Christopher J. Willis

Christopher J. Willis

Ballard Spahr LLP

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HUD Fair Housing Guidance Raises ECOA Risk in Serving LEP Consumers

New guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on Fair Housing Act (FHA) protections for persons with limited English proficiency (LEP) could have reverberations under the Equal Credit...more

9/26/2016 - Affordable Housing Banking Sector Discrimination Disparate Impact ECOA Fair Housing Act (FHA) HUD Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Mortgages Rental Property

4th Circuit: Filing Proof of Claim on Time-Barred Debt Did Not Violate FDCPA

A debt collector did not violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by filing proofs of claim in bankruptcy cases on debts that were time-barred by Maryland’s statute of limitations (SOL), a divided U.S. Court of...more

9/12/2016 - Bankruptcy Code Chapter 13 Consumer Bankruptcy Corporate Counsel Debt Buyers Debt Collection FDCPA Financial Sector Financial Services Industry Proof of Claims Statute of Limitations Time-Barred Debt

District Court Dismisses Disparate Impact Claim of Inclusive Communities

A federal court in Texas recently dismissed a housing discrimination claim that was based on alleged disparate impact under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), the latest in a series of decisions applying landmark U.S. Supreme Court...more

9/2/2016 - Affordable Housing Burden-Shifting Causation Discrimination Dismissals Disparate Impact Fair Housing Act (FHA) HUD LIHTC Pleading Standards Race Discrimination Texas Dept of Housing v Inclusive Communities Title VII

Voicemail Message Without Express Statement It Was From Debt Collector Did Not Violate FDCPA, Ninth Circuit Rules

A debt collection law firm did not violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by leaving a voicemail message for the plaintiff that identified the law firm but did not expressly state that the law firm was a debt...more

8/12/2016 - Appeals Corporate Counsel Debt Collection Debt Collectors Disclosure Requirements FDCPA Financial Sector Financial Services Industry Voicemail

Third Circuit Remands "Meaningful Attorney Involvement" Decision

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has vacated the district court's decision in Bock v. Pressler & Pressler, LLP in which the district court ruled that a debt collection law firm violated the Fair Debt Collection...more

8/5/2016 - Appeals Article III CFPB Debt Collection Debt Collectors FDCPA Financial Services Industry Injury-in-Fact Spokeo v Robins Standing Statutory Damages

CFPB Previews Debt Collection Rule in SBREFA Outline

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has moved a step closer to issuing a debt collection rule by releasing an outline of the proposals it is considering in preparation for convening a small business review panel....more

8/1/2016 - CFPB Debt Buyers Debt Collection Debt Collectors Dodd-Frank FDCPA Financial Sector SBREFA Small Business Third-Party Service Provider Time-Barred Debt

FTC Consent Order Creates Uncertainty for Advertising of Credit, Lease Offers

A recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) consent order with two Ohio auto dealers creates uncertainty not only for auto dealers, but also for all other businesses advertising credit or lease offers. The order settled...more

7/20/2016 - Auto Lease Automotive Industry Automotive Loans Car Dealerships Consent Order Consumer Financial Products Consumer Lenders Credit Ratings Disclosure Requirements False Advertising FTC FTC Act Popular Section 5 Unfair or Deceptive Trade Practices

CFPB and DOJ Settle Fair Lending Claims Involving Allegations of Redlining, Discretionary Underwriting and Pricing, and Overt...

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced a proposed consent order with BancorpSouth Bank to settle charges that the bank’s mortgage lending practices violated the...more

7/11/2016 - Banking Sector CFPB Consent Order Consumer Financial Products Discriminatory Lending Practices DOJ ECOA Fair Housing Act (FHA) Financial Institutions Mortgages Popular Race Discrimination Redlining

New Putative FCRA Class Action May Signal a Trend

A borrower recently filed a putative class action against Fannie Mae under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in federal court in Washington, D.C., alleging that Fannie engaged in unauthorized inquiries into borrowers'...more

6/24/2016 - Chapter 7 Consumer Bankruptcy Corporate Counsel Credit Reports Debt Equifax Fannie Mae FCRA Putative Class Actions

Industry Trade Groups Renew Challenge to HUD Disparate Impact Rule

Two industry trade associations whose members sell homeowners insurance have been granted leave to file an amended complaint in their lawsuit challenging the Fair Housing Act (FHA) disparate impact rule (Rule) adopted by the...more

4/22/2016 - Administrative Procedure Act Affordable Housing Disparate Impact Fair Housing Act (FHA) Homeowner's Insurance Motion to Amend Race Discrimination SCOTUS Texas Dept of Housing v Inclusive Communities

FTC Highlights FDCPA Risks for Debt Collectors Using Social Media, Texts

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently published a reminder to debt collectors of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) compliance risks that are created by the use of social media or text messages in connection...more

4/1/2016 - Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) Cell Phones CFPB Corporate Counsel Debt Collection Debt Collectors Facebook FDCPA FTC Popular Risk Management Social Media TCPA Text Messages

Loan Guarantors Are Not ''Applicants'' under ECOA, Equally Divided U.S. Supreme Court Affirms

An equally divided U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the Eighth Circuit's decision in Hawkins v. Community Bank of Raymore, which upheld a federal district court ruling that the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) does not...more

3/28/2016 - Banking Sector ECOA Guarantors Hawkins v Community Bank of Raymore Regulation B SCOTUS Spousal Guaranty

NY DFS Brings First Data Security Action

The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has announced that it has entered into a consent order with an online payday loan lead generator and its chief executive officer (CEO) (collectively, respondents) to...more

3/25/2016 - Consent Order Consumer Financial Products Corporate Counsel Data Security Notification Requirements NYDFS Online Marketplace Lending Payday Loans Personally Identifiable Information Popular Usury

FTC Gets 3 Million Consumer Complaints in 2015

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received more than 3 million consumer complaints in 2015 with debt collection topping the list, according to its newly released Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book. The annual report, which...more

3/8/2016 - CFPB Consumer Complaint Database Corporate Counsel Debt Collection FTC Identity Theft Sweepstakes Telecommunications

Voicemail Messages on Debtor's Phone Did Not Violate FDCPA, Federal Court Rules

A debt collector did not violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by leaving a voicemail message on a cell phone shared by the debtor with her boyfriend because it was not reasonably foreseeable that he would...more

2/23/2016 - Cell Phones Corporate Counsel Debt Collection FDCPA Voicemail

Court: Debt Collector's Implicit Suggestion that Consumer Should Make Payment Within Dispute Period Violates FDCPA

A debt collector's implicit suggestion that a consumer should make a payment before the end of the 30-day dispute period violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a federal court in Missouri has ruled. In...more

2/22/2016 - Debt Collectors FDCPA Summary Judgment

DOJ Settles Action Alleging Bank Discriminated Against Disability Income Recipients

The U.S. Department of Justice recently entered into a consent order with Evolve Bank & Trust to settle charges that the bank discriminated against mortgage loan applicants on the basis of disability and receipt of public...more

2/3/2016 - Banking Sector Consent Order Disability Discrimination DOJ ECOA Fair Housing Act (FHA) Mortgage Lenders Qualified Settlement Funds

University Faces Action for Alleged Deceptive Advertising of Graduates' Employment, Earning Prospects

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed a complaint in a California federal district court against the operators of DeVry University in which it alleges that DeVry violated the FTC Act by misrepresenting the employment...more

1/29/2016 - Department of Education False Advertising Federal Student Aid FTC FTC Act Higher Education Act Hiring Statistics Misrepresentation Title IV Universities

FTC Announces ''Operation Collection Protection'' Developments

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced new developments in ''Operation Collection Protection,'' its new coordinated federal-state enforcement initiative targeting unlawful debt collection practices. The U.S....more

1/16/2016 - Attorney Generals CFPB Debt Collection DOJ Enforcement Actions FDCPA FTC FTC Act

FTC Proposes Survey of Consumer Experience in Financing Auto Purchases through Dealers

The Federal Trade Commission has announced plans to conduct a survey of consumers regarding their experiences in buying and financing automobiles at dealerships. According to the supplementary information in the notice...more

1/6/2016 - Automotive Loans Car Dealerships CFPB ECOA FTC Surveys Truth in Lending Act (TILA)

Is Online Lead Generation Inherently Deceptive?

This post is the third in a series we’re writing on the FTC’s workshop on online lead generation entitled Follow the Lead. In our first post, we explored how online lead generation works. In our second, we covered the role...more

12/11/2015 - CFPB FTC Lead Generators Online Platforms Popular Unfair or Deceptive Trade Practices

DOJ Settles Fair Lending Claims Based on Bank’s Mortgage Pricing System

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced a proposed consent order with Sage Bank to settle charges that the bank violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) by discriminating on...more

12/7/2015 - Consent Order DOJ ECOA Fair Housing Act (FHA) Mortgage Lenders Race Discrimination

Eighth Circuit Dismisses FDCPA Claims Based on Affiant’s Alleged False Attestation of Personal Knowledge

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently ruled that a plaintiff’s allegation that an affiant had falsely attested to having personal knowledge of the facts alleged in a debt collection complaint was...more

12/2/2015 - Debt Collection False Statements FDCPA Putative Class Actions

Disclosure Confusion in the Online Lead Generation Industry

This post is the second in a series we’re writing on the FTC’s workshop on online lead generation entitled Follow the Lead. In our first post, we explored how online lead generation works. Here, we will discuss two...more

11/23/2015 - Consumer Financial Products Disclosure FTC Internet Lenders Lead Generators UDAAP

Envelope’s Display of Internal Tracking Number Does Not Violate FDCPA, New York Federal Court Rules

A federal district court in New York has ruled that a debt collector did not violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by sending a collection letter in an envelope that allegedly revealed an internal tracking...more

11/19/2015 - Corporate Counsel Debt Collection FDCPA FTC Motion for Judgment

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