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After an almost two-year regulatory process, the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) adopted final administrative regulations to implement the state’s 2018 commercial financing disclosure law. Most importantly, the final rules come with a long-awaited effective date: December 9, 2022. The effective date honors prior DFPI statements that a six-month window for compliance

The California State Legislature provided commercial lenders with welcome news this week when the California Senate passed Senate Bill 577 (“SB 577”).  If it is signed by the governor, SB 577 will reinstate the de minimis exemption from the California Financing Law (“CFL”) for lenders making a single commercial loan of $5,000 or more in

On April 11, 2022, Virginia became the second US state to require providers of merchant cash advance (“MCA”) products to obtain a state regulatory license or registration—hot on the heels of Utah. With Governor Glenn Youngkin’s signing House Bill 1027 into law, companies providing “sales-based financing” in Virginia will now be required to provide up-front

Utah has followed California and New York by enacting its own Truth in Lending-like commercial financing disclosure law, but with an additional twist—Utah’s new law has a registration requirement. On March 24, Utah Governor Spencer Cox signed SB 183 into law, with an effective date of January 1, 2023. We discuss how this new law

In February 2022, a legal opinion issued by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (“DFPI”) concluded that employer-provided earned wage access (“EWA”) transactions are not loans under the California Financing Law and California Deferred Deposit Transaction Law.  The DFPI’s legal opinion stands to provide significant clarity to the EWA industry and should encourage the continued adoption of earned wage access as a solution to employees’ needs for low-cost temporary liquidity.

Before diving into the DFPI legal opinion, we briefly remind readers of the basic structure of EWA programs.  Earned wage access is a service that allows workers to obtain wages that they have earned, but have not yet been paid, prior to the worker’s regularly scheduled payday.  Although the exact structure of each program differs, EWA programs generally fall into two broad categories:

  • Direct To Consumer Models are offered directly to workers, without the employer’s involvement.  Any eligible worker can access EWA from a direct to consumer model, as the worker’s employer offering the service is not a prerequisite.  Because direct to consumer models do not integrate with employers, recoupment of EWA advances is typically effected through a single-use automated clearinghouse transaction from the employee’s personal bank account on the employee’s payday.
  • Employer Integrated Models involve the EWA provider entering into a contract with an employer to offer the service as an employee benefit to the employer’s employees.  An EWA provider using the employer integrated model may integrate with the employer’s payroll and time card systems to receive data about the amount of earned wages that an employee has accrued as of a certain date.  Employer integrated programs typically fund an earned wage advance through the employer’s payroll system and then recoup the advance through a payroll deduction facilitated by the employer on the employee’s next regular payday.

Some EWA providers charge fees for use of the service, which are typically either flat transaction fees or “participation” fees for use of the program.

As an innovative and emerging product, EWA programs present novel financial regulatory issues.  The most significant of these issues is the status of an EWA transaction as a non-credit transaction.
Continue Reading California DFPI Affirms Employer-Integrated Earned Wage Access Is Not a Loan

Marketplace lender Opportunity Financial, LLC has gone on the offensive against the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation to protect its bank partnership program against challenge on a “true lender” theory. On March 7, 2022, OppFi filed suit against the DFPI to ask the state court to declare that FinWise Bank, a Utah-chartered bank,

The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has issued “pre-proposed” rules under New York’s commercial financing disclosure law that was enacted at the end of 2020. The pre-proposed rules are 45 pages long and were posted on the NYDFS website on September 21. Comments on the pre-proposed rules are due by October 1. There will be a longer comment period once a proposed rule is published in the State Register. The NYDFS aims to finalize the rules before the law takes effect on January 1, 2022.

The pre-proposed rules give the state’s commercial financing disclosure law, colloquially known as the “NY TILA,” the formal name of the “Commercial Finance Disclosure Law (CFDL).” The pre-proposed rules also define terms and provide detailed requirements for the content and formatting of the CFDL-required disclosures. The proposed definitions borrow heavily from, but do not exactly mirror, those under the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation’s (DPFI) proposed rules to implement its own commercial financing disclosure law. The lack of uniformity between the two states’ regulations will complicate compliance for commercial financers subject to both laws. Where the NYDFS rules borrow most substantially from the California rules, the NYDFS tends to draw from the prior version of those rules, before the DFPI’s second round of modifications issued August 9, 2021. This raises the question of whether the NYDFS will incorporate California’s latest modifications when the NYDFS issues the next version of its proposed rules.
Continue Reading NYDFS Issues Pre-Proposed Rules to Implement New Commercial Financing Disclosure Law

In response to the significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) announced in July 2020 that it would shift its supervisory priorities and begin performing Prioritized Assessments instead of planned examinations. On January 19, 2021, the CFPB issued its findings in a COVID-19 Prioritized Assessments Special Edition of Supervisory

On November 30, 2020, the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued its final Advisory Opinion Policy, along with two Advisory Opinions (AOs) addressing the applicability of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) to certain earned wage access (EWA) programs and private education loans. The CFPB first proposed a pilot AO program in June 2020.

On October 30, 2020, the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced a final rule, Regulation F, to implement the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  The final rule comes nearly 18 months after the proposed rule and more than four years after the CFPB first released an initial outline of debt collection proposals.  The final rule