October 13, 2023

Following Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) announcing he is no longer running for Speaker of the House, House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) will run for Speaker again, after narrowly losing the nomination to Majority Leader Scalise, against Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA).

The White House published a blog post discussing the importance of competition to the U.S. economy to support lower prices, higher quality goods and services, greater variety, and more innovation. The blog post also announces the Administration is seeking to ensure that regulations complement the Administration’s investments and support fair and resilient markets.

The White House published a Fact Sheet and Joint Vision Statement following Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong’s visit to Washington, D.C., and the launch of the U.S.-Singapore Critical and Emerging Technology (CET) Dialogue. The Fact Sheet overviews discussions between the U.S. and Singapore on economic security and technology protection measures to manage risks to national security. The discussions were followed by a dialogue with industry hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce focused on Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovation and safety.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) took action against a rental screening subsidiary of TransUnion for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The TransUnion company allegedly failed to take steps to ensure the accuracy of rental background checks that landlords use to decide who gets housing. The company also allegedly withheld the names of third parties that were providing inaccurate information from renters. The CFPB and FTC requested a federal court to order the company to pay $15 million and to make significant improvements to how it reports evictions.

The CFPB launched an initiative to better understand the financial experiences of immigrants in the United States. The CFPB and the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a joint statement cautioning that financial institutions may not use immigration status to discriminate illegally against credit applicants. 

The FTC published a Consumer Alert warning customers that crypto deposits are not FDIC-insured.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Tennessee resident Stephen Ehrlich, the former chief executive officer of now-bankrupt entities Voyager Digital Ltd., Voyager Digital Holdings, Inc., and Voyager Digital, LLC (collectively, Voyager). The complaint charges Ehrlich with fraud and registration failures in connection with the Voyager digital asset platform and Voyager’s operation of an unregistered commodity pool. 

The FTC announced a settlement with Voyager that will permanently ban it from handling consumers’ assets. The FTC also announced that it is filing suit against Stephen Ehrlich for falsely claiming that customers’ accounts were insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

CFTC Commissioner Summer K. Mersinger, sponsor of the CFTC’s Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee (EEMAC), is seeking nominations for associate membership of the EEMAC through a formal request for submissions published in the Federal Register today. The deadline for submissions is October 19.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted new Rule 10c-1a, which will require certain persons to report information about securities loans to a registered national securities association (RNSA) and require RNSAs to make publicly available certain information that they receive regarding those lending transactions. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is currently the only RNSA. The rule is intended to increase the transparency and efficiency of the securities lending market.

The SEC adopted new Rule 13f-2 to provide greater transparency to investors and other market participants by increasing the public availability of short sale-related data. Congress directed the SEC in Section 929X of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 to promulgate rules to make certain short sale data publicly available. Rule 10c-1a will require certain confidential information to be reported to an RNSA to enhance the RNSA’s oversight and enforcement functions. Further, the new rule requires that an RNSA make certain information it receives, along with daily information pertaining to the aggregate transaction activity and distribution of loan rates for each reportable security, available to the public.

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) published a report entitled “Inspection Observations Related to Engagement Quality Reviews.” The report focuses on the PCAOB-mandated engagement quality review (EQR) process, in which a reviewer who is not part of the engagement team evaluates significant judgments made by the audit engagement team. The report found that 42% of firms the PCAOB inspected in 2022 had a quality control criticism related to EQRs, up from 37% in 2020. 

The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) announced final regulations to implement the Student Loan Servicing Act and the Student Loans Borrower Rights Law have been approved and will become effective on January 1, 2024. DFPI announced that its objective in drafting these new rules was to include all education financing products used to finance a student’s higher education, including income share agreements and installment contracts, within the definition of student loans subject to state law.

Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Angus King (I-ME), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Gary Peters (D-MI), Chair of the Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Daniel Werfel, urging their agencies to swiftly implement their recently proposed tax reporting requirements for crypto brokers after the agencies’ two-year delay in proposing the rule. 

The Biden-Harris Administration announced broad new actions aimed at protecting customers from junk fees. The FTC is proposing a rule that would ban businesses from charging hidden and misleading fees and require them to show the full price up front. The CFPB issued an advisory opinion interpreting Section 1034(c) of the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA), clarifying large financial institutions’ obligations to provide basic information such as account balances and loan payoff amounts to consumers without charging fees.  

The CFPB also released a special edition of its Supervisory Highlights focused on the agency’s efforts to protect consumers from illegal junk fees in the areas of bank account deposits, auto loan servicing, and remittances found during examinations between February and August 2023. Additionally, on a press call, CFPB Director Rohit Chopra announced that later this month, the CFPB will propose new rules to create more competition in banking to make it easier for consumers to switch their accounts, find more attractive rates, and avoid junk fees.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chair of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, released a statement supporting the CFPB and FTC’s actions aiming to limit junk fees.   

Need to catch up on what happened last week? Check out our Midweek Update here