Financial Institution Lawsuits against Equifax Tempt Consumer Backlash

The massive data breach at Equifax has quickly spurred a number of lawsuits on behalf of consumers. That was to be expected. Far more surprising is the fact that financial institutions have started to pile on, filing their own suits against the credit reporting agency. It’s a bold strategy, and one that carries considerable risk. Any financial institution that is claiming victim status in this disaster that has personally affected half the U.S. population, and that is competing with individual consumers for money damages, could see its efforts backfire. In fact, it is easy to imagine the financial institutions’ lawsuits drawing such unflattering attention to their dealings with credit reporting agencies that they redirect the public ire,…

It’s been getting tougher for anyone to mount strong opposition to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) rule banning mandatory arbitration clauses after news broke of more misdeeds at Wells Fargo, which has admitted to forcing borrowers to pay for auto insurance they didn’t need. Although Senate approval of the rule remains uncertain, banks and other lenders should prepare for it to take effect. If that’s a benefit to consumers, it’s one they are going to pay for. Indeed, consumers should prepare for higher costs as a consequence of that preparation and the uncertainty deregulation might fuel….

Beneath all the excitement surrounding the fast-growing “fintech” industry has been a more practical question: who, exactly, is going to regulate this new breed of enterprise?

The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency offered one answer recently, announcing its intention to grant national bank charters to fintech companies. The OCC action would allow companies that gain charters to operate nationwide. Equally significant, it would result in state-level preemption. Chartered fintech companies could be free of capital requirements imposed by states, for instance, as well as state consumer protection laws such as those prohibiting usury,…