengthen consumers’ access to, and control over, their financial data as a first step before issuing a proposed data rights rule that would implement section 1033 of the Dodd-Frank Act. Under the options the CFPB is considering, consumers would be able to more easily and safely walk away from companies offering bad products and poor service and move towards companies competing for their business with alternate or innovative products and services.

The DOJ Antitrust Division Policy Director David Lawrence delivered a keynote at the Brigham Young University Law Conference entitled, “Tech Platforms in a New Age of Competition Law”. Lawrence expressed concerns with the “unique threats [the digital economy] poses to our liberty.”

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Financial Services, and Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets, sent a letter to Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) demanding that she convene a hearing with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler “in light of the “technical glitch,” a damning Inspector General report, and an expansive regulatory agenda.”