Recently, joined by former CFPB Director Richard Cordray, California Assemblywoman Monique Limon (D-Santa Barbara) told a press gathering that she planned to introduce legislation to create a state-level version of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), either by raising the budget of the state’s Department of Business Oversight (DBO) or through the creation of a new state agency. “We are working to really rethink what a state CFPB would do,” Limon said. “We see the presence of predatory lending products in auto loans, payday loans, cash advance and small business loans.” However, given the March announcement by Gov. Gavin
Continue Reading To Mini-CFPB or Not To Mini-CFPB? That’s the Question for California

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) publishes a comprehensive annual update detailing the significant actions it has taken to protect American consumers’ privacy and data security. For the 2018 calendar year, the FTC’s update detailed the following actions.
General Privacy Cases

  • The FTC and the State of Nevada obtained a court order from the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada shutting down revenge porn website and ordering the operators of the website to pay more than $2 million. In their complaint, the FTC and the State of Nevada alleged that the website solicited intimate and sexually explicit

Continue Reading FTC Privacy and Data Security Report for 2018

I have had a few clients caught up in scams of the Madoff variety, but fortunately not for large sums. The most common reaction when this happens is embarrassment, that someone who is intelligent could be caught by something that seems so obvious in hindsight. And yet scams continue. Why is that?
There are several reasons:

  • The world is a complex place, and getting more so.
  • It’s tempting to select a pre-packaged, simple solution
  • People who prey on others never look like crooks- otherwise they couldn’t succeed.

Not every scam involves out and out theft. There are what I call
Continue Reading Scams, Hard and Soft, Plague Seniors

Recent Third Circuit Decision holds consumer debt buyer subject to the FDCPA
In Barbato v. Greystone Alliance, LLC, 2019 WL 847920 (3d Cir. Feb. 22, 2019), the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals considered whether defendant/appellant Crown Asset Management (Crown), a “passive” debt buyer, was subject to the FDCPA. Notwithstanding the fact that Crown hired an independent third party to collect on the subject debt, the Third Circuit found Crown was “debt collector” within the purview of the FDCPA because its “principal purpose” was the collection of debts. Thus, Crown Asset could be held potentially liable for its collector’s
Continue Reading Consumer Debt Buyers Beware!

In most households, there is one spouse who handles financial matters- paying bills, filing tax returns, planning retirement income. While division of labor might be great, there could be problems if the “non-financial” spouse is the survivor- he or she might be easy prey for those who try to sell inappropriate investments or insurance policies, or might be a victim of out-and-out theft. There is a solution, but it requires work while both spouses are alive. A technique I have used is to create a notebook with important information:

  • what bills must be paid, and how are they paid
  • what

Continue Reading Does Your Spouse Know?

Illinois Supreme Court Finds No Actual Injury is Required for Violation of Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act
Two significant decisions on the issue of standing to sue were handed down by the Illinois courts on January 25, 2019. Both of them offer significant assistance to the plaintiff’s class action bar by easing the requirements for alleging standing, thereby encouraging the filing of more cases against consumer financial institutions.
In the first case, Rosenbach v. Six Flags Entertainment Corp., 2019 WL 323902 (Ill.  Jan. 25, 2019), the Illinois Supreme Court held that no actual injury needs to be pleaded or
Continue Reading Illinois Supreme Court Finds No Actual Injury is Required for Violation of Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act

The CFPB’s proposed amendments to its Payday, Vehicle Title, and Certain High-Costs Installment Loans Rule have changes that are generally disliked by consumer advocacy groups and applauded by them as well. In the “dislike” column, the rule’s requirements that lenders make certain ability-to-repay underwriting determinations before issuing payday, single-payment vehicle title, and longer-term balloon payment loans are to be rescinded. The Bureau contends that those requirements limit consumers access to credit. The Bureau is also proposing to delay the August 19, 2019, compliance date for the mandatory underwriting provisions of the 2017 final rule to November 19, 2020.
However, in
Continue Reading Cheers and Jeers for CFPB's Proposed Amendment to Payday Lending Rule

Providing for the people who matter most to you is one of estate planning’s overarching goals. An inheritnace can go a long way toward ensuring the security of your partner, spouse, or children after you’re gone. But sometimes our loved ones need to be protected from themselves. Reckless spending and the claims of creditors can quickly eat away at what at first seemed like limitless reserves. By establishing a spendthrift trust, you can help safeguard the assets you leave to your loved ones and ensure that they go only toward worthwhile expenditures.
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Continue Reading Protect Your Loved Ones With a Spendthrift Trust

While courts remain split on the scope and function of an “automatic telephone dialing system” (ATDS) under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), 2019 began with a well-reasoned decision limiting the scope of an ATDS and another dismissing a plaintiff’s TCPA claim based on his failure to adequately plead the defendant’s use of an ATDS in the subject communications. 
I.             Thompson-Harbach v. USAA Federal Savings Bank, 2019 WL 148711 (N.D. Iowa Jan. 1, 2019): 
In Thompson, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant violated the TCPA by placing at least 71 “collection calls to Plaintiff” after he requested that
Continue Reading 2019 Begins With Some Positive Decisions On The Interpretation Of An ATDS

NYDFS Departing Superintendent Gives Parting Gift: Whistleblowing Policy Guidelines
On January 7, 2019, the Superintendent of New York’s Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), Maria Vullo, who has since been replaced by Governor Cuomo, gave a parting gift to all companies that are regulated by the DFS: Guidance on whistleblowing programs that must be part of the “comprehensive compliance program” for all DFS-regulated financial service companies. (See Whistleblower Guidance). 
NYDFS regulates, supervises and if necessary brings enforcement actions against a wide variety of financial services companies that do business in New York, including depository and non- depository lenders, fintech companies,
Continue Reading NYDFS Departing Superintendent Gives Parting Gift: Whistleblowing Policy Guidelines

A client visited today and asked what advice we give to husbands and wives about financial responsibilities when one spouse has died. It’s still often one spouse’s task to pay bills and make household arrangements, and if that spouse dies first, what can be done to assist the survivor? My suggestion was just what I have done. Although my wife is familiar with our bills and the various contracts we have for maintaining our home, it makes sense to put that information into a separate “guidebook”. The book includes what monthly, quarterly and annual bills need to be paid; what
Continue Reading Financial Responsibilities For Widows and Widowers

Like most people, members of the LGBTQ community often wait until after a major life event before meeting with a lawyer to plan their estates. The adoption of a child, the death of a loved one, or the approach of old age can be enough to prompt some of us to meet with a lawyer. Depending on the life event in question, waiting might work—or it might simply be too late. Learn why the best time to put your affairs in order is probably now.
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Continue Reading When Should You Write Your First Will?

What will happen to your frequent flyer miles when you’re gone? Will your spouse, partner, or someone else you care about be able to use and enjoy them? The airlines’ rules are not always clear-cut on the matter. But with proper planning, you can make the most of their policies and help to ensure that your miles are passed on to someone you designate.

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Continue Reading Who Inherits Your Frequent Flyer Miles?

One of the many benefits of Saul Ewing’s recent merger with Arnstein & Lehr, now Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, is that we now have offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, Florida. Many people living in the Northern and Midwestern states have second homes in Florida or have become full-time Florida residents, and they often need additional or different estate planning assistance. My colleague Fatima Hasan practices from our Fort Lauderdale and Miami offices, and has discussed with me the wide range of assistance we can provide to part-time and full-time Florida residents. She can be reached
Continue Reading New Estate Planning Resources for Florida Residents

An article in the September 4, 2018 Wall Street Journal discusses the question of what people will spend in retirement. Its author is connected with something called the Center for Advanced Hindsight, which I suppose is humorous. The article indicates that the center brought together a large number of people and asked them what they thought their expenses would be in retirement. Because they had heard the figure of 70% of pre-retirement expenses, that’s what they said. So far, not very scientific. Then, they brought in another group of people and asked them what they would like to spend in
Continue Reading Spending in Retirement

1. Why is it important to have a discussion about buy-sell agreements in the context of estate planning?
The ownership interest in a closely held business represents a substantial portion of an individual’s wealth.  Determining how much his or her family will be paid for that interest and when payment will occur is a very important part of the estate plan.  If the value is trapped in the business or can only be extracted over a long period of time, that changes how the surviving spouse and family can expect to enjoy the transmission of wealth.
2. Do most closely
Continue Reading Some Notes on Buy-Sell Agreements