January 19, 2021
The Gateway For Payroll Data
Biden selects Gensler for SEC chair, Rohit Chopra to lead CFPB

President-elect Joe Biden has chosen two veteran regulators to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Biden will nominate former Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) chairman Gary Gensler to lead the SEC and Federal Trade Commission member Rohit Chopra to lead the CFPB, the transition announced Monday.

Under the Obama administration and in the wake of the 2008 financial crash, Gensler advanced derivatives regulation at the CFTC, Bloomberg News noted. Biden last year called on Gensler to lead his transition’s review of banking and securities regulators.

Paving the Payments Future
Walmart launches fintech startup to build digital financial products for customers, employees

Walmart (WMT), the world's largest retailer, announced on Monday that it is launching a financial technology (fintech) startup in partnership with Palo Alto, Calif.–based venture capital firm Ribbit Capital, a backer of Robinhood, Credit Karma and Affirm.

The new fintech company, which will be majority-owned by Walmart, aims to “develop and offer modern, innovative and affordable financial solutions” targeting Walmart's customers and employees.

"For years, millions of customers have put their trust in Walmart to not only save them money when they shop with us but help them manage their financial needs. And they've made it clear they want more from us in the financial services arena," Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner said in the release.

Treasury issues millions of second Economic Impact Payments by debit card

WASHINGTON – Starting this week, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are sending approximately 8 million second Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) by prepaid debit card.

These EIP Cards follow the millions of payments already made by direct deposit and the ongoing mailing of paper checks that are delivering the second round of Economic Impact Payments as rapidly as possible.

For those who don’t receive a direct deposit, they should watch their mail for either a paper check or a prepaid debit card. To speed delivery of the payments to reach as many people as soon as possible the Treasury’s Bureau of Fiscal Service is sending payments out by prepaid debit card.

More information about these cards is available at

Several U.S. states sue banking regulator over 'true lender' rule

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Seven U.S. states and Washington, D.C., sued a U.S. banking regulator on Tuesday, seeking to void a rule they said could encourage predatory lending by preventing them from enforcing state laws against exploitative interest rates.

The complaint filed in Manhattan federal court against the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency seeks to undo the “True Lender Rule,” which the regulator finalized in October.

The OCC issued the rule to clarify when a bank is the “true lender” for a loan originated in one state and sold off into another. The watchdog said it would provide “legal certainty necessary for banks to partner confidently with other market participants and meet the credit needs of their customers.”

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and National Credit Union Administration Sign Memorandum of Understanding

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) and the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement to improve coordination between the agencies related to the consumer protection supervision of credit unions over $10 billion dollars in assets.

“Today’s MOU is an important step towards improving our existing framework and increasing opportunities for collaboration between our agencies,” said Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kathleen L. Kraninger. “By working in a collaborative way, we will engage in more effective processes to protect consumers in the financial marketplace. We look forward to our continued partnership with the NCUA.”

“This agreement underscores NCUA’s commitment to consumer protection by facilitating vital information sharing between the agencies for credit unions over $10 billion dollars in assets,” said NCUA Chairman Rodney E. Hood. “Improved coordination with CFPB will produce better outcomes in support of consumers and reduce burden on covered institutions.”

OCC Finalizes Rule Requiring Large Banks to Provide Fair Access to Bank Services, Capital, and Credit

WASHINGTON—The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) today released its finalized rule to ensure fair access to banking services provided by large national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign bank organizations.

The rule codifies more than a decade of OCC guidance stating that banks should conduct risk assessment of individual customers, rather than make broad-based decisions affecting whole categories or classes of customers, when provisioning access to services, capital, and credit.

"When a large bank decides to cut off access to charities or even embassies serving dangerous parts of the world or companies conducting legal businesses in the United States that support local jobs and the national economy, they need to show their work and the legitimate business reasons for doing so," said Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian P. Brooks.

Minnesota residents have the highest average credit score—here’s how other states compare

Credit scores rose in all 50 states and Washington D.C. last year. Here’s the average credit score in every state, according to Experian’s 2020 Consumer Credit Review.

The average FICO Score in the U.S. hit a record high of 710 last year, according to Experian’s 2020 Consumer Credit Review. And a majority of states (33) managed to achieve or surpass this record high.

Minnesota residents topped the list for the ninth straight year with an average 739 credit score. Meanwhile, Mississippi residents continued to have the lowest credit score of any state (675) — though that’s an eight-point increase from last year (667).

All states experienced a credit score increase ranging from three to 10 points in 2020. That could be due to more on-time payments and lowered spending during a year of economic uncertainty.

Payments Inclusivity in a Digital, Pandemic Era

The rise of digital payments was underway well before COVID-19, but shelter-in-place orders and efforts to minimize contact have spurred a rapid acceleration of the trend.1 Rachel Siegel, officer at The Pew Charitable Trusts, spends her time analyzing these changes to the U.S. payment system – for her, understanding how consumers choose to pay is foundational to creating an inclusive payment system.

As a consumer finance researcher at Pew, a global research and public policy organization whose work includes the study of consumer safety and security in the U.S. payment system, Siegel relies on surveys, focus groups and external data to gain insight into how consumers use financial products like checking accounts, mobile payments, faster/instant payments and prepaid cards.


The Bureau has issued a small entity compliance guide summarizing the October 2020 debt collection rule. The guide is available here.

In 1977, Congress passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to eliminate debt collectors’ abusive debt collection practices, to ensure that those debt collectors who refrain from using abusive debt collection practices are not competitively disadvantaged, and to promote consistent action to protect consumers against debt collection abuses.

California's Mini-CFPB and Expanded Consumer Protection Laws Are Here

The time has finally come. After the governor's approval of California's Debt Collection Licensing Act and the California Consumer Financial Protection Law back in September, California's new mini-CFPB—now called the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI)—is officially in business. And, from the sound of it, DFPI intends to hit the ground running.

In a press release issued yesterday, DFPI announced that it will begin its work "immediately." What's on the docket? Several key points immerged. Read on to see the five main items DFPI has on its radar according to its announcement.

Consumer complaints
"[T]he DFPI will review and investigate consumer complaints against previously unregulated financial products and services, including debt collectors, credit repair and consumer credit reporting agencies, debt relief companies, rent to own contractors, private school financing, and more."

Coronavirus relief bill makes it easier for companies to pay down workers’ student loans

  • The latest stimulus package allows employers to make tax-free contributions of up to $5,250 a year to their employees’ education debt.
  • The provision will expire in five years, although experts say it’s likely to become permanent.
  • Each year, 70% of college graduates start off their lives in the red, and the average balance has climbed to $30,000, from $10,000 in the early 1990s. The typical monthly student loan payment is $400. 

Credit Card Debt Continues Its Pandemic Plunge

But consumers are expected to increase their spending in 2021

  • Credit card debt in the U.S. hit a record high of $1.0943 trillion in February 2020, but it has steadily fallen during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • November’s $978.8 billion figure is down 10.6% from February.
  • The decline is likely due to increased unemployment and reduced spending related to the pandemic, as well as to moves by credit card issuers, such as lower credit limits.

Alternative Financial Service Providers Association
315 Tuscarora St., Lewiston, NY 14092