On March 8, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the National Bank Act preempts unfair and fraudulent conduct claims under California's unfair competition statute and that allegedly excessive underwriting fees cannot serve as the basis for claims under Section 8(b) of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act ("RESPA"). The Martinez v. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Inc. decision will make it more difficult for plaintiffs suing federally-chartered national banks to assert state law unfair competition claims based on the bank's lending activities.
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