All items from Credit Slips

Why doesn’t payday lending violate the FTC’s Credit Practices Rule (16 C.F.R. 444.2)?  That’s what I’m trying to figure out.  
The Credit Practices Rule prohibits taking or receiving directly or indirectly an assignment of wages in most circumstances.  (None of the exceptions appear applicable to the payday lending context.) The FTC has gone after some payday lenders for taking a formal direct assignment of wages, but that's an usual term for payday loans. Rather, I'm more interested in the question of an indirect wage assignment. I think there's a pretty good case that a payday loan is an indirect assignment of wages:

  • A payday loan is called a “payday loan”—it’s designed to ensure repayment from the borrower’s wages;
  • the loan’s maturity is usually designed to match with pay periods;
  • usually the only “underwriting” is verification of the borrower’s employment;
  • the loan is “secured’ with either a post-dated check or authorization for an ACH debit with the date set for…payday.  

That sure looks to me like an indirect assignment of wages—the loan is designed to enable the lender to be repaid from the borrower’s wages without having to go to court and get a judgment and a garnishment order (i.e., a judicial wage assignment).  



Posted 16 hours 1 sec ago

Some thoughts on GM, successor liability, 363 sales, and due process – over at Dealb%k.



Posted 19 hours 47 min ago

On Monday, lawyers for NML and Argentina (with a cameo by lawyers for the US Department of Justice) were before the Supreme Court arguing about the scope of a US court's power to order discovery in aid of execution. (Here's the transcript; here's a good summary of the argument itself.) This case is about the proper interpretation of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) and is unrelated to the pari passu litigation. The question, in a nutshell, is whether a creditor that holds a money judgment from a US court can obtain broad discovery into the nature and location of the sovereign's assets worldwide. Bear in mind that the US court can only enforce its judgment by allowing the creditor to execute on commercial assets located in the United States; it has no power to reach assets overseas. But NML wants to use the information it uncovers during discovery to identify assets in other countries that might be subject to seizure under the law of those countries. Let's call this the "discovery case" to distinguish it from the "pari passu" case.



Posted 1 day 1 hour ago

General Mills decided to reverse direction on its recent change to its terms of service purporting to mandate arbitration and ban class actions for anyone who 'liked' them (among other things). Perhaps they were threatened by Adam Levitin's counter-proposal, or maybe it was the widespread outraged reaction on Twitter and all manner of social media. 
Hurray for consumer advocates! They not only got a complete pivot, but they also got an apology (of sorts: "We're sorry we even started down this path"). The way the company characterizes what happens though, is telling:
We’ll just add that we never imagined this reaction. Similar terms are common in all sorts of consumer contracts, and arbitration clauses don’t cause anyone to waive a valid legal claim. They only specify a cost-effective means of resolving such matters. At no time was anyone ever precluded from suing us by purchasing one of our products at a store or liking one of our Facebook pages. That was either a mischaracterization – or just very misunderstood.  



Posted 3 days 19 hours ago

TicketsThat's the title of Denver Law Professor Michael Sousa's new article exploring debtors' evaluations of the pre-filing credit counseling course and the post-filing financial management course mandated by BAPCPA. The data for the article came from in-depth interviews that Sousa conducted with 58 individuals from Colorado who filed under Chapter 7 between 2006 and 2010. Bob Lawless previously posted about another article Sousa wrote based on the interviews that discusses debtors' perceptions of bankruptcy stigma. Like Sousa's previous article, this paper carefully presents the interviews for what they are and what they can reveal about debtors' interactions with these two components of the bankruptcy process.



Posted 5 days 14 hours ago

Rosen
As family, friends, and colleagues mourn the passing of the Leonard Rosen, the fitting tribute by Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz allows a glimpse into his exceptional contributions:
But above all, Leonard was a good man. A generous man. A kind man. A man you could trust with your most difficult problems and deepest concerns, a superb partner who represented, and will always represent, all we strive to be as lawyers, citizens, and human beings. He was much sought after for his judgment, as well as for his marvelous ability to resolve disputes and reconcile disparate views. He shaped the culture of our Firm. He was the glue that cemented a group of hard-working and talented attorneys into a leading law firm that has served as a model for other firms. He was not only admired and respected by his colleagues; he was beloved.



Posted 6 days 22 hours ago

In light of General Mills policy of claiming that its binding mandatory arbitration requirement (with class action waiver) applies to anyone who purchases its products, including via third-party vendors, I have decided, to post the following legal notice, applicable to all persons, everywhere:     

By permitting, allowing, or suffering me to purchase any of your products or services, whether directly from you or indirectly through dealers, vendors, agents, or other third-parties, you agree to irrevocably surrender all rights to compel me to arbitration or to waive my rights to proceed against you as a member of a class action.  In order to make this provision effective and allow effective vindication of my rights, you also agree to irrevocably surrender all rights to compel arbitration and to prevent class actions against all other purchasers of your products and services.  You also agree to cover all of my costs associated with bringing an action, including attorneys' fees and any damages awarded against me, irrespective of the outcome of the action. 

Is General Mills notice any more effective than mine?  I don't see why it would be.  Let's get this long-range battle of the forms on! 



Posted 1 week 28 min ago

I had the pleasure of participating in this weekend's very successful Research Symposium on Student Loans organized by Kathleen Engel of Suffolk Law School and Deanne Loonin of the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) (NCLC, by the way, is looking to hire three attorneys!). In this post I want to mention some of the highlights.



Posted 1 week 1 day ago

A while back, The PEW Charitable Trust did two fascinating papers, found here and here, on prepaid cards. The studies reported that nearly 12 million consumers loaded more than $64 billion onto prepaid cards in 2012, and that three of the top 10 companies now offering prepaid cards are highly recognizable banking institutions that did not offer the product before. This is a big change. Indeed, we here at credit slips do not even have a category for stories on pre-paid cards, but the cards are the next big thing. Since these reports came out, I have seen numerous conferences advertised to help people learn more about how to make money issuing pre-paid cards. The business plan for making more money from a seemingly simple payment device? Offering overdraft “protection” for the cards, meaning that if the money is gone, the card holder can just overdraw the pre-paid card…for a few bucks of course. Hmmm…



Posted 2 weeks 6 days ago

On behalf of everyone at Credit Slips, I wanted to thank Professor Javier Arias of the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos and Professor Andrew Dawson of the University of Miami. It takes time out of a busy schedule to contribute to the Credit Slips community, and their contributions are well appreciated. Javier brought us up to date on the recent changes in the Spanish insolvency regime, and Drew offered his thoughts on some developments in chapter 15/transnational insolvency as well as on labor rights in chapter 11. Thank you again, both of you.



Posted 3 weeks 2 hours ago