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Jennifer Kennedy Park’s practice focuses on white-collar defense, enforcement actions and complex civil litigation.

On May 6, 2021, the United States Government Accountability Office (“GAO”)—an independent, non-partisan congressional watchdog organization—published a report summarizing its study on the impact of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (“CFPB” or the “Bureau”) reorganization of its fair lending enforcement and supervisory activities.[1]  In 2018, the Trump administration-led CFPB decided to relocate the Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity (the “Office of Fair Lending”) from the Supervision, Enforcement, and Fair Lending Division (“SEFL”) to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Fairness (“OEOF”), a division within the Office of the CFPB Director that plays no role in enforcement.  GAO found shortcomings in the reorganization process and highlighted that the reorganization likely led to a decrease in fair lending enforcement activity in 2018.  GAO ultimately recommended that the Bureau analyze the effects of the reorganization on its enforcement and supervision of fair lending laws, develop performance goals, and take measures to assess its fair lending activities going forward.

While not binding on the CFPB, GAO’s report is significant as it comes at a time when the current administration has signaled that it is motivated to increase enforcement of fair lending laws. Acting CFPB Director Dave Uejio has committed the Bureau to implementing GAO’s recommendations, and Biden’s CFPB Director nominee Rohit Chopra has similarly expressed that he would focus on fair lending.  Likewise, progressive advocates are using the report as an opportunity to apply increased pressure on the Biden administration to become more active in this area.
Continue Reading GAO Recommends CFPB Evaluate Trump Era Fair Lending Reorganization

The Biden CFPB has begun a significant expansion in the use of consumer finance enforcement tools to act on behalf of marginalized communities.  On the back of Acting Director David Uejio’s announcement earlier this year of his intention to prioritize cases involving racial equity, and subsequent filing of the Biden CFPB’s first enforcement action against Libre Services for alleged abuse and “unfair practices” involving Spanish-speaking immigrant communities, the CFPB has also signaled a focus on potential violations of fair lending protections for LGBTQ individuals.
Continue Reading The CFPB Broadens Enforcement Reach to Include Protection of LGBTQ Individuals

Conventional wisdom is that under the Biden Administration, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB” or the “Bureau”) will pivot to a more muscular approach to enforcement of consumer financial protection laws.  The current leadership has already begun to signal the CFPB’s move towards a more aggressive approach while President Biden’s nomination to lead the agency, FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra, is considered by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.  CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio has issued a number of statements identifying the agency’s priorities, particularly for the Bureau’s Division of Supervision, Enforcement & Fair Lending (“SEFL”), which are expected to continue—and potentially broaden—under a Chopra CFPB.[1]  The CFPB has already begun to rescind Trump administration policies restricting its enforcement more generally, and has indicated its intent to prioritize the enforcement of potential violations related to the COVID-19 pandemic and racial inequity.
Continue Reading The CFPB’s Much-Anticipated Enforcement Shift Has Begun

On September 10, 2020, the Division of Enforcement (“Division”) of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) released guidance (“CFTC Guidance”) outlining factors the Division will consider when evaluating compliance programs in connection with enforcement actions. The CFTC Guidance ties into guidance released by the Division in May directing staff to consider an entity’s compliance program

On June 1, 2020, the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (the “Department”) released revisions to its guidance regarding the Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs, which the Department uses in assessing the “adequacy and effectiveness” of a company’s compliance program in connection with any decision to charge or resolve a criminal investigation, including

The World Health Organization has now declared COVID-19 a pandemic, and as more businesses begin to face the impacts of quarantines and travel restrictions, they may find themselves managing unexpected legal risks.  Among those are risks related to communications with customers by sales and marketing functions.

Those businesses hardest hit in the initial stages of the crisis — e.g., cruise lines, airlines and hotels —  quickly face pressures that raise the risks of private litigation and government enforcement in connection with sales and marketing efforts.  For example, what assurances should sales representatives give in response to inquiries about the chances of contracting the virus in connection with the use of a product or service?  What information should be provided about safety measures being taken?  Do sales commission and incentive programs exacerbate the risks of non-compliant responses, and should they be suspended?
Continue Reading COVID-19 and the Compliance Risks Related to Sales and Marketing Practices

The following post was originally included as part of our recently published memorandum “Selected Issues for Boards of Directors in 2020”.

Enforcement of anti-bribery, sanctions and money laundering laws remains a top priority for US authorities. In 2019, the US Department of Justice and civil regulators issued new or updated policies aimed at

In recent years, numerous senior executives have resigned or been terminated for engaging in undisclosed consensual relationships with subordinates. Such relationships are gaining particular attention in the wake of the heightened scrutiny around workplace behavior, because they raise concerns relating to, among other things, potential power imbalances and conflicts of interest in the workplace. Thus,

On November 1, 2019, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Liu v. SEC to decide whether the Securities and Exchange Commission can obtain disgorgement as an equitable remedy in federal court enforcement actions.

The certiorari grant in this case is unusual, because the circuit courts that have considered the issue have all agreed that the

On August 26, 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law legislation extending the statute of limitations for claims brought under the Martin Act from three to six years. The statute reverses a New York Court of Appeals decision holding that Martin Act claims must be brought within three years.
Continue Reading New York States Extends the Statute of Limitations for Claims Brought Under Martin Act to Six Years