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    Wall Street & Gender Equality, TRID Updates, CFPB's Arbitration Rule: Your Weekend Briefing

    Wall Street outpaces Silicon Valley on gender equalityAxios

    J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon today said in a CNBC interview that he believes that Wall Street is ahead of Silicon Valley in terms of gender equality. And he's right, based on an Axios analysis of corporate diversity reports for a selection of the country's largest banks and technology companies.

    Headline numbers: America's top banks have higher percentages of female employees than do technology companies, by a 48.4% to 33.2% margin.

    Still not much to brag about: Both industries still feature few women in leadership positions, with Wall Street eking out a meager 25.5% to 24.8% "win" over tech.

    Other findings: In terms of racial diversity, the results are mixed. Wall Street has higher percentages of black and Latino employees, but a much smaller percentage of Asian employees. Tech has more Latino and Asian employees in leadership positions than does Wall Street, which has a slightly higher percentage of black employees in leadership. 

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    TRID updates and latest proposal published in Federal Register - Updates effective Oct. 10, Housing Wire

    Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s finalized updates to the Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule, also known as the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule, will officially take effect on Oct. 10, 2017.

    The Federal Register published the rule on Friday, marking the 60-day period until the amendments take effect.

    But, it’s important to note that, despite the effective date, the CFPB set a mandatory compliance date for Oct. 1, 2018.

    The bureau released the updates back in July, answering industry calls asked for greater clarity and certainty on the controversial rule.

    The new amendments are intended to formalize guidance in the rule, and provide greater clarity and certainty.

    “A mortgage is one of the largest financial decisions a consumer will ever make, and CFPB’s rules help ensure consumers have the easy-to-understand information they need before making a decision that will significantly impact their financial lives,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said at the time the updates were finalized. “Our updates will clarify parts of our mortgage disclosure rule to make for a smoother implementation process for lenders and consumers.”

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    • Attend our Webinar to learn everything you need to know about the Updates to the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule ​​​​​- Tuesday, October 17 at 2PM ET. 
      • Hurry! The Early Bird-dog Special of $199 (Live +1-Year OnDemand) expires this Thursday, August 17. 

    US Sen. Elizabeth Warren asks CEOs to weigh in on CFPB's forced arbitration ruleMassLive

    Noting that lobbyists representing big banks have come out against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's rule limiting forced arbitration, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren called on the heads of more than a dozen financial institutions Thursday to personally weigh in on the regulation. 

    The Massachusetts Democrat penned letters to CEOs from 16 large financial institutions, including JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo & Co., seeking their stances on the new rule limiting use of the clauses -- language which the CFPB argued can prevent consumers from banding together to sue banks or financial companies for wrongdoing. 

    Warren, who helped form the CFPB, further sought data on the institutions' use of arbitration clauses in consumer agreements and the outcome of arbitration proceedings.

    "A number of lobbying groups representing big banks and financial firms have condemned the rule, asserting that it will harm consumers. ... These organizations represent your bank and your industry, but you -- and other CEOs of large banks -- have remained silent on the rule," she wrote in the letters. "If your lobbyists are taking such strong positions against the rule, is there a reason both you and your bank have been unwilling to take a public position?”

    Pointing to a resolution congressional Republicans' are pushing to reverse the CFPB rule using a fast-track process, the senator argued that the requested information is "particularly important and time sensitive."

    She gave CEOs until Sept. 1 to respond to her requests for information on whether they agree with the CFPB's analysis on forced arbitration clauses and how their firms have fared in arbitration over the last five years.

    "This rushed process leaves little time for public hearings and other traditional congressional fact-gathering," Warren wrote. "I am seeking this information so that the public, my colleagues and I can better analyze the impact of reversing this CFPB rule."

    The Democrat's letter came one month after the CFPB issued the rule, which resulted from a congressional requirement included in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protect Act.

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    • Attend our Webinar to understand how the Forced Arbitration Clauses will affect your institution ​​​​​- Thursday, December 14 at 2PM ET. 
      • Register Now - This program qualifies for our Early Bird-dog Special price of $199 (Live +1-Year OnDemand) 

    Trump Is Seen Bypassing Acting FTC Chief in Favor of OutsiderBloomberg Law

    President Donald Trump is poised to nominate a longtime antitrust attorney as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, bypassing its acting Republican leader in favor of an outside candidate.

    Trump’s leading choice for the post is Washington lawyer Joseph Simons, a partner at the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, according to three people familiar with the matter. As FTC chairman, Simons would play a crucial role in the agency’s review of Inc.’s proposed takeover of Whole Foods Market Inc. and its lawsuit against Qualcomm Inc.for allegedly abusing its monopoly in the market for smartphone chips.

    Simons, who worked at the agency during the George W. Bush administration, is among a handful of candidates under consideration to fill three empty seats on the five-member commission. Although Simons is the front-runner for the top FTC job, Trump hasn’t made a final decision, one of the people said. Trump is expected to make the nomination in early September, the person said, just after the agency’s initial review of Amazon-Whole Foods is set to expire. That review period could be extended.

    Neither Simons nor White House officials responded immediately to requests for comment.

    Open Seats

    Noah Phillips, chief counsel for Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, is in the running for a Republican seat, as is Christine Wilson, an in-house lawyer at Delta Air Lines Inc., said two of the people, who asked not to be named because the deliberations are confidential.

    Rohit Chopra is under consideration for the open Democratic seat, they said. Phillips, Wilson and Chopra didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

    In favoring Simons for the chairman post, Trump would be passing over the acting chairman, Maureen Ohlhausen, a Republican commissioner since 2012 who was seen as campaigning for the job since Trump’s inauguration by touting her conservative credentials.

    After becoming acting chairman, Ohlhausen criticized the Democratic-led agency under the Obama administration, saying it imposed “unnecessary costs” on businesses. She also vowed to lead the FTC with “regulatory humility” and promoted a campaign she called “Economic Liberty” to examine occupational licensing requirements that she said raised barriers for entering certain professions.

    Ohlhausen opposed the Qualcomm antitrust lawsuit, filed in the final days of the Obama administration. In addition to antitrust enforcement, the FTC is responsible for protecting consumers from unfair and deceptive practices by businesses. Ohlhausen didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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    University of Southern California files motion to dismiss FACTA class action suitLegal Newsline

    A motion to dismiss has been filed by the University of Southern California against a class action lawsuit accusing the college of violating the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA).

    According to the memorandum filed June 22 in the U.S. District Court Central District of California, the plaintiffs Elizabeth Alvarado and Jose Ramos failed to produce facts supporting the plausibility of their claim. USC further argues the complaint was filed without alleging “actual harm” and without arguing that the violation was committed willfully by the university under FACTA.

    Alvarado and Ramos filed their complaints on April 18 against the University of Southern California and 10 other unidentified defendants alleging more than the last five digits of their credit card numbers had been printed on receipts they received from the university.

    They claim to have suffered damages from possible having their card information compromised and are seeking an injunction against the university for preventing further incidents, statutory damages, punitive damages, courts costs, and any other relief the court decides to grant.

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    Banking Industry Gave Four Times More to GOP Sponsors of Bill to Curb Consumer Lawsuits, MapLight

    The 35 Republican House members who sponsored legislation that allows companies to bar customers from joining class-action lawsuits have received more than four times as much in contributions from the commercial banking industry as lawmakers who oppose the idea, according to a MapLight analysis of OpenSecrets data.

    The commercial banking and bank holding industry has given an average of $163,554 to the measure’s sponsors since 2010 but only $39,388 to the bill’s opponents. The legislation passed the House on July 25 along party lines, with no Democrats supporting the measure.

    The bill repeals a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rule that was designed to allow customers to join class-action lawsuits. A CFPB study found that 34 million customers received payments totaling $1 billion from lawsuits during a five-year period, while arbitrators gave out only $360,000 to 78 customers during a two-year period. Many companies force customers into private, individual arbitration proceedings and prohibit them from joining group actions.

    The bill was passed as a Congressional Review Act measure that enables repeal of a rule within 60 days of its submission to Congress; the rule was issued July 10. Companion legislation must pass the Senate before it can be signed by President Trump.

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    CFPB pressures Zillow for RESPA settlementMPA

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is pressuring Zillow to come to a settlement agreement over whether the real estate giant violated federal regulations, it was revealed in an earnings call.

    The CFPB wants Zillow to discuss a settlement for alleged violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act and the Consumer Financial Protection Act. The regulator has been investigating the company’s co-marketing program, which allows real estate agents and mortgage lenders to advertise together on Zillow websites.

    According to the CFPB – which has been investigating Zillow over the practice for the last two years – this kind of co-marketing may be a RESPA violation. Zillow, of course, maintains that it is not.

    “We believe our co-marketing program has, and continues to, allow agents and lenders to comply with the law while using our product,” Zillow Chief Financial Officer Kathleen Phillips told stockholders in May.

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    After another St. Paul bank is robbed, police suspect they’re dealing with serial robberTwin Cities Pioneer Press

    Police suspect they have a serial robber on their hands after another St. Paul bank was targeted Wednesday, the third that might be connected to the same suspect.

    Investigators have been looking into a connection between two St. Paul bank robberies that occurred in July and now are adding Wednesday’s case to their list, said Steve Linders, a St. Paul police spokesman, on Thursday.

    In each of the cases, the suspect said he had a gun, though a weapon was not seen, “so beyond the bank robberies we’re looking at potentially dangerous situations for the people who work at the banks, for the people who are customers and people in the area,” Linders said. “It also could potentially put our officers in a dangerous position. We need to find this guy and take him off the streets so he doesn’t hurt someone.”

    At about 1:50 p.m.Wednesday, a man entered Anchor Bank at 1570 Concordia Ave. He was wearing all red and sunglasses, took a note out of a pants pocket and handed it to a teller, Linders said. The note said, “This is a robbery” and indicated he had a gun.

    After getting money from several tellers, the man stuffed the cash into his pockets and shirt sleeve, Linders said. He walked out the door and was not found.

    Police suspect the same man robbed BMO Harris Bank at 522 S. Snelling Ave. on July 25 and the TCF Bank at 459 N. Lexington Pkwy on July 11.

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    Stung by Overdraft Fees? U.S. Nudges Banks to Explain Rules Better, The New York Times

    Consumer advocates have long worried that bank customers are easily confused about how checking account overdrafts work, and that this confusion leads to costly fees.

    Now, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is taking a crack at redesigning the form used by banks to explain overdraft options to customers, and has published samples of four possible versions for public scrutiny.

    The overdraft form is the latest financial document to receive a makeover from the bureau: In 2015, the agency adopted simplified mortgage disclosure forms, which are meant to help borrowers understand the terms of their home loans.

    But don’t expect banks to use one of the redesigned overdraft disclosures anytime soon. The one-page prototypes are still being field-tested on consumers, and a formal rule-making process would be needed in order to make them official, according to the bureau. Plus, the agency is under political pressure in Washington, where the Republicans who control Congress oppose the bureau’s regulation-friendly approach.

    The bureau has been studying overdraft issues for several years and has taken steps to police bank practices. Last year, for instance, the bureau fined Santander Bank $10 million for using deceptive marketing to enroll customers in overdraft services.

    “We look forward to working with the bureau to test the proposed new disclosures to make sure they improve consumer understanding,” said Virginia O’Neill, senior vice president of the American Bankers Association’s center for regulatory compliance.

    While the forms need tweaking, “they’re moving in the right direction,” said Michael Moebs, an economist whose research firm tracks bank account data.

    An overdraft occurs when you don’t have enough money in your account to cover a bill or purchase, but the bank pays it anyway — then charges an overdraft fee (typically $34 per incident), which must be paid along with the amount of the shortfall. In the past, overdrafts were mostly caused by checks. But these days, with much consumer spending done on debit cards, overdrafts are commonly triggered by debit purchases. Even overspending by small amounts can trigger a hefty fee.

    Since 2010, federal regulations have required banks to obtain permission from customers before covering their shortfall if they spend too much on a debit card or withdraw more money than they have at an A.T.M. The alternative is to decline the transaction or refuse to dispense the cash. Banks do not need a customer’s prior approval to allow overdrafts — and charge fees — for checks and online bill payments, Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, noted in prepared remarks to reporters last week.

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